Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cows, Vegan Cookies, and the Omnivore's Fixations

When my sister and I were young, we were fascinated by the drive-thru menus at the Mcdonald’s down the street from our house: thick sandwiches pilled with verdant plumes of lettuce, neat golden slices of American Cheese, slivers of iridescent pickles, spurts of crimson ketchup, tawny sesame buns. And then there was the patty. Black and exotic, gleaming in its All-American splendor. The Cheeseburger. When my mother would pull up, answering to the speaker with her thick Indian accent, she asked us what we wanted. My sister and I would stare with such curiosity at the Cheeseburger until one day, my sister declared to my mother: “I want a cheeseburger”. Mama spun around in her car seat and slapped my sister across her face in one swift lash. “We’ll have McNuggets, amma”: I muttered. And that was that.

Food taboos and preferences are all around us: Ask the vegan who gasps at the mention of cookies with real chocolate? Or the Jewish youth who asks repeatedly: is your meat prepared Kosher? After reading different reflections on the causes for such variations in what we eat, I believe a material anthropological explanation can often be given to understand what we eat.

As I grew up, the motif of the gentle bovine maintained its sacrosanct position in Hindu society. When I visited family in India, the tableau of the cow was everywhere: etched in temple architecture, sitting against my grandfather’s gate while chewing on a sodden papery cud and making it impossible to leave the compound for hours, and even political poster campaigns for the Congress party posted in the streets of Bangalore. To be against the cow, it seemed, was to be against the very foundation and principle of the nation-state. Whenever I would ask why the cow was sacred, my mother would look at me sternly at say “Because the Gods deem it so!” And then mutter prayers in my name under her breath. I do not have any desire in eating beef, I have always wanted to understand the roots of such a practice. It enables thin cows to obstruct traffic during peak hour in Mumbai’s convoluted and crowded road systems to name an example of its ‘uselessness’. Is it truly due to some mystical resonance that the cow provides? If this is true then why are other faiths such as Islam or Christianity not praising the bovine with such religious fervor? Is there a more pragmatic reason as to why the cow is so sacred? When I read Marvin Harris’ “The Riddle of a Sacred Cow” my journey for food answers began.

According to Harris, the sacredness of the beloved cow in India had not always held sway: “religion has affected India’s food ways, but India’s food ways have affected Indian’s religion even more” (Harris 51). During the Vedic times, cows were sacrificed and eaten at temple meals. Brahmins ate the majority of the meat and shared it with those of lower castes. Beef, believe it or not, was the most eaten meat in Northern India one millennia ago (Harris 52). But over the years, the population of Hindu cities grew drastically and the amount of grain needed to feed the large and thriving population. Cows were competition for grain food source. Why feed higher tertiary levels for meat as food while grain can feed more people without the middle man? (Harris 54). Only Brahmins could afford beef, leaving the lower castes even more aware of their economic and spiritual marginalization. Buddhism became widely popular by lower caste and poorer communities in India for its message of spiritual equality and ahimsa or non-violence. In order to compete with the rising faith, Hinduism, too, glorified the principle of ahimsa, but maintained its position on sacrifice. Milk was now sacrificed to the Gods instead of meat and brahmins became the caregivers of cows (Harris 56). The cow became not only the symbol for Hinduism but also for India. During the Gandhi movement for Indian Independence, Mahatma Gandhi used the zebu as a symbol of non-violent, pro- Indian Democracy movement(The British ate cows). Hinduism retained its popularity and populations for worship. The cow or oxen was also useful in agriculture and its dung was used as both fertilizer and fuel (Harris 58). But this does not go to say that the cow is never killed. Many cows roam the streets of bustling Indian cities without caregivers. Many of these cows are abandoned and starved until death. Some are even sold to the Middle East as live cargo then slaughtered for food in the Gulf (Harris 67). Through Harris’ perspective on dissecting Hindu practices, we are able to understand a food taboo outside the contexts of religious law that the Word of God is Final. We are able to see that the bovine was never always holy but became holy through courses of history.

When I shared the article to my parents, they were baffled and not sure what to say. But this article does not liquify my faith in Hinduism. In fact, it makes me proud to be human. According to Anthropologist Emily A. Shultz in Cultural Anthropology, A Perspective on The Human Condition, “Human culture is the sets of learned behavior and ideas that human beings acquire as members of society. Human beings use culture to adapt to and transform the world in which they live (Shultz 6). But as we look into the future of food, what are the food taboos that will arise and become popular out of human need?

