The ‘token ethnics’ at the party


by Sunny
20th May, 2009 at 5:02 pm    

Ever been at a party where you know you’re invited just so the organisers could feel better knowing its a bit mixed? I get the feeling this story is all about that. Have an event, invite a few token ethnics to give the impression that you’re all ‘multicultural’, then then accidentally invite the BNP too.

Heh. Saying that, I know it cuts both ways too. I’ve been to events where I’m the token non-Muslim, or a token white person is invited because the organisers don’t really have a wide base of friends / contacts. All I can do is smile in amusement. Got any anecdotes of your own?
(on PP we have our own token white person Clairwil (Rumbold just looks white, secretly he’s Indian)).


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  1. pickles

    New blog post: The ‘token ethnics’ at the party http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/4601


  2. Emily Richards

    http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/4601




  1. Rumbold — on 20th May, 2009 at 5:05 pm  

    Kaun?

  2. D-Notice — on 20th May, 2009 at 5:07 pm  

    I went for a job interview a few months ago and was shown around the office.

    As far as I could tell, I would have been the token white guy in a department of 20 people…

  3. Sunny — on 20th May, 2009 at 5:09 pm  

    As far as I could tell, I would have been the token white guy in a department of 20 people…

    Heh. Was the office in Hounslow?

  4. Rumbold — on 20th May, 2009 at 5:13 pm  

    Hahaha.

  5. D-Notice — on 20th May, 2009 at 5:39 pm  

    No, Harrow.

    Bizarrely a friend went for an interview in another of their offices and experienced a similar situation. He’s ethnically Iranian yet would have been the whitest person there!

  6. platinum786 — on 20th May, 2009 at 6:07 pm  

    D-Notice, stop applying for call centre jobs then! :)

    How many people know the black character on south Park is called Token? ….lol

    I’m not big on footballing history, but I do know if Michael Chopra or Zesh Rehman are called up as part of the bid, they’ll be the token asians…

  7. chairwoman — on 20th May, 2009 at 6:15 pm  

    I’ve certainly been the token Jew on more occasions than I can shake a stick at, but my best experience was at a family ‘do’ given, and catered by the Chairman’s ladte Great Auntie Alice in Liverpool’

    She put on a real spread, there was enough ham, pork and products of the same to make at least half a pig, and shellfish (another Jewish no-no) of all varieties, No tuna, or tinned salmon, not even a sardine. I was not as fussy as I should have been, and there were other things that I could eat, but never fear, in a manner, reminiscent of the Royle Family’s ‘Nana’, Great Auntie Alice ceremonially presented me with a small dish of egg and tomato sandwiches and said ‘There you are, Love, I’ve made something special for you’.

    Then the whole family turned around, and watched me eat them.

  8. Amrit — on 20th May, 2009 at 6:20 pm  

    Forget the party, I felt like the token Asian in the town when I went on my Year Abroad in France!

    I was lucky though, there was a Sikh family there and their ‘tokenness’ was probably lessened by my arrival, hahaha. Also, most people thought I was north African, Arab or white, so I just got a few weird looks.

    My Pakistani friend had a really bloody weird effect on some of the local men though. French men are a bit more full-on than British men anyway, but she seemed to proper bewitch, bless her. One loon even accused her of ‘putting a spell on him’.

    (Might I just say that she single-handedly proves the stupidity of people claiming they wouldn’t be interested in disabled people, as blogged here a while ago…)

  9. Vikrant — on 20th May, 2009 at 6:34 pm  

    No, Harrow.

    Same difference!

    How many people know the black character on south Park is called Token? ….lol

    I never made the connection!

  10. Vikrant — on 20th May, 2009 at 6:41 pm  

    P.S I’m the only South Asian in my pre-dominantly Jewish frat house!

  11. Shatterface — on 20th May, 2009 at 6:44 pm  

    There was a British cop show called ‘Backup’ in the mid-90′sin which the Black character was called ‘Token’.

    The guy who plays Jimmy King in Emmerdale also played a cop called ‘Thug’.

  12. Shatterface — on 20th May, 2009 at 6:50 pm  

    There was a British cop show called ‘Backup’ in the mid-90′s in which the Black character was called ‘Token’.

    The guy who plays Jimmy King in Emmerdale also played a cop called ‘Thug’.

    And the Sargeant was called ‘Sarge’.

