India Uncut

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

In the name of Artwallah!

Anar Ali, a writer based in Canada, writes in the New York Times about how, after 9/11, her "Muslim identity was teased out like code from a DNA strand." As an example of the paranoia anything Muslim now inspires in some quarters, she writes:
I was detained for three hours en route from Calgary to Los Angeles when the South Asian Arts festival I was attending in 2004 was suspected of being a radical Muslim group. The festival's name, Artwallah, is a play on words, a mix of the words "art" and "wallah." Wallah is a Hindi-derived word that denotes a profession; examples include taxi-wallah and chai-wallah. The presence of (w)Allah in the festival name raised flags.
This reminds me of a friend of mine who was planning to go to Pakistan earlier this year for India's cricket tour there. He is due to go to the US later this year to do a master's degree in marketing, and friends advised him that his visa application might be rejected by the US consulate if they see a Pakistan stamp in his passport. The friend cancelled the trip, and missed some great food, reading my blog with immense envy. But, well, that's the shape of the world right now. What to do?

(Link via email from Manish, who blogs about it on Ultrabrown. Manish spends his free time doing pull-ups for my aged landlord's grandmother, by and by, and seems to have the hots for her. Don't ask.)
amit varma, 8:24 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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