Testing Your Knowledge of Indian Politics

How well do you know Indian politics? High school history text books often include political cartoons students must interpret to demonstrate their understanding of the period in question. When I saw the following political cartoon, published in Outlook India earlier this week, it occurred to me that modern political cartoons can be just as useful a test.

Krish Ashok. “Homo Sapiens Middleclassus Indicus.” Outlook India. 1 April 2013.

Give yourself one point for every ‘sub-species’ reference you recognize without using Google.

My score was 5/6;  the “Antimandalus” caricature is the only one where I failed to catch the reference. Google did help with that

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I suppose I should provide a cheat sheet for those less familiar with Indian politics.

1. This post at the Stage will give you an idea of where Arundhati Roy stands.

2. NGO= non governmental organization. Kendriya Vidyalaya = a system of Indian schools that children of Indian armed forces/civil services personnel. IIT Bombay – Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, one of the better engineering schools in India. The basic portrait is one of extreme privilege.

3. Wikipedia explains FabIndia well.

4. Mandal commission was set up by the government to identify groups/castes that are disadvantaged. To a certain extent the debate over the commission parallels American debates over affirmative action.

5. Narendra Modi is the current Chief Minister of Gujarat, and considered by many to be the BJP's Prime Minister candidate in 2014. Gujarat has had great economic growth under Mr. modi, but his reputation is tainted by a series of anti-muslim riots that he did little to stop.

6. A swipe at the Hindutva ("Hindu Nationalism") movement in general, potraying them as pretty much crazy. The Indian version of America's "birthers" are the Hindus who claim that the Taj Mahal was originally a Hindu temple called the "Tejo Mahalaya." Given what happened to the Babri Mosque in the 1990s this claim is a worrisome if taken seriously. (But it is not).