Rural America Comes To India

Uploaded 5 Aug 2008
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© Ahmer Inam
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Photo Info
UploadedAugust 6, 2008
TakenFebruary 26, 2008
ModelFinePix F30
Exposure1/170 sec at f/3.4
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length12.2 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

"Rural America Comes to India" read the bright banner hung over where the poor rickshaw pullers take rest. The banner has a picture of two blonde kids sitting in a field of hay, playing a guitar. This (along with many others) banner was for a cultural event sponsored by the US Embassy's cultural arm SPAN Magazine at the Jamia Millia Islamia Univeristy in New Delhi, India. This particular event is one of many being held in many Asian countries as part of cultural propaganda by the US government to develop American cultural understanding in these parts of the world. What better way to do that than portray a romanticized image of the American West that (according to the organizers themselves) doesn't even exist in the USA anymore. They had a real cowboy give talks about chuck-wagons, cattle branding, and Steve McQueen to a congregation of really bored students. The slideshow and speach ended with a recital of the song "Small Town" by John Mellencamp. Afterwards, they had a performance by the house-band, Heartland Express, which is made up of embassy staff members. They played country classics like Proud Mary and Country Road and played Chicken Little on fiddle. Most students were just interested in devouring the American staple of free brownies, chocolate chip cookies, potato chips, coke and coffee.

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