But was she talking rubbish?
Okay, without post-colonial theorists listening in, can we touch our fickle hearts and say that we Indians don’t have a problem with putting our garbage where our bins are.india Updated: Jun 15, 2008 20:27 IST
Now that we’ve thrown the rotten tomatoes at Tory MP Lucy Ivimy and that Mr Ivimy’s apologised for an email in which she had blamed Indian immigrants in Britain for throwing litter from windows, why don’t we have a sit down and see how silly she had been. Okay, without post-colonial theorists listening in, can we touch our fickle hearts and say that we Indians don’t have a problem with putting our garbage where our bins are. Much is made about our — dare we say Brahmanical — finickiness for personal hygiene. But the image of keeping the house spic and span by throwing out all the rubbish outside in that towering garbage heap isn’t quite the anomaly that we would like to believe.
Poor Ms Ivimy obviously said something that nobody wants to be heard, especially in multi-culti-balti-cuisine Britain. But if we can wag our fingers at backpackers in Goa or Rajasthan for wearing ‘inappropriate attire’, imagine the discomfort about public hygienically challenged Indian migrants in more or less tip-the-rubbish-in-the-right-place England.
Of course, what Ms Ivimy had pointed out in her earlier email about a disregard for the cleanliness of a public area being “normal behaviour in India” could be totally wrong. But before you do decide to agree with her or not, take a look at your city. We’ll get you Ms Ivimy’s email in case you want to tell her personally that she was actually right.