Argumentative Indians are everywhere. Four of them - from New Delhi, New York, Toronto and Reading, UK – have clubbed up to set up a blog to argue it out. They are drawn from varied fields – college teacher (Debjani), chartered accountant (Kaiser), university professor (Ananya) and newspaper woman (Ishani). A four-line statement of purpose that goes with their group blog – Arguing India – says the idea is to understand India, appreciate her myriad contradictions through arguments and contestations.
My contact in this argumentative group is Ananya Mukherjee Reed, Associate Professor (political science) and Director, International Secretariat for Human Development, York University, Toronto. I have been in touch with her, in the sense I keep sending her alert mail on posts I wish to share with others, and Ananya has been unfailingly prompt in appreciation of my gesture. I haven’t got to argue with her, yet. The professor is said to be ‘passionate about arguing’.
Her group blog, in its statement of purpose, raises provocative questions:Is India a democracy (at all)? Is she booming (in real terms)? Does the caste system still exist? Come on, Ananya; the real argument is over the quota system, which, some would argue, represents a radical role reversal of castes in political terms. Brahmins are now the quiet ones, with so-called lesser castes making all the noise.
And then, the arguing bloggers ask, ‘Is ‘Water’ an accurate representation of India’s reality? If it were so, why wouldn’t India have adopted the movie as the country’s official Oscar nominee? I have flogged my prejudices in my blog, and in Desicritics. Perhaps,Ananya could make a reference to my take on ‘Water’, to only put a bit of polemics in Arguing India.