India arrives in the American imagination


TWO WINTERS AGO, making their way through Bombay’s Victoria Terminus, two young Muslim men became famous. One was Jamal Malik, a fictional orphan in a movie. The other was Ajmal Amir Kasab, said to be from a clan of butchers in small-town Pakistani Punjab. The former, in the closing scenes of the film, is weedy, gawky; lets his mouth hang open in a pantomime of nervous exhilaration; is newly rich from winning a game show; kisses the girl and then dances with the rest of the cast. The latter, in the most widely seen photo, is stout, steroidful; wears too-short cargo pants, a knockoff VERSACE T-shirt, two backpacks filled with ammunition and snacks; carries a double-banana-clipped AK-47 that blurs as it swings through the depopulated space before him. On May 6, 2010, he was sentenced to be hanged.

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