Saturday, December 30, 2006

India Rising

Arundhati Roy not much more than a decade ago refused to change any of the many Malayaam words that laced her 1997 Booker Prize winning novel The God Of Small Things.

Palatability or easy accessibility to Western audiences had never crossed her mind while writing and she was not about to change for the sake of ready marketability. Rightly she insisted in depicting her world in its own vernacular. Outsiders would have to work to appreciate the world of her novel, a world that would be most familiar to Roy's fellow Keralites.

Roy may not have been the first to assert her own identity but she certainly did ride the cusp of the first wave of self assertion in the Indian arts in the modern India.

India's premier rock band are another example of this wonderful new found confidence. In all of their choices whether it be lyrical content, music, or the videos that accompany the songs the focus is an India that is familiar and interesting to Indians. Many of the subtle cues are lost on Western audiences and that is in itself the point.

There no longer seems the need to translate India in terms that the West can readily understand, no longer that sense that unless it is understood abroad it is not quite real. The effect is surprising. Having established a sense of gravity the interest in India has never been more pronounced. As India is rising in its own estimation it also does so in the eyes of the world.

Consider the variety of India to which Euphoria's songs and videos here only tangentially allude, despite their excellence.


Meri Gully


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