Saturday, February 21, 2009

Slumdogs Unite!
New York Times copyright
Taking the Slum out of 'Slumdog'by By MATIAS ECHANOVE and RAHUL SRIVASTAVA
Published: February 21, 2009
New York Times copyright


Comment February 21, 2009 9:44 pm Link

The "Slumdog" protests in India, which are quite limited, illustrate several points:

. Slumdog drew attention, albeit Hollywood-Bollywood style, to India's poverty. Neither our politicians nor our civil society can ignore hunger, poverty, homelessness in our country.

. It appears protesters were concerned with the word "dog" than with the word "slum."
Shouldn't they have been more concerned that millions of people live in slums, which by any other name are still places of poverty and inequality of opportunity.

.India has a vibrant and exponentially growing civil society, where protests of various types can take place without beheading or flogging.

.India’s billion plus people are likely to have the whole spectrum of diverse opinions, rather than only a few, because they have been practicing democracy, with lots of trial and error, but it's still democracy for all to see.

.The poor and the disenfranchised are especially vulnerable, more so during an election year, to:
vote-seeking criminal politicians, pseudo-nationalists, and cultural fundamentalists, (occasionally they are all rolled into one).

.Lost in translation — "dog" in English doesn’t translate favorably in a score of South Asian languages, let alone "slumdog."

.The so-called ” slum” kids in the movie are coming to the academy awards — more power to them. The rest of us will have to be content to watch it on TV.

.The vast majority of Indians don’t keep dogs as pets — ill-treatment of street dogs is rampant. Our canine friends in India need a whole lot of loving and more SPCA and PETA protection. If and when that happens every Indian will be happy to be called a dog.

.Controversy will boost Slumdog box office receipts for the movie in India and elsewhere, to stratospheric levels.

Go Oscar! And after that, Slumdogs of the World Unite!

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
— Chithra KarunaKar

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