Monday, July 26, 2010

On "The Other Gandhi" by Tania James (6338 words) ****

A few years ago now, a local bar put on an Indian independence day party. It seemed a rather kitschy thing to do, down South here, where there were all of maybe six Indians in the entire town. Put on some Bollywood movies, serve some Kingfisher beer, and play some sitar music. A strange thing, though, happened: there were actually quite a few Indian people at the party. Who knew? Nothing like an independence day party to bring people out.

"The Other Gandhi" is a story that also deals in genuineness versus kitsch, although on a much deeper level. The main character has an interest in a young woman, who is a huge fan of Gandhi. The main character manages to get a part in a movie as Gandhi. Fireworks commence. But who really knows Gandhi? Is playing him to know him? Is being a fan to know him? Is being able to imitate him to know him? Or is it more important to get at his soul? Does it matter? Can anyone even tell the difference? Can you? Read and figure out for yourself here at Guernica.

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