  13. chairwoman — on 20th May, 2009 at 7:19 pm  

    P.S I’m the only South Asian in my pre-dominantly Jewish frat house!

    A token among the tokens!

  14. Rumbold — on 20th May, 2009 at 8:00 pm  

    Heh.

  15. Ravi Naik — on 20th May, 2009 at 9:00 pm  

    Rumbold – may I ask if you have Indian ancestors? Or are you a bonafide Indophile? You certainly know a lot about India.

  16. Vikrant — on 20th May, 2009 at 9:13 pm  

    Perhaps Rumbold has what we in America term… curry fever! And no, I’m not talking about the gastronomic kind!

  17. Ravi Naik — on 20th May, 2009 at 9:21 pm  

    Perhaps Rumbold has what we in America term… curry fever! And no, I’m not talking about the gastronomic kind!

    Ah… of course. :)

  18. Shatterface — on 20th May, 2009 at 10:05 pm  

    I was the only English person in my student digs. I discovered that most Welsh people can’t actually sing.

  19. Ingrid — on 20th May, 2009 at 11:45 pm  

    I am the token white girl at the Pakistani society events at my uni. My friend who first brought me there receives a few compliments for bringing “a fresh face” to the group every time we go. Then the guys giggle and ask me what part of Pakistan I’m from.

  20. Sunny — on 21st May, 2009 at 12:14 am  

    Ingrid – you should say ‘peshawar’ or something, and get them stumped for a bit. Then you can laugh back at them!

    I look so light-skinned that when I travel around India people don’t believe I’m of Indian origin. Bastids.

    But In Pakistan I managed to convince them I was a Pakistani local (I know urdu/Hindi) and avoided paying the full ‘tourist rate’ at Lahore Fort. That’s the bit I enjoy.

  21. Vikrant — on 21st May, 2009 at 2:36 am  

    That’s the bit I enjoy.

    Haha… I payed INR 20 for Taj Mahal much to annoyance of my American travelling companions!

  22. billericaydicky — on 21st May, 2009 at 6:52 am  

    From 1974 to 1980 I was the only white member of the thousand strong Bengali Housing Action Group which, if anyone speaks Bengali out there, has an acronym BHAG which means Tiger.

    When we squatted Pelham Buildings just off Brick Lane in 1976 I was the only white in the building with three hundred Bangladeshis. Non of us found it strange.

  23. Rumbold — on 21st May, 2009 at 8:23 am  

    Ravi:

    Nope. I am just an Indophile. Although my shoulders do start to move from time to time for no discernable reason at all.

  24. chairwoman — on 21st May, 2009 at 10:05 am  

    Although my shoulders do start to move from time to time for no discernable reason at all.

    Rumbold! I had no idea you were Jewish! :)

  25. damon — on 21st May, 2009 at 10:43 am  

    Garth Crooks said this (about the so called race row over England’s world cup bid).

    ”If it had been a really diverse event, if there had been a selection of BME groups there, we could have got over this.”

    Oh come on! So someone screwed up and invited Barnbrook. And what’s with this ”selecctions of BME groups”?? Are we ”groups” or are we just people?

    Did anyone see this story about the white firfighter in New Haven, Connecticut who’s suing for racial discrimination?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricci_v._DeStefano

  26. sonia — on 21st May, 2009 at 10:44 am  

    Rumbold..heh. Perhaps you have some Indian ancestors unbeknownst to you! You’ve read Dalrymple haven’t you, while he was doing his research into one of his books, he found a bengali ancestress..

    re: this topic…hmmm. i tend to flatter myself that i am ‘unique’ enough to warrant being invited to places on that basis alone, BUT maybe i was wrong ;-) i’m sure in many ways my ‘exoticness’ plays a part in my interaction with people -but unlike you lot i am from ‘abroad’ so i don’t expect not to have that factor in. plus because i’ve not lived in just one country/ and have lived in a few different ones, i do generally have a very different set of experiences to most folk (of whatever ethnicity) who’ve lived in one place mostly while growing up, or people here with ‘comfortable’ safe backgrounds. so people tend to be curious and interested generally, perhaps specially so because i’ve lived through an invasion, lived in a refugee camp and experienced some ‘extremes’. plus my friends have always been a very mixed up bunch from all over the world so there’s never really been a case of being the ‘odd one out’ with everyone else the same. in kuwait it was a running joke that there were hardly any kuwaitis about.! (cos they’re all over shopping in harrods or something ;-) )

