India is a very diverse country with more than 2000 ethnic groups, 122 major languages and 1599 other languages, with each ethnic group having their own culture and tradition.
However, media representation of India doesn’t reflect India as it is in reality (understandably not possible), just like how media representation of every other countries fail in that regard.
To give a perspective, people from outside Nepal may think all Nepalis wear such cap, Topi, because that’s what they see in news. But reality is far different.
Just like that, people outside India have built their perspectives about India and Indians based on media they follow.
Likewise, perspectives are also based on types of people you deal with. For example, most Indians think Nepalese means mongoloid face, whereas the reality is non-mongoloid people are in majority. That’s because Nepalese as they know are from Gurkha battalion in Indian army that constitutes mostly the people from mongoloid community.
Coming to Desi Indians
Deshi literally means “country people”. To put it loosely in Nepali, “Gaule.” In US, country people means something like this, a cowboy looks.
Country people have their own styles and personalities per their own cultural and historical background. Unlike urban people, they are less influenced by globalization or other beliefs and values, giving them more home-grown organic looks and feels.
Every country has their own country people, so does the India. But then, the term Deshi is quite tricky when it comes to India.
These people from Nagaland, India, are as much country people as any other from other states, but they are not called Deshi.
Same goes to country people from Kerela or Karnataka.
So when they say Deshi Indian, what does it really mean is predominantly hindi-speaking North Indians. Deshi fashion means, predominantly north Indian apparels and accessories. Deshi foods means, predominantly North Indian cuisines.
India as we know or world knows is actually North India. Deshi thus means looks and feels that carries values and beliefs of country people from Northern India.
Why the news headline didn’t call it “Indian look” instead of deshi? Because India does not only mean North India and calling it an Indian look, it’s an insult to people from Naga, people from Karnataka, people from Kashmir.
To put in a perspective, a foreigner may call the following dress, Nepali dress, but we from Nepal specify it as Sherpa dress.
When deshi used in conjunction with products, it means country-made: Deshi Ghee, deshi cycle, deshi shoes, etc.
Is deshi an insult
Well it depends on context. Deshi, a country person, figuratively means less educated, quite traditional, conservative, limited knowledge, less exposed, which loosely means pakhe in Nepali or Red Neck in US. Indians don’t mind to be called contextually deshi, and if it is said in conjunction with country, they take it as a cultural identity and feel proud about. But in everyday life, urban Indians don’t like to be recognized as Deshi. Also, many south Indians or other ethnic groups from India don’t like to be called Deshi, as they believe “Deshi” does not represent or reflect their culture and stuffs. Likewise, India has non-hindu religious groups (muslim, christian, and others) who don’t share hindu values and beliefs and traditions, thus don’t like to be associated with Deshi term.
India is so so so complex world, that to understand, you must visit the country and spend significant amount of your life roaming there, but until then, hope this article gives you a certain hint.
How complex? As complex and confusing as this video.
Photo Comments: Australia
“Photo Comments” is a section runs on our Facebook page, where we ask our followers to post pictures taken by them on the title.
This one was on Australia
We had asked KMAG followers from Australia to post photo captured by their camera to show “Australia through their camera.” Most often think of Australia in picture with that Opera House, but after looking at all the pictures, Australia is much more than that.
We received 250+ comments, out of which we have curated some of the best in this post. Give a look.
Since you are here, we have something interesting that may interest you as well. Don’t miss to check it out.
Why flight tickets for Nepal is quite expensive
There is an excellent coverage by Nepali Times on why air tickets for Nepal are quite expensive. According to the times, “expensive jet fuel and high service charges at Kathmandu airport are keeping international airlines away, and preventing ones that fly here from adding flights to meet demand.”
A Nepali Times survey shows the price of ATF JetA1 at Kathmandu airport this week was US$1,050 per kilolitre (kL), almost double the cost in New Delhi and Bangkok ($525/kL) and considerably higher than Beijing ($750/kL). (See chart.)
Aviation experts say high taxes on aviation fuel dissuade international airlines, which magnify downstream benefits to Nepal’s economy through tourism promotion, cheaper travel for Nepali migrant workers, and by making air cargo competitive.
