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NRI worship and the North American Association of Koramangala citizenry December 9, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in America, humor, india.

Quite an article from Ram Guha on the new ritual on the Indian calenders – NRI worship !

Well-written, incisive and humorous with all those tales from Hindu mythology and all that (do you call that an allegory ?). The article is about NRIs and this word in the media sure attracts attention. This excerpt here is a long one but it better be for the sake of completeness. NRI or not, do read the entire article anyway.

Sometimes the Family Show-Off takes on a second role, that of the Non-Resident Religious Radical, or nrrr. The nrrr tells you that the only way to build a strong, self-reliant nation is to marry Faith with State. … These nrrrs have been to the Sangh parivar what North Americans Jews are to the Israeli Right and what Irish-Americans have been to the ira—that is, an important source of moral and (more crucially) material support.

Thats only a part of the story. Here is the other half.

But few, it seems, have noticed the steady growth in influence of another kind of diasporic extremist, whom I call the Non-Resident Political Radical, or NRPR. While the nrrrs tend to come from the commercial and professional classes—they are typically doctors, lawyers, and businessmen—the NRPR are located chiefly in the American academy, as students and professors. They are fervently against ‘lpg’: liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation. This, despite being beneficiaries of L, P, and G themselves. … Where the nrrrs support a political party, namely the BJP, the NRPR are more prone to support, and influence, those social movements which share their distaste for the state, the market, the establishment; for, it seems, everything – and – everyone – but -themselves.

And finally, the coup-de-grace.

Both kinds of radicals are hypocritical. Living under a Constitution that separates Church from State, the religious radical yet wishes to convert India into a Hindu Pakistan. Living in an open, free society that encourages innovation and enterprise, the political radical yet wants to refashion India into a Burma writ large, into an isolated, autarkic autocracy that shall pass itself off as a socialist utopia.

As has been written numerous times, India’s relationship with NRIs is at the extremes. A love-hate relationship and in fact there is a variety of them – that of the general public, the media, haves, have nots, wants, don’t wants – each of them prevail at the same time. Wonder what it is like among other expatriates.


Staying on the topic, here is Chidananda Rajghatta’s article on how over the years several ‘Indian’ associations have spawned in the US that have come to reflect India’s ‘diversity’. Surprised anyone ?

I predict the existence of “North American Association of Koramangala citizenry” in the year 2023. After all, the population and the diversityof Koramangala then will be more than that of Estonia today ! In fact, thanks to decades of migration from all parts of India into Koramangala (which is merely good economics and bad governance), a completely new dialect comprising mostly Kannada with several other Indian languages will have been formed. Now if Estonians can have their own association, why not Koramangalites ?

Disclaimer : My association with Koramangala has seldom been beyond visiting a relative at some point, getting a haircut at a saloon at the Raheja arcade sometime in 1999 and using it as a thoroughfare between Indira Nagar and Jayanagar.

HT : Nanopolitan.



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