tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You load 16 lakh tons, and what do you get?

From the Editorial of The Sunday Guardian, a popular English-language weekly in Delhi, extolling the work of so-called 'workers-rights' advocate and Bollywood songstress Asha Bhonsle:
"Freedom is more than adult franchise, secularism, free speech and linguistic identity, vital as they are. Freedom also means the right of free internal trade for the manufacturer-producer, and right of migration for the working class...
"This is the spirit of emerging India: seek opportunity wherever you can find your horizon; work hard and the future is yours...
"Whoever is willing to work from 9 in the morning to 12 in the night will be successful."
(Emphasis mine.)

I know little about India at this point; in under two weeks here I've managed to graduate from kindergarten to grade one in Hindu culture, politics, identity and modernity (I'm in grade four in history, grade six in cuisine, and nursery school in language!)

While workers' rights and especially freedom of movement, access to markets, micro-financed community development and the like will be very much a part of the world in which I'm going to be working during the coming year, I can't help but find in this editorial a stark contrast from the democratically socialist India of the modern textbooks, where everything and everyone is in its place, whether by bureaucracy, hegemony, society or tradition.

Food for thought; insights to follow. Wonder if I'll be working from 9 in the morning till 12 at night?!

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