Corner Shop Zaildars

Corner Shop Zaildars

Some South Asians are quite enterprising, particularly in understanding local needs and catering to them. When South Asians first arrived in big numbers in Britain and USA. Most took up menial jobs. Some saved and started small businesses. Then some went into politics and now some have taken over the politics. Quite smart.

The Asians who succeeded in small Businesses realised that indigenous people (White British) were frustrated with shop opening times. Shops essentially opened 8 am to 6 pm. People had to rush back from work to get any shopping done. There was no Sunday opening since it had been outlawed by the Church a few centuries in the past. It’s Christian Sabbath, or Church Day.

Come the Patels and the Khans. They started opening from 7 am to 9 pm. There was an exponential increase in corner shops owned by Indians and Pakistanis. They exploited local needs. They started competing with each other, eventually opening up to midnight. The Supermarkets lobbied the Government. If Patels and Khans can open shops till late, why not supermarkets. There are now even 24-hour Supermarkets and open on Sundays. No longer going to Church when one can go to Supermarket and have tea and cake in their shop as well.

Taxis was another enterprise South Asians quickly got into. The legendry Black Can in Britain and the Yellow Cab in USA were expensive. Come in the South Asians with ‘private cabs’ driving in the locality. Soon many indigenous Brits and Americans started getting into these cheap taxis which were really private cabs. Now Uber and others have got into the act and taken over.

Then came professions, such as doctors, dentists, accountants etc. They worked harder and longer hours in junior posts resigned not to get senior posts. The British NHS and American hospital systems became dependent on the junior Indian or Pakistani doctor. Eventually they took over and even the heads of Doctors bodies are Indians now.

Then came politics. First they began to represent the migrant population in small posts such as local councillor (equivalent of Municipal Councillor). Slowly they became Members of Parliament and now even ministers, Prime Ministers, Vice Presidents (USA) and Presidential hopefuls. How have they done it? Just as the corner shopkeeper did it.

They realised that the indigenous White politicians had gagged themselves with a mountain of Politically Correct language and no-go areas. White politicians could not be seen to be racist, cruel, exploiting etc. Any White politician speaking against immigration is termed ‘racist’. Any White politician promoting cuts in social welfare for disabled is termed cruel right wing with morals of Victorian elite.

So step in the South Asians. Indians seem to have done better at the game. They realised that the majority White population is still racist to some extent, has had enough of immigration and many want welfare cuts to save tax.

Indian politicians had no qualm to ‘champion’ these popular but suppressed opinions. An Indian can oppose immigration without being accused of being racist. An Indian can go around slashing welfare cuts and still be thought as coming from a community that suffered economic deprivation, so can’t be Victorian in nature!

Rishi and Suella in Britain and Ramaswamy in USA all realised they can say things and champion the prejudices, the desire to keep more migrants out and to cut welfare to the bone without being called racist or Victorian. They even became Brexiters without having any sense of English history in their ancestry except that read in the classroom. What cultural friction borne of history does a Rishi and a Suella have in their cultural constructions against Europeans?  But they used it to appeal to British nationalism, becoming more English than the English.

The results are phenomenal. Rishi became the Prime Minister. Suella became Home minister. And Ramaswamy is hoping to become America’s next President. However, Ramaswamy has an unashamed white competitor who seems to have no qualms about shouting racist innuendoes, sexist statements or a tirade against the poor.

Unfortunately, the Indians started competing against each other in who can appeal to the most right wing extreme sections of white society. A bit like the corner shops stretching the opening times further and further to compete with each other until they were open almost all hours with a fatigued family roped in.

So far Rishi has knocked off Suella. She is fighting back with ever more extreme statements and getting the red necks of Britain cheering her on. It is a comic.

Yet it may end soon. Like the big supermarkets that decided they can do what the corner shop was doing and do it better, the White politician is also beginning to lose inhibitions. The Indians have opened back the road and the great White will now take over. It will soon be ok to be racist and yet not be accused of being racist.

It’s a bit like the story of the Indian Zaildars. The corner shop Zaildars have changed Britain and USA and continue to do so in politics and other fields of life.

