Vantage point

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

No Full Stops in India

I am reading Mark Tully's No Full Stops in India, and though I have just read two chapters so far, I am not sure I like the tone Tully takes.

Don't get me wrong. Tully loves India. Why else would he settle down here? But I think that this "love" for India often gets mixed with his dislike for the direction that the Western civilisation is headed in, and he ends up writing something that is too romantic.

The main thing that bugs me is that Tully asserts that India is being colonised "culturally" by the West and is losing its identity. Tully thinks that most of us are blindly apeing the West. I strongly disagree.

In my opnion, we are one country which has by and large accepted or rejected ideas on merit, rather than on their origin. So if we found a Western idea that we liked, we adopted it, but if we found one that we didn't like, we have rejected it.

Tully seems to be on the other extreme. He gives the impression of believing that most things connected to the Western civilisation are bad, and India is doomed if it follows them.

The innocence in Tully's writing is adorable. For instance his irritation at the english language being given so much importance in our country. But most of his writing seems to overlook the fact that before a person can be spiritually, philosophically and emotionally content, his hunger and thirst need to be quenched.

I will stop here, and write a complete review of the book once I finish reading it. But I do not find his writings on India anywhere as fascinating, moving or eye-opening as those of William Dalrymple.