Bharat Rakshak Forum Announcement

Hello Everyone,

A warm welcome back to the Bharat Rakshak Forum.

Important Notice: Due to a corruption in the BR forum database we regret to announce that data records relating to some of our registered users have been lost. We estimate approx. 500 user details are deleted.

To ease the process of recreating the user IDs we request members that have previously posted on the BR forums to recognise and identify their posts, once the posts are identified please contact the BRF moderator team by emailing BRF Mod Team with your post details.

The mod team will be able to update your username, email etc. so that the user history can be maintained.

Unfortunately for members that have never posted or have had all their posts deleted i.e. users that have 0 posts, we will be unable to recreate your account hence we request that you re-register again.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your understanding.

Regards,
Seetal

Indianness - a (simple?) survey

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 33961
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby shiv » 25 Apr 2002 10:11

Are you Indian?

If yes, why do you say that? What makes you Indian? What constitutes Indianness?

If this question is easy to answer, let me ratchet up the difficulty level and ask you to put yourself in someone else's shoes and answer the following:

a)You are a Muslim from North India. Your family is and has always been Indian as far as you can remember. People from your family have been teachers or in the armed forces for generations. Yet you are asked if you are Pakistani. Are you Indian? Why?

b)You are from Nagaland and are a devout Christian. Your friends in college in Pune ask you if you are Chinese. Are you Indian. Why?

c)You are from a tribe in central India. Your family are not allowed to share the water from a well that is owned by high caste people. You hava managed to get a school education and a college degree in engineering in a reserved quota seat. Are you Indian? Why?

d)You are a Hindu Brahmin from a family that traces its lineage back to a pre-historic rishi. All your relatives are illustrious well-placed people. You suffered a little before getting into college because of this reservation business, but you got a merit seat and a scholarship and you topped your university. You live abroad and are pained at the way the country is being run by unqualified people. Are you Indian? Why?

Rudra
BRFite
Posts: 599
Joined: 28 May 2001 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Rudra » 25 Apr 2002 10:36

I am hindu , assamese, middle-class family from a so-called middle caste with no distinguished lineage to hark upon. product of landless haryanvi migrant and assamese lady ancestor. father & mother both consistent 3rd divisioners. faced no caste discrimination, merit seats all the way to mtech. presently abroad and somewhat pained by certain activities.

however a man cant be an island and declare a separate nation, everyone in the boat has to be carried along and sacrifices have to be made ..compared to having a nation of workaholic phd types with no religious or ethnic affiliation.

perhaps my "indianness" and "hawkishness" became cemented due to my experiences in college wherein people from all states and backgrounds were there.
at some point, one realizes its great to mob together and beat the crap out of anyone :)
but seriously there is a common type of society all over india in terms of family values.

confusing post, but the question is confusing too.

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 33961
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby shiv » 25 Apr 2002 11:29

Originally posted by Rudra Singha:
but the question is confusing too.
:)

It is easier to ask questions that to provide answers. I am thinking too.

Rahul Mehta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2577
Joined: 22 Nov 2001 12:31
Location: Ahmedabad, India --- Bring JurySys in India
Contact:

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Rahul Mehta » 25 Apr 2002 11:46

Originally posted by shiv:
Are you Indian?

If yes, why do you say that? What makes you Indian? What constitutes Indianness?
Yes. Becuase born in India, still stuck with Indian passport.

Indianness to me is
1. paying taxes to GoI
2. obeying the laws
3. be willing and prepared to get drafted in Indian Military
4. willing and ready to kill the outside enemies and inside enemies (inside enemies = criminals + corrupt + tax-evaders)
5. and be ready to be killed in the process.

There is nothing more to Indianess, as far as I can see.

About hypo situations: It is hard to imagine these hypo situations for a die-hard sworn 3-days a week atheist, 3-days week believer. But I will try.

a)You are a Muslim from North India. Your family is and has always been Indian as far as you can remember. People from your family have been teachers or in the armed forces for generations. Yet you are asked if you are Pakistani. Are you Indian? Why?
Yes I am. If not, I would migrate to Pak. But there are some other un-related issues. eg if I am Hindu/Muslim living in a Muslim/Hindu neighborhood, most neighbors will be ok, but if the 1% Muslim/Hindi goonda come to kill me, there will no one to protect me. So Even if I am Indian, and anti-Pak, I would prefer to live in "my" area.

Also, I am Indian, but if are hell bent on calling me Hindu, as some Supreme court judges recently tried, I rather mover to Pak and live in that hell-hole.

b)You are from Nagaland and are a devout Christian. Your friends in college in Pune ask you if you are Chinese. Are you Indian. Why?
I am Indian. China and Nagaland has nothing in common.

c)You are from a tribe in central India. Your family are not allowed to share the water from a well that is owned by high caste people. You hava managed to get a school education and a college degree in engineering in a reserved quota seat. Are you Indian? Why?
Yes I am. I would keep my anomosity confined to THOSE discriminating high caste members (and corrupt policemen/judges who assist them :) ). No need to extend the list of enemies and include innocent bystanders.

d)You are a Hindu Brahmin from a family that traces its lineage back to a pre-historic rishi. All your relatives are illustrious well-placed people. You suffered a little before getting into college because of this reservation business, but you got a merit seat and a scholarship and you topped your university. You live abroad and are pained at the way the country is being run by unqualified people. Are you Indian? Why?
I am Indian, unless I have non-Indian passport. If I have GC I am on bordeline of Indian/non-Indian.

[the question has 1-2 wrong statement.
1. The country is in bad shape NOT becuase of lower qualifications of neta/babu/j but due to rampant corrruption
2. I am living outside India, I would be worried about India ONLY on a part-time basis, something like 2-3 hours a week. After all, if I am out of India, I have nothing personally to lose if India loses. ]

-Rahul Mehta

Atish
BRFite
Posts: 410
Joined: 07 Jul 2000 11:31
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Atish » 25 Apr 2002 12:50

Very astute topic.

Can I add another question to this already extremely weighty thread.

I am a upper middle class Hindu (non practising). In food music and poetry my prediliction is towards Indian stuff. My father served in 2 wars both against the Chinese and Pakis. Rajasthani folk heroes (Rana Pratap/ Rana Sanga etc.) have been childhood and family heroes.

