We are especially fond of quoting Tariq Ali Sahab but this comment can come from any South Asian (non-Indian, non-Hindu) blogger.
Why they ask – when India has such a brutal record as certified by the Goddess of Aymanam (you just got to love Malayalam word-mixtures – Ay is Tamil for five, Vanam is Sanskrit for forests, Aymanam is the land of five forests- ref. Wiki) – why does India get such nothing to see here just move on press, while other countries in South Asia (mainly Pakistan) get such bad press?
We were curious about this as well. While the international press certainly played up the liberals think Modi/RSS is the devil incarnate theme, they were also (in our opinion) receptive to the Vikaas Purush (god of development) image that Modi was selling (toilets before temples etc). They liked the fact that he comes from a humble back-ground. They really really liked the fact that he is a lower caste Shudra. We may have imagined it but there was tacit appreciation of the fact that India does need a strong leader to make its way in the world….
…..That said we feel there is something more than all the above…..
That elusive factor (in our opinion) is that the West (politicians, press, public to some extent) do not simply see Hindus as a threat. They see Hindus integrating into Western society in fairly large numbers and doing well. Their interactions with India (business, sports-IPL, medical tourism) may be frustrating but manageable. They see India well integrated into the Western-Westminister model. They may even feel that India is doing a good job of keeping 1.3 bil people calm and peaceful (relatively). To the extent they think that BJP is going to keep muslims down, they may even approve of this (in small doses). Common enemies and all that.
OTOH the West is scared shit of muslims (also Chicoms). They really think that the Taliban may one fine day capture the nuclear arsenal. A muslim man is automatically considered a terrorist (unless proven innocent). You want sharia laws, you keep women in burqas, your mosques are taking over ancient pubs, you want to even islamize schools. You want to join the jihadis in Syria, fine, just go and dont come back. BTW did you know that muslim snitches are highly valued by MI6/FBI/CIA, you can make some serious money by acting funny in the mosque? Deal??
The point is that (we imagine) the societal pressure on a South Asian immigrant from muslim background will be much more intense (as opposed to non-muslims). If asked (even by fellow browns) they may be forced to say something like Rome is our home not Rangpur. That is sad and even a bit pathetic. Or maybe it is all our imagination. Sorry to have wasted your time.
I think I have been witnessing, in little visual
sightings over 4 years, the rise of the Bangladeshi community in Italy.
In the early years, they were selling umbrellas and knick knacks on
street corners, carrying everything they sold. Then I started seeing
them behind the counter in semi-permanent and corner shops, and in
restaurants, as waiters and chefs.
Then I saw that some of them
had their own small shops, and I even found a place with Bangladeshi
candidates for rival parties competing in local elections.
year, for the first time, I saw that women had followed the men, and I
saw families together – man, woman, and little children. These families
were not selling products, they were checking out things like normal
family on weekend, and then to cap it all, I even saw overly ghettoised
Bangladeshi teens, in expensive sneakers wandering on their own.
I feel like I have seen community evolution in high speed.
father just picked on any Bengali vendor whenever i was busy looking
for a street on the map – one of his ways to keep himself entertained.
He would start off with – Bandhu! kaimun acchen? After the usual Bhalo and Ami-o Bhalo, there would be the usual bari kothaye and questions about Italy and waghiara waghaira, and directions – which bus to take etc.
Some would be arrogant and say their bari is Rome and dont know any other bari (bari = home), and dad would nod his head disappointingly and mutter – arrogant bastard, forgetting his roots.
Near the colloseum, dad combined an old Pakistani film dialogue into his own – Yeh woh jaga hai jahan Rome kay zaleel kuttay kharey hokar tamasha dekhtay tey. I responded – Ab Bengali kharey hotay hain!!
We bought coconut slices and fruit salad from a Bengali vendor. In the heat the taste was heavenly.