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Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East by Gita Mehta

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Best read as a collection of essays on related themes, not a progressive essay in parts. Mehta's classic is still highly relevant, though perhaps less startling than it would have been on publication 30 years ago. Her primary topic is the atomizing and commodification of culture, illustrated by examples of both naive and pragmatic responses by Westerners and Indians. Most of the essays are well-written and enjoyable to read; some are too divorced by time and culture from their catalysts and are therefore less explicable. If I were teaching a cross-cultural sociology class, I'd use Karma Cola as a starting point. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
Gita Mehta writes to warn of the dangers/folly of decamping to India in the hope of finding insight/enlightenment/a guru. Written humorously but with a forked tongue she gives personal details of her dealings with the puveyors of Instant Karma. ( )
  shushokan | Mar 14, 2012 |
Humorous description of overseas visitors looking to India for spiritual enlightenment. Written in 1979. I read this while visiting Pune, India, location of Bhagavan Shri Rajnish's ashram, which made it even more appropriate. Very entertaining & perceptive. ( )
  jaygheiser | Jul 27, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679754334, Paperback)

Beginning in the late '60s, hundreds of thousands of Westerners descended upon India, disciples of a cultural revolution that proclaimed that the magic and mystery missing from their lives was to be found in the East. An Indian writer who has also lived in England and the United States, Gita Mehta was ideally placed to observe the spectacle of European and American "pilgrims" interacting with their hosts. When she finally recorded her razor sharp observations in Karma Cola, the book became an instant classic for describing, in merciless detail, what happens when the traditions of an ancient and longlived society are turned into commodities and sold to those who don't understand them.

In the dazzling prose that has become her trademark, Mehta skewers the entire Spectrum of seekers: The Beatles, homeless students, Hollywood rich kids in detox, British guilt-trippers, and more. In doing so, she also reveals the devastating byproducts that the Westerners brought to the villages of rural lndia -- high anxiety and drug addiction among them.

Brilliantly irreverent, Karma Cola displays Gita Mehta's gift for weaving old and new, common and bizarre, history and current events into a seamless and colorful narrative that is at once witty, shocking, and poignant.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An wry account, by an Indian, of the quest for spiritual enlightenment that caused many people from the consumer societies of the West to go to India and seek fulfillment in the teachings and practices of Hinduism. Gita Mehta is also the author of "Raj".… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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