- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Lessons From 9/11 For India Today

New America Media, Commentary, Raj Jayadev Posted: Dec 03, 2008

Editors Note: Condoleezza Rice has landed in India to show Americas support after the Mumbai attacks. But Raj Jayadev says Indians really need to hear instead from their Indian American cousins who have been through their own 9/11. Jayadev is director of Silicon Valley De-Bug.

The attacks in Mumbai are being called Indias 9/11. In that framing South Asian Americans have a unique viewpoint that could inform Indias reaction to the horrifying events. We, as a diaspora, for the first time, now have more to offer than Red Cross donations and care packages to the subcontinent.

After 9/11 there were vigils and gatherings just as there are now. There was also the mounting fear that America's understandable anger would be blinding and dangerous, more spreading wildfire, than controlled burn. Indeed, it was a Sikh, Balbir Singh Sodhi, who was the first person murdered in the post 9/11 hate crime frenzy, that still continues to flare up across America to the day. As the country traded in certain civil liberties for security, it was often a South Asian that bore the brunt; the woman humiliated while being searched at the airport, the tech engineer denied clearance for a job.

All this to say that while the natural call for better security takes hold of India, and suspicions regarding the Muslims and other minorities in India begin, even talks of military conflicts with Pakistan, it is the brethren across the Pacific that have been down this road and knows it perils. And in this new flat fluid world, where Banglore and Silicon Valley are joined at the hip, South Asian Americans have license, if not obligation, to offer a word of temperance.

Before, when tragedy struck the subcontinent, an earthquake in 2001, a tsunami is 2005, our actions on the US side of the Pacific were both moving and unifying. South Asians of all stripes -- the Pakistani taxi driver, the Hindu engineer, the recently arrived and the American born desi -- all felt the call of duty and organized food, financial and medical assistance. But this time around, our call is to prevent, rather than to mend, to extend our voices rather than our pocket books. Indians don't need to hear from Condoleezza Rice, they need to hear from their cousins in America.

As tragic as the siege has been, as incompetent at times the Indian government has seemed, both conditions may fuel a fire of aggression externally and internally that can cause even more pain and loss. As South Asian Americans living through 9/11, we know that when fear determines policy choices, the impulse is to strike out against someone, to show that our country will not remain weak and victimized. But as South Asians Americans living in a post 9/11 era, we also know the consequences of letting those inclinations guide a country. We know the pain of families being ripped apart from increased deportations, of hate crimes being veiled as patriotism, of watching bombs dropped on homelands.

Of course the South Asian American voice has been heard before in regards to the politics of the subcontinent. The most Indians I have ever seen march in this country was when Indians marched across the Golden Gate Bridge to affirm India's right to nuclear proliferation in 1998. Attaining "the bomb" was not a discussion about military prowess, but rather about political self-determination. But that was in a different world, where war seemed more hypothetical than imminent.

And whatever voice South Asian Americans have had in the past, it can be louder now. There are now over 2 and a half million Indians in the US, roughly a million more than in 2000. There is organizational infrastructure now to amplify our voice.

In a globalized world, there is always the question as to what the responsibilities are of the diaspora. While celebrating homeland holidays, and holding vigils after tragedy feels right, and is, South Asian Americans now have the offering of experience. History taught us a lesson, and if our experience is to have any value, it needs to be passed on, back to our homelands.

Related Articles:

Mumbai Terrorists Wear Uniform of Young India

Live Blogging the Mumbai Attacks

Mumbai Attacks Hit Home for Young South Asian Americans

As the Mumbai Fires Die, the Terror of the Aftermath

Dawood -- Did Criminal Mastermind Stage Mumbai Nightmare?

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage

International Affairs