Nation-states have a logic of their own. So insidiously is this logic purveyed through the state’s institutions that it becomes common-sense, particularly among the educated. Perspectives that differ from this common-sense are then easily seen as signs of illiteracy, or more dangerously, treachery.
A woman employed for housework by a Pakistani living for a while in Delhi, could never quite understand where her employer was from. “Bahar se?” she would ask, “Amreeka se?” No, would come the patient reply: from outside, yes, but not from America, from Pakistan. Where is that? ‘Well, you know that “here”, yahan is Bharat? India? Hindustan? I am from vahan, there, Pakistan, another country’. But yet again, the domestic help’s bewildered response – yahan matlab Dilli? Here, meaning Delhi?
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