Reflections of an American living in India...

As an American living in India, I often find myself confused about what to say or think in these sorts of situations. I can recognize that Rihanna probably has no context for the farmers' protests, other than what she's read online. Shit--I've spent half my life in India, and I'm still not as politically savvy as I'd like to be.

Regardless, I have to say: it's difficult for foreigners to publicly offer any opinion on India other than "omg ur clothes are so pretty :D" without being accused of trying to defame the nation. People usually don't react negatively to what I say - in person - because I speak fluent Hindi and clearly have some basis for my opinions.

(the internet is a different story--if my first experience with Indian people had been Indian people online, I'd never have come in the first place. No offense to Reddit). Nevertheless, it's still incredibly common for people to try turning things around by saying, "Well, in your country they do this wrong"- as if that somehow negates whatever the conversation was originally about.

But it absolutely perplexes me how right-wingers, in particular, are so desperate for foreign approval - see all the "WhItE GuY SpEakS fLuEnt HinDi to AuTo-DrIver"- type videos on YouTube, as well as the dozens of travel vloggers who've made careers out of digitally fellating Indians - yet still go nutso-cuckoo whenever anyone expresses an opinion that isn't wholly flattering.

I mean, shit. I learned Hindi, I'm proficient in an Adivasi language, and I did my doctoral fieldwork in an incredibly remote district. But is that going to stop IIT-JEE Sharma from telling me the real truth about what I've seen and studied? Fuck no, it's not. I'm not Indian--I only chose to live here--so my opinion's automatically worth less than that of some West Delhi chutiya who thinks Tripura is a geometrical shape.

sorry, i have some pent-up frustrations


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