E-mail, Internet, and worldwide websites are showing up the sad confusions of the great Indian middle class nationalist who goes ballistic about the power and glory of his motherland while silting in front of his computer screen in California´s Silicon Valley or in a gloomy apartment in New Jersey. Having satisfied his consumerist cravings and being overcome with syrupy nostalgia about a country which is at least 10,000 miles away the Indian professional or businessman living in the United States can afford to wax eloquent about Sanskritic civilisation and nuclear achievement. The problem is that very few of his while American neighbours or colleagues are impressed by either Sanskrit or the Pokharan explosions and the nearest Indian friend is not readily available for a morale-boosting chat.

Solace is at hand and the patriotic US-Indian can now broadcast to the world his paranoia and his yearning for India´s greatness with a click of his computer-mouse.. A typical example is an e-mail letter sent by an Indian living in Texas to India Today soon after the May 1998 nuclear tests: "India made the right move by proving its nuclear capabilities. A weak India surrounded by powerful nuclear weapons Males is a sure recipe for subjugation and the demise of the worlds largest democracy. Now that India has shown the world the ´stick´, it will have to work on the ´carrot´ to maintain peace.´´

Ignoring the daily drudgery of hundreds of millions of labouring children, women and men in India, the US-Indian zips his e-mails to English language dailies or weeklies in Delhi or Bombay, exhorting their readers to keep the faith and work for the abstract glory of the motherland. The Indian back home is routinely berated for his lack of patriotism by the Indian sitting in Los Angeles. Houston or New Haven.

Indian periodicals are deluged with e-mail letters to the editor from Indians living in the West, particularly in the United States. These letters are usually hyper-nationalist in lone and aggressively defensive about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). They often suggest that the lower castes and the religious minorities are to be despised or feared.

The recent rash of violent incidents in the Indian slates of Gujarat, Maharashtra. Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh directed against Christian clerics and institutions by the BJPs sister organisations has not resulted in any significant condemnation by the US-Indian who hall-believes that Christian "missionaries" have invited these attacks on themselves. The US-ludian has not yet realised that such attacks could lead to a backlash by while Christian fundamentalists against Indians living in the US, especially now that these assaults have been widely publicised by the U.S media.

Nor does the US-Indian notice the hypocrisy of vehemently promoting the grandeur of ancient Indian texts and traditions, of which he has no deep knowledge, as he has most likely been educated in India in schools and colleges run by Jesuits or other Christian orders while his children are now attending schools in the US which are as American as apple pie.

For this breed of middle class, upper-caste US-Indian, the debacle just suffered by the BJP in the November elections to the local legislatures of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi could be most puzzling. It would be extremely difficult for the US-Indian to acknowledge that about 80 percent of Indian voters belongs to the labouring classes and to the so-called lower castes. the price of food and the quest for social and economic dignity are far more crucial for that 😯 percent than the jingoistic flag-waving and the abstract motherland-worship propagated by the BJP and its electronic warriors overseas.

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Himal Southasian