Leaving Uganda

We’ve talked about it here before: In 1972, Idi Amin gave all 80,000 Asian Indians living in the Uganda 90 days to pack up and leave. As the BBC reported on August 7, 1972, “Asians, who are the backbone of the Ugandan economy, have been living in the country for more than a century. But resentment against them has been building up within Uganda’s black majority. General Amin has called the Asians “bloodsuckers” and accused them of milking the economy of its wealth.”

A new young adult novel Child of Dandelions by Canadian author Shenaaz Nanji sheds much needed light on the upheaval of Asian Indians in Uganda. It’s worth checking out, even if you don’t have a young adult in your household, or don’t normally pick up books for younger readers. dandelions.jpg

The protagonist of Child of Dandelions is fifteen year old Sabine, a girl whose comfortable life is torn asunder on August 6, 1972, the day that Idi Amin issues his expulsion order for all Indians in Uganda. Shaken by the protests she walks into while window shopping in Little India, Sabine turns to her parents for protection.

Sabine’s mother is afraid and eager to leave Uganda, but her father, a wealthy Ismaeli businessman and landowner, is determined to ignore Dada Amin’s orders:

“Nonsense!” Papa laughed his conch-shell laugh, and her little brother echoed it. … “We are even more Ugandan than the ethnic Africans. Not only were we born here, but we chose to be Ugandan citizens when other Indians remained British…

Sabine agrees with her father. She is different after all. Her best friend Zena is African. They’ve grown up together like “twin beans of one coffee flower” and Zena is just like her sister, even if others (like her Indian friends) don’t see it that way.

Narmin …Nasrin … Sabine’s hands clenched at the names of her classmates. They were prissy prunes. She’d had a big fight with them after they called Zena goli. Mixing her African and Indian friends was like mixing oil with water.

As the 90 day countdown continues, Sabine’s optimism is drowned out by the growing chants of “Muhindi, nenda nyumbani! Indian, go home.” Amidst reports of violent attacks against Indian families, the mysterious disappearance of her favorite uncle, and strained relations between her and Zena (whose uncle is a general and crony of Idi Amin), she is forced to reexamine her understandings of race and class.

The novel is what Nanji calls Faction, a mix of facts and fiction. Some of the characters are real, others fictional, but every event is based on history. Nanji grew up in Mombasa, and regularly visited family in Uganda throughout her childhood. “In fact the very day Idi Amin took power, I was in Kampala and to my embarrassment cheered him at a rally waving the Uganda flag, not knowing what was to follow,” she told me in an e-mail interview. [read the full interview here]

The book’s title comes from a powerful scene halfway through the novel when Zena tells Sabine that she can no longer associate with her because of Dada Amin’s orders.

Sabine folded her arms to steady herself. “You’ve joined them?”

“Them? Them are us. Your people have clogged up our land as the British bwanas did before. Your people, your family included, are doing magendo.”

“Uncle and Papa help out of kindness.”

“We don’t want kindness.” Zena gave a short, dry laugh. ‘You took our land and made us look after it. Now we want it back.”

Sabine stared at Zena. But Bapa had cleared that land and cleared it to grow coffee.

“We have to clear our land. The weeds must be uprooted. What can I do? You are the child of dandelions.”

Sabine reeled as if struck by lightning. How dare Zena accuse her of being a weed?

Though Sabine is furious at Zena’s rejection, she slowly starts to see discrepancies in how Indians treat the native Ugandans. For example, she realizes that though she’s known her driver Mzee (a term of respect for all elderly gentlemen) all her life, she has never touched him before or known anything about him.

She and her family were no different from the standoffish mzungus and other Indians who distanced themselves from their African employees. Mzee had worked for Bapa at his farm for many years before he moved to the city to get an easier job and became their driver. …
“Mzee, what’s your name?” She looked up at him. His eyes lifted in surprise, and she saw that they were gentle and crinkled like Bapa’s.
“Mzee Kabugo,” he said shyly, returning his gaze downward.

