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Monday, Sep 20, 2021
Outlook.com

The Indian Anabasis

It’s a curious chutney: cricket, movies, Raj etiquette in deepest Africa

The Indian Anabasis
Illustration by Sorit
The Indian Anabasis
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Like many correspondents reporting from Africa, my home is full of souvenirs: a wedding mask from Cameroon, a stone sculpture from Zimbabwe, a plastic vuvuzela from South Africa. But sitting among them is something less predictable: a mug displaying the emblem of India’s Jammu & Kashmir Rifles.

This came from a visit last year to the Democratic Republic of Congo and a stay with the Indian army which, I discovered, has brought not only uniforms and rifles but some of the comforts of home. Congo is wracked by one of the most long-running, devastating and complicated of conflicts in the world. As Jason Stearns, author of Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, puts it: “How do you cover a war that involves at least 20 different rebel groups and the armies of nine countries, yet does not seem to have a clear cause or objective?”

How, also, do you keep the peace? This was the challenge facing some 4,000 Indian troops, making up the biggest contingent of the biggest UN peacekeeping operation on the planet. In...

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