Have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and working towards the same in the US. I think the work environment/ taxation/ regulation/ education policy stifles good people and punishes talent. Have seen family and friends harassed no end by government authorities.

I get along with people of all ethnicities. Havent found Americans any better / worse than Indians on average. I also notice most Indians could not care less about security of their country. Some are unable to (intellect wise). They do care about the country no doubt, but the idea of a nation state is missing. As Shiv said, they consider it a bunch of villages waiting for the monsoon. I also have suffered minor discrimination in India (being called bloodsucker bania etc). Have never been discriminated in the US.

I have no doubt in my mind that I consider myself Indian rather than American. Emotionally dont care about US well being or security too much.

My question is should I consider myself Indian? What if I live in the US and pay taxes here all my life? Especially since I dont like extra territorial loyalties among my own countrymen? Just a question that comes to mind sometimes.

Amarko
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 28
Joined: 08 Jan 2002 12:31
Location: Katrinastan

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Amarko » 25 Apr 2002 15:27

shiv,
Your assumption seems to be that for someone born in this country, the geographic area of birth/location; religion, caste, social background have some effect in his/her Indianness. Why stop there? Go deeper into state/city/colony/street or caste/subcaste/sect/subsect/... and then every possible income level... there is no end to this. I think this is a false assumption.

If you mean Indianness=Patriotism then if one obeys the laws of the land and is prepared to defend the country when needed, thats Indian enough for me. No other proof of Indianness is required or should be demanded of any citizen.

If you mean Indianness="the concept of being Indian" then like the Oceanness of an ocean is determined by every drop of water in it, Indiannness is determined by the sum total of all Indians. Its what we make it to be.

If I hold in Indian passport but live abroad, I associate myself with what _I think_ is the "concept of being Indian", and perhaps contribute to it.

Indianness applied to an Individual is a very personal, highly subjective evaluation, with criteria that rarely match between two people. Except for the minimum requrement that you be born in the country and continue to be a citizen, or become a citizen of India, there is no other OBJECTIVE criteria to judge the Indianness of a person.

Objectively, Sonia Gandhi for example, is as Indian as COAS Padmanabhan. Subjectively....

Amarko.

Rahul Mehta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2577
Joined: 22 Nov 2001 12:31
Location: Ahmedabad, India --- Bring JurySys in India
Contact:

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Rahul Mehta » 25 Apr 2002 16:11

Originally posted by Atish:
My question is should I consider myself Indian? What if I live in the US and pay taxes here all my life? Especially since I dont like extra territorial loyalties among my own countrymen? Just a question that comes to mind sometimes.
Since you are NOT earning in India, you are NOT liable to pay taxes anyway. You are still Indian but, IMO, say, 20% less Indian than a tax paying Indian.

There are other function doing which you can retain Indianess, IMO (like willing to be drafted and kill the outside/inside enemies.

Originally posted by amarko:
If you mean Indianness=Patriotism then if one obeys the laws of the land and is prepared to defend the country when needed, thats Indian enough for me. No other proof of Indianness is required or should be demanded of any citizen.
AGREE in bold and capitals.

We MUST drop all the symbolic and socio-cultural aspects of "Indianness" as NECESSARY condition of being an Indian. Like singing national song and dancing national dance and wearing national fancy dress.

-Rahul Mehta

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 33961
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby shiv » 25 Apr 2002 17:02

Originally posted by amarko:
shiv,
Your assumption seems to be that
Amarko - I am assuming nothing despite what the questions suggest.

My intention was to actually write out a little piece on nationalism - but then I really thought I don't even know what makes people think they are Indian.

I think I am Indian because I am a citizen of India. Period. But if you dig deeper - there are dozens of other reasons that add on to my feeling of "Indianness" all perhaps less important or even irrelevant.

What do others think? I think there are some very basic questions that stem from the reason why anyone is Indian - and I though perhaps I should not put those questions up yet - for fear of making a heavy subject even heavier.

Guest

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Guest » 25 Apr 2002 18:10

What is "Indianness" of an Indian?
I came across a book which had a chapter on Tamilness of a Tamilian. What I liked in the book was..the way Tamils while recognising their differences on the basis of caste and to some extent on the basis of religion, they keep a loose unattached link among themselves though some end up as good friends in abroad.

Indianness of an Indian comes through food, culture, language, race, religion and dress. This does not make our culture, religion or dress a monolithic one. While a lady in the south puts the sarry in her leftside, a lady from Gujarat puts hers in the rightside. While some in the south worship Ravana many in the North and also in the south worship Rama!! While malayaliee Christian eats Beef, Naga Christian eats Dog meat. These differences do not make them to loose their Indianness nor discredit them in any way.
Indianness is something that all of us try to accept as a reality of an old saying the one who finds Unity in Contradictions and Contradictions in Unity.
I am an Indian because I am born here, because I speak Tamil, because I live here - these definitions are only in terms of citizenship but I would go a bit beyond this saying I am an Indian because

shiv
BRF Oldie
Posts: 33961
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Pindliyon ka Gooda

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby shiv » 25 Apr 2002 18:36

Originally posted by Rahul Mehta:
IMO, say, 20% less Indian than a tax paying Indian.

We MUST drop all the symbolic and socio-cultural aspects of "Indianness" as NECESSARY condition of being an Indian.
Two interesting points here:

1)Is it possible to be more Indian or less Indian than someone else?

2) So Indianness is defined by sociocultural characteristics as well - apart from legal citizenship rights - a given fact that needs to be "dropped"

Rahul Mehta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2577
Joined: 22 Nov 2001 12:31
Location: Ahmedabad, India --- Bring JurySys in India
Contact:

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Rahul Mehta » 25 Apr 2002 19:08

Rahul says:
1. IMO, [an NRI who lives in India is]. say, 20% less Indian than a tax paying Indian.

2. We MUST drop all the symbolic and socio-cultural aspects of "Indianness" as NECESSARY condition of being an Indian.

[b] Shiv says:[b]
Two interesting points here:
1)Is it possible to be more Indian or less Indian than someone else?