Vegetarianism is a food preference that has been in practice dating back to 6 Century BC (The Heretic’s Feast by Colin Colin 33). But today, vegetarianism is often associated by a the radical PETA. I have experienced this when I made the switch to vegetarian. I get sensitive when someone is eating meat in front of me. My identity as a vegetarian (lacto vegetarian because I do not eat egg) is strong but I do not criticize someone for eating meat. I have met vegetarians who lash out at the McDonalds counter for serving beef or attempts to convert ‘meat eaters’. Some vegetarians feel so close to their identity as vegetarian that not eating meat can become an ethical debate.

When I first was vegetarian I would use the terminology “I do not eat animals because it is not ethical”. But this was vague because I was condemning all people of the world for eating meat. For instance for the !Kang people of the Namibian desert, bush meat is the solution between life or death. Many non-vegetarians reply that the meat in the United States is provided by animals simply born and raised as food. If we do not eat it who will is the question that most non-vegetarians supply. All of these arguments are mapped out in a news clipping from the New York times by Michael Pollan in “An Animal’s Place”. After listening to so many discussions of justifying vegetarianism or justifying the meat industry I can only speak for myself:

I am vegetarian not because of an ethical quest or because I feel bad for the animal. If one describes that killing an animal for food is taking a life, then what of plants? Many non-vegetarians say that when some vegetarians claim their principles are founded on environmental awareness however the amount of pesticides used for the agricultural business is even more harmful to the environment. I acknowledge this notion that is made. But I think we need to look even more into where the food on our plate is coming from.

Over the past century the food industry has become a story of innovation: larger yields, more reliability from the amount of food. But in order to do so, many companies began to mono-crop. The constant process of food used for fast-food was being implemented on the agri-business. In the 1970s and 1980s, a new product became available: Round-Up and seeds. Monsanto company genetically engineered seeds to withstand the pesticide but everything else died including weeds and unwanted plants buy also including crop that was not a Monsanto seed. During the time, the company was celebrated because yields grew larger and larger. However, the patenting of life complicated the food industry. From the 200 types of corn grown in the United States in the 20th century, the industry reduced the different varieties to 12. In fact, the majority of the new corn is not even digestible for humans! It is grown for good for cattle and other animals as feed. But cattle for instance were not genetically able to break down this food. The cow literally eats itself to near death then slaughtered to speed up the process. Cows are killed after six months because they keep eating and eating. Also the method of genetic modification of crops occurs when bacteria is introduced into a plant cell (E.Coli often used) and then the new DNA sequence follows. This is why the number of E.Coli outbreaks is so high in the country: because the way the food is actually grown is in many ways harmful to human life, not to mention animal life as well. I do not support the meat industry because I do not support the way that corn is grown in this country or other produce that supports the strange transfers between trophic levels of food. 60-90% of the country grown in the United States is not used as primary food consumption. Much of it is used as animal feed or bio-fuel.

There is a thriving culture for vegetarianism for these reasons. In fact, vegetarians and ‘meat eaters’ are working together to establish fair-trade co-ops in which people can read and purchase where their food is coming from and how it is being grown. This becomes not as much an ethical issue engrossed in the ideals of universalist benevolence but an issue of how is our land being managed and how come all the farming in the middle of America does not result in healthy food for humans. The food industry is not evil as many claims to be It is the method in which we do so. I acknowledge that meat is an integral part in many communities: in Islam, the sacrifice of the cow during Ramadan is holy, camels for Bedoin weddings bring good luck, ex cetera. But often our food taboos can be insensitive. For example the Makah people of the North Western United States worship and eat the Grey Whale. The whale could provide the tribe with food for weeks. Its use for the survival of the community was highly prized to the point where the ritual of hunting whale became sacred. It is so engrossed in indigenous mythology that it is considered a rite of passage to be in a whale hunt. The Makah even traded 90% of their land for whaling rights. But many Europeans began hunting whales as well. By 1920, the Makah had to stop whaling or there would be no Grey Whale left. In the 1990s, when the Grey Whale was removed from the Endangered Species list, the Makah were once again ready to hunt the whale. The Makah were exempt from Whaling Prevention Laws because of their indigenous ancestry, yet many American citizens flocked to the reservation to protest the hunt for whale. American food taboo in a way was an ability to speak ethnocentric slangs. Many protesters rebuked the Makah as rapers and pillagers of the environment. But they did not see that the whale hunt was a reclamation of identity that was taken from the Makah because of a history of Colonial Power. The Makah, through their ritual and use of ancient fishing tactics, are aware of the issues of sustainability. The Makah kill to feed the community. They take as they need, enabling the whale population to continue to thrive. I respect the Makah tradition of whaling. I am vegetarian because I have resources readily available to supplement protein with nuts and soy.

