Why do they hate us? Why do YOU hate us?
Why, despite our much touted-diversity, are we treated as ONE? The whole bunch of a billion plus of us. Do our numbers threaten you? Then how come the Chinese get away with it?
Why are you so surprised by those of us who are successful? You don’t think a civilisation that dates back a few thousand years, and centuries of foreign influence should give us an edge?
Why is the way we speak English so much funnier than say, the way the French or Spanish or Japanese speak it? Or even some Americans. When most of you ‘native’ English speakers can’t get your plurals, apostrophes, Me and I right, why are our quirks so irritating to you?
English is the language of our business and education, of our laws and policies, so yes, we have earned the right to design our own idioms, and unique usages.
That’s Indian English, so live with it.
Ok, ‘the’ Indian accent is difficult to understand. But, when you say things like “I can do the Indian accent”, you merely sound pompous and ignorant. Because–sorry to burst your bubble–there is no ‘the’ Indian accent. At best you might be able to do ‘an’ Indian accent.
Even in our accents we have diversity. Every state has a unique Indian-English accent, based on what the native language of that group is.
The only reason I can see why you find us and our English so funny and ridiculous is because you can’t accept that we have achieved success despite the bigoted opinions you might have of us.
Yes, there is poverty, corruption, sectarianism, murder of the girl child… any number of issues that make me cringe when I talk about being Indian. None of which gives YOU a frigging right to treat us poorly.
Despite all this, what you will find in EVERY household in India, from the poorest to the richest, is the altar we have built for education. Yes, we’ll live in slums and crap on the streets, but we will still have a revered place for books in our homes. We know that’s our ticket out of the rut we might find ourselves in, or that that was the ticket that got us out of it. That’s the ticket that will help us build personal toilets within the four walls of our homes.
Next time you say ‘those Indians’ with disdain, or treat me or my countrymen/women poorly–we who clean your homes, teach your kids, drive your fancy cars, do your accounts, write your books, fix your computer glitches or sell your produce–keep in mind we are laughing at you too.
Every day, every year, we are all making ourselves indispensable to the way YOU lead your life. And every racist, bigoted action and word against us will come back to bite you. Because one thing you won’t accuse us of is taking the easy way out, taking our education lightly or doing ‘nothing’ to earn our living. We will work our asses off and we will make our kids study as if they were in a boot camp everyday (even if it’s Indian English along with Indian mathematics and science that they learn). Along the way we’ll learn from you too. We’ll have them focus more on arts and entertainment… we are already there remember?
We’ll be there in your faces everyday for the rest of your lives.
We will buy your supermarkets from London to Sydney; We will make the viruses, we will get the antidotes; We will clean your streets and lavatories; We will also own your banks and steel mills; We will take your sport, and make it our own megabucks venture; We will teach your kids, in your own countries, subjects that you brought to life.
And yes, we will make use of every immigration opening available around the world and move.
So get used to it.
I am sick and tired of the supposedly polite–and deeply racist and rude–questions that are thrown my way.
Am I to take it as a compliment that you are surprised I speak English well or read ‘your’ classics, or that my kids know more about Dr Seuss or Roald Dahl than yours do?
Am I to take it as a compliment that you can hardly hide your shock that I occupy the seat I do, just because you speak a European language? Even if your country is in debt so deep it will not be cleared in your life time, and it rarely ever moves away from the brink of another civil war? Am I to cower because of my Dravidian frizzy hair and brown skin, as I stand before your Aryan greatness?
I know there are some valid reasons for hating us. But that’s true for the rest of you as well. Am sure not a single one of you or your group is beyond reproach or annoyances yourself.
My next question should be Why do we hate OURSELVES so much. That’s for another day, another very long post… our actions unfortunately mirror our grievances.
Sorry Mona Eltahawy for borrowing your now famous line.