Khushal Chand Thakur
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Khushal Chand Thakur

I enjoyed reading the 3 chapters that have been put up, and would be interested in reading more.

The manuscript captures well the problems of the post-Liberalization (i.e. after 1991) immigration experience of a certain type of Indian. Setting aside the references to the "frozen in time" East African Gujaratis, Indians growing up in culturally isolated spots like the American mid-West, and the NRI experience in non-English speaking countries, the book is essentially about the NRI experience of people of the class of Indians who would speak English as a first language in India. With that as a filter, I believe the book can be refined, the existing script tightened up, and the future content made more focussed.

I believe this - English as a first language in India - is an important fault-line. It is a subtle, but uncomplicated, dividing line in Indian Society that neatly captures the metro/non-metro, old-money/arriviste, and social class aspects. Taken abroad, where all the India baggage like class, background, etc are leveled, it manifests itself in subtle differences of what it means to be Indian.

Just a few words on the topic of Indianness, the immigration experience, etc from me....

I have lived abroad for 7 years. I have observed a lot of the anecdotes mentioned in the book myself and my conclusion is , being Indian, or the feeling of Indianness is a state of mind. The concept of Indianness can't be equated to just feeling pride at a World Cup win, bursting crackers at Diwali, or tiger-parenting. It is more subtle and deeper than that. I feel it is about being wholly accepting India, warts and all; about having an instinctive contextual understanding of how and why things in India are what they are or work the way they do; and perhaps most importantly, at some level, about the feeling of being accepted in India.

Feb 02 '15