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I took her to see India. At the Oval. Fawlty Towers s1e6: The Germans, Major, BBC 1975
Where you from? England at one point in history you used to own the whole world. What happened? And I don’t think you were an evil imperialistic nation, I think you were simply a country that was in search of a better tasting cuisine. I er I think one day your troops wondered over to India, took a lunch break, and were like wow! This curry is just dandy. Let’s take this recipe back to the Queen. And then your generals stepped in and said, no, this is too good, we should surround this nation with our troops and protect this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. Judah Friedlander: America is the Greatest Country in the United States, Netflix 2017
Christian missions to India imply that India is a land of heathens, and, therefore, stands on the same level with the Andaman or the Fiji Islands. That a country which has been recognised in all ages the world over as the mother of all religions and the cradle of civilisation should be considered as pagan, shows how much ignorance prevails in Christendom.
Since the Parliament of Religions, I have been studying Christian institutions, and I have also studied the way in which the Christian ministers and the missionaries are manufactured in this country, and have learned to pity them. We must not blame them too severely, because their education is too narrow to make them broad-minded. I grant that they are good-hearted, that they are good husbands and often fathers of large families, but generally they are very ignorant, especially of the history of civilisation and of the philosophy of religion of India. Most of them do not even know the history of ancient India.
We know that in this age of competition, centralisation, and monopoly, very many people are forced out of business. The English say, ‘The fool of the family goes into the Church.’ So that when a youth is unable to make a living, he takes to missionary work, goes to India, and helps to introduce among the Hindus the doctrines of his church, which have long since been exploded by science. Virchand Gandhi, The Monist
Apparently, sir, you Chinese are far ahead of us in every respect, except that you don’t have entrepreneurs. And our nation, though it has no drinking water, electricity, sewage system, public transportation, sense of hygiene, discipline, courtesy, or punctuality, does have entrepreneurs. Thousands and thousands of them. Especially in the field of technology. And these entrepreneurs – we entrepreneurs – have set up these outsourcing companies that virtually run America. Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger p4
‘And we entrust our glorious parliamentary democracy’ – he pointed at me – ‘to characters like these. That’s the whole tragedy of this country.’ ibid. p10
Me, and thousands of others in this country like me, are half-baked, because we were never allowed to complete our schooling. Open our skulls, look in with a penlight, and you'll find an odd museum of ideas: sentences of history or mathematics remembered from school textbooks (no boy remembers his schooling like the one who was taken out of school, let me assure you), sentences about politics read in a newspaper while waiting for someone to come to an office, triangles and pyramids seen on the torn pages of the old geometry textbooks which every tea shop in this country uses to wrap its snacks in, bits of All India Radio news bulletins, things that drop into your mind, like lizards from the ceiling, in the half hour before falling asleep – all these ideas, half-formed and half-digested and half-correct, mix up with other half-cooked ideas in your head, and I guess these half-formed ideas bugger one another, and make more half-formed ideas, and this is what you act on and live with. ibid. p10-11
I am talking of a place in India, at least a third of the country, a fertile place, full of rice fields and wheat fields and ponds in the middle of those fields choked with lotuses and water lilies, and water buffaloes wading through the ponds and chewing on the lotuses and lilies. Those who live in this place call it the Darkness. Please understand, Your Excellency, that India is two countries in one: an India of Light, and an India of Darkness. The ocean brings light to my country. Every place on the map of India near the ocean is well-off. But the river brings Darkness to India – the black river. ibid. p14
There is a small branch of the Ganga that flows just outside Laxmangarh; boats come down from the world outside, bringing supplies every Monday. There is one street in the village; a bright strip of sewage splits it into two. On either side of the ooze, a market: three more or less identical shops selling more or less identically adulterated and stale items of rice, cooking oil, kerosene, biscuits, cigarettes, and jaggery. ibid. pp18-19
See, this country, in its days of greatness, when it was the richest nation on earth, was like a zoo. A clean, well-kept orderly zoo. Everyone in his place, everyone happy. ibid. p63
And then, thanks to all those politicians in Delhi, on the fifteenth of August, 1947 – the day the British left – the cages had been let open; and the animals had attacked and ripped each other apart and jungle law replaced zoo law. ibid. pp63-64
I gather you yellow-skinned men, despite your triumphs in sewage, drinking water, and Olympic gold medals, still don’t have democracy. Some politician on the radio was saying that that’s why we Indians are going to beat you: we may not have sewage, drinking water, and Olympic gold medals, but we do have democracy. ibid.
If I were making a country, I’d get the sewage pipes first, then the democracy, then I’d go about giving pamphlets and statues of Gandhi to other people, but what do I know? I am just a murderer! ibid. pp95-96
Now that the date for the elections has been set, and declared on radio, election fever had started spreading again. These are the three main diseases of this country, sir: typhoid, cholera, and election fever. This last one is the worst; it makes people talk and talk about things that they have no say in ... Would they do it this time? Would they beat the Great Socialist and win the elections? Had they raised enough money of their own, and bribed enough policemen, and bought enough fingerprints of their own, to win? Like eunuchs discussing the Kama Sutra, the voters discuss the elections in Laxmangarh. ibid. p98
Thousands of people live on the sides of the road in Delhi. They have come from the Darkness too – you can tell by their thin bodies, filthy faces, by the animal-like way they live under the huge bridges and overpasses, making fires and washing and taking lice out of their hair while the cars roar past them. ibid. p120
Go to Old Delhi, behind the Jama Masjid, and look at the way they keep chickens there in the market. Hundreds of pale hens and brightly coloured roosters, stuffed tightly into wire-mesh cages ... They see the organs of their brothers lying around them. They know they are next, yet they cannot rebel. They do not try to get out of the coop. The very same thing is done with humans in this country. ibid. pp173-174
Never before in human history have so few owed so much to so many, Mr Jiabao. A handful of men in this country have trained the remaining 99.9 percent – as strong, as talented, as intelligent in every way – to exist in perpetual servitude; a servitude so strong that you can put the key of his emancipation in a man’s hands and he will throw it back at you with a curse. ibid. pp175-176
We were driving past a slum: one of those series of makeshift tents where the workers at some construction site were living ... I saw the silhouettes of the slum dwellers close to one another; inside the tents you could make out one family – a husband, a wife, a child – all huddled around a stove inside a tent, lit up by a golden lamp. ibid. p188
These people were building homes for the rich, but they lived in tents covered with blue tarpaulin sheets, and partitioned into lanes by lines of sewage. It was even worse than Laxmangarh. I picked my way around the broken glass, wire, and shattered tube lights. The stench of faeces was replaced by the stronger stench of industrial sewage. The slum ended in an open sewer – a small river of black water went sluggishly past me, bubbles sparkling in it and little circles spreading on its surface. Two children were splashing about in the back water. ibid. p260
The black puddle splashed them as it passed. Bits of beedis, shiny plastic wrappers, punched bus tickets, snippets of onion, sprigs of fresh coriander floated on the black water; the reflection of a naked electric bulb shone out of the scum like a yellow gemstone. ibid. p265
Nothing gives us greater pride than the importance of India’s scientific and engineering colleges, or the army of Indian scientists at organizations such as Microsoft and NASA. Our temples are not the god-encrusted shrines of Varanasi, but Western scientific institutions like Caltech and MIT, and magazines like Nature and Scientific American. Aravind Adiga
India’s great economic boom, the arrival of the Internet and outsourcing, have broken the wall between provincial India and the world. Aravind Adiga