“Eww, Is that a Hindi Book?!”: Why the Indian “Elite” Disses Everything Desi

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“Eww, Is that a Hindi Book?!”: Why the Indian “Elite” Disses Everything Desi

Illustration: Akshita Monga

I

still remember the day when during school library hour, I picked out a book of Premchand’s short stories from a pile of Hardy Boys and Ruskin Bond novels. As I sat down to read, a friend – more an academic rival – tittered, “Is that a Hindi book?!” She said “Hindi” how cat-lovers say the word “dogs” and how our PM says the name “Gandhi”.

“Indeed it is,” I said to her, with a point-blank look that basically said that there was no further explaining to do. “You chose that out of so many books?” she sniggered in response. “Of course, I chose to read one of the greatest Indian authors of all time, whose stories we’ve all grown up listening to – unless you’ve never heard Hamid’s tale, in which case I’d excuse your literary knowledge,” I shot back.

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