    But I suppose my comparison is – when i’m in bangladesh that’s when i’m most conscious of being ‘foreign’ when i ought not to be/am not expected to be – and that’s really uncomfortable. not being quite ‘Bengali’ enough, or what a ‘typical’ Bengali should be. Especially now as I am getting older as well and am expected to conform to ideas of ‘matronliness’ and giving up on that strident feminism etc. etc.
    So I guess that’s my experience of not ‘fitting’ in with the majority. I suppose that’s why i like floating around the world, i like being the outsider in many ways. it’s shaped who i am. I don’t really tend to like homogeneous groups – they scare me. Mix it up!
    the great thing about london is there are so many ‘outsiders’ there’s not really one ‘inside’. Mind you Londoners (born and bred) are incredibly parochial..particularly with each other!

  27. Rumbold — on 21st May, 2009 at 11:23 am  

    Chairwoman:

    Heh. I was thinking more of bhangraman when I wrote that.

    Sonia:

    I bet William loved that.

  28. Dalbir — on 21st May, 2009 at 1:44 pm  

    I did a stint in the city as an engineer a few years ago and although I didn’t really notice it at the time, I think I was the token “Asian”. Awareness did come about (eventually) in an alcohol induced “moment of clarity” at a poncey bar.

    When looked around in my ether induced state, I realised I was the only brown person there, apart from some girl “networking” away furiously. My Panjabi instincts came out and I went “bwaaahhhh!” which caused alarm in the venue. Hmmmm……to be young again…..

  29. Jai — on 21st May, 2009 at 2:20 pm  

    Rumbold..heh. Perhaps you have some Indian ancestors unbeknownst to you!

    I think it would be fantastic if Rumbold had his DNA checked and it turned out that he was descended from some 17th century East India Company officer who’d had a scandalously torrid marriage with some famous, fabulously beautiful Delhi courtesan.

    The whole affair came to a tragically abrupt end when Aurangzeb banned music and dancing from the imperial court, resulting in Mrs Gulbadan Noorjahan Rumbold being ejected from the palace and disappearing into poverty-striken legend, singing ghazals about her “firangi bahadur-mian”, while Great-great-great-great-grandpappy Rumbold managed to flee to Britain with their little toddler in his arms.

    Grandpappy Rumbold never re-married, incidentally, and spent the rest of his days dreaming of his “dark-eyed houri from Jannat, with luscious long hair as black as the Indian sky on a tropical monsoon night”.

    The grief-stricken couple’s only comfort was the promise they had made to each other just as the Company ship was desperately escaping from the beleagured port, the tears running down their faces, their arms outstretched, their entwined hands slowly and then finally being forcibly separated as the ship departed: Wherever they were, and no matter what happened, they would both look at the moon during Eid every year, and remember the joy they had briefly shared.

    And then, 350 years later, some bloke sharing the same username ended up being a regular on a website called Pickled Politics and, coincidentally, found that the same aforementioned DNA test revealed that William Dalrymple was a cousin, 23-times-removed.

    The story ended with them both sharing a paan and a hookah, gazing at the sihouette of the Taj Mahal in Agra during sunset, the sound of peacocks drifting across the horizon, a lone musician playing the sarangi on the grass, and mysteriously finding that both of their shoulders started simultaneously moving up and down.

  30. Ravi Naik — on 21st May, 2009 at 2:31 pm  

    And then, 350 years later, some bloke sharing the same username ended up being a regular on a website called Pickled Politics and, coincidentally, found that the same aforementioned DNA test revealed that William Dalrymple was a cousin, 23-times-removed..

    One amazing thing is that all human population is related – and our most recent common ancestor could have lived as late as 800AD. If we are the lucky few, we will be the common ancestor of all human population hundreds of years from now. This puts race and racism in a better perspective, no?

  31. chairwoman — on 21st May, 2009 at 2:50 pm  

    “The story ended with them both sharing a paan and a hookah, gazing at the sihouette of the Taj Mahal in Agra during sunset, the sound of peacocks drifting across the horizon, a lone musician playing the sarangi on the grass, and mysteriously finding that both of their shoulders started simultaneously moving up and down.”

    Loved the ending Jai. Sitting here chortling quietly to myself.

