Showing posts with label Sikh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sikh. Show all posts

Sunday, October 01, 2023

The India Canada Misunderstanding

If Punjab were not in India and Pakistan but in Canada, like Quebec is, there would be a referendum. Quebec and Scotland have the option to break away and become independent countries. But India does not have that provision. India is a much larger European Union that works. Only a few years ago India got rid of taxes at state borders. It was said it was like India finally managed an economic union.

For India a breakup means partition. That was a hugely bloody event. Punjab becoming an independent country is not an option.

And it is not like a large section of Sikhs in India are clamoring to become a separate country. The opposite is true. Those who advocate a separate country are small in number, and suggest an armed path. That roadmap is not available, but can lead to much meaningless violence. So to India the whole issue feels like a fight against terrorism, something its arch nemesis Pakistan specializes in. Government agencies in Pakistan openly coordinate with terrorist organizations. To them it feels like an asymmetrical war. There is a large gap otherwise between India's army and Pakistan's army, India's economy and Pakistan's economy, India's prospects and Pakistan's prospects.

And it is not like Pakistan is ready to let go of the Punjab inside its borders. But many in the Pakistani establishment daydream of India's Punjab some day becoming India's Bangladesh.

Free speech should be protected. If there are Sikhs who would like to argue Punjab should become its own country, they, of course, should be allowed to do so. There are a dozen such arguments inside India today. As long it is peaceful free speech, it is tolerated inside India itself. So, no, this is not a free speech issue. India is the largest democracy. I don't think people running India struggle to understand free speech and peaceful protest.

But threatening violence, and organizing violence, and coordinating violence, and fundraising for violence all meet the defintions of terrorism. They meet the definitoins of domestic terrorism inside the US. India's gripe is the Canadian government seems to tolerate such acts.

There is no provision in the Indian constitution for Punjab or any other territory to organize a referendum and gain independence. Punjab is no Quebec. But that is not the issue. The issue is terrorism. Most Sikhs inside Canada are not clamoring for an independent Khalistan. But there is a vocal minority that seems to drown out the rest. It is basic democratic decorum to also listen to the silent majority.

Sikhs might be numerical minorities. Operation Blue Star was unfortunate. The anti-Sikh riots after Indira Gandhi's assassination were wrong and criminal. But Punjab is one of the richest states in India. Sikhs have had outsize influence inside India. There have been Sikh Prime Minister and President of India. That can not be said of most similar numerical minorities inside India.

A separate country called Punjab is not likely. But a Sikh Prime Minister of Canada is only a matter of time. It is not possible to create a country where only Sikhs are citizens. But if Canada gets a Sikh Prime Minister some day, its very own Manmohan Singh, then that would be a remarkable achievement for the Sikh community, and a major footnote to the illustrious Sikh history.

The Sikhs were at the forefront of the Indian independence movement. Punjab bore the brunt of the violent India-Pakistan partition. The Sikhs are the most visible component of the Indian Army. Sikhs live everywhere in India. And Sikhism is like a bridge religion between Hinduism and Islam.

If Jagmeet Singh's party wins more seats than Justin Trudeau's party in the next election, Trudeau's party would be the junior partner in the next government.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bobby Converting Is Not A Problem

How Indian immigrants could save the Republican Party
Further, could it be just coincidence that both politicians converted to Christianity? He’s a Hindu-turned-Catholic and she’s a Sikh-turned-Methodist. Perhaps they have their legitimate reasons—it doesn’t get more personal than your name and your religion—but the party needs to proceed carefully: There’s a red flag if immigrant candidates don’t appeal to their own immigrant brethren. Indeed, Jindal and Haley have upset some Indians, who feel the candidates can take their campaign donations but had to become something else in order to be accepted by the Republican Party—and by America.
I was born a Hindu. I grew up a Hindu. When I came to America with 200 dollars in my backpocket - 70 of which I blew on my first cab ride from the airport to the college town - I was a Hindu. One year in America I became a Buddhist. This was in the Bible Belt South.

I recommend conversion to the hundreds of millions of Dalits - also known as untouchables - in South Asia. Become a Buddhist, become a Christian, become anything. Stop being a Hindu. I feel like that is the only way to break the back of the caste system.

Nothing that any black person goes through in America compares to what Dalits go through in India. And I have to face that fact, as I remain hypercritical when it comes to race relations in America. The status quo is not okay. Racial equality is not here yet, although we continue to make steady progress.

I note that both Bobby and Nikky are Pujabis. In 1984 there were major anti Sikh riots all across India. If I were a Sikh I might have wanted to dissociate myself from the larger Indian identity once and for all. It was that bad. The minority problem is there in every country. Look at the Buddhist-Muslim thing in Burma, the Buddhist-Hindu thing in Sri Lanka.

I was an Indian in Nepal growing up and I suffered. I was a political minority, though not a numerical one. I identify with the blacks in America because of who I was growing up in Nepal. But also because of the British unfairness at the British school in Nepal I went to. And the racist demonization at the white college in the South I attended that the powers that be happily participated in.

I don't know of any Indian Democrat who is Governor anywhere in America, not in New Jersey where a lot of Indians live, not in supposedly diversity friendly states like New York and California. And I never felt like Bobby was trying to hide his Indian identity, or that he had ever managed to hoodwink whites into thinking he was anything other than Indian. He is married to one. His children are Indian. He takes great pride in his family's story.

One of the things that I find fascinating about Bobby is he is truly conservative. He is hard core conservative like I am hard core progressive. He truly believes. And it is so obvious to me that he is very, very smart.

One has a right to choose one's party, one's political philosophy. One has a right to choose one's faith. I mean, why are we even arguing? That's basic stuff.

Bobby's presence at the other end of the spectrum has, if anything, made me want to take a second look at the conservative philosophy. It has made me want to take a second look at the Republican Party itself. Not that I want to join it - no, hell no - I am a happy Independent, a Democrat till 2008, ironically.

If I were to not see common cause with Bobby, it would be for social reasons. I am for gay marriage, for example. If this were the 1950s, I would have been anti segregation. Being pro gay marriage today is for me the same thing. I don't want to wake up 10 or 20 years from now having been on the wrong side of history today.

But if Bobby were to say gay marriage is an issue to be decided at the state level, I would agree. We could agree to disagree on the issue, but agree on how the country should go about it.

I moved to New York from Kentukcy/Indiana because I was not white. Maybe the gay people can too. For the time being.

I am for a small government. I think I always have been. When you move from an autocracy to being a democracy, you are reducing the size of the government. And I am all for that.

I am for common sense gun laws. The right to go hunting - I am more of a shoot with a camera kind of guy - does not mean allowing for machine guns on easy hands. Makes no sense. But I see the pro gun philosophy as one being for a small government. I am okay with the underlying meaning.

It should be possible to distill the conservative philosophy to its bare essentials, and to apply them to new facts, and come up with new sets of policies that go for social inclusion and economic growth, nationally and globally. Maybe Bobby the biology major at college will do that. But his party has not done it yet. There is work cut out for him.

Bobby Is Going To Run And Win In 2016

The conservative philosophy has to make sense in all income brackets, for all racial groups. It can't be a philosophy to give tax cuts to the super rich with money borrowed from China to be able to hoodwink white guys with high school diplomas for life in the South to come along for the ride.

The party of Lincoln has to go back to its roots and become a party that competes for black votes, not engages in voter suppression.
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