As someone who grew up in Ghana, I really appreciated Nanji’s nuanced take on the complex dynamics of race and class. The expulsion of Indians from Uganda was not a black and white issue, Nanji’s story shows us. “Earlier versions of the story showed the military regime was wholly responsible for the crises,” Nanji told me. “Later upon reflection, I learned that no one group of people is evil. There were many factors – poverty and class distinction, legacy of the colonial powers who carved up Africa like a pie, some Indians engaged in magendo, corruption, and Indians living in close-knit communities, refusing to integrate with ethnic Africans.”

Nanji started writing her book in order to find answers to the questions her children asked her while they were growing up. “My mind began to spin with questions I struggled to understand: how could an entire community that had lived for three generations suddenly be uprooted like weeds and expelled just because they were brown. Why was the rest of the world silent?” she said.

When she searched for books in the library on such issues, she came back empty-handed. “Then came the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and the massacre in Rwanda and I knew the story had to be told,” she said. “Yes, the story takes place thousands of miles away in Africa, but the emotional experience of Sabine may transfer to the American readers as part of their own reality.”

To date, there are very few fictional works that examine the personal, social, and political turmoil caused within the Indian community by Amin’s orders, so right off the bat, Child of Dandelions is a welcome addition. That it is gracefully executed and emotionally evocative makes it a book worth owning and sharing both with adults and young adults alike.

123 thoughts on “Leaving Uganda

  1. If you listen to The World on NPR, the answer to yesterday’s Geo Quiz was Nova Scotia and went in depth about Scotland’s efforts to reach out to its diaspora as part of a tourism campaign.

    http://www.theworld.org/?q=node/19086

    Oddly, they reference a Robert Burns poem that says no matter what your status in life, we are all part of one common humanity.

    It’s sad that some people on this site prefer DNA testing to figure out who is and is not part of that common humanity ;)

  2. 100 · Amitabh said

    Parsis did not retain Gujarati any longer than it took for their community to replace it with English…a process which obviously wasn’t going to happen overnight and which is why you still meet (mostly elderly) Parsis who speak Gujarati. BUT the younger generation (I would say most people under 40 and even many older than 40) by and large can not speak Gujarati.

    This is not true. There are still tens of thousands of Parsis living in Gujarat. They can certainly speak and write in Gujarati. The young Parsis in Bombay that I meet also speak Gujarati, though their “Gujarati” is a hodgepodge of Gujarati, Hindi and English (sounds a lot like ABCD Gujarati).

    Parsi Gujarati as a distinct dialect is rapidly diminishing which is something I really regret. I love the accent, cursing and quirky vocabulary.

  3. This is not true. There are still tens of thousands of Parsis living in Gujarat.

    I was almost going to make an exception in my earlier comment to say “except those few still living in Gujarat”. I have met many young Parsis from Mumbai and without exception they could not speak Gujarati (or even passable Hindi for that matter). Just like you meet many upper-class people (again, younger gen only) from Lahore who can not speak passable Punjabi. It’s just the way it is amongst certain socioeconomic groups in the subcontinent. I’m told there are some ‘hi-fi’ young people in Chennai who can’t really speak decent Tamil either.

  4. 88 · Johnny Valker said

    the version i learned was that unlike the Hindus and Muslims, the Parsis had no taboos on dealing with Westerners. they didn’t require food prepared by a Brahmin or halal meat, had no problems mingling with lower castes or “kafirs”, and weren’t scared sh!tless of traveling in the Arabian Sea. their presence in Surat which was the major port when the Dishonourable Company rose to power and their willingness to adapt to British manners seem more likely reasons for their privileged position.

    I think most of that is correct but the Parsis however were already privileged before the British arrived in India. The Mughals held the Parsis in special favor and Akbar even kept a Parsi representative in his court.

    Many of the posts imply that the British sought out the Parsis for special treatment. I think it was the Parsis who made the effort to ingratiate themselves with the British. The Parsi community at Surat made a collective decision to learn English.

