As they were a few negative comments about my tweet on the Indian craze for the US, I thought that this article woul be appropriate. FG

WHAT IS IT TO BE AN INDIAN ABROAD TODAY ?

 San Francisco. What is it to be an Indian today? What is meant by Indian-ness ? What is it to be an Indian abroad – in the United States, for instance ? How much of yourself do you give to your American identity – and how much space do you preserve for your Indian-ness ? These are the questions that Indian expatriates should ask themselves today. For we see many of the children of Indians who settled in the US twenty or thirty years ago, merge themselves totally in the American way of life, speak with an American accent, eat Mac Donald, think American… and in the process forget all about their wonderful Indian culture…

 What is it in the American way of life, which fascinates so much Indians ? The fast life ? Right: fast is exciting; but Americans live so fast, eating their breakfast in their cars on the way to work, gulping down these huge amounts of meat and French fries at lunch or dinner, always on the move, that not only they often grow immensely fat, but also catch ulcers and get heart attacks by the time they reach sixty five. What else dazzles Indians in the American way of life ? The lights? True, New York is a fascinating city, with its illuminated skyscrapers, its million of pulsating lights, its giant electronic billboards, its fancy bars, that one feels a kind of throbbing vitality entering oneself as one walks the streets by night. But what a waste of energy, when the world is fast losing its sources of energies; and is isn’t this a kind of artificial vitality, that fades away when one wakes-up in the morning, with a hangover and one has to face the reality of life ? What else ? America’s Nature ? No doubt, the United States boasts some wonderful pieces of nature and Americans have shown us what it means to plant trees and live in a green environment: even Washington is densely wooded. But Nature can also be an illusion here: a highway is never very far from the forest, with its thousands of cars pouring out millions of cubic feet of carbon dioxide, which annihilates natures’ bounty, as the Los Angeles smog amply demonstrates. Besides, America is an unending suburban concrete jungle, with its boring repetition of mega stores, parking lots, and KFC’s. And when you have seen a city, you have seen them all. What else ? The “quality” of American life: barbecue parties, beaches, tattoos, fun and frolic? Yes, except that one out of three American couples divorce within three years, one out of four Americans consults a psychiatrist for depression, bulimia, schizophrenia or plain boredom, and American children regularly indulge in shooting other children, just because they are exposed to so much violence…

 

Is this the legacy you want to bequeath to your children, O Indian brothers and sisters, who are longing so much for the American way of life ? For this great brain drain, this bleeding of India’s heart and lungs, which has been going for so long, does not affect only the ordinary middle and upper class “secular” Indian, but also many good Hindus, who put their children in the best US universities and accept the fact that these children will settle in the American way of life and will probably never go back to India. True, their kids get heftier pay checks in the US , better facilities, they escape the Indian bureaucracy, red tape, corruption, slowness… But what are they going to bequeath to their own children in the long run: insecurity, violence, divorce, depression and above all their offspring, unknowingly, will be afflicted by a loss of identity : they will not know, nor feel anymore in themselves, as their grandparents did, this natural space of Indian-ness, which automatically confers certain qualities. What is that Indian-ness ?

 

Firstly and foremost: “I accept you; I accept that you may be White or Black, Red or Yellow, Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim”. Not only that, “but I am even ready to go and worship in a church or a mosque, besides my temple.” “I accept that my Gods are avatars, incarnations of the Divine, but so is Jesus Christ, and also Buddha and even Mohamed”. This an extraordinary statement and a marvellous instrument towards world peace, at a time when the two great monotheist religions of the world, Islam and Christianity still say: “there is only one true God in the world – mine- and if you worship any other god, you are an Infidel and a Pagan and it is my right to convert you by any means, or even to kill you”. The 11th September 2001 attacks are nothing but a result of that dangerous theorem. As a result, Indians adapt easily wherever they go, particularly in the West, as they are very open to western culture. Of course, Indians also go to the other extreme: “not only I accept you, but I am going to become exactly like you – no even Whiter than the White: I am going to denigrate my own culture, spit on my religion, belittle my countrymen”. This is why you come across so often in the US in negative articles on India written by Indians – nay by Hindus. The Gujurat massacres were actually a great opportunity for these Hindu haters, such as Pankaj Mishra, to come out full blast and prove to the world that India is a land of Hindu fundamentalists where nobody is safe, particularly the Muslims “who are regularly victims of pogroms”. P.Mishra conveniently forgot to mention that India is an extraordinary country of freedom, where all persecuted religious minorities in the world have found refuge over the centuries, whether the Jews, the Parsis, the Syrian Christians, or today the Tibetans.