By foiling religious food taboos and food preferences, I have through writing come to terms with being vegetarian. In high school many high school students would purposefully try to hand me chicken fingers or burgers, thinking that it would anger me. I do not have a problem with meat. I just prefer to eat locally because then I know where my food is coming from. If I know what I put in my mouth, I can be more proactive with my nutrition and how the food is grown in this country. I think vegetarians need to reassess their reasoning for being vegetarian so that they do not commit fallacies and have culturally competent reasons for eating a certain way.

The Cheeseburger may look tempting on that McDonalds drive through, but I have no idea where it has come from. I will stick to my local, organic black bean burger instead.

Food, Inc.. Dir. Robert Kenner. Perf. Eric Schlosser. Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2009. DVD.  The Meaning of Food. Dir. Karin Williams. Perf. Julie Dash, Nikky Finney, Vertamae Grosvenor. PBS, 2010. DVD.  The Future of Food. Dir. Deborah Koons Garcia. Perf. Exequiel Ezcurra, Sara Maamouri, Percy Schmeiser. Virgil Films And Entertainment, 2007. DVD.  Schultz, Emily A., and Robert H. Lavenda. Cultural anthropology: a perspective on the human condition. 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.

Monday, June 13, 2011

In my Mother's Hands:Ritual of Sari Tying

My mother unfolded the silk and pulled it above me. As cloth slipped around my shoulders, her hands pleated swiftly. Fabric fans tumbled from her fingertips, and she tucked them into my waist. Let it flow, don’t forget to walk with your back straight, my mother whispered, safety pins clenched between her teeth. I held my neck high as she draped a jeweled corner across my chest as my sister watched in silence. Done. The ritual was complete. I stood in the mirror, admiring her work, the rushes and falling of garment from my hips.

Since the 1980’s people of Indian origin have embarked on a mass migration to the United States. America has been a beacon of hope for those trapped in the convulsions of poverty and education for the past two decades. Whenever I ask my mother why she came to the US with my father in 1989, she replies by saying it was those movies. Stories of strong sultry women in furs and clinging to wine glasses was what I wanted. I was young. America was adventure. And so she flew over the great green ocean with the ambition that her husband would make it big. But immigration was more complex than my mother anticipated. Primarily, my parents had to decide where they would live. Most Indians migrated to urban areas on the East and West coasts. My parents decided on Pittsburgh, a city between Washington DC and New York City. But what set Pittsburgh apart from other cities was the fact that Pittsburgh had a strong Hindu population. The first temple in the United States was built in Pittsburgh and was the home of a tightly knit Indian community that protected and participated in Indian rituals and sentiments. The Indian American micro-culture helped my parents raise me, not only as an American, but as a proud desi or Indian American youth. Even though we second generation Indians live in an American society, prescribed gender roles have been passed down to us. Under Indian rituals, females take part in specific ones while males take part in others. Being an Indian American girl, my mother initiated me in female-ascribed ceremonies that were secrets themselves. Rituals that bonded those in one micro-culture in another micro-culture.

There is one ritual in particular that is the most intimate of them all. The ritual of tying a sari ceremony is not a rare occurrence. In fact every week, my mother and I wear saris to our local temple for prayer. But this common place act of dressing is steeped in an array of issues: gender specification, sexuality, coming of age, and the continuation of an ancient tradition. As I am analyzing the ritual from a cultural interpretevist perspective, the garment itself is a veil of several aspects of the products of migration and the disequilibrium of old and new traditions.

Every aspect of this ethnic dress whether it is the garment itself, how it is worn, who teaches you how to wear it, and where you wear it demonstrates the overarching themes of Indian and Western terms of female sexuality and duty. These are themes that Franz Boas, the father of interpretivism would deem integral facets of the ceremony.

