Then again, that's my view as a Christian visiting "heathen" India.
Rohit, d you see it differently?
-- Ernie P.
Eastern spirituality is a Western construct, an essentialism that
today is very much inherent in any traveller's mind. Does their dreamy
image of India mirror what is there, or is it a land of their
imagination? Veena Das, in Assessing Cultural Anthropology, argues that
it is the Brahmanical imagination that managed to shape the European
representation and master narrative of India. This master narrative and
essentialism nevertheless proved useful for the Western-educated
Indian elite, who, in the struggle for independence, had to base an
indigenous nationalism on values different from those of the colonial
power. The Gandhian emphasis on ahimsa (non-violence and vegetarianism)
clearly shows the transformation of Orientalism into a way of
Indians and Nepalis do appreciate it when they come across someone
wearing clean clothes, and they wonder why so many travellers insist on
looking so undignified. Travellers, for their part, still expect to be
treated with respect. Behaving according to norms and values of the
travellers' universe, they don't care if this is offensive to the