2) So Indianness is defined by sociocultural characteristics as well - apart from legal citizenship rights - a given fact that needs to be "dropped"
1. Yes. An NRI is about 20% to 50% less Indian than RI. For many reasons. If A-bomb drops in India, will NRI get hurt? If India's economy collapses and there is rampant anarchy/crime, will NRI's house get robbed? He who is tied with boat will be more loyal than he who can jump the boat will be more loyal that he who has already jumped to another boat. In General.

Its not just NRIs, the RIs whose kids have moved abroad, I can tell by my personal experiences, are far less worried about possibility of anarchy in India than those whose kids live in India. But it is difficult to extend my allegation on them, so I wont

2. socio-symbolico-cultural aspects of Indianness are NOT GIVEN facts, but often "insisted" as if they are fact. perticularly some R-- people make singing national song, singing national anthem, dancing national dance, wearing national dress, wearing national fancy dress, etc a requirement for Indianness. "You dont sing Vande Mataram, hmmmm .... you are not Indian ..." is the typical complain.

To pre-emptively address their demands, I had said "sociocultural demands should be dropped". I didnt want to reveal the demand-makers and their exact socio-symbolico-cultural demands, but your question left me with no choice.

-Rahul Mehta

Kuttan
BRFite
Posts: 439
Joined: 12 Jul 1999 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Kuttan » 25 Apr 2002 19:41

1. Born that way.
2. Stayed that way despite long sojourns abroad - so used to it.
3. Certainly not anything else.
4. "Alien" by any other description.

Nationality is a little more permanent than, say, sports team fan-ship, political affiliation, society memberships or employers. The decision here is:

"Born in the best nation in the world. Why not continue to be of the best?"

Definition of "best nation " is easy - "best" is where I was born.

The sad fact that there is a huge and growing population of idiots in one's nation does not affect my basic relationship with my own nation. Percentage of idiots may be a determining factor in choosing where to live, work etc., but really not about the choice of nationality.

As for the difficult question - even for the oppressed citizen from Bihar, Nagaland or Gujarat, the place where one is born and grew up, holds a fundamental affinity. Despite the reality that life may be a heck of a lot more COMFORTABLE and rewarding somewhere else. The horrible memories if any are made more horrible by the fact that one belongs there, and has as much right as anyone else to be there - but the point is that one belongs there.

To summarize: Its not a choice that I need to make.

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Agnimitra » 25 Apr 2002 20:36

To add to points stated in previous posts, identification with a nation is based on:

1) Being able to appreciate and feel one with ALL aspects of that nation's history and having respect for everything in the racial memory of that nation. If a north-Indian Muslim identifies only with Mughal glory, then he is not Indian. If he cannot identify with the pain associated with that brutal period that is part of the racial memory of most other Indians, then he is not Indian.

2) Being loyal, and motivated for the interest of that nation, and that nation ONLY.

3) Not to peg one's subcutural identity within that nation to any outside influence.

4) Attitude towards cultural differences (which applies to subcultural differences within the nation itself).

So this also means that the things I admire (cultural attitudes, historical heroes, etc), and the way I define my own subcultural identity should in no way clash with the larger philosophy of my nation.

Those of you who read and speak a regional Indian language (maybe Gujarati, Tamil, etc) as well as, say, Urdu, would know the subtle cultural difference. Someone said, "If a man is proficient in his native language, he is considered educated, but if he knows a foreign (civilizationally different) tongue, then he is truly civilized". Sure, but the ability to imbibe and appreciate another culture should not interfere with one's basic identity.

Personally: My father is Tamil Christian. Mother is Parsi (Zoroastrian) from Mumbai. On my father's side, they might be Christians by faith, but their reading of Xianity is very Indian (I realized the difference only after I met some hardcore xians in the US :) ). Also, by language and family and social traditions (rituals of life like marriage, etc), my father's side is Tamil. As for my mother's side, Zoroasrtianism is cognate with Vedanta (a subset perhaps), and their culture bears marks of a Vedic association. Indian Parsis don't speak Persian anymore, they speak Gujarati. And barring a few nutcases, most of them feel Indian. As for me, I've grown up with only one identity--Indian, and I realize that in a global village, I would want to be called a Hindu.

S Bajwa
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 91
Joined: 11 Jan 1999 12:31
Location: pittsburgh,pa, usa
Contact:

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby S Bajwa » 25 Apr 2002 20:54

Are you Indian?
---- Yes... and so are my children who were born in USA.

If yes, why do you say that? What makes you Indian? What constitutes Indianness?
---- Contributions of my ancestors towards India -- society, culture, ethics, philosophical and material one's
---- Relatives and friends are still contributing.

If this question is easy to answer, let me ratchet up the difficulty level and ask you to put yourself in someone else's shoes and answer the following:

a)You are a Muslim from North India. Your family is and has always been Indian as far as you can remember. People from your family have been teachers or in the armed forces for generations. Yet you are asked if you are Pakistani. Are you Indian? Why?
---- Because... even Pakistanis are Indian but with flawed sense of "religious" nationalism. India as long as is free with "justice for all" and "strive towards being real secular" will have no danger.

b)You are from Nagaland and are a devout Christian. Your friends in college in Pune ask you if you are Chinese. Are you Indian. Why?
---- Because.... India as long as is free with "justice for all" and "strive towards being real secular" will have no danger.

c)You are from a tribe in central India. Your family are not allowed to share the water from a well that is owned by high caste people. You hava managed to get a school education and a college degree in engineering in a reserved quota seat. Are you Indian? Why?
---- If my family is not allowed to share the water from the well then I will file an FIR in local police station, go to court, and if still no justice then file a PIL against district comissioner, state legislature as well as Indian parliament for not implementing the Land of the LAW. and if everything fails then I will prepare my fellow tribals to use violence against the "High Castes" to achieve the basic human rights.

d)You are a Hindu Brahmin from a family that traces its lineage back to a pre-historic rishi. All your relatives are illustrious well-placed people. You suffered a little before getting into college because of this reservation business, but you got a merit seat and a scholarship and you topped your university. You live abroad and are pained at the way the country is being run by unqualified people. Are you Indian? Why?

---- I am Indian but will continue to support the "Good" politicians back home and hope that everything will come out good in the end. I will continue to infleunce the favourable "foreign policy" of other nations vis-a-vis India and its strategic goals., with strategic ultimate goal meaning "Super power in world".

