According to the article, India's upper classes may be annoyed at what
they see as a stereotypical depiction of India as a poor, dirty country
full of poor, dirty people. The West, they say, is more interested in
maintaining the sense that India is backwards than in seeing India as
an emerging global power with a wealthy upper crust. And yet it's
clear that the vast majority of Indians are impoverished by any
standard of the word.
Interesting indeed, Hyphenites, to ponder how much of Slumdog
's success may have come from its playing into a Western perception -- maybe even fantasy -- of India as backwards and slummy. America loves to point out how backwards other parts of the world are; is it out of a sense of responsibility and justice or is it just a guise for maintaining a kind of perceptual status quo? India has a robust movie industry, but the Academy
isn't interested in Bollywood dance fests. How much Oscar attention
have gotten if it were about middle-class Indians
moving to the Silicon Valley and their struggles at Trader Joe's?
A similar sort of thing happened back during about the time of the
Olympics. China was ready to present its best face, and
arguably it's come a long way since the Cultural Revolution, but many
in the West were quick to jump upon China's human rights record and Tibet. Many Chinese nationals
were quick to come to China's defense, and while that does not resolve the differences of opinion, it should again give us pause. How much is the West is trying to raise legitimate concerns, and how much
we are being, to use the vernacular, geopolitical haters on the new world superpowers?