There has been a groundswell of support for the newly-crowned Miss America, Nina Davuluri, who sadly became a butt of racist tweets. Even as we cheered her, we also jeered at those who mocked her.
Of course, the opportunity to remind the world of her Indian origin was never missed. You and I have never heard of Nina Davuluri prior to the day of her crowning as Miss America. No sooner the anointment came than she became the darling of the Indian masses, each one of us digging up her past to trace her roots to her “Indianness”.
While the crowning of Nina Davuluri, an American of Indian descent, is a moment of happiness to all of us in India, have we ever wondered how naïve and yet audacious we are in our overwhelming response to the success of the Indian diaspora — even to the extent of claiming ownership over these achievers and their accomplishments?
It is no news that the Indian diaspora has earned a reputation for itself in various parts of the globe, especially the developed nations. Driven by their dreams and passions, they have won laurels for their competence in various fields including academia, science, politics, economics, sports, arts, culture and literature. And they feel rightfully grateful for the positive influences that have nurtured their hopes and visions in the alien soil. Feeling justifiably proud, we are quick to endorse their success and hail them for scripting history in their chosen fields.
Swiftly moving a step further, we unabashedly clinch the opportunity to grab a share from their success pie, failing to realise that in respect of most of these distinguished individuals, India has contributed very little towards the shaping of their spirits or intellect. Nevertheless, their birth or ancestry alone is reason enough for us to revel in their glory and invent patriotic attributes to their success.
If Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams, born to Indian parents, could make it big outside India by walking the extra mile and giving whatever it takes, what hinders hundreds of others in our country, who fight hard to keep the flame of knowledge and quest alive, from giving shape to their passion?
Lack of social justice, individual will, misplaced academic policies that sideline meritocracy and an all-pervasive opaque ambience in every sphere of governance have snuffed out countless dreams. Perhaps, our call is to merely applaud our successful brethren abroad, wilfully take a bite from their pie of success and wait for the next migrant superman or superwoman of Indian descent to repeat the feat.
And for those aspiring citizens of our country who perspire against odds to seek their goals from their home soil, the intolerable wait has to continue till the golden dawn that would make Indian dreams come true. And there are more than a billion of them in the pipeline!