Ritual cleanliness isn't just for believers anymore. According to a CNN report from 1998, non-Hindus were once forbidden to "take a dip in the Ganges River to wash away their sins" during the Maha Kumbh Mela festival -- when the river is believed to turn into a purifying nectar -- "but in a spirit of rapprochement, people of all faiths are now allowed to participate in the festivities." Wash and let wash. Tiny (atop our Kenmore 80 Series washing machine this morning, above) always does.
"Time to write off Europe, which is dying, and embrace the most vital, vibrant, democratic country outside of our own," writes cf in the comments to Seneca the Younger's post at YARGB on implications of GW's trip to India, drawing a thrilling word picture full of life and light:
The other day the Times(UK) had an excellent article indicating the initiative toward India was entirely Bush's idea. And a good one it is. We are natural allies. It is the most amazing country I have ever been in and it is utilizing technology and capitalism to change in a way that can only be described as a miracle. It is something to drive along a two lane highway in Rajasthan with overturned overloaded trucks, highly decorated buses, elephants, donkeys, wild boars, dogs, etc and pass a wooden shack with a hand lettered sign reading "internet access". And an eyeopener to see a small village of weavers thriving because someone got a cell phone, a visa business account and forced the Indian postal authorities to open a station there -- eliminating the middlemen and allowing them to sell their products all over the world.
"Bush's trip to India, and the deal made there today, may end up being the single most consequential act of the Bush presidency," writes James C. Bennet of Albion's Seedlings [via YARB], who plucks the most delicious quotation ever by Tushar D from the comments at VodkaPundit:
10 thousand protest Bush? Bah! More people gather to watch when a cow upsets a hawker's handcart on an Indian Street! Bush's approval is at 40% in US, vs 54% in India. That coupled with our population being more than thrice that of US means we have much more Bush fans than entire US population! We love him because we are a pragmatic bunch who can cut through the PC/lefty/dhimmi cr@p and see who is fighting the good fight.
All smiles and shivers here. Remember when "Plastics" was the key to the future? Now "It's the demography, stupid," as Mark Steyn wrote a few weeks back re the precipitously declining birthrates of non-Muslim Europeans. Back to Bennet of Albion's Seedlings:
As to where India stands with the Anglosphere, well, that's a work in progress. The key issue at this point is the rate at which English fluency and Anglosphere-linked jobs (IT and call-center) penetrate below the traditional English-speaking elites of India.* That appears to be happening at a fast, maybe even exponential rate. At some point before too long (probably between 2015 and 2020) India will have more home users of English than the US; not much longer afterwards, there could be more home users of English in India than the rest of the Anglosphere combined. This (especially given the cheapness of electronic publishing and dissemination) will mean that the bulk of English-language media will be produced in India. (If Bollywood learns how to appeal to US audiences, which it eventually will, that will also be true of visual media as well.) That means that not only will the Anglosphere change India, but India will change the Anglosphere.
*More fun insider comments from the wise and witty Tushar D, this time in comments at Albion's:
I doubt whether India will ever have more "Home Users" of English than US. Speaking English at home is still a rare phenomenon, restricted to the snobbiest of the elite bunch -- a little like how Kerry speaks French! But use of English outside of home is growing fast. Another emerging language is Hinglish - a fusion of Hindi and English. Quite funny and popular among urban teens. Been around and growing for a decade now, but don't know how much staying power it has.
I think Indians will end up influencing the English language itself a lot. Just the way America has been shaping the language for last 60 years, rather than Britain.
Let's let GW have the last word in comments broadcast live from somewhere in India this morning:
Only one force is powerful enough to replace hatred with hope, and that force is freedom. As your Prime Minister once said, "Evil flourishes far more in the shadows than in the light of day." Together we will bring light to the darkest corners of our earth . . . If justice is the goal, then democracy is the way . . . India has an historic duty to support democracy around the world.
'Hope some raging idiot doesn't spoil it all. We're counting on the K-9 "security officers" to sniff out any trouble.
Update: More things bright and beautiful now boarding at Modulator's Friday Ark.