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Sari, pat-down and hegemony

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  • Faizi S
    * * ** *Sari, pat-down and hegemony * By S.Faizi The Indian Ambassador to the US has been subjected to what the American agencies call as pat down. The sari
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 30, 2011
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      Sari, pat-down and  hegemony

      By S.Faizi

      The Indian Ambassador to the US has been subjected to what the American agencies call as pat down. The sari that she was wearing prompted the US officials to deny her the reciprocal diplomatic courtesy that she is entitled to. And following this, India’s top most multilateral diplomat was also subjected to  humiliation in the US, his dress code too wasn’t comfortable to the Americans. The American term pat down, which no newspaper translated to Indian English,  means frisking but some commentators confused it for striping as was done to George Fernandes, twice, while he was serving the country as its defense minister under the NDA rule.  Give thanks where it is due- the Americans spared both the diplomats of the defense minister-type treatment.

      The sari that supposedly provoked the Americans stands out in a world nearly homogenized by the western skirt and top.  The sari or churidar clad women of south Asia and its shirwani wearing men add elegance to any multilateral gathering, in a sea of western suits and the conservative skirts. Just as the fabulous boubou and kaftan of west Africa do, or the Arabs’ thop and the ceremonial gown. While the Sudanese style of wearing sari doesn’t leave much room for expose, in south Asia it is worn in a variety of ways to reveal or cover from the pubic region upwards even as the western women’s  attempts to reveal have been focused on the leg. And it took the scarcity of fabric experienced during the two western wars for the women there to lift up the centuries old floor length hemline to the knee. And it took decades of feminist posturing for the hemline to go further up and to discard the corset.  The women in the harsh winters of the northern part of the earth- from which even the birds fly away- are now forced by social pressure to expose most of their body while their males prove their smartness by even tightly tying their collars with a dedicated piece of cloth.

      Ambassador Meera did not send an official protest, nor did she inform the citizens who she represents of the humiliation meted out to her.  We got to know of it thanks to local newspaper in Mississippi. George Fernadez did not protest the Dussasana act, nor did the government.  We Indians would not have got to know about it but for Strobe Talbott’s book. India’s former president was frisked by a US company in our own country. He did not want to protest. Mammooty, one of the great Indian film actors of our time, was humiliated at a US airport, he wanted to let it go too. Minister Praful Patel was ‘mistaken’ for a criminal at a US airport, he too wanted to swallow it.

      And for every such case reported in the media there are over a hundred cases that go unreported. The harassment starts right at the US diplomatic missions in the country when applying for visas. Humiliating questions are asked to persons for whom the only reason to go to the US is official business, academic events or international conferences. And it takes a long time for them to ‘process’ the visas, when it is issued, and very often the visa is refused to such applicants and the government keeps mum. It is ridiculous that even ministers have to go to the US diplomatic missions in person for ‘interview’, while the visit visa for most countries of the world can be obtained by sending the passport through an approved agent. The issuance of visa of senior officials or even ministers is often discretely tied to American interests.  Consular General in Chennai had told at least two ministers of Kerala, in the previous government, to drop the case against environmental culprit coca cola company at Plachimada, when they had to go to the consulate for visa (having had himself visited, without appointment, the concerned minister then and failed, as I got to know during my work as member of the govt’s High Power Committee on Plachimada).

      The ordinary Americans that you come across in that country are a nice lot. But their misfortune is that they are not able to shape the governance of their country in line with their worldview as it is entirely overtaken by the corporate worldview and skewed media’s doctrines. In our country, the pathology of acceptance by the ruling class of the repeated insults by the US can be explained as an expression of the political psychology of the caste system- ascending order of respect and descending order of dishonor and deprivation, the ideology that helps perpetuate the world’s largest sea of poverty in an immensely endowed country where the resources are cornered by a few. In this political psychology, reinforced by two centuries of colonialism, a peck order is a natural thing to exist and those who are regarded as ‘above’ you are somehow allowed unequal rights, just as you assert such unequal rights over those who are perceived as ‘below’ you. 
      (copy right-free) 

       

       

    • Ghulam Muhammed
      India can retaliate in an ingenious way. US has imposed all these security measures in the name of assumed terrorist threats that it expects after 9/11. A huge
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 31, 2011
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        India can retaliate in an ingenious way. US has imposed all these security measures in the name of assumed terrorist threats that it expects after 9/11. A huge material is available on internet, including on Youtube to refute that 9/11 was an outside terror threat. According to so many technical investigation, a view has emerged that the entire twin tower destruction was a demolition process.