    In addition, when the British moved their headquarters to Bombay from Surat, the Parsis followed the British and subsequently played a large role in establishing Mumbai as the most prominent city on the Indian subcontinent.

  5. 78 · RahulD said

    Talwar, Maybe we can have an attitude like Ajax in the movie version of the Illiad and say “row, Greeks are dying” but there is very little if any strategic value in having geopolitical bases in another country based on the fact that your ethnicity needs to be protected. Suki, I’m a Cubs fan…

    Who said anything about having bases in another country? A better solution is partition as it leads to permanent safety for the minority. Then India would only have had to sell them weapons and they would look after their own because in their own country they would have their own military force.

  6. Amitabh: the Parsis did indeed retain Gujarati long after Angrez Sahib left. I was able to talk with middle aged Parsis in Colaba in Gujarati without any problem. And judging from the Gujarati signs around the Parsi Baugs, the middle aged ones still retain literacy. However I do agree with you 100% about the younger generation speaking a mix of Gujarati/Hindi/English, but this is the same for a lot of upper/middle class Gujarati youth as well. I have relatives who can’t read or write Gujarati and when they speak they might as well be speaking Bambaiya Hindi lol

  7. Amitabh: the Parsis did indeed retain Gujarati long after Angrez Sahib left. I was able to talk with middle aged Parsis in Colaba in Gujarati without any problem. And judging from the Gujarati signs around the Parsi Baugs, the middle aged ones still retain literacy.

    Dude, it takes time to completely lose a language. A few generations…and also while some in the community lose it earlier, others lose it later. For example in urban Pakistani Punjab Urdu has become the main language whilst in rural areas Punjabi still predominates. My argument is that they (Parsis) retained Gujarati for as long as it took them to become largely English-speaking. That process didn’t and couldn’t take place overnight. The fact that there are some older fluent speakers doesn’t indicate any particular pride in Gujarati or a desire to preserve the language…it just means that the circumstances of those individuals was such that as kids they still had a lot of exposure or immersion to Gujarati and perhaps not as much to English…resulting in them feeling more comfortable in Gujarati. The real test or measure (in my view) is how many Parsi families who were fluent in English nonetheless opted to maintain Gujarati…and there I think the answer is very few.

    I’m not trying to diss Parsis and I agree that this happens to some extent now with various Indian communities. It fascinates me that particular languages become associated (over time) with specific demographic groups that originally formed only a portion of their speakers…for example Punjabi is now to a large extent considered a ‘Sikh’ language, Irish is now largely a badge of pride for ‘Catholics’ and Coptic is the cultural heritage of the Egyptian Christians (even though it was the mothertongue of the ancestors of the Muslims there as well, who now ideologically esteem Arabic). Gujarati has retained a strong hold on Patels and the like but not on Parsis. These things are very complex phenomenon.

  8. Talwar: Who said anything about having bases in another country? A better solution is partition as it leads to permanent safety for the minority. Wow, I thought the extent of your logic was at most to have bases to protect the minority through Indian military intervention. You are saying, lemme get this right, you are saying that the Indian government should sent its military to other countries with Indian minorities and partition them? You want African countries to be partitioned for Indians? There are two yardsticks I have for debate: 1. Logic/Rationale 2.Have an open mind. When dialectic reasoning goes out the window, there can never be a progress of knowledge. I concede my point, you win.

  9. Amitabh: you raised some good points, but i think there are two distinct issues here: the first is the increasing deracination of the (generally) affluent youth in major cities throughout the subcontinent. there are the standard reasons offered, i.e. attempting to integrate, stigmatization of the mother tongue, etc. but i think it’s a perfectly natural phenomenon. In Bombay, (and i’m sure in Lahore and Delhi too)the upper and middle classes are educated in English, and the lingua franca in their neighborhoods and among their peers is Hindi/Hinglish. Thus they only speak their parents’ language at home, and even then it’s interspersed with Hindi/English. Vernacular news and entertainment is largely a joke these days (whoever keeps making Gujarati movies should be shot) and even in Gujarat the urban youth don’t seem to care much for the Gujarati natak or poetry (i may be wrong about this).

