I hate the United States for what it has done and keeps doing to a section of its own people.
When I started living in the US as an Indian emigré, what intrigued me was that the Indian community believed it to be indistinguishable from the whites. Unquestionably, the Indians have done well in the US and become the most successful community in its history, besting even the Jewish record in terms of individual affluence and community status. But, socially, they remain clearly what sociologists call an outgroup. They are a minority community and will remain one for the foreseeable future, their destiny tied with that of other minority communities like the African Americans and the Hispanics. They must do what they are loath to do: identify with the cause of the Hispanics and African Americans and fight against the pervasive evil of inequality. Nothing is more laughable than the pains of Indians arranging religious rituals for the success of Trump, who despises non-white groups with instinctive disdain, or Indians who have attained US citizenship trying to align with political groups that have historically kept minority groups at arm’s length. White America does not accept Indians as equals and will not do so in the foreseeable future. The spurning of Priyanka Chopra for a movie role because she is brown is only the latest tell-tale sign.
I grew up in Kolkata, which still bore the trappings of a capital city, of no less than a territory of the British empire. I lived in a house that bordered on a large Hindu community with its own temple and tradition and an even larger if poorer Muslim contingent that had its own mosque. It was not far from a Buddhist temple and an important Jain hospital. Practically facing the hospital was a tall Episcopal church and an adjacent Christian compound. A large number of Indians spoke Bengali and Hindi interchangeably, some of us spoke English, but our gardener spoke Oriya, our guard spoke Bhojpuri and our father’s factotum was most comfortable in Urdu. But we were a family and a community, and we saw ourselves as of one land. We played football, hockey and badminton, and other games I have forgotten. We were happy.
That was the India, the land of my birth, I loved.