“What would happen if Indian Americans practised a little bit of … Indian-ness? They would shine, be an example to their fellow Americans, and make India proud. Instead, they want to become more Americans than the Americans, and merge themselves totally in American culture. In this process, they drop their unique identity and are a loss not only to India, but also to America, as they bring nothing new to American culture.” – Francois Gautier
It is lunch time at the home of the Consul General of India in New York, Dnyaneshwar M Mulay. A young Hindu American arrives. Her name is Suchitra Vijayanand she teaches part-time in Columbia University, one of the most prestigious in the US, and plans to start there a course on South Asian Human Rights. She says that she is first going to travel to India to interview Kashmiri Muslims and Christian Nagas — obviously an anti-Indian agenda — while her Indian consular mentor smiles proudly.
Welcome to America, the home of millions of Indians, some of whom make a living out of bashing India in American universities and in the US publications.
Let’s face it: Indians who immigrate to America most of the time merge totally in the American way of life and their children never come back to their homeland. The culprit, of course, is the Indian education, which mass-produces brilliant Indians, who are only good for export, as they are not taught to be proud of their own culture, the way French are proud to be French or the Americans proud to be Americans. As a result, American Indians know nothing about Kalidas, probably one of the greatest poets ever, or Shivaji Maharaj, who is on par withNapoleon Bonaparte, or Sri Aurobindo, India’s greatest contemporary philosopher — but all about William Shakespeare, the latest Dan Brown novel, or the best Italian restaurant in New York.
This is the greatest brain drain in the world, which allowed the Silicon Valley to flourish (80 per cent Indian engineers), or the American medical system to expand (60 per cent Indians).
Compare this to the American Chinese: Not only do they unabashedly stand out as Chinese, but they repatriate many of their funds to China and even go back to the mainland, to be part of the great Chinese economic boom.
American Indians rave about the American way of life, but it burns out a human being in 30 or 40 years, starting early for work — by 7 am, America’s millions of highways are already clogged with traffic; the fierce competitiveness in the workplace — you can be fired in a minute for no reason; the late hours and heartburn produced over the years by food too quickly swallowed on the run or in the car; the immense stress at airports where security — thanks to continuing terrorism — has reached inhuman proportions.
If only American Indians did retain a bit of their Indianness. Today’s Hollywood stars all do yoga, India’s gift to the world. Yet, not only is it not taught in Indian schools and universities as it should, but our Hindu Americans do not practise it. What else?Pranayama is the ancient Indian science of breathing. Through it you cannot only gain more energy, but also distress naturally and balance your mind. It is also a perfectly secular science: Respiration has no religion and a Muslim, a Hindu or a Christian breathe the same air. In fact, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has revived and modernised pranayama, has many Muslims and Christian teachers and disciples. Yet, neither is it taught in India, nor our Indian Americans seem to practise it much.
What about meditation, this most ancient technique that has again no religion, and can be practised by anybody, with wonderful effects on the mind and the body? In fact American companies have begun introducing meditation in their seminars and it is becoming mainstream in the US. Does that mean that meditation is taught in Indians schools, as it should be, or that our Indian Americans practice it? Not at all. What about Ayurveda, the oldest medical science still in practice that knew 3,000 years before Western medicine, that many diseases have a psychosomatic origin? Do our Hindu Americans use Ayurveda? Unlikely.
Yet, what would happen if Indian Americans practised a little bit of that Indian-ness? They would shine, be an example to their fellow Americans, and make India proud. Instead, they want to become more Americans than the Americans, and merge themselves totally in American culture. In this process, they drop their unique identity and are a loss not only to India, but also to America, as they bring nothing new to American culture.
And because they do not stand out, they allow these multiple South Asian groups that sprout everywhere, to be dominated by hostile Indian Americans, who, for instance, convinced for 10 years the US Government to deny Modi a visa.
At the same time it is true that America, whatever its faults, has always stood up for freedom and democracy. It did so during the World War II, when it saved Europe from Nazi domination. It is doing so today, by being the only country in the world willing to take on terrorism head on. Americans are friendly, hard-working, and it should soon dawn upon them that India is their natural political ally, in an Asia confronted with terrorism born out of Pakistan, Afghanistan or Indonesia. It is also the obvious democratic, pro-Western and liberal economic destination to counter-balance China’s aggressive hegemony in Asia.
Meanwhile, it is very unfortunate that the second-highest Indian official in the US endorses and promotes anti-Indian agendas, whereas he should be the first one to hunt them out. This Nehruvian mindset in diplomats has got to go. – The Pioneer, 31 August 2014