    As for the Parsi identity, I haven’t met too many Parsi youth, but the ones I’ve met here in the United States seem to relate more with their Persian heritage. This may have something to do with the fact that most ABDs don’t even know what Parsis are, and find it hard to believe Parsis are Indian because of their different phenotypes. Conversely, Zoroastrianism is gaining popularity among second generation Iranian-Americans, who see Parsis as the custodians of their ancient Iranian culture and thus Parsis find it a lot easier to blend in with the Iranian crowd. I’m interested in your thoughts about this.

  10. 109 · Johnny Valker said

    Amitabh: you raised some good points, but i think there are two distinct issues here: the first is the increasing deracination of the (generally) affluent youth in major cities throughout the subcontinent. there are the standard reasons offered, i.e. attempting to integrate, stigmatization of the mother tongue, etc. but i think it’s a perfectly natural phenomenon. In Bombay, (and i’m sure in Lahore and Delhi too)the upper and middle classes are educated in English, and the lingua franca in their neighborhoods and among their peers is Hindi/Hinglish. Thus they only speak their parents’ language at home, and even then it’s interspersed with Hindi/English. Vernacular news and entertainment is largely a joke these days (whoever keeps making Gujarati movies should be shot) and even in Gujarat the urban youth don’t seem to care much for the Gujarati natak or poetry (i may be wrong about this). As for the Parsi identity, I haven’t met too many Parsi youth, but the ones I’ve met here in the United States seem to relate more with their Persian heritage. This may have something to do with the fact that most ABDs don’t even know what Parsis are, and find it hard to believe Parsis are Indian because of their different phenotypes. Conversely, Zoroastrianism is gaining popularity among second generation Iranian-Americans, who see Parsis as the custodians of their ancient Iranian culture and thus Parsis find it a lot easier to blend in with the Iranian crowd. I’m interested in your thoughts about this.

    Parsis, just like many of the other tribes within India are trying their best to run away from any and all associations with India. For example, there the Wikipedia entry on “Sakaldwipiya Brahmins” reads that: “The Sakaldwipiya Brahmin community of India identify themselves as having Iranian roots, and …The Suryadhwaja Brahmins contend that they are of Kurdish descent.”

    Moreover, regarding the Nagar Brahmins, also on Wikipedia: “Another view asserts Nagars to be of Greek origin…Nagars and Greeks are considered similar even today so far as their physical appearance is concerned.

    I also remember reading about another Brahmin community on Wikipedia, and in that article, they claimed that they were from Kazakhstan over 7,000 years ago. Hence, they’re the “oldest and purest” ethnic lineage in the world – whatever that means.

    Isn’t it funny that Borat pokes fun of Kazakhstan, however, there are some Indian communities who are fantasizing about having their origins from there?

  11. 110 · boston_mahesh said

    Moreover, regarding the Nagar Brahmins, also on Wikipedia: “Another view asserts Nagars to be of Greek origin…Nagars and Greeks are considered similar even today so far as their physical appearance is concerned.

    The Wiki entries about the various Brahmin groups are jokes. Not only is the English subpar, but they give no citations (no surprise there lol). I’ve noticed a common trend of unsubstantiated claims asserting origins of upper castes in Russia/Iran/Europe ten thousand years ago or such. I’m not sure what causes this; one reason may be that these individuals take the Aryan Invasion Theory seriously and thus believe they’re the descendants of the “fierce Aryan warriors”. The truth is that Nagars and other Brahmins rarely look different than other castes, and the average Russian/Iranian/Greek would laugh at the thought of them being related.

    Like you, I find it sad/amusing that some would even try to claim origins in Kazakhstan lolol.