A_Gupta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 9862
Joined: 23 Oct 2001 11:31
Contact:

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby A_Gupta » 25 Apr 2002 21:17

Originally posted by amarko:

If you mean Indianness=Patriotism then if one obeys the laws of the land and is prepared to defend the country when needed, thats Indian enough for me. No other proof of Indianness is required or should be demanded of any citizen.
Surely one has to allow for conscientious objectors - "one who on the basis of religious or moral principles refuses to bear arms or participate in military service."

Likewise, all foreigners who come to do business in India obey the law of the land.

Moreover, criminals who do not obey the law of the land do not lose their citizenship. Even secessionists in India remain Indian citizens. When a group does civil disobedience, which is an explicit breaking of the law, they do not lose their citizenship.

We have to separate out the questions :

1. What are the requirements for Indian citizenship ? (and these are spelled out extensively in the law)

2. What are the requirements to be a good citizen ?

The answer to this lies in what one does for the welfare (both positive actions and acts of omission, e.g., not breaking the law) of one's fellow citizens.

Good citizenship involves a degree of nationalism.
The typical human being is incapable of forming a meaningful loyalty to all the people in the world. One can always, of course, spout pious platitudes, but the true "citizens of the world" are very few. In the Indian context, we even see the difficulty of thinking of India as a whole, with family, caste or sect interests dominating in most people. Thus raising one's consciousness to a national level is a growth for most people.

Nationalism requires symbols - national anthem, flag, seal, motto, national celebrations like Independence and Republic day. While honoring these symbols is not required for citizenship, it is mostly, IMO, required for good citizenship.

One can certainly be a good citizen without these symbols, but usually disdain for these are linked to not some deep philosophy, but some practical problem.

If India's existing national symbols are inadequate, i.e., they do not emotionally engage some sections of Indian citizens, then either the symbols must be examined for their inadequacy and the problems of these sections of citizens must be examined.

I suggest that in all of Shiv's examples, the symbols of modern India are meaningful to the persons described, and that defines their Indianness (but not their citizenship). This transcends their religious or moral objections to bearing arms and defending the country or their willingness to obey the law.

Also, this is simply a definition, which describes the necessary fundamental characteristics of a concept. As with all concepts, Indianness is much richer than its definition.

-Arun Gupta

venkat_r
BRFite
Posts: 262
Joined: 20 Feb 2001 12:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby venkat_r » 25 Apr 2002 21:17

Narayanan's first 2 lines give a peek into what constitutes Indianness..

Let me begin with my conclusion that "I am an Indian because my heart is in India"

The story did not start out that way many years ago. When I was born, I did not care if it was India, or Timbaktu or America (my present abode). All I cared was the place where i was born into was great and simply had a good time. I was Indian because I was born in India.

In this world people always are trying to give you an identity if you yourself are not searching for one you can buy into any one of these. It is common to see people telling you "We are from same religion, same caste, or same educated , same place or speak same language..." I guess it is very easy to identify with someone with whom you have something in common. I guess we do it naturally and do it with every body. The sense of belonging increases manyfold when we have a collective acheivement or a common enemy ;) .

If you are born into India, you are a Indian, also if you choose you are an Indian.
As I got older and pursuing other interests in US, wanted to know where my heart is (and it is very natural that I stumbled into BR). If we are looking into what makes us the citizen of India, or we are Indian only if we have a Indian passport(btw i have one) is like making your views too narrow and getting lost in the detailitis.

Yes there is a faction of people in India who still think that going out of India is Unpatriotic. Even I did when I was in India. But this is what I found, you can probably give Indianness to someone - by accepting the people who want to become Indian, and you can never take away the Indianness of a person who feels his heart is with India.

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Agnimitra » 25 Apr 2002 21:19

Originally posted by sbajwa:
]Are you Indian?
---- Yes... and so are my children who were born in USA.
NOTE: I am NOT making a personal comment about sbajwa's children, just a general comment about "ABCD's":
From my interactions with lots of ABCD's here, I don't think they're any more Indian than an American who knows a bit about India.
1) Many of them are uncomfortable with their Indian origin, probably due to the mostly negative image India has in America. What their Indian-born parents might tell them about the virtues of Indian culture conflicts with the general impression they imbibe from the society they live in.
2) Culture and Nations are dynamic living organisms. ABCDs are part of the American organism. They do not have an Indian education, and so are generally unaware of Indian history, geography, and the modern state and current affairs that are shaping our society everyday. At best, these ABCDs carry only some notions about their parents' region of India. The pop-artist "Apache Indian" from the UK says he thought the national language of India was Punjabi, and the capital was Chandigarh :D

For these two main reasons, and several other minor ones, I think Indians who choose to settle abroad mostly turn out as cultural dead-ends. An Indian "ancestry" does not necessarily make them Indian.

A_Gupta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 9862
Joined: 23 Oct 2001 11:31
Contact:

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby A_Gupta » 25 Apr 2002 21:32

Rahul Mehta wrote :

2. socio-symbolico-cultural aspects of Indianness are NOT GIVEN facts, but often "insisted" as if they are fact. perticularly some R-- people make singing national song, singing national anthem, dancing national dance, wearing national dress, wearing national fancy dress, etc a requirement for Indianness. "You dont sing Vande Mataram, hmmmm .... you are not Indian ..." is the typical complain.

To pre-emptively address their demands, I had said "sociocultural demands should be dropped". I didnt want to reveal the demand-makers and their exact socio-symbolico-cultural demands, but your question left me with no choice.
If one cannot respect the symbols that represent the nation, that are respected by most citizens, under which they die protecting the country, under which they struggled for independence, then I doubt for that person his/her "heart is in India".

I see in the above argument a "running away from the problem" that is distressingly frequent. "Vande Mataram" without good reason offends some, therefore let us discard all symbols of the country. Uniform Civil Code offends some, therefore let us discard the idea, enormous intellectual effort goes into proving how untenable it is ( but one continues to believe in equality before the law !, arguing all the while that such law is not achievable). All common sense is discarded out of the fear of being "not-secular", which means acknowledging that sometimes the Hindutvavaadis may have a point.

