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Being Indian Abroad

It takes a Frenchman in India to tell it like it is about Indians abroad.

Francois Gautier has penned two extraordinarily relevant and fluent articles, about being an Indian abroad.

  1. What is it about America that fascinates so many Indians?
  2. Is America really the benevolent, casteless society?

I’m now in USA since 1998. Before that I was in France since 1996. Quite frankly, I think Europe and Europeans are much more open than US and Americans. But, that apart, I find myself agreeing to every one of Mr. Gautier’s view points.

I will certainly not have the conveniences I’ve in America, when I’m in India, but I was an Indian, am an Indian and will be an Indian. I don’t particularly care for Hinduism or any other religion; but my nationality, I’m proud of it.

Yes, India is impoverished, developing, every day it amazes me how our young nation still holds up as one nation with its various divisions, violent and polluted. But, it is a democracy. It is a democracy that openly admits when it has been wrong. In US, I believe, there is a tendency to push debates under the carpet in the name of "patriotism".

Yesterday, a young colleague asked me whether I think about how I grew up in a small village and is now in Washington DC. No, I don’t. Whether it is my village or Washington DC, it is still another place in the Earth, where mother nature has made familiar things. DC and other American cities have lots of man made wonders, but I don’t find these continually amazing.

Quite a few Indian friends here smirk at me when I say that I miss India. And openly express contempt when my wife and I say we want to go back to India. Perhaps they should read Mr. Gautier’s articles.

Note: I don’t hate America. I just feel it is not as open a society as it claims to be. It certainly has the potential to be that, but past often castes a longer and baleful shadow here than in India.

  1. Doesnt it feel strange that a temporal occurence (your birth in Kerala or India) is such a strong part of your identity.
    Have your ever wondered how would it be if you were born in Sri Lanka or Brunei.
    Or if you were born in a small country that was later under occupation.
    I used to have strong nationalistic views, but lately I consider myself a human with all the fellow human beings who inhabit earth.

    Posted by: shakeel on March 4, 2003 12:12 PM
  2. Please avoid publishing articles that are deviod of any logic. It consists of nothing but absurd comparisons.

    Posted by: sharad on May 25, 2003 02:27 AM
  3. #2 - which article are you talking about? Francois Gautier's? Or my notes above? Well, I'm an Indian abroad and I liked Mr. Gautier's articles. I don't see any absurd comparisons - I see relevant comparisons instead.

    I guess one man's logic can be another one's belly ache. I'm comfortable with that. It would be nice if others are too :-)

    Posted by: Babu on May 25, 2003 09:24 AM
  4. i dont know what to say

    Posted by: chirag on June 1, 2004 11:41 PM
  5. i too find that indians who have recently immigrated here, disdain missing india and laugh at thinking about returning to the motherland. but, i have been in DC for fifteen years and would love to go back, provided i can make a living of some sort. doesn't have to be fancy either.
    i agree american society is not that open to new ideas or cultures, except maybe in the big cities. the gov. is a pseudo democracy with both the parties being practically the same and no real debate about important issues going on. i think europeans are much more liberal and there are some offbeat indians, whom you meet here and there, who are so cultured and open minded that the mind boggles.

    Posted by: sunny on June 3, 2004 01:43 AM
  6. i too miss india a lot. despite it's many shortcomings, there are many good things as well. it will always be a part of my soul.

    Posted by: sunny on June 17, 2004 05:30 AM