sarwal-remappingcaste-2013.pdf (592.62 kB)
Re-mapping class and caste consciousness: short narratives of South Asian diaspora in Australia
conference contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Amit Sarwal
Thanks to Bollywood, a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) is predominantly imagined, back home in India, as super-rich, fully westernized in manners and doing India proud in foreign lands. One reason for this as explained by renowned Bollywood producer-director Late Yash Chopra, in his address at the first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Expatriate Indians Day) in 2003, is that as a director he is also working as a ‘historian’ and carrying on his shoulders the ‘moral responsibility [ … ] to depict India [and the Indian Diaspora] at its best’. In this regard, Ghassan Hage also notes that the ‘last thing’ the migrants (particularly men) would like to share with their families back home is shocking stories about racism, discrimination or prejudices that they may have experienced in public or the workplace. Such a revelation would obviously be followed by ‘why did you make us suffer and move to the end of the world just to get demeaned and insulted?’ Hage further notes that therefore the migrants’ familial and class experiences, be it in films, literature or even some sociological studies, are often ‘portrayed as a positive experience’ and this is ‘how the whole migratory enterprise continues to legitimise itself’'. It could be argued that this is one of the reasons the alleged ‘racist’ attacks against Indian students received so much attention in the Indian media. It was not just discrimination but the notion of discrimination and second class treatment (based on skin colour and origin) against the revered and much envied diasporic Indian that created such a media furor in India.