Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Jaipur Literature Festival - Under the Kilt

An absolutely hilarious conversation between 4 Scots. Niall Ferguson, William Dalrymple, Alexander McCall Smith and Andrew O'Hagan.
Itwould be impossible to try to recreate the electric tension, the wit and the repartee of this session on a blog, so I will not even attempt it. Just to sum up, the theme of the discussion seemed to be Scottish Miserabilism.

If the conversation doesn't seem to flow it is mainly because I was laughing so hard, I often missed parts of the conversation :)

The question: Are Scots, really serious about their independence from the UK? was responded to with "In 2006, the National Scottish Party realised that Independence would also mean stop of funds from England, so they have brought their plans almost to a standstill"

There are supposedly deep divisions in Scotland between Edinburgh vs Glasgow. The obvious reason could be their religious orientation Catholic vs Protestant, but it could as well be because of their football teams - Celtics vs Rangers.

A simple question like "How are you?" is normally answered with a gloomy "I'm surviving" or even worse "I'm doomed" Perhaps Scottish Pessimism is the perfect antidote to American Optimism?

If you try to brighten up the mood with the standard American "Nice Day", it would most likely be answered with "Aye, and we'll have to pay for it"

While they are terribly pessimistic, they consider the English far worse. If Ireland has an inferiority complex in their nationalism approach, then the trouble with Scotland is that it has a superiority complex.

As evidence - the East Indian company was full of Scots who saw more opportunities abroad than across the border.

National Self Deprecation seems to be the norm for the Scots. It was indeed remarkable to hear 4 well known authors and hence brand ambassadors for Scotland speaking so about their native land even with the Scottish press in attendance. I Don't think they will be troubled by anyone asking them to apologise or say they were misquoted and revoke their statements any time soon.

Being able to laugh at yourself could be a great antidote to the myriad organisation pop-ups across India who seem to take themselves too seriously

This session was a laugh riot and a wonderful final session for us, before we began our drive back to Delhi.


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