First, we must look at the garment as an entity. The sari is six yards long of cotton or silk fabric. When I unfold the fabric on the ground, I am always astounded at the simplicity of the cloth because when it is woven around the body, it hangs so elaborately. It is wrapped, folded, and tucked around the body on top of a cropped blouse. The sari is a symbol of “womanhood” in Hindu society since the Indus River Civilization predating the 2800 BC. The same design that was worn in the ancient civilization has been passed down generation after generation. Growing up, I used to watch my mother tie her sari thinking that it was the most beautiful dress in the whole world. Her upper back was exposed and the dramatic drapes gave her such an elegant stance. The ethnic dress is sensual yet practical. It is so well fastened that it well never fall, yet when women walk, the folds make them look graceful and fragile. But as an cultural interpretist would say, the cloth is only a shroud or symbol of something more. The sari is a tableau for the complex identity of Indian women.

There are several styles of sari. From a simple cotton sari to diamond studded silk saris, the conventional cloth is so elegant because of the different styles of saris. My mother has a total of 500 hundred saris. Some of them are in traditional colors of red and white, the colors of the holy days. Some of the saris are rich jewel-tones: garnet, emerald, amethyst, sapphire. Some are shocking pastels like soft corals, robin egg blue, and sea foam green. Each sari is different from the other. Each sari tells a story of weddings, holy days, birthdays, births, and sometimes death.

On Saturday, my family and I were planning to attend a classical Indian dance performance fund raiser. My sister and I were expected to wear saris because it was a cultural event. Sari tying is a ritual that my sister’s and my body has gotten used it. Its all about patience.

The actual ritual occurs objectively like this:

1.My mother lies out the cloth and safety pins out while my sister and I wear our cropped blouses and slips. There should be a lof of safety pins or the fabric will slip off. As my mother prepares the cloth, my sister and I wait. As I had said, sari tying is an art balanced by patience.

2. My mother then tucks the plain/upper end into the petticoat, at a position which is a little bit to the right of the navel. The lower end of the sari touches the floor, and the whole length of the sari comes on the left-hand side. Then she wraps the sari around my sister once, with the sari now coming back in the front.

3. My mother proceeds by making about 5 to 7 pleats of equal width of 5 inches, starting at the tucked-in end. Then she gathers the pleats together, neatly, ensuring that the lower edge of the pleats are even and just off the ground and that the pleats fall straight and evenly. A safety pin may be used to stop the pleats from scattering. Make it several.

4. She neatly tucks the pleats into the petticoat, at the waist, slightly to the left of the navel.

5. Then she drapes the remaining fabric around the body once more left to right, and bring it round the hips to the front, holding the top edge of the sari.

6. She slightly raises the remaining portion of the sari on the back, bringing it up under the right arm and over the left shoulder so that the end of the sari falls to about the level of the knees.

The end portion thus draped, from the left shoulder onwards.

But as my mother spins the cloth around us, there is more occurring than meets the eye.

When my mother ties a sari for me and my sister, she tells us stories about India and her family. Tying a sari is a communal event. For a novice sari wearer, it is so difficult to tie the sari for herself. It takes a lot of opening of safety pins, holding cloth, spinning it into little fans to tuck along the waistline. So while, we wait, my mother is busy weaving tales about married cousins and sleepy village days where young girls in saris pick jasmines in desert gardens after classes.

I once asked my mother why she dresses in saris and how she presents herself. She replied by saying: Indian women were born to please Indian men. I dress the part. Whenever I open old wedding albums of the women in my family, I notice the lines of young women draped in sequined cloth. They look so elegant in their dresses. They look like little dolls lined in rows by their husbands. The sari turns the girl into a woman. On my first day of college, my mother gave me a photo of her on her wedding day. She was barely seventeen, but she looked strong, confident, cool, and ready for marriage. The sari is a symbol of womanhood. It was her uniform of marriage. The sari was a mark of pride for my mother. Whenever she pulls out her wedding sari, her face flushes with emotion. She excitedly stretches the cloth over her breast and insists on me running my hands between the silk. The cloth is so fine that you can pull it through my engagement ring she gushes hurriedly. How could a piece of cloth mean so much to someone? This is the beauty of the sari: it is woven with the secret story of Indian women.