  12. 111 · Johnny Valker said

    110 · boston_mahesh said
    Moreover, regarding the Nagar Brahmins, also on Wikipedia: “Another view asserts Nagars to be of Greek origin…Nagars and Greeks are considered similar even today so far as their physical appearance is concerned.
    The Wiki entries about the various Brahmin groups are jokes. Not only is the English subpar, but they give no citations (no surprise there lol). I’ve noticed a common trend of unsubstantiated claims asserting origins of upper castes in Russia/Iran/Europe ten thousand years ago or such. I’m not sure what causes this; one reason may be that these individuals take the Aryan Invasion Theory seriously and thus believe they’re the descendants of the “fierce Aryan warriors”. The truth is that Nagars and other Brahmins rarely look different than other castes, and the average Russian/Iranian/Greek would laugh at the thought of them being related. Like you, I find it sad/amusing that some would even try to claim origins in Kazakhstan lolol.

    You’re 100% correct! They actually can trace their ancestry prior to the Neolithic farmer’s development of agricultural techniques, somehow! I find it hilarious and sad at the same time that cultures and countries that are basket cases in the American eyes are viewed as superior in the Indian’s eyes. For example, Chechnya (BabyKiller Nadu), Georgia (the land of Stalin), Kazakhstan (Boratastan), Iran (Muharram self-punishers), and some times Arabic lands (fill out any offensive comment here to summarize this land) are all backwards and somewhat comical places for us Americans. But on Wikipedia, the Indians are dying (and dyeing – as in whitewashing) to be from Boratastan without any citations and “weasel words”. They certainly have a penchant for passing off weird opinions off as facts, and exaggerating their antiquity by several thousands of years, at the minimum, and also to suffer from “Northwesternizationatitis Complex” disease – the disease which inflicts the self-loathing browns who fantasize about an alternative pedigree.

  13. boston_mahesh, let me ask you this…if you were an Indian who looked sort of vaguely Greek or Southern Italian or Iranian…wouldn’t you want to think about why you looked different from the masses of India? Couldn’t it be due to ancient migrations into the subcontinent? I agree that the wikipedia pages you guys are referring to are ridiculous, I looked up the entry pertaining to my ‘caste’ and I found it delusional and hilarious….BUT…on the other hand…I don’t think that means that all Indians share the same ancestry to the same degree…the phenotypic differences have to have some basis in ancestry and genetics (I don’t think they’re merely the natural variation that exists within a population…Indians display far more phenotypic variety than say Japanese or Swedes or Nigerians display within themselves).

  14. 113 · Amitabh said

    boston_mahesh, let me ask you this…if you were an Indian who looked sort of vaguely Greek or Southern Italian or Iranian…wouldn’t you want to think about why you looked different from the masses of India? Couldn’t it be due to ancient migrations into the subcontinent? I agree that the wikipedia pages you guys are referring to are ridiculous, I looked up the entry pertaining to my ‘caste’ and I found it delusional and hilarious….BUT…on the other hand…I don’t think that means that all Indians share the same ancestry to the same degree…the phenotypic differences have to have some basis in ancestry and genetics (I don’t think they’re merely the natural variation that exists within a population…Indians display far more phenotypic variety than say Japanese or Swedes or Nigerians display within themselves).

    Hi Amitabh,

    I appreciate your well-worded response. I 100% agree that there were many migrations into India, but the ones that we’re willing to take credit for are migrations from the north and/or west. I’m not doubting the Aryan migrations, unlike a lot of others here, and I’m not doubting the migrations of others such as the British, Afghanis, Iranian groups, Central Asian Turks, etc. Many Indians want to claim that they are part of these “good races.”

    However, are you aware that India has always had a very large Dravidian population living all over the north west of India, in present day Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Pakistan, parts of Afghanistan? Also, India has had Australoids living there for over 30,000 years. Finally, we’ve had many migrations of “bad races” such as Siddis/Habshis from Eastern Africa during the 1700s, South Eastern Chinese migrated to North Eastern India, and to this day, they speak the same language family in NE India as they do in Vietnam. However, no Indians want to lay claim to these “bad races.”