Besides fuel costs, charges for ground handling, parking and landing fees are also costlier in Kathmandu than in other South Asian airports. A widebody operator with 290 passengers pays $6,000 for ticketing and ground handling per flight at Kathmandu airport, which is twice the cost in New Delhi or Bangkok. Landing and parking charges in Kathmandu are $2,800 for heavies like the A330 or B777, which is 20-30% higher than other airports in the region. Nepali Times claims.
You can read the complete article here
Travel Journo: 8 Days in North Korea
A travel journal by Erick Tseng, during his North Korea visit somewhere in 2015. The article was originally published via Medium.
In September 2015, I traveled to North Korea to see, first-hand, what life was like inside the Hermit Kingdom. Much of the country was what I had expected: strange, ersatz, thick with propaganda, and every so often, seriously unsettling.
And yet, the journey was also filled with some truly wonderful, completely unexpected surprises. One thing’s for sure: North Korea really is unlike any other place on Earth.
Since my return, I’ve had a lot of people, friends and strangers, ask me about my trip. There has been way more curiosity about North Korea than I would have imagined — so much so, that I thought I’d write down some of my experiences, and share them with you here.
Pictures and stories alone can’t do justice to what it’s really like being on the ground in North Korea. As a visitor, you’re watched 24/7, you have no freedom, and you’re constantly tense and on edge. But hopefully, this post will at least give you a glimpse into what life is like in one of the most restricted, enigmatic destinations in the world.
I was bringing a fair bit of photography equipment with me: two cameras, a portable hard drive, lens filters, a bunch of spare batteries, and lots of extra memory cards. Upon seeing all this camera gear, security guards pulled me out of line and escorted me to a walled off, secondary security area, where they closely examined all my equipment.
I also had a smartphone and tablet with me, and had to hand these over for inspection. North Korea now records the serial numbers for all smartphones brought into the country. I watched as a security guard entered my devices’ digits into a log book, before he handed them back to me.
The government is particularly paranoid about foreigners bringing in any kind of literature that could be used to influence their people (e.g., the Bible). Finding nothing offensive in my bags, or stored on my memory cards, I was finally permitted to enter the country.
As it turned out, a lot of what I had previously read about North Korea was true. You are assigned government-trained “minders” who are with you 24/7. They monitor your activities, manage your itinerary, and tell you what you can and cannot do. You are in their custody for the entirety of the trip. There are always at least 2 minders assigned to a group, because the minders also have to mind each other, making sure their comrades don’t succumb to the devious devilry of us American imperialists. No joke.
Before our shuttle had even left the airport parking lot, our minders were already beginning to walk us through all the rules we had to obey, including:
- We must always travel in a group. For the entire trip, we almost never got to walk around outside. Instead, we were bused from place to place, even if we were only traveling 4 blocks. You’re definitely not allowed to do things like leave the hotel at night or explore the city on your own.
- No photos of military sites or soldiers. This often proved to be difficult, given that nearly 40% of North Korea’s population serves in the military.
- No photos of construction sites or any people at work. The government wants the world to see their country represented only by pristine pictures of perfection. Photographs of half-finished buildings and sweaty laborers apparently don’t make the cut.
- If you take pictures of any of their Dear Leaders, you have to capture their whole figure. You can’t crop out any part of their bodies.
- If you have any printed materials depicting the Dear Leaders (e.g., newspapers, magazine), you can’t crease their images. You also can’t throw these materials in the garbage, or use them as wrapping paper.
- Whenever you visit a statue of a Dear Leader, your group will need to line up single-file in front of it, and bow. Your hands must be at your side; not in your pockets or behind your back.
The country has propaganda vans trolling the streets with giant megaphones perched on their rooftops.
Even the people themselves are part of the propaganda machine. Nearly every North Korean wears a red pin patriotically emblazoned with the faces of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. I tried really hard to lay my hands on one of these pins, but tourists aren’t allowed to have them. They have to be earned through loyal servitude.
