Wednesday, June 23, 2010

provincializing europe

With most of the group-stage matches of the current World Cup underway, a standout hard-to-miss is the resurgence of the Americas, Asia, and the Africas. While my circle of viewers that enliven each match inevitably puts me in a the seat of an "expert," I can claim none of its trappings as such. Nevertheless, we have all observed how the final round in this World Cup has really seen a levelling of the playing field. Previous pushovers have upped their game and now have to be counted as formidable rivals that could knock one out: Australia, South Africa, New Zealand,...even Korea DPR showed some flair against Brazil despite the eventual 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Portugal.

But more hard-to-miss were the traditional European powerhouses that fell really short of their mark. Last World Cup's finalists Italy and France lacked the creativity and skill to raise their game above their very pedestrian display of vapid football. France's in-house problems did not help their game either. England squeezed through to the knockout round but did it in fashionably English-football style with dollops of scrappy passes and unimaginative moves...YAWWWNNN! Slovenia, Serbia, and Greece have also fallen by the wayside.

Going by the trend, I am rooting for a winner from South America or Africa. Remniscent of Dipesh Chakrabarty's book with the same title as this post, europe no longer seems to define the standards of football in the sense that the global forum--such as is the World Cup--has to be thought of in terms of the peripheries rather than the center dominated by the West (the US team has improved but i don't think will move beyond the next stage). Hopefully India will be in one of the next editions of this global tamasha and significantly represented by its diversity [read: players from Mizoram--now that the 2006 XBox edition of the World Cup features Jerry Zirsanga].

Go Brazil!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Just put in the final piece of the jigsaw. Bated breath––hope the pieces stick together but more importantly, hope the jigsaw sells! This collection of essays should soon be in print by the end of this year. Our publishers have already made the announcement, which seems to say that dye has been cast.

Here's the skinny on the book. Christianity came to India in the 1st, 4th or 18th century CE, depending on which tradition you take up. The bulk of its recipients were the no-bodies of "Indian" society hoping to reinvent themselves as the some-bodies. Not so! The no-bodies remained as such for the next two centuries and more. Over the last thirty years, the no-bodies came back with a literary vengeance. Flinging their pens with aplomb, they asserted their place in religious and social discourse in a move to dismantle the societal strait-jackets imposed on them. Since this initial surge, insiders and outsiders have looked back in critical retrospect; new vocabularies, emergent investments, and discursive trajectories are being explored to map out where this assertive stance might address itself in the twentyfirst century. Some of these arrogative explorations are catalogued in this collection of essays.

To toot my horn, my contribution to the collection was as a tribal. I also took the lead on the copy editing, proofreading, and compiling the index. But readers, especially my folks, might sense a slight tokenism in my inclusion as the sole other no-body. But then again, the focus of the book--and the conference from which this collection of essays is drawn--might not have much space to be more encompassing.

If you got the dosh and the!