Comrades at Odds: The United States and India, 1947-1964

By Andrew J. Rotter | Go to book overview

2
Economics: Trade, Aid, and Development

An economic system, like a nation or religion, lives not by
bread alone, but by beliefs, visions, daydreams as well, and
these may be no less vital to it for being erroneous.

—V. G. Kiernan, America: The New Imperialism

Time, in my experience, has been as variable and inconstant as
Bombay’s electric power supply. Just telephone the speaking
clock if you don’t believe me—tied to electricity, it’s usually a
few hours wrong. Unless we’re the ones who are wrong no
people whose word for “yesterday” is the same as their word for
tomorrow” can be said to have a firm grip on the time.

—Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children

Visitors to the southwest coast of India, which stretches from the town of Quilon to Kanyakumari at the country’s southern tip, are often struck by the color and quality of the sand on the beaches. Much of it is fine and glows golden in the sun. The gold is speckled with patches of coarse, black sand, dramatic by contrast. According to a local myth, the colorful sands are the result of a divine marriage foiled. The god Shiva had announced that he would marry the virgin goddess Kanyakumari. This disturbed the other gods, who believed that if the goddess lost her virginity she would also lose her ability to battle demons. The gods urged Shiva to reconsider, but he dismissed their concerns and set off for a midnight wedding with his lover. To disrupt the proceedings one of the gods turned himself into a rooster and crowed as if to herald the dawn. Shiva, fooled into thinking that he had missed his rendezvous, turned back, leaving his bride at the altar. Kanyakumari waited until dawn, and when her groom failed to show up she cursed her colorful wed

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