Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint
Illustration by Soham Sen | ThePrint
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The excitement Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate has caused in India is understandable. She is half-Indian. Also, half-Jamaican and now a full American, but never mind. The big question is, because of her Indian origin, will she favour her ‘mother’ country, or be hostile to it to prove she is more American than Americans? This week, we are arguing why this is such a vacuous and nonsensical debate.

Whenever somebody with such a globalised genetic mix becomes famous, we Indians are quick to pronounce that the better half of her came from us, especially if the other parent hails from a smaller nation. As for Sunita Williams earlier, and now Kamala Harris. If it’s an Indian immigrant, whatever generation, anybody powerful, rich and famous is ours.

Montek Singh Ahluwalia would forgive me for using a line too brilliant to be repeated anonymously: In a cricket match, he said, there are batsmen and bowlers. But some spectators just jump in on the pitch whenever somebody scores a hundred. We Indians are often like that, he said.

I was in Class 9 at the humble Sanatan Dharma Higher Secondary School in Panipat in 1968 when Har Gobind Khorana won his Nobel Prize in medicine, and we claimed him as our own immediately. Our science teacher walked into the class beaming that morning claiming that “Har Gobind” wasn’t just his old school buddy, he (the teacher) was the brighter of the two, but couldn’t go to America due to family limitations. Khorana had been naturalised as an American in 1966.

We Indians are a large gene pool and we happily scatter it across the world. Which is a wonderful thing. But we become foreign then. Should Britain see Rishi Sunak and Priti Patel as Indians first? Or Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Nisha Biswal and Richard Verma in America? However, it doesn’t stop so many of us in India from continuing to believe and insinuate passionately that the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is a ‘bloody’ Pakistani.

The presumption that a naturalised foreign citizen will be inclined towards you, and have all her old beliefs of religion, caste, ethnicity and nationalism endorsed on her new passport, is very much a small-nationality complex. It is odd that the large, nuclear-powered nations of the subcontinent also wallow in it.

Many Pakistanis and Indians both think Ilhan Omar wants Kashmir to go to Pakistan because she’s Muslim. Or emphasise on Barack Obama’s middle name, Hussein. This also leads to a Moeen Ali or Monty Panesar being called ‘gaddar’ (traitor) in Pakistan or India respectively for their betrayal of getting our batsmen out. Of course, we prefer Charles Sobhraj to be French.


Also read: Kamala Harris is vocal on Kashmir, ‘unbreakable bond’ with India & loves her idli-sambhar


This obsession with who is pro- or anti-India is particularly pronounced when it comes to American public figures. So, just as Kennedy was our best friend, Nixon was the worst enemy. And in which box would you put Bill Clinton? We will pick up this thread again soon.

From the late 1980s to the early 1990s, when India’s relations with the US were still taut and distant, New York Congressman Stephen Solarz emerged as the true champion of better ties with India. He was immediately hailed as a friend of India, or pro-India. It was variously attributed to his Indian immigrant voter base or his Jewish faith (India loves Israel loves India). Similarly, some, at various points of time have been called pro-Pakistan.

It was then that some of us got a tutorial from late Prof. Stephen P. Cohen. All of you err, he said, when you call Steve Solarz pro-India or someone else anti-India. “They are none of that,” he said. “They are pro-America.” It is just that one thinks better ties with India are good for the US and the other might prefer Pakistan.

That’s the test we need to apply to Kamala Harris now. It is OK for us all to carry stories and videos on her fine masala dosa-making skills, idli-sambar love, or as we notice on Tam-Brahm Twitter, Mylapore and Besant Nagar in Chennai fighting over who owns her. But to think that her view on India will be coloured by her DNA is nonsense.

The best thing about democracy is that by the time leaders reach a level where they begin to matter to you, there is enough spoken, printed and analysed about them to know where they are coming from.

There is no need, in that case, for reporters to keep chasing her Indian uncle with the same question: What will inform her approach to India, her origin or her commitment to human rights? She has spoken, written and acted enough on liberal, human rights issues. At the same time, she was the attorney general of California and tough as nails with criminals, many of them Black.


Also read: ‘Why did it take so long?’ Kamala Harris’ uncle in Delhi says not surprised by VP nomination


Once we make a new beginning, as we must, presuming Harris to be an American like any other, we can take this argument forward. And pick up that Bill Clinton thread. Was he a good American president for India or not? The answer is, both. In fact, in the long succession of post-Cold War US Presidents, he was the worst yet, in his first term, and the best, in his second.

His first term began while the dust had still not settled on the fall of the Berlin Wall. India, at that time, was going through a prolonged political and economic crisis. Between 1989 and 1991, we were already on to our fourth prime minister in P.V. Narasimha Rao.

In the summer of 1991, we were in the IMF’s darbar to borrow, and mortgaging our gold reserves. The Punjab insurgency was at its bloodiest, and Kashmir picked up too. The fightback by the Rao government was determined, if brutal. It brought a big push-back from the Western human rights community. The first Clinton Administration was caught up in it. That’s when even the accession of Kashmir to India was questioned.

Simultaneously, there was pressure from the non-proliferation lobby to get India off the nuclear kerb, ending with a widely popular belief that in the winter of 1995, Rao had wanted to carry out nuclear tests, but he was thwarted by Clinton. Remember, however, Clinton was still there, in his second term, when India did finally test, under Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998.

How that played out in India-US ties is very well documented, especially with the two key negotiators, Jaswant Singh and Strobe Talbott, writing books about it. From having threatened and ‘stopped’ India, to now easing it into the responsible nuclear weapons club, all happened under Clinton.

In 1999, he got the Pakistanis to behave on Kargil, and made a visit to the subcontinent where he spent no more than a few scores of minutes in Pakistan. All he did on that short stopover was to remind the Pakistanis, somewhat menacingly, that lines on the map of the subcontinent could no longer be redrawn in blood. Now, that wasn’t the Clinton of his first term.

What changed between Clinton’s two terms? Did he sit under some oak equivalent of the Bodhi Tree for his enlightenment? What changed was India’s economy, and thereby its global stature. The Rao-Manmohan reform began in the summer of 1991. From a perennial concern, India had transformed into a global opportunity. It was India that changed, not Clinton. He was still doing what he thought was best for America.

That is the lesson now. For India to have its stature and respect in global power capitals, it has to focus back on its economy, internal cohesion and external security. Our country has slipped back on all three in the past three years. Fans of the Modi government will contest this, but even they will concede that the economy has been in a free-fall for three years. What it looks like next January will influence Kamala Harris’s view on India, not her genetics. That is, if the Biden ticket wins.


Also read: These are the assets and liabilities Kamala Harris brings to the Biden campaign


 

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41 Comments Share Your Views

41 COMMENTS

  1. … if the Biden ticket wins. That’s a crucial point. If kamala Harris is seen as too much to the Left, middle Americans may just go for Trump. Also Biden’s age and health may make many voters feel they don’t want Kamala as a default Prez , if something happens to Biden.

  2. SG for once wrote an article with a clear and unambiguous conclusion ‘For India to have its stature and respect in global power capitals, it has to focus back on its economy, internal cohesion and external security. Our country has slipped back on all three in the past three years. Fans of the Modi government will contest this, but even they will concede that the economy has been in a free-fall for three years.’

    Fans of the chai wallah don’t concede the economy has gone down, they believe India is a vishwa guru.

    Trump was their Great Hindu Hope. Although he was quite contemptous of Modi, Hindus supported him on the grounds he was anti-Muslim. With Biden/Harris, they are not going to have that. In fact, this duo might be critical of Hindu fanaticism. Lately, the minorities and secular NRIs have got organised and used the US system to check the Sanghis. The Sanghis had a free run in the US for the last 20 years, but there is push back now. Tulsi Gabbard was the Sanghi’s Hindu Hope, but her chances were scuttled because anti fascists like Peter Friedrich investigated her Sanghi finance and exposed it in time.

    Under Modi, as SG has mentioned, the economy is gone, so there is nothing particularly attractive about India. As Kissinger said, India is the largest unimportant country. It started becoming important due to MMS, but now it is restored to an empty Hindu windbag.

  3. Before I say anything else, I am impressed with the thoughtfulness and intelligence of the various posts here, even those which disagree with each other. It is refreshing to see.

    I am not Indian, nor Hindu, but I have a front row seat to the US politics show. I firmly believe a Biden / Harris win would be bad for India. Is she American first? Does she consider herself black or Indian? Honestly everything said towards any of those possibilities, is all about the politics of trying to win the election. I believe where her allegiances lay, are with the Democratic Party. Traditionally that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but the democrat party has tumbled down a dark pit of marxist cultism.

    By far the biggest outside influence on the US election is China. And they are supporting the democratic party at an unprecedented level, to try to get Trump out of the way. Trump initially approached China with open arms, but firm demands regarding the imbalance of trade. China didn’t like it, at all. China then jerked the US around with trade deal negotiations, and then immediately not honoring them. And then there’s the WuFlu… and the white house knows exactly where that came from, and what kind of research led to it. As a result, Trump is now the most anti-China US president since the Korean war. In June the US moved massive amounts of military into close proximity with China, and then in July began systematically dismantling the relationship between the US and China. Basically the US and China are getting a divorce, and Trump is filing the paperwork.

    In the absence of there being any future for a US-China relationship, India springs up as an immediately obvious trade partner replacement. India shares a similar basic ideological compass with India (unlike China). Indian workers are significantly better skilled than Chinese. India has a long track record of being politically reasonable and even handed. Indian companies are far less likely than chinese companies to lie, cheat, and steal from their partners. India should always have been the obvious trade partner choice.

    But if the democrat party takes the white house in November, that process of the US divorcing from China will immediately cease. As the modern democrat party (and Biden personally) have incredibly close ties. It’s not a matter of what race Harris is, or whether she considers herself Indian or black, or even a matter of what makes sound economic policy. It should be based on sound economic policy, but corruption in the modern democratic party runs too deep now for sound policy to be a deciding factor. For the democrats, “it’s the economy stupid” should be a sound argument, but it falls on deaf ears, as they are already bought and paid for by China.

    I’m not saying Trump is an eloquent speaker, he never pre-writes speeches, and often says things poorly. He’s a philanderer as well. But he is quite capable at economics, and (now) also “deeply” embittered towards China, and seeks to build a vast international trade relationship which excludes China as much as possible.

    Anyway, the polls are not particularly accurate. The main stream media in the US is possibly even more bought off by China than the democrat party. Don’t make the assumption that polls exist to inform people of what is likely to happen in the election. The purpose of polls (unfortunately) is to try to shape public opinion and influence public action. There have been leaks of ‘actual’ poll numbers, which are not published by the media, and they are about 50/50. I’d argue that Trumps odds are greater than 50/50 though, because there are far-left communists who create a violent backlash, or try to antagonize the employment of anyone who speaks out against the left or the democrats. People on one side are far less inclined to share who they are voting for. There are many who dislike the left in secret, and would not answer a poll. On the other hand, the democrat party looks poised to commit voting fraud on an unprecedented scale. So the result of the 2020 US election really is very unknown.

    I could be wrong, but I really do believe that it is best for India that Trump wins in 2020. That was perhaps not the case in 2016, but things have changed considerably since then. As for what is best for the US… if Trump wins, the far left will create as much civil unrest as they can, it will be hard on certain cities. And Trump will continue to divorce China and seek other trade relationships, with India among others. If Trump loses… I’ll just say things are very tense.

    Anyway, whatever proves to be more factually correct, and whatever happens, best wishes to all of you in India.
    “For India to have it’s stature and respect in global power capitals, it has to focus back on it’s economy, internal cohesion and external security.” better words than anything that makes it into print in US media.

    And just to tease Pramod Patil a little, personally I frequently ask foreign guests to the US what they think of the US. Although with the circus which is our media, along with some historic international disgraces, I sometimes dread the answer.

    • Mind boggling that despite your supposed “front row seat to the US politics show”, your analysis is tremendously superficial on the economics and utterly abysmal on the “political economy” aspects of US politics. Your “analysis” does not build upon an understanding of the nature of the economies in the 3 countries involved viz. USA, China & India and the lack of convergence of interests here. For instance, you do not square Modi’s “atmanirbhar” or self-sufficiency ideology with the US desire to market products to India. Indeed, even an elementary SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) would have shown that India cannot replace China as a manufacturing hub for the US. India simply does not possess the manufacturing infrastructure – its strengths are largely in services.

      But let me start with the many political falsehoods about the Democratic party that you propagate here. In reality, your vacuous post is subtle marketing for the misogynistic, nepotistic, racist, tax dodging, Manchurian candidate answering to Putin and who would actually be inflicting lasting democracy on US democracy with another 4 years at the helm. And paradoxically, the man who rails against the Chinese is himself a large scale importer of cheap Chinese steel, but that is another story.

      You make the preposterous claim: “the democrat party looks poised to commit voting fraud on an unprecedented scale”. It is odd that a chap who claims to have a “front row seat to the US politics show” forgets that it Is Republicans who have engaged in massive voter suppression over the years through tactics such as gerrymandering, denying voting rights to blacks and minorities, making it hard for blacks and minorities to vote, having fewer polling booths and machines in black districts and so on. And a new tactic has been hatched by your fascist friend – sabotaging of mail in ballots by defunding the post office. In the state of Maine, post boxes are being removed so that people cannot post mail and nearly 700 postal sorting machines are being junked. Never mind the fact that in these COVID times, millions of people depend on the postal services for their unemployment benefits, medicines, goods ordered online and so on. Indeed, even Republicans have come out against this tactic. And you have the temerity to suggest that Democrats are indulging in voter fraud? Who the bloody hell do you work for ? QAnon ? Steve Bannon ? That closet Nazi in the White House Stephen Miller? Ivanka Trump ? Kissinger Lite a.k.a. Jared Kushner ? Vladimir Putin? Overseas Friends of the BJP ?

      Sticking to economics. About Trump, you make the utterly ludicrous claim “he is quite capable at economics” !!!!!!!! Well, the man went bankrupt twice, drove every firm he built to the ground, is being investigated for tax fraud, never pays his bills to small suppliers, preferring instead to sue them. Trump does not know how to run his own companies. And as regards the economy of the US, Trump inherited a well running economy from 2 terms of continuous economic growth under Barack Obama. Indeed, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed by Obama started more than a decade of continuous economic growth.

      After the global financial crisis of 2008, the economy of the US when Obama took over in 2009 showed the following GDP growth rate figures in %:

      2009: -2.9%
      2010: 2.6%
      2011: 1.6%
      2012: 2.2%
      2013: 1.9%
      2014: 2.5%
      2016: 1.8%
      2017: 2.4%
      2018: 2.9%
      2019: 2.3%
      (Ref: bit.ly/2DPoSbT)

      And despite all his tall claims, the US economy has not done better under Trump. Some highlights:

      1: GDP growth hasn’t reached Trump’s 3% or higher goal
      2: Manufacturing jobs hurt by the trade wars
      3: Job growth has plateaued
      4. Federal budget deficit ballooning above $1 trillion
      5: Trade deficit has grown despite the trade wars
      6: U.S. goods exports to China have fallen, hurting companies and farmers
      (Ref: bit.ly/3h6iStq)

      And then we have not figured in the social costs of nearly 4 years with this flatulent fascist that you admire: the polarisation of American society, the encouragement of racism, the blatant nepotism, sidelining of honest bureaucrats and their replacement by Trump loyalists who do his bidding, the unmarked police cars that whisk away demonstrators, the promotion of bizarre QAnon conspiracy theories and so on. Not to forget the promotion of hydroxychloroquine and UV lights to cure COVID !!!!

      This vacuous post of yours spreading canards and falsehoods about US politics and the Democrats ought to have been fact checked and trashed by The Print and not published. Sadly that has not happened.

      Stalin once said:

      “It is not the voting that matters but the counting”.

      I wouldn’t put it past your fascist friend Trump to prove Stalin right.

  4. TEBBIT TESTS EVERYWHERE !!

    An excellent article by Mr Shekhar Gupta.

    It is interesting that he brought in the names of cricketers like Monty Panesar and Moeen Ali into the debate because cricket in the UK has been dragged into a discussion about where one’s loyalties lie. And not the loyalties of the players but that of the spectators.

    Cricket matches in England draw immigrant fans from former colonies who watch these matches with great gusto. And these immigrants almost always root for the foreign team, not for England where they live and often happen to be 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants. That led Tory MP Lord Norman Tebbitt to suggest that immigrants rooting for England was a true sign of loyalty and assimilation whilst applauding for India, Pakistan or W.Indies was a sign of questionable loyalties. As Lord Tebbit himself put it:

    “.. “A large proportion of Britain’s Asian population fail to pass the cricket test,” .. “Which side do they cheer for? It’s an interesting test. Are you still harking back to where you came from or where you are?”

    (Ref: bit.ly/2Y4qC7U)

    It is important to stress that Lord Tebbit did not question the loyalties of immigrant origin cricketers but immigrant origin fans. Thus Monty Panesar, Ravi Bopara, Moeen Ali etc. were not suspect but immigrant fans who often singled out immigrant players for their boos and never cheered England.

    Likewise, I would not question the loyalties of people elected to public office. Kamala Harris bats, bowls and fields for USA, not Madras or Jamaica. Joe Biden’s Irish roots do not reduce his patriotism to the US and so on.

    But the bigger questions are:

    1: Will Hindu NRIs in USA, particularly those who are citizens or are aiming for citizenship – and who isn’t in these Modi times – pass the Tebbit test and do what is best for their adopted country ? Or will they succumb to the machinations of the notorious Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) and vote for Trump as some Hindus in India want them to? Never mind the fact that Trump has hurt the Indian economy with his H1B visa policies, has mocked Indian call centres, mocked Modi’s Gujarathi accent and so on. But my own anecdotal – I reiterate anecdotal – chats with people I know in the US points to the latent Islamophobia in Indian Hindus surfacing a lot. As a fellow I know from the OFBJP put it: “I will vote for Trump because he puts Muslims in their place”.

    It is worth remembering that OFBJP was deemed as an illegal meddler in UK politics when it tried to blackmail Labour into adopting an India friendly stance in the Kashmir issue. It is a well known fact that China and Russia will be meddling in the US elections and that is going to invite a lot of surveillance from the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Going by the clumsy way the BJP tries to use lobbyists and overseas gaurakshaks like the OFBJP, Modi’s India is doing its best to be associated with the same nasty gang viz. China & Russia.

    2: Will the polarisation between NRIs on the basis of religion which sometimes mirrors events in India split the Indian NRI vote along religious lines? Again, anecdotally, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians seem to be extremely wary of Modi’s Hindu Rashtra push and dismantling of secularism in the classic Golwalkarian fashion. Their votes will very likely go to Joe Biden-Kamala Harris.

    Finally, Lord Tebbit may have been unhappy with Indian cricket fans cheering India but that was about it. He did not want these fans incarcerated, hurt or killed. But we all know what will happen to an Indian fan if he cheers the Pakistani team. A Muslim write once said that he was afraid of applauding an exceptional performance by a Pakistani player. That privilege apparently, went only to Hindus. A Muslim cheering a Zaheer Abbas or a Wasin Akram in India would be signing his death warrant in Lynchistan.

    • “Will the polarisation between NRIs on the basis of religion which sometimes mirrors events in India split the Indian NRI vote along religious lines?”

      It should. Because minorities have acted not for India’s interest but for interest of their faith. Muslims supporting Kashmir, Turkey, Pakistan etc. Sikhs supporting Khalistan movement. Hindus, both in India & NRIs, were consuming opium, so called Nehru secularism, and were taken for ride by assorted dumb Hindus believing in Nehruism and minorities.

  5. IT’S important that DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE be made aware of ethnic cleansing in Kashmir. And the recent riots in DELHI AND BANGALORE only on the basis of rumours .

    • Mr Shailesh: You are absolutely spot on with regard to the fact that a Biden-Harris administration must be reminded of the systematic ethnic cleanisng of Hindus that has taken place in Kashmir under the aegis of Pakistan and the thuggish Muslim terrorists it instigates and supports. No questions about it.

      But like most Indians who comment here, you too assume that US or world leaders are not briefed about seminal events in countries they consider important. Before every visit to a foreign country X, the civil servants reporting to the leader in question prepare a dossier with the background of the country, the major defence, economic, and socio-political issues confronting country X, the major deals that they want to strike and so on. I am pretty sure that the Biden-Harris team will also get such inputs.

      But what you and other jingoistic commenters here are trying to do is that you want Harris to look at issues in India through the prism of Hindutva and the narrow interests of the BJP. Thus, you give short shrift to human rights, the commercial interests of the US, US tactical and strategic considerations, possibilities of mutual convergence in these areas between India and the US regional rivalries and so on. Hence, you want to factor in a riot in Bangalore to figure prominently in the agenda of Biden-Harris !

      As regards the killings of Muslims in Delhi and the CAA protests, bhakths ought to realise that no country, no country in the world supports India’s draconian CAA. It has more than a whiff of Nazism to it with its detainment camps for Muslims, selective targeting of Muslims, shifting of the burden of proving citizenship to the citizen rather than to the state which alleges that he is not and so on.

      As a Hindutvaist, and a blind bhakth, you might accept unquestioningly the MoShah notion of what constitutes citizenship. The world at large had expected India to set much higher standards in its treatment of minorities. Alas, India has decided to compete and surpass with Pakistan when it comes to intolerance.

      As the American civil rights lawyer Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) thought provokingly put it:


      True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else

  6. The message is simple – “it is the economy, stupid.” Without economic growth, the Indian story is over. No democracy, no unity in diversity, no Hinduism symbols is going to impress any outsider or make India’s voice heard in the global arena. Simply trumpeting about being Hindus without delivering on economic growth is not going to win any support from Kamala Harris or Tulsi Gabbard or anybody else at all.

  7. There are some who believe – like Mr Rohit Deasi below – that the role of Vice President is largely ceremonial and inconsequential. Well that may not be true in this particular instance.

    Biden who is 77 now, has indicated that he might not run again for a 2nd term in 2024. This implies that Kamala Harris’ might have a long innings in US and Democratic Party politics. It is also very likely that she would be running for President in 2024. Hence, one cannot pooh-pooh her as another rubber stamp. Ignoring her long term ambitions is foolish.

    The Modi government has badly played the Foreign Policy game. Foreign affairs and diplomacy are best left to professionals. But many foreign powers have come to realise that in the autocratic Modi setup, shots are called by the PM and his inner circle of RSS/Sangh Parivar ideologues. Thus Beijing regularly sidelines Foreign Minister Jaishankar Subramanian preferring to deal with the man who actually matters, not a flunkey. Sushma Swaraj (RIP) faced the same issue. Of course, bhakths will tell you that the all-knowing, infallible Gujarathi with the 56 inch chest and his Delhi University credentials suffice !

    Modi has reduced foreign policy and international affairs to the silly spectacle of events and idiotic Bollywood type shows featuring him as the superstar. And in every country, some enterprising local Patel or Mehta creature will emerge from the woodwork, sell tickets to these events, make a quick buck and quietly go away. The cheap, downright silly “Howdy Modi” circus was a classic example of this amateurish attempt to run foreign policy through such silly stunts and also through personal contacts. And we all know that sweet talk whilst meeting face to face does not necessarily translate into friendship in the realm of foreign policy. Xi Jinping spoke another language in Galwan; Trump used the Howdi Modi event to connect to rich Indian donors and then promptly decided to throw out students and curtail H1B visas.

    Worse still, Modi’s utterly unprofessional and undiplomatic chant of “Ab ki baar Trump sarkar” was viewed in many quarters as an endorsement for a 2nd Trump term and a meddling in US internal matters. But more seriously, and from an Indian perspective, Modi was endorsing a man who had done some serious damage to the Indian economy. Trump’s policies on H1B visas, restrictions on the migration of Indian tech workers, failure to send condolences on the killing of Garmin employee Srinivas Kuchibotla (RIP) were all crystal clear. Mind boggling that, Trump had taken aim at the IT sector which amounted to nearly 8% of India’s GDP and India’s PM wanted that very same Trump re-elected. To do more damage ?

  8. TEBBIT TESTS EVERYWHERE !!

    An excellent article by Mr Shekhar Gupta.

    It is interesting that he brought in the names of cricketers like Monty Panesar and Moeen Ali into the debate. turns out that cricket in the UK has been dragged into a discussion about where one’s loyalties lie. Not the loyalties of the players but that of the spectators.

    Cricket matches in England draw immigrant fans from former colonies who watch these matches with great gusto. And these immigrants almost always root for the foreign team, not for England where they live and often happen to be 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants. That led Tory MP Lord Norman Tebbitt to suggest that immigrants rooting for England was a true sign of loyalty and assimilation whilst immigrants applauding for India, Pakistan or W.Indies was a sign of questionable loyalties. As Lord Tebbit himself put it:

    “.. A large proportion of Britain’s Asian population fail to pass the cricket test,” .. Which side do they cheer for? It’s an interesting test. Are you still harking back to where you came from or where you are ?”
    (Ref: bit.ly/2Y4qC7U)

    It is important to stress that Lord Tebbit did not question the loyalties of immigrant origin cricketers but immigrant origin fans. Thus Monty Panesar, Ravi Bopara, Moeen Ali etc. were not suspect. Lord Tebbit’s ire was directed immigrant fans who often singled out immigrant players for their boos an, never cheerd England and boisterously celebrated the victories of foreign teams

    Likewise, I would not question the loyalties of people elected to public office. Kamala Harris bats, bowls and fields for USA, not Madras, Besant Nagar or Jamaica. Joe Biden’s Irish roots do not reduce his patriotism to the US and so on.

    But the bigger questions are:

    1: Will Hindu NRIs in USA, particularly those who are citizens or are aiming for citizenship – and who isn’t in these Modi times – pass the Tebbit test and do what is best for their adopted country ? Or will they succumb to the machinations of the notorious Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) and vote for Trump as some Hindus in India want them to? Never mind the fact that Trump has hurt the Indian economy with his H1B visa policies, has mocked Indian call centres, mocked Modi’s Gujarathi accent and so on. But my own anecdotal – I reiterate anecdotal – chats with people I know in the US points to the latent Islamophobia in Indian Hindus surfacing a lot. As a fellow I know from the OFBJP put it: “I will vote for Trump because he puts Muslims in their place”.

    It is worth remembering that OFBJP was deemed as an illegal meddler in UK politics when it tried to blackmail Labour into adopting an India friendly stance in the Kashmir issue. It is a well known fact that China and Russia will be meddling in the US elections and that is going to invite a lot of surveillance from the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Going by the clumsy way the BJP tries to use lobbyists and overseas gaurakshaks like the OFBJP, Modi’s India is doing its best to be associated with the same nasty gang viz. China & Russia.

    2: Will the polarisation between NRIs on the basis of religion which sometimes mirrors events in India split the Indian NRI vote along religious lines? Again, anecdotally, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians seem to be extremely wary of Modi’s Hindu Rashtra push and dismantling of secularism in the classic Golwalkarian fashion. Their votes will very likely go to Joe Biden-Kamala Harris.

    Finally, Lord Tebbit may have been unhappy with Indian cricket fans cheering India but that was about it. He did not want these fans incarcerated, hurt or killed. But we all know what will happen to an Indian fan – especially a Muslim – if he cheers the Pakistani team. A Muslim writer once said that he was afraid of applauding an exceptional performance by a Pakistani player for fear that his loyalties to India would be raised. That privilege apparently, went only to Hindus. A Muslim cheering a Zaheer Abbas or a Wasin Akram in India would be signing his death warrant in Lynchistan.

  9. Kamala Harris once said in an interview: “I’m black, and I’m proud of being black. I was born black. I will die black.” She also says she is “American.”

    She was also critical of Modi government’s Kashmir policies, and even suggested “{intervention”, if the situation there so demanded! ” ….. Harris has batted for strong ties between India and the US, but was also critical of the situation that emerged in Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370 last year. As she weighed in on the situation in Kashmir after the Modi government’s Article 370 move, Harris said in October 2019, “We have to remind the Kashmiris that they are not alone in the world. We are keeping a track on the situation. There is a need to intervene if the situation demands.” ”

    Modi government is silent on her nomination as the candidate for the vice president.. The MEA , when asked, said it didn’t want to comment on what happened in a foreign country. But then, Modi at the “Howdy Modi” event in Houston late last year was enthusiastically singing , “Abki bar Trump Sarkar” during the election cycle for presidential election, thus interfering with the “internal matter” of the US, according to some critics.

    She was also critical of EAM Jaishankar when he objected to the presence of the congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, also a critic of Modi government’s policies in Kashmir, in a meeting with other congressmen he was going to address on The Hill. Harris said Jaishankar couldn’t object to the presence of a congressperson on The Hill.

    In any case, as they say in America, the job of the vice presidents is to attend funerals of foreign dignitaries on behalf of the president.

  10. There is an actor who excels in his trade but is also a well known philanderer. Then there is this golfer, arguably the best ever, whose personal conduct off the golf course was found much wanting.
    For the sake of their professional performances they still command respect in society.
    Kamala Harris is an American. But in many circles, as is fashionable these days, has manged to draw PM MOdi ( like uniquitos AAloo (Potato) which can form part of any dish ) into discussions on her, in India. I wonder if anybody has yet noticed “Kamal” in her name.
    Indians, please grow up. What matters is the Nation…the field and not the personalities – unless of course someone wants to propose to the lady (with all due respect and reverence, just to emphasize a point, and mean no harm).

    • She is fake Black, not genuine American Black. it is too bad that Democratic party chose her instead of genuine Black American, who can trace ancestry to people brought as slaves. It appears that Sons of Immigrants are going ahead while Black Americans are left behind. Neither Obama nor Kamala Haris is true Black American. Looks like Indian pseudo things are making it’s way in US.

  11. Well argued indeed: the examples of Kalpana Chawla (NASA astronaut) and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2009) vividly come to mind. How quick countless Indians were to crow about these great Americans’ achievements as soon as they received recognition. And sadly, shamefully, how quick the same Indians were to distance themselves from Ramakrishnan (even vigorously criticize him as ‘ungrateful’!) when he humbly and courteously remarked that he is in fact an American! Yet perhaps this is just another manifestation of the same perverse, national-level laziness that makes us so eager to claim full credit for any individual achievement or victory by anyone who has a trace of Indian genes in him/her. Thus: when Mary Kom or MS Dhoni does well, the reportage is always a sustained ecstatic cry of “India wins!” But let Mary or Dhoni falter in the finals, however brave the battle they fight, and the reportage instantly changes to a harsh “Mary disappoints India!” “Dhoni lets down India!”

  12. I wonder whether Mr. Shekar Guptha agrees to let Italians rejoice when our beloved Mr. Rahul Ghandi becomes our prime minister.

  13. Someone sent me a forward that Harris will be bad for India and Kashmir just like the other Tamilian Pramila Jayashanker.

    Cant help but laugh at the Bhakts and Modi supporters for that forward for they have classified them as Tamilians so that they are not part of India anymore as they do not conform to the Aryan and Vedic ideology.

    • Ignore there will be trolls every where. But we don’t know how Kamala will be. Known devil is better than unknown angel. But Trump is not devil to India still he is better shot.

      • Sam Aruja: Trump has mocked Modi’s English accent, stopped the H1B visa program such that India’s IT industry is reeling and has supported the bigots and racists who go about attacking non-white people in the US. Remember that charlatan’s attitude when Srinivas Kuchibotla (RIP) was killed in Kansas in 2102?

        The IT sector accounts for roughly 8% of Indian’s GDP. And here you have a tax dodging, womanising, racist, misogynstic cheat who throws a wrecking ball into India’s already pathetic economy and all that you can muster is:

        “.. Trump is not devil to India still he is better shot ..”

        Pathetic Mr Sam Aruja.

        • Trump has kept his nose out of India’s internal affairs. He is trying to get out of middle east, which Bush & Hillary Clinton made killing fields. So for third world he is better. We are least concerned with ethnic-Indian getting top US job. We prefer pro-Indian white to pro-Indian minority ethnic Indian as president of US.

  14. What the writer of this article thinks is the past and not present. Some leftists liberals may think her as their own but majority of Indians do not claim her to be Indian merely because her mother is Indian. We Indians are well aware of her views about India especially about present dispensation. Ultimately what matters Americans is trade with India. And that’s one area where Indians have strong points. Similarly strategically also India is very important for America. So don’t worry.

  15. Sekhar Gupta is right.It is naive to rave about Indian origin foreign Nationals on their accomplishments in their adopted country.Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal never alluded to their Indian ancestry.While some recent migrants may have fascination for happenings in their country of origin,those long time citizens are concerned only about their adopted country.If their adopted countrys national interest requires a positive relationship with the mother country,that alone will matter.

  16. First of all ….. With due respect to SG , maybe its because you are too old to read the societal change , I can guarantee Kamala Harris will be hard on India even if India grows at 15% . You simply don’t understand the cancel culture . In US politicians are more in election mode when in office/opposition than India because in use most posts have a tenure of 4 years . You simply don’t understand the visceral hatred for India , H and Modi . Unlike you K Harris knows that India has limited option . Even if she says very nasty things about India , India will have no option other than US to counter China . What she will do is say nasty things about India , H and Modi to rejuvenate dem voter base . And she will ask Biden to remain neutral . She knows after Biden is out she will be the leading Dem party . So With Biden’s silence she will buy India’s co-operation and investment and she will keep saying nasty things to untie the Dem voter base and take it all from the ‘Squad ” . Ultra progressive people care little about economy . All they care about social justice . India fixing its economy and hence taken bold decision will only incense the progressives because in Modi they see 5th pillar of right wing machoman . The other 4 being Netanyahu , Trump , Bolsorano and Boris Johnson .
    Second Ilhan Omar does not care about US . You either know too little or you are trying to rationalize politics .
    Third ,what makes you think we don’t understand that economy is bad . We very well know the state of the economy , its reason etc . Unlike you , illiterate on economics , those who are really neutral and knowledgeable won’t fall traps set by arvind subramnian . The common tantrum of demonization and GST is loosely speaking a intellectual lazy answer to explain phenomenon . Maybe you should read economic survey of india 2019 , maybe we want to read macroeconomic data from past 10 years . I understand being political journalist you like narrative but you simply can’t explain a economic phenomenon with narrative . Be humble before you call names to someone who disagree with . Just because our politics are difference does not mean we are inferior .

  17. It is still premature to write off Trump.
    Kamala is American and most likely more American than Mike Pence. It is so ridiculous to find Indians and News channels owning up her half Indian roots.
    Even if Biden wins, Kamala as VP may have very little ,if at all, say in US foreign policy.

  18. Shekhar has not gotten it right. Opposition to a US politician is not because of he or she is pro US. It is when their ideological thinking clashes with even US interests and say, continues to support known terrorist supporter like Pakistan and preach all bookish stuff to other nations.

    Problem with left of center politicians is their holier than thou attitude. And she has it as well.

  19. She doesn’t have to prove that she is, “More American than Americans”. She is an American by birth. End of story.
    We make ourselves the laughing stock of the whole world by hankering for the remotest India connections and by carrying this obsession to extremes.

  20. ‘Harris Throws Trump Off Balance’ is the title of an opinion piece on CNN. Obviously she has thrown Modi and his Bhakts in India also off balance, as seen in this piece of wisdom gone stale.

  21. The article by Guptaji is spot on. Kamala or Trump,, it is not going to make any difference for Indian in India or elsewhere. We should be Indian and extract what is best in our test instead of going over board in the same way, if and when she wins and come to India, she may act like Indian for few days bt heart will always be for the people who have elected her and the party.

    • ‘We should be Indian and extract what is best…’

      We do not have much in us, and we have low self esteem, particularly the Hindus, that is why we seek any crumb outside.

      We have a Hindu chowkidar with a forged degree, a wannabe Hindu with Covid who is an encounter specialist , and a Hindu who wears khakhi shorts and says he has a better army than the Indian army, that he can mobilise against China with 3 days notice.

  22. She would be bad for India plain and simple.

    But she is not on ticket.

    Policy of democrats is utopian, lot of lip service but nothing gets done even when they are in majority.

    Plus they are ultra left which results in taking away rights from regular folks and instead fight for causes and people which are detrimental to american society, freedom and liberty.

    It’s the silent majority which will give the current administration another term, as it is seen as action oriented and getting things done what is right for America, never giving a thought about political correctness.

  23. Absolutely true. What made America go to China even though it has w worse human record than Russia. Economy. In fact had not Japan attacked US it would have sided with Hitler because Hitler was winning at that time.

  24. An excellent article, once again. I have very little to add ,except that the eagerness with which we endeavour to own the success of persons of Indian origin settled abroad speaks of a nation looking for an external support and appreciation to identify its pride and identity. This endeavour is meaningless.. A recurring question being asked to any foreign guest is ” What do you think of India”. An American will never ask you this question. The simple formula to judge or assess our own success or failure is to look at our GDP, simply because that is only thing that is respected in international markets.

  25. Well said….”For India to have its stature and respect in global power capitals, it has to focus back on its economy, internal cohesion and external security.”

    • “They are pro-America.”

      That does not change individual’s inherent bias. just read the latest about Nixon. Person uses his inherent bias to decide what is in the best interest of his country. it is like Congress sees good relations with Pakistan as high priority in national interest, while BJP does not.

    • Indian has internal stability with majority government. It is also buying needed arm after dithering for long time . So it secure.

      It needs to improve infra-structure and bureaucracy. Then smart investment will come. Gujarat is good example of how rapid development comes when government spends on infra-structure. We don’t need investors like Rahul Bajaj with his unsafe Rikshaws and talks nonsense. status & respect will grow only when world sees India as prosperous country., not a poor country with filthy streets trying to lecture others.

      Only Gopal Krishna Gandhi can think of living in garbage dump with and try to purify mind rather than surroundings.. all you assorted secus are talking nonsense, which no hard-nosed businessmen or investor would buy.

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