If your identity is taken away, are you left with nothing?
If a people’s history is not written down, it’s as if it never happened. They are redefined to suit someone else’s whims.
I’ve always described India as a different planet. Every corner might as well be it’s own nation, with the mishmash of customs and dialects. You can’t look at someone of Indian descent and know their story.
India is snow-capped mountains, steamy nights, tropical paradise, scarcely bearable oppression, freedom of the highest kind, democracy, caste, religious oppression, religious amity.
India is diaspora.
Everyone is looking to go somewhere else. Or they have no idea a world exists outside their few kilometres.
Quote from a Sepia Mutiny commenter (who I presume is not Malayalee):
There are low caste succesful entreprenuers and businessmen in India too. In fact it may be argued that the bania or the trader caste is the richest people in India, yet they are considered somewhere in the middle of caste hierarchy. The Irish were looked down upon , but they are WASPy looking so they could move up. I am in middle management in middle of blue collar red-neck america, and some of the workers have made comments that ‘I will never be considered an american’ and have been openly hostile to the idea that they have to report to a brown man. Admittedly the situation is much better on the coasts. I do not have a defeatist attitude. I am a realist and work within the system and make it work for me.
An uncle told me when I was 15 that I needed to make sure I embraced the Malayalee culture. Because “you’ll never be accepted as an American.” I politely told him I was just as Malayalee as his kids, even if I didn’t speak the language or demonstrate outward Malayalee-ness (whatever that means) as well as his kids did.
And I dismissed his comment about never being accepted. Why base my life decisions on this self-defeating sentiment? Our parents had it rough. They clearly weren’t wholeheartedly accepted. But it’s a new era. You can’t connect with anyone if you’ve already convinced yourself they’re against you.