An astonishing video has been brought to my attention thanks to the persipacious tree-huggers at Sepia Mutiny. Glenn Beck, who is some sort of Mormon preacher on FOX news and a darling of the American working class appears on screen to wag a finger at India for our lack of flushed toilets and clean Gangas.
The culture of offence-taking that pervades modern Western society has ensured that the guardians of India's cultural heritage residing in the United States have already emerged to roundly condemn and take pious offence at Glenn Beck's "ignorant" comments. Professor Amardeep Singh of Sepia Mutiny with the aid of CIA World Factbook argues - "about 1.2 billion people are likely to deem [the comments] to be offensive and tasteless." Yes, Professor Singh, I wager the Telanganites have already begun burning hastily-crafted effigies of Mr Beck as I type.
The NRI's have taken offence. But, how long will it take for this to snowball into a political controversy back in the motherland? I am most interested in the response of New Delhi and Bombay's well-informed and critical middle class. The kind whose progeny slobber at the mention of American higher education and Subway. Remember, this is a class that lethally combines a post-colonial hunger for Western approval with an almost unmatched intolerance for irony and sarcasm in the English language. These are the people of course, who dragged diplomatic bon vivant-raconteur Shashi Tharoor from the highest perches of 5 star luxury to Kerala House for daring to play around with the holy cows of India's political class.
There has never been any doubt that the social base of the Republican Party comprises of moose-hunting neo-Palinites whose primary political impulse is centered around childbirth and gun control rather than relations with rising Asia. On a serious note, Glenn Beck's criticism of Indian sanitary practices does not in any way reflect the content of the relationship between Republican security hawks and India's strategic establishment. As the affable Ashley Tellis once pointed out, both have an interest in limiting the influence of the Middle Kingdom on the Asian continent.
Update: The US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) issues a press release "condemning" Glenn Beck and demanding an apology from him and FOX News.