ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Struggles of Intimacy and Belonging

Most Indians find it difficult to break through narrow domestic walls and make concerted efforts to stray into the unfamiliar, yet unintimidating, world of the other.

At the international conference on the theme “Intimacy and Belonging in Contemporary India” held recently at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, the overriding argument that ran through many presentations was the need for India and Indians to be united a little more intimately than just be satisfied being integrated. I wondered if most Indians made any attempts, first of all, to be integrated at all, before even considering intimacy with others.

One of the speakers at the conference observed that integration was to be “fair to the other,” while intimacy was to be “there for the other.” Well said, even if it sounds rhetorical. The only problem is that being fair or being there for the other can only occur when we break our narrow domestic walls and make concerted efforts to stray into the unfamiliar, yet unintimidating, world of the other. Strangely, it is a big deal for most Indians.

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