“I sometimes feel completely out of the loop of contemporary India,” writes Nirpal Dhaliwal, the Guardian‘s “man in Mumbai”. Well, maybe that’s because he’s not actually a part of it?
He reminds me of a point I made about Sanjaya Malakar what seems like a million years ago: that you can’t automatically co-opt people into a vast Indian identity just because their parents were Indian. When people are identified as Indo-American or Brit-Asian or what have you, those hyphens exist for a reason.
Back then, I was promptly told off by a legion of righteous (children of) migrants who said it was obvious that I prescribed to (as one person put it) “19th century ideas” of race and nationality. Well, not quite. I don’t think whites are superior or Christianity is the sole salvation of mankind, I don’t see the inevitability of empire and, in spite of the reigning insanity we call Indian politics, I think Indians are quite well able to take care of their country, thank you very much and don’t slam the door on your way out.
And so we wind up with reviews like the one above. i have no idea why Dhaliwal’s covering Bollywood at all when it’s perfectly clear the man hates it and would much rather be talking about another side of India. Just because his parents were Indian doesn’t mean he should automatically be writing about Bollywood, unless you think Christiane Amanpour should only be covering “women’s issues” and Anderson Cooper the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Or maybe, just maybe, he’s funding research for his next novel with execrable movie reviews for people who don’t know any better but would like to pretend they do. Either that or the man’s a masochist.
[Sparked off by Dew Drop Dream on a review that pushed her buttons.]