-Arun Gupta

Rupak
Webmaster BR
Posts: 315
Joined: 14 Jun 1999 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Rupak » 25 Apr 2002 21:35

Listen guys...Shiv started a simple survey thread. If you can't or won't answer his questions please refrain from posting here.

Your co-operation will be much appreciated.

R

Nikhil Shah
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 80
Joined: 16 Jun 1999 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Nikhil Shah » 25 Apr 2002 21:43

Any person determined by the law as the citizen of India is an Indian. A hyphanted one but still an Indian. It is not a requirement that he/she be patriotic. If he/she is being a traitor than there are laws to deal with them BUT that still doesn't take away from them their right to be recognized as an Indian.

But describing Indianess is like describing the nature of god. It is impossible to come up with a bound on the scope of Indianness. Even if I were not a citizen of India, I would still take my Indianess with me wherever I go. It in a way is my identity. It is by which I relate to my fellow Indians. It is what I willing to defend with my life. It is what enables me to walk broad and tall with pride. Shiv, sorry I can't answer it better than this. I will think of another answer later...

The answer to all 4 whys (a,b,c,d) above is: just because someone is ignorant, it doesn;t mean that their behaviour makes me lose my Indianess.

Ashok Vyas
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 7
Joined: 28 Mar 2002 12:31
Location: USA

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Ashok Vyas » 25 Apr 2002 22:01

I am an Indian 'cos i was born one. And pride associated with the place of one's birth is a part of the integral makeup of human self esteem. I do not presently live in India and am consequently surprised to know that it makes me 20% less Indian :) ......

As the saying goes, u can take a man out of a country but u cant take a country out of a man. That is why I am Indian, and can never be anything else.

S Bajwa
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 91
Joined: 11 Jan 1999 12:31
Location: pittsburgh,pa, usa
Contact:

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby S Bajwa » 25 Apr 2002 22:13

If one cannot respect the symbols that represent the nation, that are respected by most citizens, under which they die protecting the country, under which they struggled for independence, then I doubt for that person his/her "heart is in India".
Vande-Matram means "I bow to my motherland" but I have seen millions who will blurt out million times without ever meaning it.
Satyamev Jaithe means "Truth prevails" but millions blurt out "Satyamev Jayathe" to win votes, etc through lies.
and similarly I have seen millions disrespecting the land, the law, the constitution but they keep blurting and visibly respecting the "Indian symbols" what does that means?
An Indian who does not say "Vande Matram" but goes on to battlefield to face the enemy of his/her motherland is much much patriot than an educated other Indian who goes on blurting Vande Matram but will not enlist in Army (even when there is shortage of officers) to support motherland.
The real respect is the practice and without a sincere practice these symbols do not have any substance.

krsai
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 72
Joined: 05 Nov 2001 12:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby krsai » 25 Apr 2002 22:37

Are you Indian?
YES

If yes, why do you say that? What makes you Indian? What constitutes Indianness?
[color=blue]
Indian by birth and to parents of Indian [depends on the definitions of "Indian" during their time of birth]

Indian: having born to Indian Parents, and brought up in India or Indian community [for example, I feel my daughter is Indian, because she was born to Indians though is classifed being American] no one change that DNA structure. Balls to the parivar philosophy. It is the culture ++, etc. no need to explain there.
</font>
If this question is easy to answer, let me ratchet up the difficulty level and ask you to put yourself in someone else's shoes and answer the following:

a)You are a Muslim from North India. Your family is and has always been Indian as far as you can remember. People from your family have been teachers or in the armed forces for generations. Yet you are asked if you are Pakistani. Are you Indian? Why?
[color=blue]

I don't know how anyone can ask such questions to a muslim, unless it was [legitimate or if found behaving like an enemy] based on certain genuine facts and events related to that muslim. If I were that muslim and happened to cheer everything pakistani in public, and distrubutes sweets if paki wins any match anywhere, saying paki zindabad..., and other religions are **** becuase they don't pray to allah, no empathy to others including religious beliefs, sharing and rights in common public places, do not go invading or occupying land [example: my father's small land in Karnataka is still occupied by such scums, and he still has Indira Gandhiji's scheme allotment documents for ex-servicemen], yadi yadi yada.. If I qualify for any one of these or more that does not seem democratic and secular, yes I don't mind being called pakistani nor I don't care because anyway my behavior is pakistani. I would not feel bad at all, because my objectives and faith is still with pakistan, as seen by the actions I do or the facts that makes me look and behave like a paki.

Furthermore, being a hindu and in America, if someone asks my daughter if she is Indian, she might proudly say she is an Indian, thought citizen by birth in USA. On the similar basis, if a muslim chooses to be with India, then he very well be part of India in all respects per required by law.

If I am genuine Indian-muslim and someone tells me that I am pakistani, I would say am Not.. I would not take swords and go an burn up a train or a village. I guess this branding paki to anyone is piece of sh!t thing with many Indians.. for that matter I started as a paki in BR forum.. right from durvasa to sainis, I was branded paki because I have a different opinion.. This behavior is with all you folks out here!!!! why, because they suddenly turnout self-righteous, disrespect others democratic rights, --- moral development problems - simple answer: been brought up that way since 5 years old.<period> sorry! If you are hurt, then you qualify of asking someone being a paki!... feel bad? good, how do you feel now?.

</font>

b)You are from Nagaland and are a devout Christian. Your friends in college in Pune ask you if you are Chinese. Are you Indian. Why?
[color=blue]
Similar thoughts...as above [for being paki]
</font>

c)You are from a tribe in central India. Your family are not allowed to share the water from a well that is owned by high caste people. You hava managed to get a school education and a college degree in engineering in a reserved quota seat. Are you Indian? Why?
[color=blue]
I would fight for quota for the water from the same well, as well. Why would'nt I make hue and cry about it and the same answer: Moral behavior of being self-righteous and disrespect others rights and freedom.

</font>

d)You are a Hindu Brahmin from a family that traces its lineage back to a pre-historic rishi. All your relatives are illustrious well-placed people. You suffered a little before getting into college because of this reservation business, but you got a merit seat and a scholarship and you topped your university. You live abroad and are pained at the way the country is being run by unqualified people. Are you Indian? Why?

[color=blue]
Yes.. be proud about my achievements.. it is about my moral behavior and not about a few[or many] scums who everyone knows how they run the country....