Our Gilded Prison
The Pyongyang Elite
If you’re living in Pyongyang, you are the 1%
And with this status comes privilege that you won’t find elsewhere in the country:
You’re given free housing in high-rise apartments in return for loyalty and service to the country.
You have access to grocery stores that are stocked with Nutella, Oreos, Absolut Vodka, and… jelly shoes. Some of these pictures are a bit blurry, because you’re not allowed to take pictures inside any of the country’s stores. So, I had to get creative with my photography.
You get to ride on Soviet subways.
You get to use a smartphone.
You even get to go to amusement parks and water parks on the weekend.
A Soviet Concrete Jungle.
Overall, Pyongyang was much more developed than what I had imagined.
The North Korean elites love revolving restaurants. They’re seen as a must-have for any high-end, luxury hotel. The top two hotels in Pyongyang — the Koryo Hotel and the Yanggakdo Hotel — both have one. So, to ensure its supremacy in the world of hospitality, the Ryugyong Hotel was designed to have not one, not two, but FIVE revolving restaurants! You can see them in the cylindrical cone at the top of the tower in the photos below.
The dorm rooms were very basic. Women slept 7 to a room, and they were literally packed in like sardines, with their beds stacked side-by-side-by-side. The beaming portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il hung overhead.
They had prepared a model dorm room for us to see (the same one that Kim Jong Un was shown when he came to tour this factory, we were proudly told). When we were ushered inside, there was a woman fast asleep on one of the beds. This was pretty awkward, but our hosts didn’t seem to think so.
Our factory guide also proudly told us that Marshall Kim Jong Un himself personally picked out the paint color for the dorm walls (pink) and the wallpaper (some kind of a peach-taupe concoction).
The Car Dealership
And that’s when you can’t help but wonder:
They would only be showing us this place if this is the best they’ve got. So, if this is the best, what does the worst look like?
The Dear Leaders
President Kim Il Sung — The granddaddy of The Dear Leaders. Literally. Kim Il Sung was the founding Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and is referred to as the nation’s “Eternal President.”
General Kim Jong Il— Son of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il served as the DPRK’s Supreme Leader until he passed in 2011.
Amongst the North Koreans we were exposed to, the Dear Leaders are revered like Gods. Everywhere you turn, there are statues, paintings, mosaics, songs, and books dedicated to the greatness of these men.
On any given day, you’ll find North Koreans making pilgrimages to giant statues of their Dear Leaders, and paying their respects by bowing deeply and laying flowers at their feet.
Even newlyweds will visit these sites to take pictures, and to pay tribute.
Both of these school visits were simultaneously touching and disturbing
On one hand, the kids were truly adorable, and some of them were really impressively talented.
Internet vs Intranet
However, there did appear to be a national Intranet. It didn’t seem like most citizens had access to this either, but a couple institutions we went to did seem to be wired in.
The looming specter of war is ever-present in North Korea
The drive from Pyongyang to Panmunjom, the border city at the DMZ, is 3 hours long — placing Pyongyang twice as far from a potential border battle, compared to Seoul, which is less than a 90 minute drive away.
The drive down to Panmunjom was really interesting. The highway was 6 lanes wide, and yet the road was almost completely devoid of cars for the entire 3 hour drive. We mostly just saw people biking and walking along the edge of the asphalt. The only other vehicles we saw were military jeeps and an occasional bus or two.
As we got closer to the DMZ, the military checkpoints got more and more frequent, and the soldiers at these checkpoints looked more and more fierce. Each time we approached one, our minders would emphatically remind us not to take any pictures.
Our rather intimidating military tour guide at the Korean War Museum
On display outside was a wide collection of damaged US warplanes and tanks.
Battered US warplanes and tanks at the Korean War Museum
I suppose it’s not too surprising that children and teenagers were far friendlier and more curious, compared to the adults. Perhaps they hadn’t been fully-indoctrinated by propaganda yet. Perhaps the hardships of life hadn’t begun weighing down on their shoulders.
Whatever the reason, seeing this next generation of North Koreans gave me hope — hope that someday, change will come for the North Koreans. And when it does, their country, and the entire world, will be better for it.
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