47 thoughts on “Open Thread – Brown Pundits”

  1. What are the main political issues facing Indian Americans/what do they consider their main issues?

    Why do most of them vote for Democrats?

    Any good reads/articles are appreciated.

    1. Yep, things ain’t looking good for us.

      The ball’s in the BJP’s court. If they have the brains and the means to pull off the 370 Annulment, then they know how to get us through what comes next.

      The question is, do they have the conviction? We shall see.

      1. It ain’t conviction that’s lacking but judgment and wisdom. On economics they are statists just as past Congress governments have been.

        It’s also easier, literally by orders of magnitude, to pull off daring parliamentary manuevres when you have a majority compared to making structural reforms on a nation-wide scale and enforce compliance on a billion-plus people.

        As for the 370 abrogration, I’ve expressed my disagreement with the move on political grounds in previous posts. But I should add that the abrogation rests on very flimsy legal grounds as well; how does a governor appointed temporarily under emergency conditions have the right and authority to accept such a change on behalf of the people (as was required)? Under normal conditions, this would easily be stricken down by the Supreme Court, but they are a very pusillanimous bunch and are intimidated by the government. Their current strategy has been to defer any hearings on this issue; likely that deferment will extend years until the abrogation becomes a fait accompli.

        1. I would slightly disagree on the legal part. I am not sure if this is as legally untenable as you make it sound. Why the supreme court, the parliament itself is filled with lawyers etc from the opposition bench. If you watch closely almost all the opposition decried this move in security terms and “hardship faced by people” terms , but not on legal terms. I think the reason is the BJP has used some legal provision (Amit Shah referenced it ) which was used by the Congress earlier twice to amend 370. But it was never used to disable 370.

          In the court, the people contesting it also not political parties as far as i know. For example the Congress hasn’t gone to the court , as it did for example for their Govt in Karnataka case in 2018. All the parties contesting it are mostly private parties and individuals.

          The BJP would not be so naive to push something as close to them on shaky legal grounds, that it falls apart in court in the first instance itself. Coupled with Congress inaction, all this points to something else. Now you cannot discount anything , you can have an activist judge who pulls apart the whole thing, or go the other way and rubber stamp the decision (irrespective of legality)

          1. Saurav,

            You need to separate the abrogation into two parts:
            1. Constitutional amendment, which the Parliament has jurisdiction over, and which the government clearly has authority to do
            2. Once the amendment was passed, the consent of the people of J&K. Parliament has no role to play in this. It’s entirely between the Indian Executive and the J&K representatives.

            I’m not arguing about the legality of 1 but of 2. 2 was carried out by declaring the temporarily appointed emergency governor of the state as the representative of the people of that state. I find this highly dubious. Someone may be able to make a legal case for why this passes muster, but at the very least, it’s played out like a sleazy trick.

            If you want a detailed legal and constitutional argument, read this: https://thewire.in/law/murder-of-insaniyat-and-of-indias-solemn-commitment-to-kashmir

          2. I am just talking about legal part of it, not of what;s right or wrong. Even on (2) i think that there are condition specific with 370 which allows the Governer to “Act” as the state assembly, which cannot be replicated in other states. For example in other Indian states you cannot declare indefinite Governor’s rule EVEN if there is a law and order situation, and it can be challenged in a court. But in J&K because of 370 you could do that, that;s the funny (and ironical) part. That 370 not only gave the Kashmir special powers , but it also gave Indian State special powers in many areas which it does not have wrt to other states.

            Noorani makes highly polemical arguments , its not really worth going into. I mean “Insaniyat”. Really? WTF is that? And when did it has came in b/w Indian Union (or any other country) doing anything.

          3. Ignore the emotional stuff from Noorani and focus on the legal/constitutional arguments.

            The wording of the original articles are pretty clear. They say that Article 370 will cease to apply to J&K only if the constituent assembly of duly elected representatives (or something like that) consents. Now, that constituent assembly dissolved in the late 50s after framing a constitution. What would be an equivalent body today? I’d argue it has to be an elected government (or even the full J&K parliament), certainly not an unelected governor.