The answers lies in teaching kids... Thanks to my parents who taught me good moral behavior. I myself have seen many Indian parents don't care about their kids.. it there it starts.. this is the exact thing practice is now being done by "parents as teachers" program in many communities in USA. We need similar movements in India. Train parents first and make parents to teach kids how they should behave in a democratic way.. it all beings at home.

sorry if I have hurt anyone.. truth hurts..imho
</font>

A_Gupta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 9862
Joined: 23 Oct 2001 11:31
Contact:

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby A_Gupta » 25 Apr 2002 22:50

Originally posted by sbajwa:
The real respect is the practice and without a sincere practice these symbols do not have any substance.
It is the real practice of many people which has given these symbols their substance. I do not see how you can disrespect these symbols and yet claim to respect what lies behind these symbols. As a matter of fact, those who go to fight and possibly die in defence of India have no disrespect for these symbols.

Hypocrisy certainly exists, but will continue to exist for any definition of Indianness that you give. So what ? Hypocrisy exists, so give up common sense - is that the argument ?

If it was not clear, let me repeat my answer to Shiv's question - the vast diversity that is India is abstracted out into a few symbols, and that all the people in the examples given by Shiv feel a positive emotional connection to these symbols shows that they have Indianness (which is different from citizenship).

-Arun Gupta

Sunil
BRFite
Posts: 634
Joined: 21 Sep 1999 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Sunil » 25 Apr 2002 23:01

shiv,

> Are you Indian?

Yes, more so than anything else.

> If yes, why do you say that?

No reason really, its seems light years ahead of the alternative.

> What makes you Indian?

I was born there, spent the bulk of my life there.

> What constitutes Indianness?

a whole bunch of things, varies from person to person. I haven't been able to come up with a definition. Some other have tried, they haven't suceeded (IMHO).

> If this question is easy to answer, let me ratchet up the difficulty level and ask you to put yourself in someone else's shoes and answer the following:

> a)You are a Muslim from North India. Your family is and has always been Indian as far as you can remember. People from your family have been teachers or in the armed forces for generations. Yet you are asked if you are Pakistani. Are you Indian? Why?

A whole bunch of Muslims i know would find that a difficult question to answer, but then I can't say i have met all muslims. Most can't really go to an `Islamic Country'.. they know that they will be treated like dirt there, here atleast if someone accused you of being Pakistani you can tell to them shove off and move to Pakistan. That option does not exist in the wonderful paradise of KSA, Jordan etc...

> b)You are from Nagaland and are a devout Christian. Your friends in college in Pune ask you if you are Chinese. Are you Indian. Why?

Probably because like everyone else in India, a Naga student in Pune would understand that people from Pune have very `academic' view of the world, and if you are not a Punekar its doesn't matter what you are, they really can't tell an American from a Martian..

> c)You are from a tribe in central India. Your family are not allowed to share the water from a well that is owned by high caste people. You hava managed to get a school education and a college degree in engineering in a reserved quota seat. Are you Indian? Why?

Most likely because your tribe which once ruled the land has been treated that way for thousands of years, by wave after wave of foreigners who moved settled your land. So being Indian is no different from being Japanese. Either ways you know you have no one but yourself to depend upon.

> d)You are a Hindu Brahmin from a family that traces its lineage back to a pre-historic rishi. All your relatives are illustrious well-placed people. You suffered a little before getting into college because of this reservation business, but you got a merit seat and a scholarship and you topped your university. You live abroad and are pained at the way the country is being run by unqualified people. Are you Indian? Why?

Ah finally a community of people i can really talk at length about... well ofcourse you are an Indian.. what else would you be.. ?

Where else would you be able call upon pelf and privilege beyond the wildest dreams of most mortals?

Where else can you get jobs, women, money etc.. without lifting a finger... ?

Where else can you p*ss upon the rights of 85% of the country without batting an eyelid?

Where else would you be able to sit on the highest councils of power and pass off your random kicks as `strenous intellectual exertions'? (certainly not in the US, KSA, etc... they don't really accept heathens there)

Where else can you talk some random BS and claim that Tilak/Gandhi/Gokhale/Namdev/Sri Krishna/GOD-himself etc.. said it and as a result get chicks to drop their pants and men to bow low in humility before you?

Where else can you come up with `reasons' to make everyone else do exactly what you want them to.. ?

Where else can you claim that the place didn't even have a Name before you gave it one?

Like I said, being Indian for this lot is light years ahead of the alternative.

Ashutosh
BRFite
Posts: 150
Joined: 04 Mar 2002 12:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Ashutosh » 25 Apr 2002 23:27

Originally posted by shiv:
Are you Indian?
- Yes.

If yes, why do you say that? What makes you Indian? What constitutes Indianness?
- Indian Passport. Indianness means that I had to bribe the postman 10 bucks for delivering my passport.

If this question is easy to answer, let me ratchet up the difficulty level and ask you to put yourself in someone else's shoes and answer the following:

a)You are a Muslim from North India. Your family is and has always been Indian as far as you can remember. People from your family have been teachers or in the armed forces for generations. Yet you are asked if you are Pakistani. Are you Indian? Why?
-- Anybody who's a citizen of India is an Indian. Whoever travels on Indian passports is Indian. Like Sonia Gandhi.

b)You are from Nagaland and are a devout Christian. Your friends in college in Pune ask you if you are Chinese. Are you Indian. Why?
-- The friends are stupid. No Chinese AFAICT would come to do high-school/college in India.

c)You are from a tribe in central India. Your family are not allowed to share the water from a well that is owned by high caste people. You hava managed to get a school education and a college degree in engineering in a reserved quota seat. Are you Indian? Why?
-- Yes, I'm Indian. Well water has no connection with education, same goes about reservation and education. Reservation for a 600 million strong "minority" means Indian.

d)You are a Hindu Brahmin from a family that traces its lineage back to a pre-historic rishi. All your relatives are illustrious well-placed people. You suffered a little before getting into college because of this reservation business, but you got a merit seat and a scholarship and you topped your university. You live abroad and are pained at the way the country is being run by unqualified people. Are you Indian? Why?
-- See above answer.