 

What else ? “I have inherited from my ancestors the tools to become a better man, whatever my religion, ethnicity and profession: a better Christian, a better Hindu, a better Muslim, carpenter, or CEO, IT engineer, or sailor”. What are these tools ? Hata-yoga, India’s gift to the world, which has been copied and imitated everywhere (although Time magazine did a story on yoga without mentioning the name “India” once). What else ? Meditation, this extraordinary technique of coming back to one’s Self, of settling the mind and the body, which is today practiced by millions around the world – another bequest of India to humanity. Pranayama, the science of respiration, perfected by Indians for three millenniums. “Does the breath have any religion”, asks Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living movement, which has spread today in 150 countries ?

 

What first generations Indians in the States should ask themselves today is “How can I repay my debt to India” ? After all not only they got a nearly free education in India which was good enough for them to obtain well paid jobs in the US, but did they not also inherit that certain Indian-ness, which has been a great help to adapt to the American way of life? As for second, or third, or even fourth generations Indian Americans, what they should tell themselves is “”what can I do for my country” ? “In what way can I contribute to this great nation which is India, which is so maligned and sidelined in the United States” ? And the first thing they can do is to counteract the highly unfair and biased press coverage which India gets in America by writing to editors, or challenging the shameful coverage of New York Times (which went all out against Mr Narendra Modi a few months back), or canvassing their elected representatives.

 

Finally, Mr Obama thinks that the problem will be over once he fully withdraws his troops from Afghanistan. He makes a big mistake there: he should have given India a bigger say on the post Afghanistan scenario. By implicitly trusting Pakistan, who actually created the Taliban, he will leave chaos behind him. Afghanistan will be again the prey of the Taliban and jehadis will be free to fully direct their terror towards Kashmir and India – and eventually against the US, which they bitterly hate. Is it not time for Indians in the United States to exert influence on the US Congress and convince them that India is the natural ally – pro-western, democratic, liberal – in Asia, preyed by Islamic fundamentalism and hegemonic China? But for that, Hindu groups should start regrouping themselves under one single “Indian American” banner. They would thus become a powerful lobby, in the way the US Jewish influence American politics…

François Gautier

Advertisements

29 responses to “As they were a few negative comments about my tweet on the Indian craze for the US, I thought that this article woul be appropriate. FG

  1. They have real politicians , they are more practical , they respect their soldiers , they respect freedom ! Being honest sir , they are far better than us , indians . Not only americans but french , germans they are all good.. (overall) !
    With respect..
    Your follower .

  2. Sorry if you think i should read your article carefully . I did . You are right . But i live here . I’m an adult now . The thing is – you can find the best and the worst in india .

  3. Rohit Ranjan

    Sir,
    Being a student and and a Job-Seeker in India, it feels frustrated that even after studying so much and studying in NIT(NIT Warangal) we are not able to find a job of our choice.
    We have to struggle for getting a Job at our dream companies like Microsoft, Google and all, while our counterparts who went to USA and studied there are easily able to find jobs in these companies.
    Competition there is way less than here and education quality is far better than here. And the level of frustration, I feel the students here are very frustrated.

  4. Hah.. rohit you are in NIT , think about the students from private colleges ! I am in second year and being honest i lost all interest in education after 4-5th day of my college . They ask us to complete lab files and copy lab practicals . Lol. I just cant discuss about every demerit . Indian technical education is just pathetic . There is just a rush in society to be an engineer . Being an iitian is everything in indian society . Though i really dont know how much they contribute as they just migrate away .