          4. “Now, that constituent assembly dissolved in the late 50s after framing a constitution. What would be an equivalent body today? I’d argue it has to be an elected government”

            Arre , they have exactly followed that . If you go by the strictest (absolute) interpretation of law you can argue even an elected Govt is not the same as the constituent assembly. So in essence there is no equivalent body. By the same logic , India’s current parliament cannot amend the India’s Constitution, since it was framed by India’s constituent assembly (which was also dissolved in 1950) . But we all know its not so, right?

            So it all depends upon interpretation, they have gone though the route, powers flows from Kashmir constituent assembly—> Kashmir legislative body —-> Governor. I agree with you that’s its a trick , but in my understanding its within the legal framework.

            All i am saying is that if it would have been such an open and shut case , and the Govt so weak on legality, the court would have gone against the Govt, no matter how strong the Govt at the center is. That even lawyers from the opposition camp are somewhat undecided how to challenge it shows their predicament.

    1. Hopefully Islamophile Bernie doesn’t become President. Would be very bad for India and Israel but a major boon for the Ummah.

      1. Internet Indians like to name-call a lot. Everyone is a marxist, or jihadist, or communist, or Islamophile, or Islamist, etc.

        This is basically signaling to people that you are, at some level, aware you have no winning arguments, so have to resort to scaring people into making up their minds before a discussion can be had.

          1. True, though I don’t think they do it because they are trying to cover up their shitty arguments. They literally don’t know how to argue, so they do the only thing they can (name-call basically).

      2. Standing up for the Kashmiri people doesn’t make one an “Islamophile”. You don’t have to be a Muslim or even particularly like Muslims to recognize that putting 8 million people under siege without access to communications (it’s now been approximately a month)is immoral.

        Whatever one’s opinions about whether Kashmir is an “integral part” of India or not, any decent human being should be concerned about the human rights violations there.

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SZDx0IFmoo

    I usually find Shekhar Gupta’s Cut the Clutter informative about India, but I think here he reveals some very Indian blind-spots about the western left. It is not because Indian-Americans vote Trump (they don’t overall) than the western left seems from India to be pro-Pakistan.

    PS: Watch@2x.

    1. Most Indians (in India) don’t really understand intra-Left debates or the way Islamophilia operates. Also, the part about Indians voting Trump was just risible. Where did this guy learn that nonsense?

      Anyways, his point about diplomacy is correct. We survived the literal perfect storm to hold Kashmir a generation ago: balance of payments crisis + weak central government + concomitant insurgency in Punjab + USSR going into the crapper. If we didn’t lose it then, we’re good for the next century.

      1. Yeah, the Trump part was wrong.

        I think you are right on the 90s part. But perhaps there is something which India does not have today, which it has in the 90s. A steady stream of mainstream pro India politicians (Abdullah and Mufti) , as well as from mid 90s pro India militants like Ikhwans who fought pro Pakistan forces. I am not sure we will have that now. Now all fallout has to be faced by the state. India would still win though, just because of the Indo-Pak power differential.

        1. I think you are missing the biggest thing we had in the 90s and which we don’t have now. The vast majority of the population then remembered peaceful times, when Kashmir was the backdrop of Bollywood movies rather than a byword for jihadi terrorist activity. Had the problem been “solved” in the 90s, we may have seen the place return to normal.

          Most of the Indian public clearly seems to have no understanding of how the military occupation of the past 3 decades has brutalized and desensitized the public there. Kids who were born and raised starting in the 80s know nothing other than a permanent police and army presence, with the occasional beating or arrest or disappearance of someone they know (this kind of stuff happened in Punjab too, but the folks there are far more invested in the idea of India than Kashmiris are.) These kids are now middle aged, and have no love for India. With the internet and social media constantly reinforcing their opinions, they have no reason to change their minds either. And many are pelting stones or worse.

          1. The flip side of this is that the Indian public has also become much more hardline vis-a-vis Kashmir and Pakistan. Nobody seriously believes the “aman ki asha” stuff anymore, and the Leftist-abdicationist position on Kashmir loses ground by the day. If it comes to a contest of wills, we shall win.

            Mumbai 2008 was a turning point, I think. But it probably would have happened without that.

          2. In a very cynical way, one of liberal friend described that the BJP has decided to give ahuti (sacrifice) of well being of Kashmiris for the larger right wing cause of staying in power . Kashmir will burn, and in turn it will increase the right wing’s power in mainland India. The more communal/terrorist incident increases, the more the want for the security (BJP) state

          3. The BJP has been planning this since the 1980s, it is very unlikely that they are doing it purely for cynical electoral reasons. Your friend is operating on a faulty premise.

