When otherwise intelligent, thinking people get all misty-eyed and begin identifying with and feeling proud of the successes of Indians ~ using the term in the loosest possible manner ~ abroad who at best have an extremely tangential connection with the nation of their ancestors’ birth, it is time for us as a society to begin to worry.
It matters not a whit to the mostly mindless and always breathless media which is happy to run allegedly human-interest stories in a loop featuring hordes of fourth cousins, the neighbours whose grandparents went to school with the granduncle of the appropriated ‘Indian’ or a gaggle of old teachers of the person of interest’s aunt by marriage.
And why should it? They have a business to run and they have captive consumers seemingly collectively afflicted by the Stockholm Syndrome so all’s well on the TRP/circulation/click bait front. The loser is India, an ancient nation but still a young state, where the forging of a liberal, modern nation-state premised on the innumerable progressive aspects of an Indic civilisational ethos is still very much a work in progress.
If you have been guessing, you’ve guessed right. Because it is the Indian reaction, rather the reactions of Indians, to the political success of US Vice- President elect Kamala Harris which has sparked this festive non-cheer. Here’s a left radical (in the US context) statist, successful and brilliant politician who has overcome the colour prejudice in America – she, incidentally, identifies as Black ~ to make it to the second-most powerful post in that country.
We wish her well. But New Delhi is obviously and correctly wary of her ideological bias and will, as it ought, remain implacably opposed to her utterances and/or policy prescriptions towards India when they harm the national interest.
The fact that she has an Indian parent is neither here nor there. The eulogisation of Harris is, of course, only the latest example of Indians making consummate asses of themselves when they seek to showcase a rather pathetic, contextfree ‘connect’ to second-generation and in some cases even third-generation high-achieving citizens of foreign countries on the flimsy basis of phenotype.
Sociologists and psychiatrists will make of this phenomenon what they will. All we can do is underline the fact that it is perfectly natural for any cohesive nation to cheer on one of its own who has made a name or achieved fame in countries around the globe.
As long she is an Indian citizen and our excitement is not premised on an Indian-sounding middle name, as it were. The nation-state is going to be the most enduring, basic unit of international relations and interactions for the foreseeable future. Let’s act like we get it.