    In brief … its really really hard to survive in this overpopulated nation. I feel so choaked . Ahh… only death can bring peace to me ( dont get too serious , i over react some times 😉 ! , but i am serious man ) god . There is NO god .

  5. Great thinking.

  6. A very incise riposte to all the naysayers Francois ! Ours is a society which has become alienated from its roots and we are a people who have forgotten to stake pride in our indianness….centuries of invasion & occupation is no excuse for our meek subjugation for everything foreign. We need to rediscover our illustrious ancestors & reconnect with our roots and for that to happen we need to begin in our classrooms. Indian children are learning about India’s subjugation & humiliation by Ghazni, Ghori, Babar, Aurangazeb, Alaudin Khilji, Robert Clive, Dalhousie, Curzon, Cornwallis et al rather than the true glories of India in the fields of Art, Architecture, Astronomy & Science long before the West had any inkling of that.We’re bringing up generations of Indians with low self esteem & self worth about their Indianness and this perverse situation has to be changed… with the change emanating from our classrooms !

  7. Dear FG, Thanks. Your article shows 1) goodness of India to be remembered 2) POA to counter anti-India stories by people of Indian origin, living abroad. Negative comments by some readers have come from ideas embedded in them by oppressors who had enslaved and robbed culturally and financially rich India. They will gradually change with ideas you and many other intellectuals, Hindu-enthusiasts are trying to spread as life-mission.

  8. Reblogged this on mehtasp and commented:
    Seems to be so true..

  9. Francois: I feel that Indians are attracted towards USA mainly because the day-to-day life is generally easier, or at least it seems to be so. The place is cleaner (till you realize that it is full of colorless,odorless chemicals), there is constant water supply (full of chlorine and other treatments), and no shortage of electricity (with is also true of my native place in Chhattisgarh) . It is relatively easier to deal with government (e.g. DMV if you take a prior appointment), there is no corruption (till you experience otherwise), there is ample supply of fruits, vegetable and foods (till you realize that they are all genetically modified, and have residual pesticides/insecticides) and people are polite (till you realize that it is superficial). In other words, the grass is greener on the other side, until you look closely. Om.

  10. Sir, I’ll say again that you are more Indian than me – A proud Indian.
    Hardik Naman

  11. Nachiket Parashar

    Rightly said Sir. Religions & sects, which fight bitterly in other countries, exists peacefully in India. Indianness is a gel, a unifying force, that is our Identity. It is other new religions, which believe in conversion, cannot co-exists with non-believers. Western scholars in pre & post Indian independence has deliberately & knowingly belittled Indian greatness so much that we have lost faith in ourselves. Most scholars have tried to show India in bad lights & her achievement always as negatives. Indian psyche has to rise from the ashes to present to the World a peaceful existence.

  12. Nachiket Parashar

    Sir, western views criticized Narendra Modi for Gujarat riots of 2002 because they could not believe that any culture / religion can be tolerant as Hinduism so they had to show Narendra Modi as Hindu and radical. There religion & culture & of Mid-East does not allow them to grow above radical nature of a religion. Hinduism is much above all this and is in-comprehensive to western & mid-east minds.

  13. Every body need green pasture , no body want to work for the development of country.American work for society. Today people become so selfish they do not think,which country need them more Doctors study in India and settled abroad.i am working with many Americans but find Indian people more happy in all situation.Indians still have value.

  14. Some of the above comments appear to have missed Francois’s point completely. He is not advocating that Indians remain in India & shun opportunities or “green pastures” abroad. What he is saying is, wherever you live,
    lead a full Indian way of life, spread the Indian word around, advocate on behalf of India, lobby strongly as one group for the larger wellbeing of India & the advancement of India’s interests, which is exactly what i’m doing living deep in the Northern English countryside….You can be a proud Indian no matter where you live & just as you send money back to your parents you can send glory back to your Motherland !

  15. Sivakumar you are very write, no need to loose your identity. Like a crow cannot become swan, both have their own identity and qualities.similarly a Indian will always remain india.when he will be in USA he was always addressed as Indian even after many generations.

