I’m just back from my third trip to India which I love, although it is hard to say why. And as I’m still under the spell of India’s cruelties and follies and enchantments, I’m not yet in the right frame of mind to comment on what I’m here for: the Middle East.
The books on my desk at the moment and which I’m desperate to finish reading before embarking on my teaching duties at War Studies next week include: James Cameron‘sAn Indian Summer, Gillian Tindall‘s City of Gold: The Biography of Bombay, Edna Fernandes‘s The Last Jews of Kerala, and the brilliant though depressing Suketu Mehta‘s Maximum City: Bombay Lost & Found.
But let me just share the following observation with you: during my two and a half weeks in India, I’ve kept an eye – as I would always do while traveling – on the local press: reading newspapers, listening when possible to radio programmes, and watching local television – mainly the news.
And I could see that, while here in the West we don’t stop talking and discussing Middle Eastern affairs, there – in the Indian subcontinent – it is not a major item on the news. They discuss – of course – Kashmir, along with the weather (200 Indians perished due to torrential rains that hit Madhya Pradesh), the discovery of water on the moon by an Indian team, and many other local issues.
I must admit that I’ve found this general lack of interest in Middle Eastern affairs quite puzzling. But then perhaps I should not be too surprised as different regions of the world have their different problems, concerns and interests and these, quite clearly, tend to dominate their news headlines.