Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Two Stories about India in the Global Society

Sometimes the blog feels an urge to live up to its name. I offer you the following:

The Letter Writer should be a TV serial. Or at least the title of a novel. Maybe it already is. In any case, the NYT delivers a charming commentary on the effects of globalization through the story of G.P. Sawant, his family, and his profession, in Mumbai, India. The narrative is not without anguish, for it begins with Mr. Sawant’s pro bono work for prostitutes. That thread, a story of poverty and illiteracy, is not followed through though, leaving you to wonder how far down has the new economy trickled down in India.

BBC reports a clash of civilizations in this story from Hertfordshire, England, about a sick cow. Beyond the obvious clash between Hindu worshippers and the selectively zoophiliac Anglo-Saxons and, more broadly, between religion and the public interest (although there are no public health or hygienic issues mentioned in the article), the incident reveals an immense gap in the respective cultures of life and death. Nothing illustrates this better than the following passage:

In a statement the RSPCA said: "We knew the cow has been suffering from painful and infected sores, her limbs had become wasted and her breathing difficult.

Three separate vets, including from the Royal College of Vets, from Defra and an independent vet, have all agreed that the animal was suffering and should be immediately euthanised."

Does this sound reasonable? If so, substitute “doctor” for “vet” and “old woman” for “cow” and “animal”. Why does one make sense to you and the other not? Well, one good answer is in Genesis 1.28

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