I have written in the past of how, in many things, we desis remain unabashedly Anglophilic. Of course, the fascination is mutual, even if it is unequal. From the days of Richard Burton (who introduced straight-laced Victorians to Vatsyayana) and Rudyard Kipling (whose Mowgli and Kim remain the gold standards of impish boyhood) to the days of the Beatles (and their discovery of the ‘wisdom of the East’) and Big Brother (in the wake of which Shilpa Shetty became a yoga guru), India has enchanted, mystified, bewitched and bemused many a Britannic mind.
Often voyeuristic, nearly always simplistic, almost never nuanced, frequently over-romanticised and at times tinged with nostalgia (for the days of the Raj), the British passion for all things Indian is, fallacies notwithstanding, genuine, sincere, deep and durable. And in some ways, it is even more egalitarian the Indian passion for all things British. While it is only Indians of a certain class (and aspirants thereto) who are obsessed with gingham tablecloths, Wedgwood china, tweed jackets and other accoutrements of what they imagine to be ‘the English way’, there is no class barrier to Indophilia in England. It is an affliction that strikes the classes and the masses without discrimination. The extent to which fondness for
It seems quite likely that one of the country’s top brands of potato chips (or crisps, as they are known in those parts) will issue a special edition chicken tikka masala flavour! The snack food company recently announced a competition in which participants are invited to contribute ideas for innovative potato chip flavours. And chicken tikka masala (already declared
The Sun even gives readers a potted history of chicken tikka masala, proffering the view that it was invented by Punjabi chefs at Emperor Babur’s behest. Here is a classic example of British romanticism. Whether or not there is any academic merit to the Sun’s version of the history of the dish is quite immaterial. What is important is that the UK’s favourite newspaper is lobbying to have one of the country’s favourite snacks produced in a flavour based on the people’s favourite dish and that dish happens to be Indian (or is it really a British invention?). It is a rather touching example of Indophilia. One wonders when an enterprising chef in