Oprah Winfrey has sparked outrage after the recent broadcast of a two-part TV special about her trip to India in January.
The Oprah’s ‘Next Chapter’ special was dubbed “myopic, unaware, ignorant and gauche” by one Indian commentator and “snobbish” and “snooty” by another. The Daily Bhaskar website said that the “ill picturized and badly scripted show” portrayed the country “in poor light,” the BBC reported. The 58-year-old drew particular criticism for remarking on the Indian tradition of eating with one’s hands. ”
I heard some Indian people eat with their hands still?” she is seen asking a Mumbai family she had joined for dinner. “Using our hands to eat is a well-established tradition and a fact none of us are ashamed of,” blogged Rituparna Chatterjee of the CNN-IBN news channel. “As a responsible public figure about to air a show that will be beamed across the world, you should have done your homework,” Chatterjee wrote.
The media mogul’s week in India saw her hobnobbing with Bollywood royalty, attend a literary festival in Jaipur and visit the Taj Mahal in Agra. The result, according to the Wall Street Journal’s India Real Time blog, typified “India as Westerners imagine it, one stereotype at a time”. – PT