Saturday, December 03, 2005

Some Not-So-Random Linkage...

My memory's short, and I've no idea how I stumbled across this animated tutorial for making paper planes. However, if you have more time, patience and clinamen, get these books...

Having had a few encounters with people who tend to thump their chests and lecture others about the importance of 'joining the mainstream', it's an idea I've tried to think about, but mostly in indignation. That was until coming across Mrinal Miri's article in Seminar #550. He writes,
"Frequently, we try and understand the cultural scene in India by using the two supposedly dichotomous notions of ‘main stream’ and ‘marginality’. These concepts are natural allies of the view that if India is a nation, then it must be unicultural. And since India is a nation, then in some, as yet, invisible, but profound sense, it must also be unicultural.

It is inappropriate and potentially dangerous to understand cultural India in terms of the metaphors of ‘main stream’ and ‘marginality’.

Take the main stream/sub-streams (tributary) metaphor first. The place of origin of a sub-stream is frequently different from the place of origin of the main stream, but sub-streams flow into the main stream and become one with it (but do they really?) It might be thought that difference in origin is not really important, as long as eventually they become one. In many matters this may indeed be so. But in the case of the main stream and the tributaries which flow into it, the latter’s place of origin does, in fact, literally make a great deal of difference to their natures, and when they do flow into the main stream, the main stream is not what it was before either.

Take the marvellously different natures of the tributaries of the great river Brahmaputra and the difference which is made to them by the sources which keep them running, and the difference each of them makes to the nature of the great river itself. The river Brahmaputra would certainly not be what it is, but for its tributaries.

What, then, is the main stream culture of India? Many would be tempted to say that it is what is now known as the Hindu cultural tradition. Suppose, we accept this answer. Is the question where it originated important? For some at least, it is an extraordinarily important question. They think – even if perhaps in not so many words – that if it did not originate in the land now known as India, somehow the very core of its claim on India will dangerously diminish. This surely is the main reason why there is so much desperation in some of the debates surrounding this question. But suppose it did originate in India, are there not other cultures which originated in India too?"

To read the rest of "Community, culture, nation", go here.

(More) from The Guardian, a very detailed account" of the swirling of rumours that led to race riots.

Hrmph. Enough depressing stuff... I saw Kung Fu Hustle. WOW!!


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