His statement, "My parents came to America to be Americans and not Indian-Americans" has been difficult statement to swallow. Yes, this is our country and our home, and there is no doubt that we have to be fully integrated with the society.
Raj kapoor's song "Jeena yahan, marna yahan, es ke siwa jana kahan" is appropriately plying in the background, and it feels good. Indeed, when the end comes, we will be buried or cremated here for eternity... but our identity will always be Indian-American, just as all others have theirs, nothing to be ashamed of but rather to be proud of, that is our heritage.
The man who disowns his own identity, the man who does not want to be called an Indian American will do anything for a gain, and possibly sell the nation. I question his integrity.
When Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley became the first non-white, 2nd generation Americans as Governors of their respective states, that immortal declarations saw another major mile stone. That our origin or color did not matter any more. As an Indian American, I saluted America, this is the nation made up of achievable dreams. There was a time, I wanted to run for Congress, and there was a time I almost made it to be an American Ambassador.
When Barack Obama was predicted to win the presidential elections, I cried with joy on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 and wrote about it at 7:45 AM right after listening to NPR that morning. And later on that evening, I saw the entire world crying with joy. Obama's election gave hopes to the whole humanity that America is the ultimate nation of goodness and a role model for the world, that your color or origins did not matter, what you can do for the country matters.
When Jindal made that statement, I felt, he shattered the America I was witnessing become a God's own country where "all men were created equal". and I have said a few bad words about him, which I have taken down now, it was not like me in the first place, but thanks to the kind and generous friends like Kishore, Matthew, Piyush, Mirza and Ahmed in particular who wrote to me and helped me restore the dharma. I appreciate that and thank them for the same.
When I said, Jindal was shattering the America that I was admiring, I loudly wondered, If this man were to become president, would he send Holi and Diwali Greetings to Indian-Americans? Would he greet Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, and Jains on their festivities?
Will he destroy the pluralistic ethos of America? Well, I have a feeling that he would attempt, but our foundation is rock solid, and men like him will come and go. America will only get better and not the other way around. The extremists among Republicans will fall apart in the primaries as we have witnessed in last several elections, and a half way decent guy will get nominated to compete with a Democratic nominee. At that time, whoever appears to be a moderate will have a broader appeal and will earn the confidence of Americans at large.
If he goes to any international meeting anywhere on the earth, invariably he will be asked if he is Indian, he got himself into trouble, he has to respond to this "My Parents came to America to be Americans and not Indian-Americans" every where and earn the disgust of the average human, unless he is a right winger himself.
May be if he comes to Dallas - we should hold placards saying "Bobby Jindal, don't ditch your heritage, you are an Indian-American." Jindal Cartoons http://transparentpiyjay.com/
He still has a chance to be a good guy, not for political gains but to be a good human being, and sincerely apologize to all of us Indian-Americans and call himself a proud Indian American.
God bless America.
Mike Ghouse, President
America Together Foundation
(214) 325-1916 text/talk
............................................................................................................................... Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel-Palestine, Politics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film " Sacred" to be released on 9/11 and a documentary "Americans together" for a July 4 release. He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com - Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.
Letter to the Editor, Khabar Magazine
Pages 12- 13
Gov. Bobby Jindal sparks heated debate on identity
In the editorial, your statement “But then, for Jindal to suggest that one must also go on to disown their native roots, heritage, and culture is a slap on the face for both Indian and American sensibilities” is right on the money. “Bobby” Piyush Jindal, a fundamentalist Christian convert, has now become the extremist of the Republican Party and is planning to run for the 2016 Presidential nomination. What the Nobel laureate V. S. Naipaul said about religious converts applies to Bobby Jindal: “To be converted you have to destroy your past, destroy your history. You have to stamp on it, you have to say ‘my ancestral culture does not exist, it doesn’t matter’.”
Bobby Jindal is associated with and taking cue from Bryan Fischer and David Lane of the hate group American Family Association (AFA). These people and AFA were the primary sponsors of Jindal’s event “Response” in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on January 30, 2015.
On his radio program, Bryan Fischer recommended that the United States adopt an immigration policy based upon the Bible, meaning that all immigrants must convert to Christianity and completely leave behind their native practices, beliefs, culture, and language. David Lane is a Christian-nation absolutist who believes America was founded by and for Christians and demands that politicians make the Bible a primary textbook in public schools. The American Family Association’s chief spokesperson believes the First Amendment’s religious freedom protections do not apply to non-Christians.
At the rally in Baton Rouge, Jindal declared “Our God wins.” In the February 27, 2009 interview with Morley Safer on the CBS News 60 Minutes program, both Bobby and his wife, Supriya, protested against Safer calling them Indian-Americans. Bobby was so insistent that he is American now and not Indian-American that Safer voiced over in the interview that “this oyster- and crawfish-eating Louisianan tends to downplay his ethnic background.”
Shashi Tharoor, the Congress MP, recently wrote that “at his Indian-American fundraising events, Bobby is careful to downplay his extreme positions and play up his heritage, a heritage that plays little part in his appeal to the Louisiana electorate. Indian-Americans, by and large, accept this as the price of political success in white America. But Bobby has never supported a single Indian issue; he refused to join the India Caucus when he was a Congressman at Capitol Hill, and is conspicuously absent from any event with a visiting Indian leader. It is as if he wants to forget he is Indian, and would like voters to forget it, too.”
Bobby Jindal was invited to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Madison Square Garden event in New York last September. He sent his regrets and did not attend. Even South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley, who is very careful not to expose her Indian heritage, attended this event and followed it up with a visit to India with a South Carolina business delegation. Bobby Jindal missed a great chance to establish business relations between India and the State of Louisiana.
The comments and behavior of Jindal reflect his state of mind and his inferiority complex. I believe Bobby Jindal is a poor role model for Indian-Americans to follow. They should stay away from him and not support any of his political endeavors.
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Your recent editorial on Gov. Jindal’s comments was overly one-sided and misleading. There was no need to take offense at one man’s comments on his own ethnic heritage, even if he is a politician. Or, in this case, especially if he is a politician !! ... ... ... ... The Governor and his parents made a conscious choice not to reflect his Indian heritage and that is a decision which should be respected, even if we find it incomprehensible as first or second generation Indian-Americans. We should not be so ultra-sensitive as a community and take one man’s comments as a reflection on ourselves.
S. M. John
Your point is valid…in the case of a private person as opposed to a public official. Jindal, on the other hand, is a public official of high stature whose lifestyle choices are fair game for media scrutiny.
In Jindal’s case, how he lives out or omits his Indian identity and heritage is even more fair game considering he has benefited immensely from fundraisers organized by Indian-Americans, which he actively courted.
Regarding your assertion that he “did not say that other Indian-Americans should cease hyphenating their cultural/ethnic identity”—he did indeed use his high public office to stigmatize, in an international forum, those of us who choose to live hyphenated lives. He doesn’t have to literally say so; the inference of his public proclamation is that by being hyphenated Americans we are somehow inferior Americans.