  16. Nachiket Parashar

    @Sivakumar. Agree but some of his points bring out these thoughts.

  17. Sivakumar you are very write, no need to loose your identity. Like a crow cannot become swan, both have their own identity and qualities.similarly a Indian will always remain india.when he will be in USA he was always addressed as Indian even after many generations.////It is poorly spelled and written pieces like this one that will forever hold back the Indian scholar…you have to Master the English language not use stilted phrases like “The Then Minister”

  18. Hi FG, It seems that you have good intentions for India and so does the majority of Indian. We are Indians and what qualities you have mentioned are equally applicable to Hindus/ Muslims / Sikhs / Buddhists / Christians etc. It might be possible that did not get enough time to write this article more elaborate to support all claims but It seem that, you simply do not have enough exposure to India or Indian-ness. OR also you might have read on only on few aspects. May be if we can more one to one communication, we can exchange more views on ground realities. Your article is simply inclined towards Hindus. I am a born Hindu too but I do not agree with some of your agreed views, simply because I have lived this religion what you are talking about. I have studied this religion. I have seen/experienced, it’s bright face and dark face both. I am simply not flattered by your good saying about my very own country.

  19. Nilesh, Remember you are Indian by accident, Francois is Indian by choice ! If you disagree with some of his views, say so & debate it, rather than flaunt your Indianness and accuse him of knowing less than you.It’s utter fallacy to say that FG does not have enough exposure to India or Indianness. While i respect your right to disagree with him, i have no idea what is it that you are disagreeing with. Make your views clearer !

  20. Nachiket Parashar

    @Nilesh, this is like incumbency factor. Indian culture is very old so it’s bad face has to show up over such a long period of time. Especially when other cultures / religions are trying to show us our ugly side by exaggerating it. Yet, Interestingly it’s good side is still relevant. And remember, every culture / religion has an ugly side and Indians tend to introspect and see bad in ourselves and search for good in others this freedom is lacking in other cultures.

  21. amrita singh

    This article does not make sense as it is not well a researched article. It is one-sided. A very many Indians do not eat at McDonalds – the ones in India eat there more than the Indians in the US. Life is very tough in India mainly inequaiity amongst the sexes, illiteracy, lack of real police, lack of jobs for all, lack of cleanliness, lack of clean and secure facilities etc etc. Indians are not hard working they are not healthy, they are rude, dirty and the roads are disgusting. Children are treated as garbage and there are no child labor laws, child protection laws, mandatory child education laws. Even with the laws no one really cares. Sorry did not even fully read this article – boring, one-sided and not entirely truthful.

  22. I would just like to say to your commentators, that Indians who live abroad see what they are missing – I for one am missing the beauty of the Himalayas, the mighty Ganges,and the vast land mass with the colourful culture. I am prepared to let go of everything Amrita you said because people are showing awareness at the media level – people like Amir Khan in Satyameva jayate. I was glued to his programmes and the ingenuity the people of India have to deal with the above mentioned problems. People have voted and voted right for Narendra Modiji, and may start seeing change sooner that they had thought. Change comes from within, and everyone has to change themselves – then it will not be necessary to teach anybody the right way.

  23. FG, Thank you for reminding us about what our country has offered us and that its essential to give back to our nation. Excellent article and a direct reminder that instead of complaining about what we did not get, we should focus on what our nation has offered to us. Most students in USA struggle with student loans for years together because America does not subsidize higher education unlike India and yet the educated first generation Indians tend to forget that we studied in reputed colleges in India practically for FREE. The high paying jobs we enjoy in USA is courtesy the Indian education system.