India Achieves Net Zero

At the upcoming COP 28 in Dubai, China is going to boast that it is ahead of its promise to achieve net zero by 2050. India says it will be there by 2060. Some predict that India will reach it next century if the world survives. Yet India has already reached net zero and its ever creative statisticians seemed to have missed it. So I decided to give them a helping hand.

Modiji started a fad for daily yoga among people. It is said that yoga increases life span by 10 years, if done routinely. It appears that millions of Indians regularly perform yoga. Whatever doomsday armchair social pundits say, Indians will add another 10 years to their lifespans.

Now, that will be ahead of net zero and too fast for India. So to balance the extra years of life, Modi Government has allowed pollution on a supersonic scale. In fact it is 500 times more that permitted level. Stubble burning, industrial fumes, cars and you name it, have taken over the air in India.

The amount of pollution is thought to decrease average age by 10 years. Environment alarmists say Indians will die younger than they are expected to.

But here is the maths for statisticians. Yoga adds 10 years and pollution takes away 10 years. End result is net zero. Lick your wounds China!

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Hardliner ‘Indians’ in UK and US Politics

Why Are There So Many Hardliner ‘Indians’ in UK and US Politics?

For a brief while in 2015-16, a swathe of the Indian media went nearly hysterical in its fervour to cover Bobby Jindal’s campaign to run for US President as a Republican candidate. That campaign didn’t last long because Jindal soon dropped out of the race but the pronounced enthusiasm with which the Indian media tracked his campaign was noteworthy. Jindal was the son of Indian immigrants and that Indian connection seemed to mean that what he did was newsworthy to the Indian media and their target audiences. To Jindal, it didn’t mean a thing. In fact, he didn’t give a fig for being of Indian origin. Born to immigrant Hindu parents (his Indian name is Piyush), he had not only changed his name to a western sounding one but also converted to Christianity, and, at least during his campaign, assiduously distanced himself from his Indian roots.

Much of the Indian diaspora that could vote in the US usually does so for the Democrats and not the Republicans so they were neither his vote bank nor did he target them. His target was the right-leaning Middle American voters. Yet, in India, we adopted him as one of us despite the fact that he himself all but shunned his roots. Famously, a newspaper quoted him then as saying that he did not believe in hyphenated identities such as Indian-American and that his parents came to the US from India four decades ago “to become Americans and not Indian-Americans”. 

There are not very many people of Indian origin high up in American politics but the numbers are growing. Kamala Devi Harris, the incumbent US vice-president and a Democrat, is the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican-American father. Nikki Haley (whose birth name, which she has ditched, is Nimarata Randhawa) was born to Sikh parents, and is a former governor of South Carolina, and is now running for President as a Republican. She too became a Christian and shuns her Sikh origins. In 2001 she reportedly listed her race as “white” on her voter registration card.

One of Haley’s rivals in the race for getting the Republican nomination is Vivek Ramaswamy. A 38-year-old biotech entrepreneur who appears to have surfed the waves of the Great American Dream with perfection, Ramaswamy is a millionaire, a vegetarian, and a Hindu, but whose right-leaning views veer more towards Donald Trump’s than most of the others who are vying to be nominated as the Republican candidate. Ramaswamy distances himself from being an Indian-American and has hardline views that call for reducing US’s involvement in international conflicts such as the one in Ukraine or in the Middle East and for tightening the policies on immigration. 

There are similar examples of Indian origin politicians in the UK, whose Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, himself is of Indian origin. Sunak’s government was recently rocked by a controversy when his (recently sacked) home secretary, Suella Braverman, also of Indian origin, faced criticism for her controversial comments on asylum seekers, homeless people, and pro-Palestinian protests. She also accused the Metropolitan Police in London of bias in their action against protestors. Another former Indian-origin UK home secretary, Priti Patel, also of the Conservative Party, had to resign in 2022 after a series of controversies. Patel had taken a very hard stance against immigrants and asylum seekers, including a now-aborted plan to deport them to a third country.

Both in the US and the UK there is a rise of second generation Indian-origin politicians who are born in those countries. This is akin to what is happening in other fields: business and industry, professional disciplines, and so on.

