Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Imagined communities to long distance nationalism: Kaleidoscope meets Anderson again

Kaleidscope like many others of his generation has a bunch of friends settled abroad. Kaleidoscope knows about a few of them who will never come back and another few who are looking for a parallel opportunity to come back availing the next available flight. Kaleidoscope grew up in a nothing exceptional sub-urban place overshadowed by the noise of Airport and that might be one of the motivational factors that pushed many of his childhood friends to board on an aircraft and fly off to a distant place. It is good have friends abroad because when they return they often bring expensive bottles, great smelling cigarettes and stories which Kaleidoscope listens to - often unmindfully.

Kaleidoscope will first classify such people who left India. They are primarily of three kinds (Note. these are not exclusive categories, there are many exceptions and don't blame Kaleido, you have made yourself appear like this only):

A. Settled and will never come back

B. Settled but looking for an opportunity to come back

C. Went for a few weeks of work

The category A and C are two extreme examples which Kaleidoscope finds amusing. Category C suddenly finds everything in India nasty, Indian's uncivilised and indiscipline. They keep on blaming people-government-history-geography and then also DNA and genes! This goes on for a few weeks until they accept their positions and their inabilities. The flow however, often erupts in family and friends gatherings. Kaledoscope finds amazing similarities between life-cycle rituals and category C people's once or twice in a life time foreign tour.

Now, the most interesting thing about category A is that they always pretend to belong to category B. They blame on the lack of opportunities in the country of their origin and some of them keep harping on the fact that they are forever refugees struck in diaspora. They usually make an annual or bi-annual or a five-year planned visit to their family to exchange gifts explore their native places, refresh and create memories only to go back again. Category A people usually are less talkative about the place where they stay - I don't know if they are afraid of inviting unwelcomed guests - frankly, people here would never think of paying a visit to Silicon valley or for that matter London unless they are old enough to find such a missing feather in their crown.

Anyways, the most amusing (until today) thing to Kaleidoscope was the interest of elections, leaders and politics back home! - even among the category A people who actually will never come back.

Taken from https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/benedict-anderson-dies/ 

"Imagined Communities" and Long Distance Nationalism:

It was in 2008 when Kaleidoscope first started to read Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities at IIMC library keeping aside several "important" ministry related assignments and could never stop reading it. It was a stormy day and he could no longer meet his supervisors and continued to read this book. Later on Kaleidoscope could understand how the owners of Verso must have adored Ben for having that best seller book! Anyways, one thing that Kaleidoscope could identify regarding his quite different idea of national sentiment is that he was receiving similar news with more or less similar priorities like his fellow citizens.

Anderson wrote this book in 1980s and then Kaleidoscope like others have seen the proliferation of social media and revolution of internet. Here comes Kaleidoscope's second meeting with Anderson through his brilliant "Long distance nationalism." Yes, Kaleidoscope's fellow friends belonging to category A and B are behaving according to what may be termed as transcendence of territorial nationalism. Kaleidoscope's sincerely hopes that his readers remember Modi's speech among the diasporic crowd in New York and London.

Hence, no matter how dry it appears, Kaleidoscope once again love those facebook posts which sincerely criticise his country's policies-politics-corruption by people whose life it affects distantly  in remotest possible ways. Yes, you get it right - Kaleidoscope loves this international trans-boundary dimension of nationalism - even if like all long distance relationships its a pain in the ass.

1 comment:

  1. That is one memorable meeting. You got the key from Ben! :)