PRC Critical Digest: 6.12.11

Written by  //  December 6, 2011  //  Critical Digest, Philosophy, Religion, Culture  //  1 Comment

Mira Kamdar, When Paris met the Mahatma

Did you know that when Mahatma Gandhi visited Paris, he met the public in a circus? It looks like he was paraded around like some sort of oriental exoticism for the citizens of the city of light to ogle at. This and more in this article by Mira Kamdar in Caravan.


Ustad Sultan Khan dies

The Indian media kept up its tradition for coverage of  classical music by sticking to what seems to have become an unwritten rule: Maintain deafening silence about any form of classical music unless somebody very decorated dies. Ustad Sultan Khan, the sarangi maestro joined Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Jagjit Singh, the ghazal exponent in the list of luminaries who have passed away in 2011. It says a great deal when any google search on any famous classical musician only yields obituary pieces in the first page. Try the following as an exercise: Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan… point proved. I think the most sensible move by Indian periodicals would be to have a new section entitled :”Obituaries/Classical Music”.

Here are some samples:


Saul Bellow speaks

An article that caught the eye was the transcript published in the New York Review of Books of a talk given by Saul Bellow in the late eighties. It is a riveting and free wheeling talk and Saul Bellow is in his elements while trying to map his “jewish identity”.


Ferguson v. Mishra [See what Anisha has to say on this here]

An excellent demolition of the “white-man’s burden” ideology implicit in the history being peddled by the likes of Niall Ferguson by Pankaj Mishra in the London Review of Books. Far from being a very objective review of Ferguson’s new book The West and the Rest, it does read like a prejudiced rant against  Ferguson  – as Ferguson himself alleges in the extremely entertaining letters section on the piece. But who cares – I agree with Mishra  – any “historian” who describes the consequences of 300 years of imperial slaughter as “misdeeds” deserves every bit of the ranting he gets up his street.

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