Why I’m not ‘proud to be Indian’ & dislike the word ‘diaspora’.It reduces our potential to be despite a singular historical experience, or more than one historical experience.
It imposes upon us a lineage that oftentimes serves as a Great Wall wherein we seek exclusionary refuge that at the same time becomes a phalanx in our march against difference-cum-self glorification. It is intellectually improprietous to claim a historical heritage when we did not mortar a single brick in the construction of our respective Taj Mahals. We become hangers-on in the cultural achievements of others whose only real link to us in their not being able to avail themselves of contraceptives. It detracts our attention from us being potentially more than the present which is oftentimes a replication of the past that is never of our making. It diminishes our appreciation of respect by confining it within the traditional for tradition’s sake.
When I was 18, a friend said to me, ‘you must be proud to be Indian’. I said, ‘why should I be proud to be Indian when I played no part in the achievements of the Indians? If I am, in part, ‘Indian’, by my unwitting socialisation into their worldview, then there is no pride to be taken in it as it could very well mean my being a subconscious victim of it – unless I can prove to be right and true all that I’ve been taught whilst in the stupor of an impressionable childhood. And even if it can be proven to be right and true, how can I take pride in that which required no effort at all on my part to learn? And if I achieve anything due to inherited perspectives passed on to me via conduits below my threshold of awareness or via habituation, then it is to the source and purveyors of these that goes the credit, not to myself.
So keep your diaspora to yourselves. I can be the conduit of any strain of thought of my conscious and conscientious choosing. And only then can I claim any credit. Even then, I cannot take pride in that which I am or that which I know if I cannot prove that I’ve yet to access all known and knowable perspectives from all cultures that can increase the worth of my perspectival arsenal. Till then, I’m only a shadow of all that I can be, and if I take pride in this, then I’m condemned to live in the fragment of a shadow of the self I’ve yet to be.
So if you say that I’m of the ‘Indian diaspora’, the only thing I can say to that is that it isn’t my fault, and that I’ll still try to be more despite its being of a singular perspectival origin.