    But substitute ‘Bandstand on the Golders Green/Hampstead Borders’ for ‘Taj Mahal in Agra’, and you could easily be in Golders Hill Park. :)

  32. Sofia — on 21st May, 2009 at 3:12 pm  

    Forget the party, I felt like the token Asian in the town when I went on my Year Abroad in France!

    hehe ..me too..although this was a while ago…and i think there are more indians in paris now…

  33. Sofia — on 21st May, 2009 at 3:13 pm  

    Jai, you been reading william dalrymple??

  34. sonia — on 21st May, 2009 at 3:19 pm  

    Jai, good one.

    Hang on, some of these anecdotes are referring to places people have found themselves/or gone/ – which are racially homogeneous. how are they the ‘token’ person then? they might feel odd one out, but unless it’s an invite..eh? isn’t that like saying some hippie went to an indian village and they felt like the ‘token’ person. i mean sure they’d feel odd man out, but would they think ‘aha! im the ‘token’ white person at this gathering or sth.

    bit confused but never mind.

    race is simply selective breeding anyway, based on social construction on who is suitable. if you actually go around the world, you see so many shared features, faces etc. I’m always getting weird looks from my sisters when i point out things like my niece looks like angelina jolie (she has the eyes and the lips) and my cousin has a similar facial structure to paris hilton..and they laugh! because these women are of different ‘races’. ha ha to folks who can’t see beyond a colour wash…

  35. Sofia — on 21st May, 2009 at 3:20 pm  

    you should try going to a dh meeting where they want a token ethnic to talk about heart disease..

  36. sonia — on 21st May, 2009 at 3:26 pm  

    yes i thought sunny’s point was actually where people had been invited specifically because of their race, or the fact that they are a minority.

    but it is hardly suprising given the kind of tick-box approach to equality and diversity. it is all about ‘representing’ then !

  37. Jai — on 21st May, 2009 at 4:29 pm  

    Thanks everyone, re: #29 ;)

    Jai, you been reading william dalrymple??

    I’m a big fan of his work and own several of his books.

    Sofia, you may not have been commenting on PP at the time but I even wrote an article here as a ‘guest’ a couple of years ago, called “White Mughals, Brown Brits”, based on some thoughts on one of his books. Triggered quite an interesting discussion.

    This puts race and racism in a better perspective, no?

    Speaking of racism, our friend “Isaac Brown” (whom I strongly suspect is the outed BNP member “Bert Rustle”) has been attempting to spread his pernicious pseudo-scholarly propaganda on PP again, although I’ve provided another suitably comprehensive counterresponse.

    See http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/4570#comment-163844 .

  38. bananabrain — on 21st May, 2009 at 4:32 pm  

    what was it bhangraman used to say: “ek kam hei MARRIS-DANCER-WALLAH!!!” – i’m sure those aren’t the right words, but i expect it translates as “this is the work of MORRIS DANCING MAN!!”

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  39. fug — on 21st May, 2009 at 6:03 pm  

    id quite like to slap dalrymple on his big spammy english forehead.

    ‘Ooh the brits brought parliamentary democracy and railways to india’ and ‘Look at these Sufi devotees around north indian tourist shrines you feeble minded mozzies, thats the real islam.’

  40. Amrit — on 21st May, 2009 at 6:19 pm  

    b’brain:

    Close – that actually means ‘One thing to do.’ Or if you want to be more literal, ‘There is one task.’

    Unless he said ‘Eh kam hai morris-dancer-wallah da’ which would mean more or less what you said. :-D

    I need to get a move on and watch that already!

    chairwoman:

    I’m glad you are here to remind us that Jews are not as comfortably accepted as people sometimes like to believe. I was rather depressed by Year 10s making jokes like ‘Amy Jewhouse’ at school today and using ‘Jew’ as an insult.

    God, kids are thick. WTF is funny about ‘Amy Jewhouse’? NOTHING AT ALL.

  41. sonia — on 21st May, 2009 at 6:29 pm  

    Jai, dalrymple is a great writer. i have 2 of his books to give away if anyone is interested – the city of djinns and the age of kali. another PP book swap guys?

    trust you fug to take offence!

  42. Rumbold — on 21st May, 2009 at 6:48 pm  

    Jai, that was wonderful.

    “Dark-eyed houri from Jannat, with luscious long hair as black as the Indian sky on a tropical monsoon night.”

    A beautiful image.

    You should write for a living.

