By Nita Kumar
"Why was once Banaras this sort of secret to me while I arrived in 1981? was once it satirically simply because i used to be an Indian and anticipated to have a privileged perception into it?"In this surprisingly own, evocative account of her fieldwork reviews, Kumar tackles the problem of the way a Western-trained Indian highbrow adapts to the sector and builds deeply affecting relationships with strangers. She discloses what it's prefer to be a local learning her personal tradition, supplying her fieldwork memoirs in all their spontaneity and candor.We see Banaras via her eyes whilst she first arrives: throngs of individuals, cramped and darkish accommodations, unappetizing foodstuff, mischievous monkeys, and nearly overwhelming dirt. yet as she establishes friendships, we're taken care of to her discoveries not just in regards to the urban and its humans, but in addition approximately her position during this society.The conventional difficulties that face so much anthropologists engaging in fieldwork--of Self as opposed to different, objectivity as opposed to bias, known conditions as opposed to new and dismaying ones--are given a stunning and complicated size. via a narration of her personal reviews, the writer demonstrates how own locations--habits, personal tastes, expectancies deriving from formative years stories, and components of ignorance--impose themselves at the means of choice, commentary, and interpretation in study.
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Extra info for Friends, brothers, and informants: fieldwork memoirs of Banaras
As for me, I remember burning with a fever, then swallowing some pills that miraculously cooled me down, so that when the doctor came he didn't have much to check. He prescribed bananas, yogurt, dry biscuits, and a pale lemon compound called Electral (to become a household word for us, as it was for every other family in the city). A little later marched in a procession: the driver, the guest house watchman, the police sub-inspector who had shown us the place, and an unknown recruit, each carrying one of the prescribed foods.
This diversity legitimated my otherness: every Indian grows up with the experience that regions, cultural styles, classes, and intellectual approaches and ideologies have little in common with one another; that "natural" practices and attitudeschild rearing, treatment of elders, behavior toward guestsvary dramatically from subcaste to subcaste, even from family cluster to family cluster; that in meeting a new person seemingly as Indian as you, you may actually confront a culture distant from everything you take for granted.
Page 17 Hindi in script and partly in vocabulary, the path I followed was the same, although progress was much slower. Finally, Banaras was unknown to me because of what textbooks call the "regional diversity" of India, eastern Uttar Pradesh being culturally distinct from western or central Uttar Pradesh, whence my ancestors had come. This diversity legitimated my otherness: every Indian grows up with the experience that regions, cultural styles, classes, and intellectual approaches and ideologies have little in common with one another; that "natural" practices and attitudeschild rearing, treatment of elders, behavior toward guestsvary dramatically from subcaste to subcaste, even from family cluster to family cluster; that in meeting a new person seemingly as Indian as you, you may actually confront a culture distant from everything you take for granted.