A recent article in the Times of India discusses the state of English education in India, a language which is one of the focal points in discourses around “development.” Progress, one hears often, depends on our English skills-the nation’s very future depends on how well we speak/read/write the language. So much so, that [...]more→
Articles tagged with: New Delhi
This evening, Sunehri Market, the local bazaar, was awash in green, white, and deep saffron, the colors of the Indian flag. There were tricolor kites, delicate (miniature) paper flags, exercise wristbands, streamers, paper caps, garlands, towelettes, artificial flower bouquets, and cloth flags. Tomorrow is Independence Day, the 62nd anniversary of Indian freedom from [...]more→
This afternoon, I had occasion to visit some “sign stores” in a neighboring village in a New Delhi suburb. We needed stamp pads (it’s a long, dull, inconsequential, and utterly irrelevant story why), and so, this hot afternoon-it was around 104°F, with 25% humidity-we trekked over to the village. The “LADIES TOILET” (or, the “Ladies/महिला”/”Women” [...]more→
Living in the United States for the past five years, the extensive circulation of the word “sorry” is something I generally take for granted. However, I was revisiting some of the stories I collected while with some kids at an orphanage in a suburb of New Delhi, India, when it struck me how odd, or [...]more→
Samajwadi Party (a regional Indian party) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s campaign promise to abolish the use of English, “angrezi hatao” (Remove English) in UP (Uttar Pradesh, a north Indian state) has been causing quite a bit of tumult. Mulayam specifically promised “to ban English in education and computers in new projects.” My parents [...]more→
My mother often tells me stories of growing up in pre-Independence Calcutta (Kolkata), India, and I am always fascinated by details about Bengali (Bangali)* cuisine. I grew up in a (primarily) vegetarian household (where food was niramish), whereas the defining aspect of traditional Bangali cuisine is (traditionally freshwater) fish curry (machher jhol) and [...]more→
मेरा इंतेज़ार करते हैं
कहीं मुझे बुला रहें हैं
उस अंधकार में?
वह एक गुफा है-
हर रोज़ उनकी सच्चाई
एक दर्द है
आशा का अंत है
जहाँ न माँ का प्यार
ना पिता का आशीर्वाद.
आज कल में बदलता है
कल परसो में.
क्या वे मुझे बुलाते हैं?
One of the most fascinating aspects of my ethnographic work in a orphanage in a Hindu ashram in a satellite town of New Delhi, India, is the multilingual setting. The kids, to recap quickly, are first language Bengali speakers, second language Hindi speakers, attend an English medium school, and take part in mandatory 4 hour [...]more→
From the New Delhi, India, campaign and “to-let” flyers make an appearance on street signs:
Who cares where you are?
And behold the irrelevance of traffic signs:
As we drove to the gym today in a satellite town of New Delhi, India, I was struck by a skull and crossbones sign painted on the back of an auto-rickshaw. It had the word “STOP” written beneath it (see below). Now, I associate the skull and crossbones sign with poison and pirates…I have never [...]more→
The Khadi Handicrafts Fair sign was only barely visible through the fogged up car windows as we arrived there around dusk yesterday. Four or five middle aged men in thick woolen caps and dark shawls gathered around a small bonfire, their palms spread out, the flames nearly licking their fingertips. A young man stood forlornly [...]more→
“Happy new year, Didi!” the monkey-cap wearing kids yelled out as I stepped into the children’s study room in the basement of an orphanage. As I smiled at them, I felt the cold cement through the sheer nylon of my stockinged feet. The temperature in the room was little warmer than the 4°C outside, and [...]more→
A couple of evenings ago, with the temperature dipping into the low teens (in °C), and the stale winter air thickly polluted with smog, my mother and I happened upon the National Khadi Fair in a suburb of New Delhi, India. Even though we had pending errands to run, we were inexorably drawn to the [...]more→
The New York Times‘ book blog, the aptly titled “Paper Cuts,” carries a post about a recent UC Press book entitled “One Thousand Languages: Living, Endangered, and Lost,” edited by Peter K. Austin. The description includes this alarming line: “There are more than six thousand languages used around the world today, although [...]more→
Minutes ago, on the NDTV live feed covering the Mumbai terror strike I’ve been riveted to for the past 24 hours, Rahul Bose, the renowned Indian actor, (demanding of an Indian politician) asked what quality of life Indians could expect between terrorist strikes. The larger context of his question dealt with what steps [...]more→