        Indian media and writers should incorporate in their protest over unwarranted security measures inflicted on our celeberaties and diplomats, by bring in the fact that 9/11 was fake.

        Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

        On Sun, Jan 30, 2011 at 8:36 PM, Faizi S <s.faizi111@...> wrote:
         

         

        Sari, pat-down and  hegemony

        By S.Faizi

        The Indian Ambassador to the US has been subjected to what the American agencies call as pat down. The sari that she was wearing prompted the US officials to deny her the reciprocal diplomatic courtesy that she is entitled to. And following this, India’s top most multilateral diplomat was also subjected to  humiliation in the US, his dress code too wasn’t comfortable to the Americans. The American term pat down, which no newspaper translated to Indian English,  means frisking but some commentators confused it for striping as was done to George Fernandes, twice, while he was serving the country as its defense minister under the NDA rule.  Give thanks where it is due- the Americans spared both the diplomats of the defense minister-type treatment.

        The sari that supposedly provoked the Americans stands out in a world nearly homogenized by the western skirt and top.  The sari or churidar clad women of south Asia and its shirwani wearing men add elegance to any multilateral gathering, in a sea of western suits and the conservative skirts. Just as the fabulous boubou and kaftan of west Africa do, or the Arabs’ thop and the ceremonial gown. While the Sudanese style of wearing sari doesn’t leave much room for expose, in south Asia it is worn in a variety of ways to reveal or cover from the pubic region upwards even as the western women’s  attempts to reveal have been focused on the leg. And it took the scarcity of fabric experienced during the two western wars for the women there to lift up the centuries old floor length hemline to the knee. And it took decades of feminist posturing for the hemline to go further up and to discard the corset.  The women in the harsh winters of the northern part of the earth- from which even the birds fly away- are now forced by social pressure to expose most of their body while their males prove their smartness by even tightly tying their collars with a dedicated piece of cloth.

        Ambassador Meera did not send an official protest, nor did she inform the citizens who she represents of the humiliation meted out to her.  We got to know of it thanks to local newspaper in Mississippi. George Fernadez did not protest the Dussasana act, nor did the government.  We Indians would not have got to know about it but for Strobe Talbott’s book. India’s former president was frisked by a US company in our own country. He did not want to protest. Mammooty, one of the great Indian film actors of our time, was humiliated at a US airport, he wanted to let it go too. Minister Praful Patel was ‘mistaken’ for a criminal at a US airport, he too wanted to swallow it.

        And for every such case reported in the media there are over a hundred cases that go unreported. The harassment starts right at the US diplomatic missions in the country when applying for visas. Humiliating questions are asked to persons for whom the only reason to go to the US is official business, academic events or international conferences. And it takes a long time for them to ‘process’ the visas, when it is issued, and very often the visa is refused to such applicants and the government keeps mum. It is ridiculous that even ministers have to go to the US diplomatic missions in person for ‘interview’, while the visit visa for most countries of the world can be obtained by sending the passport through an approved agent. The issuance of visa of senior officials or even ministers is often discretely tied to American interests.  Consular General in Chennai had told at least two ministers of Kerala, in the previous government, to drop the case against environmental culprit coca cola company at Plachimada, when they had to go to the consulate for visa (having had himself visited, without appointment, the concerned minister then and failed, as I got to know during my work as member of the govt’s High Power Committee on Plachimada).

        The ordinary Americans that you come across in that country are a nice lot. But their misfortune is that they are not able to shape the governance of their country in line with their worldview as it is entirely overtaken by the corporate worldview and skewed media’s doctrines. In our country, the pathology of acceptance by the ruling class of the repeated insults by the US can be explained as an expression of the political psychology of the caste system- ascending order of respect and descending order of dishonor and deprivation, the ideology that helps perpetuate the world’s largest sea of poverty in an immensely endowed country where the resources are cornered by a few. In this political psychology, reinforced by two centuries of colonialism, a peck order is a natural thing to exist and those who are regarded as ‘above’ you are somehow allowed unequal rights, just as you assert such unequal rights over those who are perceived as ‘below’ you. 
        (copy right-free) 

         

         


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