I have plunged myself into a renewed phase of reading and thinking in an effort to prepare for the Kovalam Festival. This has been very mentally refreshing for me, but has also made me realise that I have far more to say than can possibly be covered in one session, no matter how skilful the questioning.
I have always been daunted by the sheer scale and complexity of Indian history, and this thought has now returned with fresh vigour. So I am going to put up a few bullet points, building to a sort of manifesto. This is partly to clear my own mind, but also so that whatever transpires in India, I can refer people to a clear statement of what I think and where I stand, without necessarily having to spell it all out over and over again on different occasions.
Let me start by saying that I do not believe in the cultural superiority of the West, or of lighter ‘races’, or of Christianity, or any such nonsense.
I realise that sometimes the effect of white educated males talking about history can be to recall past eras of paternalist imperial wisdom, and I do not wish to evoke such memories. Reviews of my writing in India have fortunately not been like this (so far), and I have not been attacked for condescension or bias. However, I am often chided for my ignorance of something or other. Fair enough; I am learning.