Dear Mr. Modi,

I had been lounging at my master’s feet while he read the newspaper this morning when I heard him softly chuckle to himself and mention the word ‘cleanse.’ My ears shot up in anticipation and I wagged my tail at the thought of the word ‘clean.’ A dog likes clean surroundings too, you see. All that garbage I see lying on the road when I’m taken for a walk, makes me want to throw up my chicken and bones. I like to sniff the clean breeze and feel rejuvenated every once in a while, except the pollution does not permit me this simple luxury.

You can imagine my distress when my master explained to his daughter that the ‘pollution’ that you and the RSS, working together, wanted to cleanse India of, is western culture. My tail settled back down with a thump and I shut my eyes, listening to the conversation with a weariness. School curricula, art and cinema, science and technology and libraries must be cleansed of western influence. Oh, heavy heart! What if everybody begins to speak in Sanskrit, now? I’m quite the western dog, you know, English is the only language I understand. Will the little baby of the house not be able to study American and European and Russian history? It could possibly make her a little less Indian. Ban that Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings from every household and public space. Listen to his name, so un-Indian! And what about that other Leonardo? Di Caprio, was it? He’s quite a good looker that man. My tail droops at the thought of not being able to watch his movies. All this is too much for me to digest.

Somebody must knock some sense into these human beings. How will you communicate with each other and with us dogs without a common language, may I ask? And, what is that sation you keep talking about? Globalisation, yes. The world is one place. Sharper divisions along boundaries and repeated assertions of national identity can only prove harmful to integration with the larger world out there. I have learnt to coexist with that St.Bernard across the road. We even nod at each other occasionally. Why cannot humans live with other cultures apart from their own? We are a global community. As we constantly interact with each other across the globe, parts of different cultures are bound to quietly seep into our own, and this is something to be proud of. For instance, the German Shepherd in the neighbour’s house has taught me how to rid myself of ticks and flees. Quite useful, I thought. Whatever happened to other, more important words like global warming, poverty and inflation? I always assumed they were weightier words than ‘western culture.’

Besides, culture is a social construct. It isn’t something that is unnaturally imposed on society. Rather, it develops gradually, resulting from the historical and socio-economic processes that the country is subject to. You cannot forcefully straighten a dog’s tail, can you?



Your neighbourhood dog.


Abhinaya Harigovind

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