I have been in a pensive mood about India the past few days, due to some rather unusual
developments. Coming together as they did, this subject leads me to wonder if this is serendipity working overtime!
It all started with my coming across Prof. Natarajan’s article, which I blogged here as a guest post. The next was Jim Belshaw asking me in his blog to let him have my opinions about the situation in India. This was followed by my coming across a blog about which I have written, Multi-isms of my motherland. In this blog, Paddy wrote about his fascination with Indian women!
The latest development has been a very interesting article in a local leading news paper that caught my eye with the following quote: “There still is a realism about India that the West lost long ago. They are on a fast track to self-destruction and I can’t bear to live there any longer.”
This quote is from a French writer, Frederic Mari, who was in Pune, where I live, to attend the Pune Book Fair to promote his book “The Shine”. The book apparently has birds for protoganists and tells a story of a quest as realised through the eyes of an owl. The article talks about the author in detail but, unfortunately, the article does not seem to have been published in the e-version of the newspaper. I am therefore unable to give a link for the same.
Frederic Mari has been living in India for the last twenty years, and says that he would not like to live anywhere else. He says that he will live here as long as Indians continue to accept him.
I do not know quite how this happens. I know of, though not personally, four more such foreigners, all writers, who are completely zapped by India and have written extensively about the land, its people and life. A couple of them have married Indians and for all practical purposes have become totally Indian in their attitudes and values. They are: Sir Mark Tully and Daniel Lak, both from the stables of the BBC and Fracois Gautier, another Frenchman who has been in India for eons and has published many books on India, Indian religions etc, and the very much British William Dalrymple, the historian who has done more to bring to light Indian history than many Indian historians have done.
There are a lot more non-writer Europeans who have become Indophiles and spend long periods of time here. It has always been a puzzle to me as to quite how they can do this. I flatter myself that I am a ritired Anglophile, but I would not have settled down in the UK and lived there for anything. While I always enjoyed my visits there, I inevitably wanted to come home after say a few weeks at the most.
There is certainly the old French and British colonial connection through the British Council and the Alliance Francais, that brings the British and French Indophiles to India, but the same does not happen with Portuguese visitors! Oddly enough, there is also a thriving German presence, thanks to the Max Mueller connection. I have hardly heard of any American, Australian or say Canadian Indophile.
Can any of my readers throw some light on this, for me, interesting subject?