Nothing British about the Brits

Nigel Farage’s ‘Independence Day statement’ post the Brexit vote rests on the assumption that there exists a unique ‘British’ culture that needs guarding from immigrant populations. To shatter that myth we only need look at what Britain eats…     Vidya Venkat   If people are what they eat, then there could be nothing uniquelyContinue reading “Nothing British about the Brits”

A fig leaf for the world’s woes

[Long version of essay first published in The Hindu’s blog thREAD] Seventy years after it was founded, the United Nations continues to function on a budget lesser than that of New York City’s. Where is this global organisation headed? Vidya Venkat When I was a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl preparing for my All-India UN Information Test, knowingContinue reading “A fig leaf for the world’s woes”

A New Year’s resolution from Paris 2015

[A shorter version of this appeared in The Hindu’s op-ed pages on Jan 4, 2016]   The lesson from Paris 2015 is this: until world powers don’t stop digging black gold out of the bellies of Iraq, Africa and Saudi Arabia, the convoluted webs of violence, terror and climate change, will continue to keep usContinue reading “A New Year’s resolution from Paris 2015”

The other side of otherness – Reflections on fieldwork in Sainsbury’s

A supermarket store in the posh London Borough of Islington might come across as an unlikely choice for a research project in anthropology – a discipline whose historical association with the study of the exotic and the esoteric by (mostly) White, European men in remote places is well-known. But here was I, an Indian student finding my wayContinue reading “The other side of otherness – Reflections on fieldwork in Sainsbury’s”

The Fast and the Furious – Starring Baba Ramdev

The easiest way to capture the imagination of a nation glued on to its television sets is to don a saffron attire, embrace a cause and sit on a “fast unto death”. The strategy of ‘satyagraha’ that Mahatma Gandhi so effectively deployed to raise the consciousness of a nation during the British rule, has inContinue reading “The Fast and the Furious – Starring Baba Ramdev”