Many ascribe this to what is described as the “model minority myth”. It is a sociological phenomenon that refers to the stereotype of some minority groups, particularly in the US, and pertaining usually to Asian Americans including those of Indian origin. These are successful, well-adjusted, self-reliant, and well-assimilated groups that do not need a helping hand in terms of economic aid or social assistance.

The concept of “model minority myth” originated in the US in the 1960s and 70s when a different kind of immigrant emerged. For instance, the formally educated Indians such as graduate engineers and doctors who migrated to the US for higher studies, completed those, and then stayed on to build successful professional careers. The phrase was used to compare and contrast them with other minority groups such as African-Americans and Latinos.  

The model minority myth has been used as a simplistic way of discriminating and neglecting marginalised minority communities. A crude explanation of how it is used is this: by propping up instances of, say, successful Indian-origin or Chinese-origin minorities as a model and questioning why other immigrant communities are not able to emulate them. This sort of thing oversimplifies the issues of race, circumstances of immigration, socioeconomic class privileges, and many other differences.

However, the emerging breed of Indian-origin politicians in the US and UK with pronounced right-wing views and often pandering, as Republican presidential aspirant Ramaswamy does, to middle America’s voters, or as Braverman or Patel do to the more hardline conservative sections of the British electorate, could be described as examples of model minorities. 

Consider this: what would the backlash against a white British native-origin politician be if he or she said the same things that Braverman did? Would it not be more severe? Or, if the consistently “anti-woke” statements that Ramaswamy makes were made by, say, one of his white rivals in the Republican Party aspiring for nomination as presidential candidate? A friend in London joked the other day that Braverman or before her, Patel, were doing or saying things that their party leaders probably wanted to do but couldn’t because of the backlash that they would face. In other words, the Ramaswamys, Bravermans, and Patels, were willing to be convenient pawns, albeit of the “model minority” variety.

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Rishi Sunak Suella Braverman

Sunak Sacks Home Secretary Braverman

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has sacked his home secretary Suella Braverman over her sharp criticism of Police amid the ongoing Pro-Palestine rallies in the United Kingdom reported Reuters.

Sunak had been under pressure to get rid of Braverman after her article in the Times UK that criticised the Metroplitan Police for allegedly going soft on ceratin radical elements in Pro-Palestine rallies.

According to Reuters, the UK Home Secretary accused the police of applying a “double standard” to rallies, particularly pro-Palestinian marches, in an opinion piece published before a pro-Palestinian march on Saturday.

Braverman, a likely contender for the Conservative Party’s future leader, had consistently denounced the tens of thousands of demonstrators who have assembled in London since Hamas’s attack on Israel last month. The rallies have been dubbed “hate marches” and “mobs” by Braverman.

Braverman has been long known to make controversial statements for national security, or police, according to Reuters.

On October 10, Braverman issued a warning to police chiefs for displaying Palestinian flags on the streets of the UK. She stated that waving the flag “may not be legitimate” if it is viewed as a show of support for terrorism, according to Anadolu Agency report.

Suella Braverman even provided examples of protest actions that she believed could potentially be considered violations of public order, including targeting Jewish neighbourhoods, waving pro-Palestinian or pro-Hamas symbols, and chanting slogans that could be interpreted as anti-Israeli.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters have marched in London and across the UK, calling for an end to Israel’s attacks on Hamas. Notably, Israel launched a counter-offensive against Hamas after the latter launched an attack on the former on October 7.

On November 11, London saw one of the largest Pro-Palestine marches since the Israel-Hamas conflict began. Thousands of protestors marched from Marble Arch in Hyde Park through the capital down the Vauxhall Bridge Road, and crossed the River Thames en route to the US Embassy on Nine Elms Lane. The march ws in opposition to US President Joe Biden’s unwavering support for the Israeli military’s ground operation in Gaza in response to the Hamas attacks of October 7 that killed 1,400 Israelis and took 200 hostages.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the demonstration had witnessed pro Hamas slogans and anti-Jewish chants, antisemitic banners. (ANI)

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