In the United States, the sari is not worn everyday like my mother did in her youth. My sister and I wear the sari during religious and cultural events at our local temple. When my sister and I wear the sari, we feel the same pride my mother feels when she wears hers. We feel pride because we know that we are keeping our traditions up and protected an ancestral tradition. For my high school graduation, the graduating females had to wear white dresses. I chose to wear my grandmother’s white sari because it defined who I am. The sari is the mark of my history: my mother’s struggle of adjusting to America, my grandmother’s struggle of marrying at the age of ten. The sari to me is a symbol of strength. My mother was so thrilled when I decided to wear the sari because I was demonstrating what I stood for at a right of passage ceremony. I was able to wear what I believed in and pay tribute to my culture.

But the reason is not only for ourselves, because when we go to community events, wearing a sari gives us an impression that we have Indian pride. We are demonstrating to other Indian families that we are grounded in our culture. Image is very important to an Indian woman because this is how a husband gains stature. My mother believes the more beautiful and grounded the wife and daughters, more affluent and strong the family. To my mother and Indian women, presentation is everything. Personal grooming and the neatness brings luck of the family. The sari is a physical emblem of etiquette training for girls. When you wear a sari, you must do so with ease, grace, poise, and elegance. When you wear a sari, you become an instant lady. Women bring joy, luck, and pride to a family. The more poised the woman, the more refined the family. I learned quite quickly to walk tiny steps and to hold my head high so that my family will be proud of me, and my family will have a high stature here in America among the Indian American families.

In conclusion, the sari, under the microscope of a cultural interpretist, is a symbol of a complex identity of Indian women. Due to globalization, Indian women are torn between old Eastern traditions and Western, autonomous lifestyles. The tying of a sari is a secret communal act that is shared between different generations. The tying of saris is a forum for women to come together and share gossip, stories, and advice. The reason Indian make sure their saris are tied in a proper fashion and dress to perfection because their looks and demeanor are a reflection on their husbands and family. The sari, since it is a traditional apparel, brings pride that is two-fold: feeling joy that you find yourself looking beautiful and knowing that other women acknowledge the beauty of your sari folds. The sari is a tradition that is passed on from woman to woman. Those who are born and raised in the United States feel a pull to wear the sari because it is a recognizable symbol of Indian pride.

As my mother adjusts the shoulder fabric, I look into the mirror and watch the pleats roll off my shoulder, I can not help but smile. I hold my neck up high, just like my mother told me to. And her mother told her. And her mother told her. We, woven together like the golden threads of a sari.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

native wisdom, loose seed.


Break open the seed

and what do you see?

nothing Baba.

but some how this tree became a fig tree.


My father, green like a neem tree

cupped soil in his palm

and dropped seed like rain

running as roots grasp soil.


India is the land of waiting

my tata told me so.

Ask the fisherman

who peers into graying Krishna river

singing to the deep

jaaldhi meri jaan

for I too have mothers

to feed

cigarette balanced like hourglass.

Tataya cupped his son’s face

in his palm.

and you?

laughter surfacing through yellowing eyes.

He mocks us so

for my baba’s hands learned to wander

around leaf, rock, pen, dollar

fingers stroking ticket

palm waving out window

good bye! shukriah!

Tata waved back

leaning head against stone pillar

watching fisherman reeling in

silver mackerel.


Our youth is spent on a road

of hot coals

sprinting past roadside cricket

and jackfruit kiosks, future branded into the lines

of your palm.


My father once snuck into the cinema

and watched a twenty foot Raj Kapoor singing

Mera Juta Hai Jaapaani,

Ye Patalun Ingalistaani

Sar Pe Laal Topi Rusi,

Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustaani

while pressing hand to heart

but trust me:

he wanted those Japanese shoes to bad

to run run run

no waiting now.


My father

ran on 10,000 mile roads of hot coals,

books pressed on cement floors

wax that couldn’t be scraped off floor

I imagine ten year old boy

reading grammar texts like I read faces

papa beat the odds

like every one of your papas

and landed on frigid land

that caused shoulders to tighten

tighten ‘till the body freezes

and coals turn cold

a generation of travels

left to the closing of eyes.

My father learned patience

and holds it in his palm

like custard apple

a fruit too sweet for me to eat.

My feet want to do the listening

to words buried under soil

I want to run

past the pantomime of rock meeting sky

in Chiapas

or bodies bending in Kosovo

I’ll trade sweet bread

for chididhar

and plait hair

India, love me love me love me

hope falls heavy from lips

They can see right through you

my sister insists

well I hope they like what they see:

dark shouldered westerner

writing history with fingers

tracing O-C-E-A-N

in hot dust

capturing Andra sun

while clenching fist.

