Kolkata: Hummus is a creamy puree staffed by chickpeas, sesame paste, lemon juice and occasionally, olive oil. Hamas is an empowered organisation committed to an Islamic Palestinian state in the area currently known as Israel. In India, the former is charmingly popular while the latter is alarmingly unknown. Therein lies an emerging tragedy, that of obsessive internalism.
There was a time, reasonably recent, when educated Indians were cognisant of valuable global affairs, beyond just conflict. This was an important marker of knowledge, not just for intimidatory examinations but also for the living room parleys. A culture inherited clearly from historical parameters of pedagogy, a British affection lovingly acquired by inquisitive natives. So much so, that to earn a front page mention in The Statesman, the local matter demanded greater punch than the latest Soviet Politburo imbroglios.
While that was surely a ridiculous extreme, the current pattern is no less damning. We seem to live in a glorious cocoon, our minds conditioned to debate endlessly on the intricacies of internal statecraft. Widening our horizons only when the World Cup is hosted at home, and I do mean the G20 and not ICC ODI or T20. There too, we are engrossed with millets and soft power, as opposed to the diplomatic hard wins, not a matter of jest.
Yes, of course, we were always deeply integrated with local developments, but clearly at a micro-regional level. A far cry from the gestalt of domestic issues that seems to engross the media, across formats. Who in turn are simply doing yeoman service to the Revenue Raj, the prolific albeit transactional successor to the previous Raj.
Is this necessarily a bad thing in the context of forging a national identity that is sustainable? Perhaps not, as a greater visibility of domicile affairs leads to enhanced developmental awareness, beyond just the neighbourhood. But it certainly undermines our larger agenda as the citizenry of a successful global entity, enlisted with an unfamiliar yet onerous mandate to wear two hats. The hyper-critical interior and the super proud exterior.
But given the current scenario, the following is a valid supposition. A naming and shaming initiative curated by Bollywood to ban Hummus from dining plates, supported by like-minded groups. Where the subordinates of Bandra unite grudgingly with the aesthetes of Colaba, to quell the demonic pursuits of the rogue invaders. Tel Aviv becomes a factor of unity, for folks who love to show and tell.
This will extend seamlessly to Instagram and Facebook, as food bloggers discover common ground in the banishment of creamy whiteness.
On a tougher note, the war around Israel is deeply troubling. The Hamas has acquired the official support of predictable Iran and adventurous Qatar and that makes this Hollywood screenplay material, apart from United Nations fodder.
Common folks have been murdered mercilessly as wake turbulence for a timeless enmity and the toll shows few signs of diminishing. Whether this imbroglio will play doubles with China's ambitions for Taiwan will be subsequently revealed, but the die has indeed been cast.
As Indians though, we must acquire the nuances of a double life, vehement inners breaking bread with analytical outers. The latter is not a playing ground for raw emotions, but instead a board room for upgraded rites of passage. For this to happen, the information culture we thrive on has to change. The onus is not just on the media, it is on every citizen as well.
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