    Actually, whenever I have to choose a username for something, I simply take a prominent name from the thing I am reading at the time, and when I first started commenting here I was reading about the parliamentary trial of Sir Thomas Rumbold. Rumbold, a crook and possibly a traitor, was a noted nabob who had been governor of Madras. Charming fellow. He managed to amass a fortune of at least £250,000 in a few years in India, and that was at 1770s-1780s prices. He fathered a child whose name was recorded as Mahomet (i.e. Muhammad), after he persuaded the Muslim Nawab of Arcot to become his godfather. Rumbold received around £180,000 in bribes from the Nawab. Eventually he was cleared after the trial dragged on for years in parliament and MPs became increasingly concerned at the length. Most knew he was a crook, but the trial was stopped because they couldn’t prove it. He also bought his seat in Parliament.

    As Horace Walpole put it:

    “the House of Commons had the decency to call some of our abominable Nabobs to account, and are going to squeeze Sir Thomas Rumbold’s sacks of diamonds and rupees.”

    I don’t admire Sir Thomas Rumbold in the slightest, so it is ironic that his name has become so important to me and brought me such happiness.

  43. Rumbold — on 21st May, 2009 at 6:57 pm  

    Sonia:

    I agree. Mixing together is fun.

  44. Refresh — on 21st May, 2009 at 7:08 pm  

    I propose Denzil Washington plays Rumbold’s ancestor – a slave turned buccaneer. And Antony Hopkins as Dalrymple. Not sure who to cast as Rumbold.

  45. Rumbold — on 21st May, 2009 at 7:11 pm  

    Sean Bean. Or Keith Chegwin. One of the two anyway.

  46. Refresh — on 21st May, 2009 at 7:21 pm  

    I’ve got it – Michael Palin

  47. Rumbold — on 21st May, 2009 at 7:23 pm  

    Possibly. Or Richard E. Grant.

  48. Refresh — on 21st May, 2009 at 7:31 pm  

    Richard E. Grant it is.

    I didn’t think Keith Chegwin could pull it off, he’s not been himself lately. Well not since Maggie left him. And the climate would have been a major headache for him. He’d probably go all blotchy in the Indian sun.

  49. Rumbold — on 21st May, 2009 at 7:37 pm  

    Thanks Refresh.

    Jai can narrate.

  50. Refresh — on 21st May, 2009 at 8:21 pm  

    Jai, I think you should do to in Huckleberry Finn / Kill A Mockingbird style, make it accessible to all ages. Let it be a fable of our time.

  51. Clairwil — on 21st May, 2009 at 9:44 pm  

    Wahey I’m a token! I feel like an exotic flower. Ah good old tokenism. Being an ethnic and gender majority I’m not on the receiving end much.

    I was asked to obtain token ethnics for a conference once. My former employer was having an AGM and as I was the refugee worker I was asked to try and lure a few refugees along. My boss went through the list of refugee clients and by amazing coincidence failed to invite anyone assertive with a good command of the English language. Funny because I was specific about who would have something to say at the meeting.

    My former boss is very anti-racist. So much so she likes her tokens seen and not heard.

  52. Sunny — on 22nd May, 2009 at 12:41 am  

    My former boss is very anti-racist. So much so she likes her tokens seen and not heard.

    haha! that line is class.

    Jai – a brilliant picture you painted above – loved it mate. I also agree that you should write more.

  53. Desi Italiana — on 22nd May, 2009 at 5:50 am  

    Bah–I’ve been tokenized as the brown woman, and I effing hated it!

    Currently, I’m working in an industry where all that shizznat doesn’t matter, doesn’t speak volumes, etc. Loving it!

  54. damon — on 22nd May, 2009 at 9:20 am  

    All this talk of tokenism leaves me feeling a bit deflated. Is it really like that? I think I agree with Sonia @ 34. Being a white guy, and working with quite a diverse workforce in a warehouse setting, I wonder if some of my co-workers of an ethnic or national minority, have ideas that the white people are racists, or harbour prejudices against them.
    Flicking through Ebony magazine the other week (as one does) I came across this article titled ”Angry Black Workers”
    http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:rmGBI_kl-b0J:mandommag.com/2009/03/02/beyonce-on-ebony-and-india-arie-on-jet/+ebony+angry+black+worker&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk
    ”Your boss says you’re angry and you don’t smile enough. Your coworker says you’re aloof. You say they just don’t understand Black people. You’re not alone. The issue of the “Angry Black Worker” is real. (p. 28)”
    Because I’m a middle aged baldy/skinhead, I wonder if some of the young black guys have this idea that I look like a ”BNP type”. One of the guys really has trouble with smiling and chatting, even when it’s just me and him driving to a job in the van.