My pocket called dil

can never be full. I dream

of running to India

to relive a childhood

that was a drop of honey on the tongue

of my father

but sweetness never left mouth

and then maybe I am one of them:


metal laughter like temple bells

swinging on the train

watching stars pass by

time frozen on momentum.

Trust me

I can sip palm wine like a native

play gilidanda

‘till sky turns indigo

and God, can I pray

eyes shut so tight

face scars into custard apple.

India, love me love me love me

mantras seething between lips

until I am parched and out of breath

just like my father and the rickshaw driver

who bravely grins and asks me

which country madam

and I whisper

India every time

But I watch papa walk foreword

and I running back

to the village of Nangali

village of rice pooja and monsoon rain

my hand misses him


he smiles.

It is your time

to travel behind hooded eyes

but time will be your enemy

bring knife to snake

and split it into moments

so that you tuck them into the pocket

you so affectionately call heart

and begin to listen to footsteps fading in earth.


I walk

neck held high

fathers voice mirrors in my own

Mera Juta Hai Jaapaani,

Ye Patalun Ingalistaani

Sar Pe Laal Topi Rusi,

Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustaani

and this is the India I know

and one day,

I’ll have in those Japanese shoes

I will bend and pick up the last seed

to fill my pocket.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fence: Prelude to Understanding Terror.

Finals, May 1st:

Cross cultural text draped across my knees, I bend over study guides. Its 11 pm at night. The door burst open. “Priyanka, Osama is dead!” I stared at her frazzled hair and bewildered look. And then I go back to staring at my guides. “He is DEAD”. I watched her pull on a sweater, looked at herself in the mirror, tidied up her hair, and paced in front of me. “I got to go! I’ll see you in a bit!” I ask her where she is going, dropping my book on my bed. We were interrupted by cheers outside. We both peered out the window: “U-S-A! U-S-A!” We saw boys screaming and storming to the American University shuttle. “Watch this!”:

“We are celebrating at the White House. I got to go!” She ran out the door, grabbing her bag.

I walked outside my room. The floor was empty. As I heard the cheering outside, I felt uneasy. Three hours later, I received a tweet that a mosque was attacked in Pakistan. Suicide Bomb. This certainly is not the end.

The next couple of days my roommate and I sat on her bed while packing for the summer and watched clip after clip of a juicy story: woman shielding Osama, Osama’s body discarded in the ocean, no autopsy completed by outside source, pornography found in Osama’s compound. Funny this was to happen right when our first year was completed.The war of incompetency we declared it. Just earlier that year, she and I were ambitious students in Professor Jackson’s infamous University College World Politics class. Professor Jackson once asked us the question: Should the world order be set up in nation-states or as different tribes? The entire class wrote about nation-states however one student wrote otherwise and was rebuked. However, looking back on it, I think the nation-state does not answer all the questions pertaining to sovereignty. How does the nation-state order describe Al-qaeda? This summer, I plan on getting my hands on everything I can about this issue. Thus the beginning of a series about this War on Incompetency.

Regarding the celebrations that my classmates took a part of: I am 100% proud of my citizenship of this nation. Very proud. My parents have come a long way to give me what I have. It is America that has inspired them for decades. But one thing is certain: any citizen of this nation, regardless of stature, gender, age, or creed, is a representative of this country in the confines of our borders and beyond them. The celebrations, when broadcasted, was a portrayal of the American people to other nations. Thus, we must be careful how we act. The bombing that ensued 3 hours later was a direct response to the celebrations. Cultural diplomacy is key. Thus when I mean WAR OF INCOMPETENCY I speak of CULTURAL INCOMPETENCY. It is the lack of knowledge or care for another culture.

I am currently reading The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright and then the ethnography Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson and then some more. We live in interesting times in which Anthropology is more important than ever. This is not classical anthropology that describes tribal dances in New Guinea. This is applied anthropology: looking past the text books and reaching past disciplinaries. This is connecting the dots between policy and prayers. As the hegemon expands into the pockets of Bedoin tents and seizes the internet, a culture clash halts our world. West meets East. History of Colonies, not too old. This is a history that needs to be pulled piece by piece like Abrahamic wool until exposed and read in our hands. This is not the first time.

Come, this is where the path diverges.