Regarding Haroon Khalid’s article on spirit possession (Where should the mad woman go? August), Fauzia’s condition is a common phenomenon not just in Pakistan but in India as well. I agree with the anthropologist I M Lewis, mentioned in the article, when he says that possession is a very complex cultural way to empower powerless women in a patriarchal society. I have personally worked with such women and besides reassurance and helping them better their self-image, I have used a single mantra under light hypnosis: It is not your fault, forgive yourself again.
Neither faith nor trust
In response to Rakesh Shukla’s article (Faith versus science, August) I would like to point out that, in India, we neither have 100 percent faith in god nor 100 percent trust in technology. Moreover, in India it is impossible to completely shift from spiritualism to technology because of our mindset, which is always juggling both. We should also note that simply having a temple, a mosque or a church on every street does not make India a spiritual country, just like having IIT establishments and churning out thousands of engineers does not necessarily signify technological improvement.
The rush to create hydroelectric power projects is not only a familiar story in Jammu & Kashmir, as discussed in Peerzada Arshad Hamid’s report (J & K vs New Delhi, August), but also in the Indian Northeast. Arunachal Pradesh alone is expected to generate 50,000 megawatts of power – and corruption is rampant, with no attention being paid to relief and rehabilitation of ousted villagers, or the larger concerns of downstream flooding when water from the dams are released. We are in a situation where development supersedes safety and environment.
Hartman de Souza’s article (Mahua blur in Bastar, April) includes some misleading information. The Bastar throne was passed on to Vijay Chandra Bhanj Deo who was Pravir Chandra Bhanj Deo’s younger brother – not Kamal Chandra Bhanj Deo, as the writer claims. After Vijay Chandra Bhanj Deo passed away, Bharat Chandra Bhanj Deo became the ruler, and it was only after his demise in 1996 that Kamal Chandra Bhanj Deo became the ruler at the age of 13. The writer should also have mentioned that the palace is currently being renovated and maintained well by the current royal, Krishna Kumari Devi.
Sunita Akoijam’s reflective article (Feeling Nepali, August) reminded me of my first interaction with the landlord, who said, ‘You seem to know Hindi well. Good. You liking India?’ How lame! But the scenario is not that bad, if one is able to ignore such incidents. However, when it comes to physical abuse, of course, this tests one’s tolerance level. In every forum of which I am part, I try to pass on this idea: For the Northeast, India is not a stepmother and we are not Chinese venturing into mainland India.
Let it be
With regard to Richard Boyle’s article (Under the tamarind tree, August), I would just like to note that it is obvious the writer is British. That is why the locals have related such hogwash to him, and taken him for a ride. As for astrology and the Sri Lankans’ belief in it, if ignorance is bliss, so be it.
Ratmalana, Colombo district
The scepticism that Weena Pun expresses (Wandering souls, wondering families, August) towards instances of summoning spirits and acting goddesses is well justified. Her observations on the matas and lamas, how they feature in ‘solving’ people’s problems and how much of the public has complete faith in them, are interesting. However, she could have concluded the article a little differently, taking time to rethink the whole incident and weighing it against her own scepticism. This would have provided better grounds for her disinclination to raise questions on the credibility of the lama or to ‘overanalyse’ the incident.
Dilli Raj Paudel
Thanks but no thanks!
C K Lal in his column (The inescapability of Americanisation, August) seems to have a single-minded endeavour i.e. to pick up issues where there are none and reinforce clichéd viewpoints and conjectures – the pernicious Americanisation of the world. Yes, we have heard that before. Thank you.
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
China, Southasia and India
On May 19 2013, newly appointed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in New Delhi for a series of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The visit is Keqiang's first outside of China since assuming power in March.
From our archive:
Purna Basnet discusses Chinese engagement in Nepal vis-a-vis security issues in Tibet and broader geo-strategic plans in Southasia (April 2011).
Fatima Chowdury relates the story of Calcutta's Indian Chinese community through the lens of political and economic upheavals in Southasia and China (May 2009).
Simon Long notes the importance of the Sino-Indian relationship for the rest of Southasia (September 2006).
J.N Dixit ruminates on the strategic concerns of the 'Middle Kingdom' in the wake of India's 1998 nuclear tests (June 1998).