Diaspora continuity: India matters in the US

Manan Dwivedi
The insignia of the blue and red “Om” atop a sitting picture of the President-elect in a “Yoga dhaynam” seems to be the real time depiction of how Indians enmeshed with the Republican bandwagon with apparent rewards coming their way
Indian diaspora is thematically and practically very unified in the lifestyle experience of the United States with the Indian community amalgamating both with the homeland and keeping in sync with the nation’s binding ethos. It’s a very regular and mainstreamed group distinct from others with much stronger inner identities. The larger group of people of Indian origin are settled in the United States after the historical antecedent of the Komagata Maru incident, where shiploads of Indians were shown the door on the North American sea coast. Prime Minister Narendra Modi very appropriately called the grouse of the global polity to be the fact that now the Indian nation and its denizens manage the computer mouse and are largely tech and cyber savvy. Modi contends that no more can the “rest” allude to the Indian nation as a land of “cows, flies and serpents” and other belittling analogies to the nation, and its larger ethos. Another facet is that such a narrative is equivalent to simple talk, as the way the Indian community has made potent inroads inside the American polity, which is an exemplary exercise in civilizational navigation. Way back in the sixties, the then American President declared, “The people of India are hardworking and self-respecting and if the Indian nation seeks help and succour, then the United States will be ready to collaborate with them.” After all, it’s the defining relationship of the twenty first century now with the Trump regime.
Since the freeing of the American freeway through the 1965, immigration laws, much different from the railroad migrations of early twentieth century from Asia, the post-1965 laws liberalised the migration from Asia and professionals made America their home. According to the Migration Policy Research Institute, around, 2.6 million Indian immigrants and their children (the first and second generations) live in the United States. Prior to the 1970s, restrictive immigration laws passed by the US Congress prevented the easy inflow of the Indian immigrants. The immigration policies were unfortunately nationality-based which slowed down flow of the migrants to the American homeland; and as a repercussion only 6,250 Indians could be regularised as Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR) in the time frame of 1920 till 1960. Now, the numbers and their functional contributions are being felt as tremors with the rise of personages such as Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley and Ro-Khanna in the American homeland. The Indian migrants are the third largest immigrant population residing in the United States following up on the numbers of the heady Mexicans and the doughty Chinese segment of the population in its entirety. The Report further states that the Indian diaspora comprises a comparatively young population with high levels of academic achievements and economic patterns of productivities attached to them. Even the labour participation rates of the Indian community are an impressive exercise reflecting the able functioning of the working diaspora. Indian diaspora are a widespread lot with the largest sections of the population being settled in New Jersey, California and Texas. Looking at the configuration of the Metropoles, New York City area has the largest chunk of Indian population, followed by Chicago and San Jose. Studying the population profile of the Indian diaspora, Aspen Institute’s
Diaspora programme says that “69 per cent of the Indian population is foreign born representing about 4.8 per cent of the US immigrant population.”
Lobbies such as the Indian community have played a constructive role in the integration of the Indian causes, Delhi’s goals and the pelf of the community with the larger American ethos and the attendant dream. It might be a different matter that both the presidential candidates attacked the lack of transparency of the lobby system in the United States. The 116th Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, since 2011, has served South Carolina and she is the youngest Governor in any of the American States. The President-elect, Donald Trump, has declared Nikky’s appointment as the US Ambassador to the United Nations. With the dates for the Syrian attrition coming nearer in line with the Vienna plan of October-November, 2015, the role of the American envoy to the UN assumes significance. The ascent of Nikki Haley reflects the notion symbolically that how far the Indian community has risen in the power structure and the systemic matrix of the land of milk and honey. She initially worked in a waste management and recycling company. Her family business is a multi-million dollar corporate interest. Her political agenda since her days in the Lexington County has been largely anti-tax and fiscally conservative, with, an emphasis on education reforms in an age of uncertainty defined by terror modules and the past radicalisation efforts in a stereotypical American county. As part of her agenda on immigration, she is a firm believer like Donald Trump, on the essentiality of the function and a loyal execution of immigration laws.
She is known for having signed an Arizona style Immigration Bill in 2011 styling her state’s immigration policy on the lines of the Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which, at the time of passage in 2010, was the strictest legislative provision against the illegal immigration practice in the United States. The Arizona law controversially legalised lawful detention, “stop and arrest” by the law enforcers if the men in blue feared the presence of illegality in the neighbourhood. This issue of the illegality of the Trump campaign on immigration was hyped by the American mainstream media. The Trump-ship finally succeeded with the American electorate despite the connivance of the public opinion builders against the intransigence of a venom spewing Trump as described by the liberal portals. Thus, the elevation of Nikki Haley declares the arrival of the Indian community as a vibrant, hardworking, dexterous and an influential lot, in the doughty American homeland. Just like candidate Trump, Nikki Haley was never at war. Donald Trump lived true to the ethos of the Indian community and emphatically declared on CBS in October that “We are the best of friends for India”. Sopan Deb reported in CBS News, “Women in glittering saris roamed the space, as faint smells of samosas filled the air. Signs such as “Trump for Hindu Americans” and “Trump Good for India” lay on the seats in the New Jersey Convention Centre and Expo in Edison – a town that is home to one of the largest Indian populations in the state.” The familiar Trump soundtrack of rolling Stone and Luciano Pavarotii’s version of “Nossum Dorma” were prudently replaced with Indian music whenever the candidate addressed the Republican Hindu Coalition. These occasions were not merely confetti and stripes occasions, but, displayed a shift in the inclination of the larger Indian community. Though Washington Post reported that most in the Indian community did not support the President-elect, other reports have pointed out that the Ivanka and Trump family factors helped the campaign trail. The insignia of the blue and red “Om” atop a sitting picture of the President-elect in a “Yoga dhaynam” seems to be the real time depiction of how Indians enmeshed with the Republican bandwagon with apparent rewards coming their way.
(The writer is Faculty, International Relations and International
Organisations, IIPA)

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