Atish
BRFite
Posts: 410
Joined: 07 Jul 2000 11:31
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Atish » 25 Apr 2002 23:42

Now let me ratchet up the difficulty level even more:

1. Is it possible to be an Indian and American at the same time.

2. is it possible to be an Indian and Greek at the same time.

My personal views are (by no means concrete/ subject to change and argument):

1. No, because India's interests/ actions and US interests/ actions frequently collide.

2. Yes, because India's and Greece's actions and interests are peripheral to each other.

I would appreciate input from BRites. No flaming please. These are answers that are not concrete in my mind. Else I wouldnt even ask the question.

Amarko
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 28
Joined: 08 Jan 2002 12:31
Location: Katrinastan

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Amarko » 25 Apr 2002 23:49

It is the real practice of many people which has given these symbols their substance. I do not see how you can disrespect these symbols and yet claim to respect what lies behind these symbols. As a matter of fact, those who go to fight and possibly die in defence of India have no disrespect for these symbols.
I do not have to respect these symbols to keep my Indianness, at the same time, I have no moral right to insult what others around me consider sacred.

For example, since the day I decided to turn atheist, I feel NOTHING towards the temples I _grew up_ in. But that gives me no right to wear shoes in those temples or disrespect them in any way that offends others. I could sing Christian songs or a sufi song if I wish (perhaps not inside the temple!), and that is no insult to the temple. Being atheist gives me no right to stop my father who does his hour long pooja each morning reciting sanskrit shlokas he doesn't understand. I can try to convert him to my point of view by argument though.

Same goes for patriotism. I have no OBLIGATION to honour these symbols in public. I don't think the constitution forces it either. I may or may not choose to honour them, depending on to what extent I'm patriotic. I have no right to insult them either.

Amarko.

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Agnimitra » 26 Apr 2002 00:03

Originally posted by Atish:
1. No, because India's interests/ actions and US interests/ actions frequently collide.

2. Yes, because India's and Greece's actions and interests are peripheral to each other.
I agree. Like I said in my first post, you cannot be Indian if:
1) You identify (even partly) yourself with outside influences that have been, or may come into conflict with India.
2) Your sub-cultural orientation does not allow you to identify fully with the racial memory of your nation itself.

Umrao
BRFite
Posts: 547
Joined: 30 May 2001 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Umrao » 26 Apr 2002 00:06

Sonia Gandhi is Indian, therefore I am.

All my ancestors were Bhumiputra/Bhumiputrika there for I am as much Indian as Sonia!!

Nandu
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2195
Joined: 08 Jan 2002 12:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Nandu » 26 Apr 2002 01:07

Let us extend the question ot Kashmiri Muslims...

Guest

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Guest » 26 Apr 2002 01:56

there're Indian-ness in many facets: two of the major ones being cultural and national. for example, there're many people in the west indies whose ancestors left India generations ago and who still follow indian traditions when it comes to food, dance, music etc. but, even if some of them may consider themselves Indian, that distinction is purely cultural since they've very little to do with the nation-state of India. i think the same applies to the entire Indian subcontinent and people who immigrate to europe/usa. although they'll probably remain culturally Indian (at least for the first couple of generations), they would not be considered Indians in the national sense.

If we were to drop all sociocultural moorings of Indianness, then being Indian would be solely based on one's state of mind. In that system, if you feel you're Indian, you're Indian. you could be a German citizen whose ancestors are from Bavaria and still be as Indian Masala Dosa. However, I believe that there're definite cultural antecedents to Indianness. these cultural facets are of course varied and have many subsets within themselves.

In Dr.Shiv's example, i think all four cases are culturally Indian but politically, the first three cases are probably more Indian than the last case. As Rahul Mehta has pointed out, one's residence has quite a lot to do with his political Indianness. Afterall, the destinies of those living in India are inextricably intertwined with the destiny of the Indian republic.

P.S. Kattabommu mentioned that Ravana is worshipped in some parts of South India. I am from kerala and although im not hindu by religion, im quite familiar with most hindu traditions. is this practice prevalent in tamil nadu?

Nandu
BRF Oldie
Posts: 2195
Joined: 08 Jan 2002 12:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Nandu » 26 Apr 2002 02:29

Originally posted by jkgeorge:
P.S. Kattabommu mentioned that Ravana is worshipped in some parts of South India. I am from kerala and although im not hindu by religion, im quite familiar with most hindu traditions. is this practice prevalent in tamil nadu?
I don't think such a practice exists at all.

Badar
BRFite
Posts: 410
Joined: 23 Jun 1999 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Badar » 26 Apr 2002 02:52

Hi,

Some honest answers if you will...

Are you Indian?

Yeah sure.

If yes, why do you say that?

Because, I was taught to say that even before I knew what 'India' and 'Indian' meant. Now it is almost a reflex reaction - "Are you Indian? Yes".

Note that I might give interesting answers to the questions - do you like India? do you like being an Indian? do you like living in India? But to the question "Are you Indian", it is "Yes"; invariably, automatically.

What makes you Indian?

Me - I was born here. And bred here. And live here. 21 generations of my forefathers called India (not exactly India as today but the Indian subcontinent) as their home. Another 26 generations preceeding them that I have been able to trace were definately not Indians.

What constitutes Indianness?

I can communicate much better with hindi speakers from bombay or delhi than my neighbour who speaks only chaste telugu. I am more comfortable culturally with urdu speaking pakistanies or Lucknowites than I am with only Tamilians or Kashimiries. West Bengalies are indistinguisable to me from Bangla Deshi's. A naga or Mizo is as much an exotic curiosity (in a friendly positive way) as an eskimo or a bantu. Religiously I fit in most comfortably with a sunni from morocco than an shia from allahabad. All other things being equal I would feel more comfortable working in Chicago than Calcuttah.

India is best defined by a line on a map, not by some shared virtues or traits common to all Indians. Perhaps that is enough?

Sridhar
BRFite
Posts: 834
Joined: 01 Jan 2001 12:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Sridhar » 26 Apr 2002 03:25

I disagree completely with the notion that it is only a line on a map. I find it hard to decide what that Indianness is apart from the line on the map, but some questions came to mind
..What was it that sent surges of patriotism amongst all people during Kargil? Was that just the line on the map, or something else?
..Why do people in every region (ok almost) get a thrill up their spine when India wins a Cricket match or Malleswari wins a medal at the Olympics?
..why do so many of us spend so much of our time here on BR?
..what makes us all pleased when an Agni soars into the sky or an INSAT launch is successful?
..what makes us care about India enough to talk about it (even if it were only about problems) even when we leave the country?
..why are so many people aghast when another Mig-21 falls from the sky?
..why do we feel happy if a new expressway is built somewhere in India (even though we may never expect to drive on it)?

