Author Archives: Kathakali Chatterjee

The Goddamned American

How many times you have answered the following questionnaire while completing a regular survey in your lifetime without even thinking much about it?  I recently came across the following comment while working with a survey related to student learning:

I am an American, Goddammit!

It was a response for an ordinary survey question:

Are you a:

  • a) Caucasian
  • b) African American
  • c) Native American
  • d) Hispanic/Latino
  • e) Asian/Pacific islander
  • f) Others

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How the British Created an Indian Holocaust

We all know Hitler caused the biggest genocide on earth; he eliminated approximately six million Jews and half a million Gypsies. The Holocaust is the most widely known and despised event in world history. I argue that during World War II in India, the undivided Bengal witnessed the greatest passive-Holocaust in the world and it was all courtesy of the British who were “administering” India at the time.

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On Being Clever

I am sure the word “clever” is insulting and derogatory to some people — they would “rather be good” than be clever.  I was one of them until I read this, mostly because “being good” sounded more pleasant than “being clever” and there is no one on this earth who would like to be known as “nice” than “shrewd. It’s not even possible to use the word “clever” as simple praise without being sarcastic or down right abusive.

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Global Warming and Amarnath

Amarnath temple is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in India and also incredibly picturesque. The beauty is breathtaking but the five days journey of approximately 40 miles back and forth is extremely strenuous.  Well, there are countless temples in India with millions of visitors everyday — what’s so special about Amarnath?

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Relearning English in the USA

I was pretty confident about my language skill when I came to the USA in 2004 from India, but it took a nose-dive within 20 minutes of my landing there. It was amazing to hear the responses for all the “thank yous” I offered. From the regular “no problem at all, and my pleasure etc.” to a slightly unusual “no probs and you bet” to a stunningly musical “hmm…hmm” almost swept me off my feet.

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Celebrating Puja in Kolkata

I witnessed “Durgapuja” aka “Puja” in Kolkata last October straight after 4 years. Puja, for those who are not familiar with the term, is the biggest Hindu festival of Eastern part of India, Kolkata being the center of attraction. As an absolute non-religious person, Puja was never really of any significance but even a die-hard atheist like me couldn’t really deny the effect of nostalgia and memory it used to bring along.

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