            More probable that the BJP believes this is the best course of action in the long run, all things considered. Thusfar they are not off to an auspicious start. But if you want to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs, so let’s see how things go.

      2. the ‘we’ part is weird. you are american. born & raised.

        imagine of a chinese american referred to china as ‘we’. at some point you may have to watch the pronoun depending on india’s geopolitical position.

        1. “the ‘we’ part is weird. you are american. born & raised.

          imagine of a chinese american referred to china as ‘we’. at some point you may have to watch the pronoun depending on india’s geopolitical position.”

          Curious question.
          I’ve seen many Americans, especially of Italian or Irish origin, show strong affinity to the countries of their origin. I think someone no less than Madeline Albright was at some point touted as potentially having a career in Czech politics.

          How does this pan out in America?
          Do folks consider it harmless only as long as the country is a thick ally or are people generally given large leeway in their secondary national loyalty as long as they’re also loyal to the US?

          1. I’ve seen many Americans, especially of Italian or Irish origin, show strong affinity to the countries of their origin.

            Were these recent immigrants? I personally didn’t see such attitudes, at least among people of Irish or Italian descent (whose ancestors immigrated a 100 or more years ago).

            In my experience, Americans tend to know their ancestry very well and even take pride in it, but when they say “we”, they always mean “American”. (My sample space could be skewed though.)

          2. “Were these recent immigrants?”

            I should have added. My observations are entirely based on pop culture and media. (Ex- Conan O’Brien talking about his Irish heritage etc)

            I’ve never been to the US. So wanted a more first person perspective.

          3. Americans love to talk about their ethnic background to make themselves seem more interesting.

            Very few white Americans actually know their ancestral language or take any interest in current events in the old country.

        2. I’m not sure, man. I would have agreed with you if we’d met 6 years ago, but as time goes on, I become increasingly convinced otherwise.

          I definitely do identify as “American,” and am quite thoroughly assimilated in every way that matters. On the other hand, I’ve realized that Americans will always see me as “brown,” and that’s not really going to change, so I might as well go along with it.

          I also think it’s a kind of lying to pretend that I’m the exact same person as a provincial White who lives in his hometown and loves nothing better than tailgating a SEC game.

          If push came to shove, and relations between India and America deteriorated, I would not use “we” to identify with India. But nor would I be too gung ho about America.

          1. Being a member of a diaspora is a state of mind. One immigrant a generation removed may care nothing about his or her previous land any more and see no homeland other than the one he or she resides in now, while another fellow who is generations removed may care deeply and follow the news regularly about affairs overseas, making them a true diasporan in mind and spirit. There is no one-size-fits-all.

            Plenty of Boston Irish supported the IRA despite being generations removed from anyone fighting the conflict in the Troubles. If you go to the northeast US today, you’ll even meet some very proud “No I’m definitely not English, I’m Irish!” folks who will correct you if you misinterpret their surname’s origin. Some African Americans and other African diaspora have made their voice known on issues ranging from the Italian-Ethiopian war to Apartheid South Africa (see Stevie Wonder, Marley etc. using their music to fight and speak out) throughout their history. Others see no land but the US as the one they fight for (and fight for equality in) — see the recently coined online ADOS movement vs. the pan-Africanists stateside for instance).

            There are some Caribbean and Fiji Indians etc. who still identify with Indian culture, know where their particular state or even village of origin was, and watch Bollywood to keep up with what’s going on in Indian pop culture, while some Indian Americans, families no more than a few decades removed, may know and care even less than that.

            That said, a diasporic identity doesn’t always mean identification with a political nation-state, and many diasporas bristle at the notion that they identify with whoever is in charge of the nation-state they originated from. Many a Chinese American will say the “we” is Americans, and the “we” is also the Chinese diaspora, usually of other westerners (eg. Chinese Canadians, Chinese Aussies) who feel similarly, but sometimes very obviously and clearly making themselves known to be excluding the government of China or the homeland Chinese in China who support it, as the “we”, especially if their families left it because they disagreed with it.

            Back in the day, even many Jews were ambivalent about the pursuit of Zionism as a nation in the “nation-state” way, establishing a Jewish state that would exist in the same way as a physical nation like England, France, or Japan. They shunned this idea of Israel as a worldly physical creation, instead of a spiritual one.

