What do they call a light-skinned Punjabi? “The brown guy.”
What do they call the Pakistani Muslim? “The guy who worships cows.”
What do they call the sharp-featured Khatri? “The Indian looking girl.”
What do they call the black-skinned Tamil? “The brown guy.”
What do they call the pale Pandit? “The brown guy.”
What do they call the Brahmin? “Curry smelling guy.”
All this is not to say that you have to be what other people call you. Just because most of my life people have assumed I’m Hindu, and that I speak Hindu, doesn’t mean I should identify as Hindu and embrace he nonexistent Hindu language. But, the “important” differences between North Indians and South Indians, dark and light, even Muslim and Hindu, can seem a bit marginal to some people from the American perspective…
The converse of this is that liberal socially progressive Indian Americans should not think that people in India are just versions of themselves in the past. People in India are a different “fork” and have their own identity.