Monday, March 12, 2007

Much ado about Jonathan Allen

CNN-IBN blogger Divisha Gupta is not too impressed by Reuters reporter Jonathan Allen's coverage of Liz Hurley's nuptials in Jodhpur.

On her blog, Divisha says parts of Allen's article are -

...appalling, mindless bracketing, myopic stereotyping, West-side perspective and the inability to look beyond and rise above the "elephant-sadhu-snake-charmer" state of being!
And here's the excerpt from Allen's story which triggered Divisha's outburst -

Indian women are commonly married off in their teens to a man of their parents' choosing, and are a cause of despair if they are still a spinster at 30... Even the humblest family will save up to make sure their children are paraded regally around the neighbourhood by lantern-bearers and a brass band
Well, I have a few problems with Divisha's rant. For one, she doesn't bother to link the original article so that readers could put the statement in context.

More importantly, isn't the statement true? Aren't most girls in rural India married off before they are 18. Even in cities, most women from low-income groups are mothers at 20. So who are we fooling here?

It's all very well to talk about shining India but does that mean we lose our cool each time someone makes a factually correct statement that may not be music to our ears. We must learn to take the bouquets with the brickbats.

Divisha's blog outburst got a number of reader comments (95 at last count) and as expected, the debate quickly turned into an India vs the United States debate (which is really funny considering Jonathan is British, not American)

On her blog, several "patriotic" Indians took Divisha's side and berated Jonathan Allen for his "biased" views. What do YOU think?

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