    I am still of the opinion (and may be so ‘out of touch from reality’ and seeing things through ‘white eyes’), that much of this racial consiousness (from BME people) is overdone, and that one’s identity and feeling like you are part of a group (like Ebony magazine is obviously promoting and perpetuating) is somewhat of an artificial construction. (With the emphasis being on the word ‘somewhat’).

  55. chairwoman — on 22nd May, 2009 at 9:35 am  

    “Bah–I’ve been tokenized as the brown woman, and I effing hated it!”

    Desi, It doesn’t matter what you’re tokenized as, or how old you are when it happens, it always feels rubbish.

  56. Jai — on 22nd May, 2009 at 11:48 am  

    Thanks again to everyone who had some nice words to say about my little historical anecdote earlier :)

    Regarding the suggestion that I should write professionally, I actually get that a lot from friends & family.

    Sunny & Rumbold — Sepia Mutiny used to have a weekly “55 Friday” theme, where commenters were invited to submit short stories just 55 words long. I haven’t participated there for a couple of years, but during my stint on SM I must have submitted dozens of “55s”, many of them with a medieval-India flavour. Go through SM’s archives (or do a search on Google) to check ‘em out if you’re interested.

    (Alternatively, I still have the best stuff saved in a Word document somewhere, so let me know if you want to read them and I’ll dig it up and email it to you both).

    By the way, occasionally I’d post satirical comments on SM under the pseudonymn “Colonial Jai” too, so check those out in their archives as well. I’d basically pretend to be a roguish Indophile colonial-era Brit who’d gone completely native (the type of guys Dalrymple has written extensively about) and was a very badmaash hedonistic combination of Cary Grant and Erroll Flynn. Fun and games ;)

  57. chairwoman — on 22nd May, 2009 at 11:55 am  

    Oo! Good idea Jai, as long as it doesn’t have to have a particular theme.

    Do you think Our Leader will allow us to play?

  58. Jai — on 22nd May, 2009 at 1:13 pm  

    That’s up to Our Leader and the inner circle of PP’s High Command, I expect !

  59. sonia — on 22nd May, 2009 at 6:36 pm  

    Yes go Jai – that was really good.

    Desi – where are you working now?

  60. Pablo — on 23rd May, 2009 at 4:35 pm  

    Dalrymple has a new book coming out soon:

    *****

    Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

    Three brothers from a remote village in the Himalayas are driven by poverty to become monks. One becomes a famous masked dancer; the second an accomplished player of the Tibetan temple trumpet; and the third a great Buddhist scholar. A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment as she watches her best friend ritually starve herself to death. A woman leaves her middle class family in Calcutta and her job in a jute factory, only to find unexpected love and fulfillment living as a tantric in a skull-filled hut in remote a cremation ground. A prison warder from Kerala becomes for two months of the year a temple dancer and is worshipped as an incarnate deity; then, at the end of February each year, he returns to prison. An idol maker, the thirty-fifth of a long line of sculptors going back to the legendary Chola bronze makers, regards creating Gods as one of the holiest callings in India, but has to reconcile himself to his son who only wants to study computer engineering. An illiterate goat herd from Rajasthan keeps alive an ancient 200,000-stanza sacred epic that he, virtually alone, still knows by heart. A devadasi – or temple prostitute – initially resists her own initiation into sex work, yet pushes both her daughters into a trade she regards as a sacred calling. Nine people, nine lives. Each one taking a different religious path, each one an unforgettable story.Exquisite and mesmerizing, and told with an almost biblical simplicity, William Dalrymple’s first travel book in a decade explores how traditional forms of religious life in South Asia have been transformed in the vortex of the region’s rapid change. Nine Lives is a distillation of twenty-five years of exploring India and writing about its religious traditions, taking you deep into worlds that you would never have imagined even existed.

    *****

    That’s from Amazon.co.uk, and it’s scheduled to be published in October.

    I’m not a fan of all of his writing or journalism, but he’s one of the more interesting western authors who writes about India.

  61. Jai — on 26th May, 2009 at 4:12 pm  

    Thanks Pablo.

    Apparently Dalrymple has an extended 4-book series about the Mughal era in the pipeline too.

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