            Attempts to force “roots” identities on to others rather than letting them choose on their own terms isn’t taken very well. E.g. look at how well “Israel is your country” is received when told or implied to many US Jews whether it be from Trump or other gentiles. That doesn’t mean many don’t feel a connection, but just that it’s not for outsiders to decide.

            How’d people of English, or Scots-Irish stock in the US feel if you implied they have a “connection” to England, Scotland or North Ireland, just as much as a Chinese-American has to China, or Jewish American has to Israel?

            And when anyone uses the “but so-and-so is X generations removed, you expect them to not care”, note that English and Scots-Irish Americans are LESS removed from the British Isles than most US (Ashkenazi) Jews are from Israel by elapsed time and generational count. And don’t forget Hong Kongers not even wanting to call themselves Chinese when some of them barely had many generations of experience of separation.

            Different strokes for different strokes. That said, I admire the diaspora spirit for those who have it. Who feels it knows it.


          2. On the other hand, I’ve realized that Americans will always see me as “brown,” and that’s not really going to change, so I might as well go along with it.

            we’re way less viewed as alien than when i was a kid. you just have different expectations (higher ones probably).

  3. So I just did some 30-day site searches on Kashmir vs. the other great issue of the day, Hong Kong.

    In NYTimes (a broadsheet of the Left), Hong Kong gets 453, vs. 122 related to Kashmir.

    In NRO (a magazine of standard of the Right), Hong Kong gets 49, vs 4 from Kashmir. Of those 4, 1 is an erroneous result, 1 is 3 words in passing in an article on football, and the other 2 are single paragraphs buried in general reviews of the week’s events. Basically, NRO has literally zero pieces dedicated specifically to Kashmir.

    The upshot? We of Brown Pundits live in a bubble. In terms of foreign policy, Kashmir gets a lot less coverage than Hong Kong. And then remember that Americans honestly don’t care all that much about foreign policy, at least not enough to actually influence it in any way.

    So all this internet chatter is just navel-gazing.

    1. Kashmir is purely a third world conflict, as India and Pakistan are still third world countries. The American public considers such conflicts to be the result of shithole countries doing shitty things, so it doesn’t care.

      HK vs China involves a first world country (which HK is) being ostensibly victimized by a bully. So people are interested. The Israel Palestine issue is also prominent in the American public’s minds because lots of them relate to the Jews of Israel, plus Israel is a developed country.

  4. I would still understand the pro- Kashmir stand folks in Britain are taking, but dont understand why US politicians would go out on the limb on this issue. For whatever its worth, majority of Indian Americans are still democrats, perhaps these politicians underestimate the push back they would get from Indian Americans. Or perhaps they think the Indian american community is divided enough (woke SJWs vs Hindu Americans) , while Kashmir (the politicians think) is a heavyweight issue in broader Muslim community.

    Add to that Modi is in Houston this month. Let us see how all this pans out.

    1. Aren’t Indian-American numbers still very low (in percentage of population), and concentrated in blue states? What advantage would either party have to pander to them?

      1. They are less, still they matter more comparably in both demographic and fund raising terms than Kashmiris/Pakistani , unlike the UK. Kashmir is still not a wider muslim cause(yet) as much as the democratic politicians would like to believe.

        A case has already happened where one Congressman wrote some stuff supporting Kashmir, and the very next day a group of Indian -americans showed up at his door with not so subtle threats. Quietly he walked back from the whole thing.

  5. Razib,
    I have been reading some SR Goel, and I thought his criticisms of BJP/RSS were very unique, coming from his Communist-turned H’vaite background.

    Would you be interested in a post for BP?

  6. Ousep
    SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 AT 5:53 PM

    Thanks for sharing. Watched it. I think he exaggerates slightly. Of course if Elizabeth Warren wins the Democratic nomination and blasts Hindus, Buddhists, Indians, Asians, upper middle class people, rich people . . . then 80% of Indians will vote for Trump. But we are not there yet. Biden is still secretly pro Indian and pro Hindu.

    It is not good for any community to vote overwhelmingly for one party. It is best to be a swing voting community, which is where Indian Americans are now.

    I think he is working with old information. In the 1980s and 1992 Asians were a solidly Republican voting block. But that has changed.

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