These are some of the things that define Indianness to me. And they do not conflict with my other identities based on religion, language or anything else.

Badar
BRFite
Posts: 410
Joined: 23 Jun 1999 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Badar » 26 Apr 2002 04:06

Hi,

Sridhar, The points you put down illustrate that there is partiotism and pride in Indians. But it would be difficult to _define_ Indians as the group of people who feel happy when agni is launched or INSAT works.

I think that the best _defination_ of India (and by corollary Indian) is with the help of a line on a map. Just because the only way you could define India is with a map doesnot mean that its citizens can not be patriotic or proud.

Atish
BRFite
Posts: 410
Joined: 07 Jul 2000 11:31
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Atish » 26 Apr 2002 04:45

I think I am seeing similarities with market efficiency theory.

There seems to be a weak form, semi strong form and strong form of Indianness. Will expand on this later.

A_Gupta
BRF Oldie
Posts: 9862
Joined: 23 Oct 2001 11:31
Contact:

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby A_Gupta » 26 Apr 2002 04:53

Actually, Tli on sulekha.com has defined Indianness very well :

No, there's got to be something more -- that trait that sticks out and loudly proclaims: “I am Indian.” Wait, I think I've got it -- it has to be that all Indians have an opinion about everything! That's it! When was the last time you met an Indian that did not have an opinion?

Agnimitra
BRF Oldie
Posts: 5150
Joined: 21 Apr 2002 11:31

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Agnimitra » 26 Apr 2002 05:10

Originally posted by Badar:
Are you Indian?
Yeah sure.

...I am more comfortable culturally with urdu speaking pakistanies or Lucknowites than I am with only Tamilians or Kashimiries. West Bengalies are indistinguisable to me from Bangla Deshi's. A naga or Mizo is as much an exotic curiosity (in a friendly positive way) as an eskimo or a bantu. Religiously I fit in most comfortably with a sunni from morocco than an shia from allahabad....

...India is best defined by a line on a map, not by some shared virtues or traits common to all Indians. Perhaps that is enough?
Interesting cavalier attitude toward Indianness. I don't mean to be offensive in any way, but IMHO, this attitude is an interesting illustration of cultural "immigrant" psychology. In order to feel comfortable about one's identity, dilute the concept of nationhood, and feel less guilty (?) about defining oneself with foreigners. Just a thought. But in any case, there's no way I can agree with Mr. Badar, and in fact, I felt a little insulted at having something that meant a lot to me described as "a line on the map".

Harsh
BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 44
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: The land of beer and honeys (...and that apple pie!)

Re: Indianness - a (simple?) survey

Postby Harsh » 26 Apr 2002 05:17

Shiv:
Are you Indian?
If yes, why do you say that? What makes you Indian? What constitutes Indianness?


I guess this can be answered several ways. Personally, I do not consider myself true-true Indian - the word is a Trini slang for someone who is born and raised in India, or who has all the attributes of the same.

But I have had people argue every way - that I'm American [say my relatives in India], or I'm Indian [say my relatives in America], or that I'm Caribbean [so say my relatives in Trinidad], or that I'm British [so say relatives in England, since I grew up in London as well], or that I'm an ABCD, or an Indian-American, or an Indo-Caribbean, or an Indo-Trini-American, or an Indo-British-Trini-American-Desi-etc... or a mix of all of these... or none of these...

To answer bluntly, I never held Indian nationality/passport, therefore I am not officially/legally Indian, and do not consider myself such. However, if I follow SBajwa's criteria, ("Contributions of my ancestors towards India -- society, culture, ethics, philosophical and material one's"; "Relatives and friends are still contributing"), then I guess I would be Indian.

Though I am bloody sick of this need for self-classification/distinction that for us Indians(?) seems to be some kind of innate need... I mean, I used to wonder and care about the label, but now I find it pointless and irrelevant, especially, all-you here who know me personally know, since I probably break every stereotype, both as an 'Indian' and especially one of the "average BR-wallah."

1. Parents are true-true Indian - born and raised, and are culturally/ethnically Marathi. Their parents on one side are Maharashtran (Indian), and the other are 2nd generation Indo-Caribbeans, who have retained their Marathi (my grandmother's side) and Tamil (grandfather's side) traditions, though they are very much Indo-Caribbean culturally. Before them, for as far as can possibly be remembered, my ancestors are from India.

2. I was born in, was raised for the most part, live in, and am a citizen of, America.

3. I have relatives in India (most of them), America, UK, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.

4. I speak Marathi as a second language, and can understand Hindi, Tamil to an extent. But my first language is English [American], which I speak with a kichidi of black-American (mostly), white-American, and Indo-Caribbean [Trini] accents. When speaking an Indian language (Marathi, Tamil, Hindi, etc.) my accent apparently has a distinct Caribbean and American inflection, and is a great source of amusement and curiosity (in that order) to the locals whenever I go to India.

5. I'm more or less affiliate most with Indian-American/desi culture. But I can just as easily switch between NRI, Indo-Carib, Caribbean, British, and black and white American cultures, and can imitate all their accents well enough. ;)

6. I have a great love in Indian history, contemporary and ancient, art, cusine, etc. more so than American.

7. I am a fan of Indian music: filmi, classical, religious and folk. However, I equally love Hip Hop/Rap and all its derivatives, as well as Caribbean Reggae, Ragga/Dancehall, Soca and Chutney music. All these styles influence me as a musician.

8. Though I am American first and foremost, I firmly believe a pro-India policy is fundamentally necessary and beneficial to both America and India. Thus I don't find any conflict between the duty to either India and America.

Am I Indian? I'll let you decide, because I don't feel the need to.

Peace,
Harshavardhan
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
-DJ Detroit Desi

...a webmaster of:
The 1962 Sino-Indian War Website.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-


Return to “History & Current Affairs Archive”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests