Über Desi

Keeping it real, desi ishtyle

Trump got scolded by a desi uncle

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And it was fantastic, maybe even historic. [Link]

It started with Khizr Khan, an immigrant from Pakistan, standing at the podium at the Democratic National Convention 2016, his wife at his side and his hand across his heart. Khan’s speech was slow, deliberate, clear and to the point – it lasted a whopping seven minutes and change. At times he waved his copy of the US Constitution, presumably the one naturalized American citizens get. Watch the speech in it’s entirety below.

By the time he was done, Khizr Khan had thoroughly eviscerated Trump. Most of America, at least the sane part, was taken aback by this deliberate dismantling of Trump. But people from the Indian subcontinent are not entirely unfamiliar with this type of speech. What Trump received was a scolding from a desi uncle. This is the type of scolding/lecturing normally witnessed at coffee houses in Calcutta or maybe a colony/society (think HOA) general body meeting in Mumbai – where one thoughtful eloquent older gentleman calmly and rationally states his argument over the shouting masses.

What stood to me about the speech was it was exactly what Trump professes to do (but doesn’t) – speak the truth. It was also entirely unique to modern political discourse and speeches because there were no personal insults, no name calling, only direct words addressed to the audience and Trump. Khan did not use a speech writer or teleprompter and the words were entirely his.

Whether Trump gets elected in 100 days remains to be seen and if he doesn’t Mr Khan’s speech will probably go down in history as one of those unique moments in American democracy – desi ishtyle. Regardless, this kind of clear-headed, eloquent, political discourse is exactly what we need in these troubled times.

Additional side stories:
Fox News cut off the speech [Link]

Khzir Khan followed up with his DNC speech with a (most likely falling on deaf ears) plea to Congressional GOP leaders [Link]

Bobby Jindal, the first Tansracial-American

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To many, the whole Jindal-tanning saga started with a tweet, that given his stance on hyphenated Americans, could only be construed as trolling

Jindal followed the trolling with a campaign t-shirt along similar lines
Jindal campaign t-shirt

Jindal is no stranger to a weird saga of cognitive dissonance related to skin color. His official portrait resembles Scott Walker, another one of his fellow 23% of Americans afflicted with “running for GOP candidate for presidency” disease.
Jindal white guy portait

Bonus: Jindal’s Twitter bio cover has his photo with the homophobic Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame. I can only conjecture this serves to further his “tanned” credentials.
Jindal with homophobic Roberstons

How tanned and rested was Bobby? He inherited a state with a myriad of problems and actually made them worse. More of his own party prefer, he *not* run for presidency than those who do, which is an achievement of sorts in itself.

Though the election is still more than a year away, a survey of Republican voters found more voters would prefer Jindal not run (20 percent) than favor his candidacy (14 percent).

Recent events in America have made us question the traditional notion of gender, sexuality and even, race, with the term transracial gaining some airtime because of a certain Rachel Dolezal. I don’t feel I’m qualified enough to judge the validity of the term and whether Bobby Jindal could qualify as transracial. However, given his love for tanning and his hatred for hyphenation, I feel comfortable anointing him:

Bobby Jindal, the first Tansracial-American.

*On a side note: I do not approve of Bobby Jindal running for any public office at any level. I approve this message.

Is Google playing political games with India’s map?

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And Betteridge’s Law may not hold the answer, in this case. You make the call after reading this post.

A few days back, I tweeted out something I noticed when checking out the new Google Maps – the Indian states of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh were entirely listed as dotted lines (See below) instead of solid, indicating Google considered them, at best, disputed territories, and at worst, not part of India.

My limited understanding of international politics notwithstanding, I know that most maps these days split Kashmir in 3, to indicate regions controlled by India, and the ones not controlled by India. Additionally, the state of Arunachal Pradesh has been a point of contention between India and China for the better part of the last century. So, my assumption was that Google Maps was reflecting the same.

However, after a brief interaction over Twitter, my findings are as follows: Google Maps displays the state of Arunachal Pradesh as disputed territory (image on left) when you access it from the US (and perhaps, the rest of the world) but when you access Google Maps from India, the state of Arunachal Pradesh is shown as an integral part of India (image on right).

This post is not intended to stir “patriotic fervor” between Indians, Pakistanis and the Chinese but rather to encourage a discussion on how big technology companies are starting to indulge in politics, at an international level. Please feel free to add to this discussion in the comments space below.

Fanatics and Heretics

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Ramachandra Guha performs a colonoscopy of sorts on the close-minded, anti-intellectual, cliche-riddled, demagoguery that passes for the ideology of the Hindu extremist outfit, the RSS. [Telegraph] (via @pragmatic_d on Twitter)

It’s a fascinating read with real-life accounts from former RSS-ers and includes some hilarious points, for instance, what was the RSS’s stand during the Quit India movement?

However, the portion that stood out to me most:

“Hindus have lived in India since time immemorial; Hindus are the nation because all culture, civilization and life is contributed by them alone; non-Hindus are invaders or guests and cannot be treated as equal unless they adopt Hindu traditions, culture etc…; the history of India is the history of the struggle of the Hindus for protection and preservation of their religion and culture against the onslaught of these aliens; the threat continues because the power is in the hands of those who do not believe in this nation as a Hindu Nation; those who talk of national unity as the unity of all those who live in this country are motivated by the selfish desire of cornering minority votes and are therefore traitors; the unity and consolidation of the Hindus is the dire need of the hour because the Hindu people are surrounded on all sides by enemies; the Hindus must develop the capacity for massive retaliation and offence is the best defence; lack of unity is the root cause of all the troubles of the Hindus and the Sangh is born with the divine mission to bring about that unity.”

Replace “Hindus” with “White Christians”, “India” with “USA” and “non-Hindus” with “immigrants”,”Muslims” or “any other minority group” in the above paragraph and you have the template of a conservative talk show host in the US. Fascinating, huh?

All Hail Haley?

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Nikki Haley - Governor elect

Finally, the elections are over. I for one am very thankful that my nightly TV watching is not interrupted by moronic ads in which politicians on both sides try to outdo each other in demonizing their opponents- complete with unflattering photos and rhetoric that comes close to slander.

Nikki Haley made history by becoming the first female Indian-American Governor in the USA. Now we will have two serving  Governors of Indian origin , as she joins Bobby Jindal ( who you can see in the flesh elsewhere on this site !).

This election was historic for desis as we had a record number of desi origin candidates in the fray

At the time of writing neither Raj Goyle of Kansas nor Manan Trivedi in California was going to make it. Raj Goyle ’s opponent had billboards up urging voters to “Vote American” in an obviously bigoted attempt at questioning Goyle’s American-ness based on his ethnicity. If nothing else: this election is good in that it reminds us how far the community has to go before we can truly be considered a viable politically influential group.

We went through this soul-searching the last time round when Bobby Jindal was elected. While I may not agree with any of his positions, it still felt good to know that someone out there was opening doors for Indian Americans. I realized I do not need to endorse a candidate in order to celebrate their success.

So , Governor -elect Haley ( who we have covered earlier here and here ) – Congratulations !

Oh and Will Folks- kindly STFU and crawl back under your rock !

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