  24. Amrita Singh

    To all those who are under some kind of illusion and whoever is using my name in their article and making it personal, I still don’t agree. How many times have you been to the Himalayas and the dirty Ganges. Being in a dream world is great. But that is not the truth. Many Indians are doing a lot for the country of their origin. Do I feel safe in India. NO. If something happens and I need the police, will I get appropriate help – the answer is NO. Feeling patriotic and love for the country where you were born and raised is great and most people feel that way but the reality is it is a dirty, unhealthy, and unsafe country with bad infrastructure, drunk drivers who are not arrested, accidents, disrespect to women to the dirtiest levels and no laws against the perpetretors, kidnappings and murders and nobody to solve them. Rude rude people kissing up to the goras and nasty to their own kind (no self respect). So Ms himalayas and ganges come down to the ground reality. The majority of the Indians are not getting this so called free education. Many students in the US also have their parents who support them and those who don’t have loan facilities. Subsides and scholarships are available in the US as well. Most Indian students get their tuition waived in the US and most higher education students get paid or haveTAship so why are you not grateful for that. Why should the Americans do that for foreigners? – but they do it. From the minute you set foot in India, people are trying to rip you off. So, please don’t start a topic that is fake. Giving subsidies to SC/ST and OBC with 40 – 50% marks and giving these idiots admissions to medical schools and engineering colleges is harmful to the growth of the country. Give free education to the SC/ST and OBC who do well (obtain 90% and above) and who really need them as opposed to the rich builders, politician kids etc who are SC/ST and do lousy in their tests and are incapable imbeciles. Indian education system is not one of the best in the world. It is nothing but memorizing without critical thinking. What jobs are you talking about in the US? computer programmers? Sorry I don’t think credit for that goes to the Indian education system. Indians speak English and are cheap laborers – that’s all. True patriotism and love for the country is to recognize the issues and resolve them and not sit in your comfortable homes in US and be in La La land and dream world.

  25. Amrita Singh

    American kids do not “regularly” shoot other kids. In addition, Americans have access to psychiatric help which is majorly lacking in India. People from minor to severe mental health issues have very little access to treatment and counseling in India. They are called mad which they are not. There is a huge stigma attached to mental health issues and therefore many are left untreated and become failures in society. The divorce rates are higher in the US because women have those options and there is a welfare system in place. This is non-existent in India. Most Indian women stay in bad relations because they have nowhere to go. Many live and die in abuse. America is not perfect but in reality India lags far behind.

  26. Nachiket Parashar

    Inspite of all of her drawbacks, why does India attract citizens of developed Nations so much? Many have settled in India. They have left all the comforts of developed Nation for India. Maybe she has a charm which due to proximity we cannot see. I am Indian living in India but will not settle down anywhere else.

  27. amrita singh is a typical white washed Indian woman. francois gautier has never said it better for I am an NRI living in Canada and I completely agree with you sir Francois gautier

  28. Neetin Ranade

    What amazes me is the typical horrible attitude of Indians towards other Indians in the US as well as in India. It is funny, but their bearing and body language towards other Indians seems rude and brusque ! On the other hand I have found from my experience that mostly white people have been more polite, professional and helpful to me than Indians. They also have kinder attitude towards young children for the most part, irrespective of the race the child belongs to.

    What are we supposed to do ? Ignore what we find good in American Society and keep harping on the “supposed” greatness of India ?

    Though I admire Mr Gautier’s intentions in defending all that is Indian, I am a little disappointed that while making claims of Indian tolerance, he fails to mention the indignities that Indian society has heaped on the lower castes for ages. And by the way I am a Chitpavan Brahmin – a brahmin of the highest possible order. But truth has to be stated however bitter it may be since it is the first step towards making amends. Isn’t it ? That is what the American Society has done. It has broadly acknowledged that slavery was a sin and has (and is) making vigorous effort to take remedial action.

    There are good and bad people in every society. There are wonderful, well meaning and bright Indians that I am associated with; but they are far and few between.

    Indian Schools should change their curriculum and start teaching the valor of our great kings/queens like Shivaji and Maharana Pratap, Maharani Lakshmi Bai; great scholars like Ramanujan and Hargobind Khurana. My point is we need to bring to light greatness and accomplishments of our own people – there and innumerable examples that you can find. This should help instill a sense of pride in Indians of being Indian This will help them deal with other Indians with respect.

    Just by reciting that we are great and tolerant and wonderful is not going to help.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s