Thursday, February 11, 2010


This is pretty funny, so maybe some commentary might be in order after all.

The Grauniad's Jenny Kleeman moves from interviewing Mr. Singh to insulting him without missing a beat:
His 'message' is simple and depressingly familiar: he fears that Britain is becoming an Islamic republic, and Islam is dangerous. 'Most of them behave very nicely, but suddenly when they get together in the mosque and listen to the preaching, they acquire a collective identity that is formidable. It's the collective being that frightens me.'

Islamophobia is not uncommon among Hindu and Sikh immigrants..."
I imagine not.

I suppose he's really the wrong kind of darkie for the Guardian readership. One who does not require the white liberal establishment to defend him. He's probably irrationally afraid of snakes too.

When I was a child, I was told lots of stories by my aunts about life in India. Islam didn't really come up in any of them, but snakes certainly did.

Auntie Frances was terrified of snakes all her life. She said she remembered in her childhood in India that at a certain time of year, when the family retired from the heat of Delhi to their country house, that if you got up early enough you would see the lawns and garden paths littered with snake skins. Cobras, you see, moulted that time of year.

She loved to tell the story of the time when she and her sister, my Auntie Pat, were being taken for a walk in the garden with their Ayah. Suddenly, as Pat was about to step over a flagstone in the path, the Ayah scooped her up and started screaming, "Krait!" She ran with the two little girls into the house still screaming.

A krait is one of the world's deadliest snakes, described as one of the "big four" poisonous snakes of India.

Another favourite family story is of the time Pat, then only about four, came running around the veranda where the family were having their tea saying that she had seen a pussy cat in the nursery. Everyone froze. Pat had been born abroad and had never seen a cat.

What was in the nursery?

Sure enough, a cobra, attracted by the smell of milk, was discovered coiled up and napping in the child's bed.

Interestingly, the procedure of the servants was to have the Hindoo house boy coax the monster out with a bowl of warm milk in his hand, into the garden where the muslim gardener was standing by to chop its head of with a spade. Hindoos could not kill cobras, according to their religion. Muslims? No worries mate.

I can see no reason why Auntie Frances should have retained her fear of snakes as an adult. Do you?

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