    I personally believe, and please don’t take offense to this, that when you feel that you vaguely look Greek, Italian, or Iranian that, perhaps, you want to look for these traits, and that what you want to see is somewhat arbitrary. However, if you wanted to see Ethiopian, Indonesian, or Thai, you could more easily see these features in you as well, however you should want to see those features. But we prefer that we resemble Europeans, even though India has had far more migrations and influence with Indonesia and Thailand.

    If Ethiopia were a white country instead of an Afro-Black country, then I would think that South Indians would claim that South Indian culture also came from Ethiopia due to them eating dosais.

  15. To mellow yellow, So Asians explusionm from Uganda –> Their fault, racism

    Did I write that the Indians were kicked out because of their racism?

  16. 114 · boston_mahesh said

    when you feel that you vaguely look Greek, Italian, or Iranian that, perhaps, you *want* to look for these traits, and that what you want to see is somewhat arbitrary. However, if you wanted to see Ethiopian, Indonesian, or Thai, you could more easily see these features in you as well, however you should *want* to see those features. But we *prefer* that we resemble Europeans, even though India has had far more migrations and influence with Indonesia and Thailand.

    This is so true. I always wondered why American blacks do not claim European heritage when so many of them show so many European phenotypes. It is to their credit they want to call themselves African Americans.

  17. JGandhi wrote:

    I think most of that is correct but the Parsis however were already privileged before the British arrived in India. The Mughals held the Parsis in special favor and Akbar even kept a Parsi representative in his court.

    Hogwash. Akbar kept representatives of all religions in his court including hindus and christians. By your absurd reasoning hindus and christians must have also been as “privileged” as parsis. As a british colonial who knew the parsis intimately some 200 years ago, James Mackintosh, Recorder of Bombay from 1804 to 1811, wrote: ” the Parsees are a small remnant of one of the mightiest nations of the ancient world, who, flying from persecution into India, were for many ages lost in obscurity and poverty, till at length they met a just government under which they speedily rose to be one of the most popular mercantile bodies in Asia” (Loc. cit. Darukhanawala & Jeejeebhoy 1938, p. 33).

    Of course he is congratulating himself when claiming it was the “just” british colonial rule that elevated the status of parsis above the native hindus. Unless you agree that it is “just” to rank people based on skin color and race. Note that the black jews of Cochin did not attain the status and privilege that the Baghdadi jews did under british rule. Neither did the native christians. Why do you think that was? Obviously it was not religion that motivated the british to pick parsi zoroastrians over the natives. Face it: the British played the color game to the hilt. The Aryan Invasion Theory was concocted as part of their overall strategy to divide and rule, with whites on the top.

    Many of the posts imply that the British sought out the Parsis for special treatment. I think it was the Parsis who made the effort to ingratiate themselves with the British.

    More bakwas. Practically everyone in India was trying to ingratiate themselves with the british.

  18. louiecypher wrote:

    People talk about Tata’s founding a hotel because he was barred entry into a hotel. Implicit in this story, but never brought up, was that Tata knew full well that the hotel was off limits to the “natives” but was expecting to be treated as a white man as he had been in other Brit establishments. But he, as were Armenians & Baghdadis,was “grey” (i.e. rather than White or Black) and how he was treated really depended on the whim of the local colonials.

    Good point, worth remembering. It is also relevant and interesting to mention here that parsi hotels used to practice a similar apartheid against non-parsi indians during british colonial rule. Ambedkar the leader of India’s untouchables, who was light-skinned for a hindu, was once forcibly ejected from a parsi hotel after they found out that he was a hindu not a parsi. Of course being an untouchable he was barred from hindu establishments as well.

  19. This is so true. I always wondered why American blacks do not claim European heritage when so many of them show so many European phenotypes. It is to their credit they want to call themselves African Americans.

    “mixed race” is a relatively new choice for African-Americans. A drop of black blood makes you black in the US. Which makes it hilarious that many conservative whites take Obama to task for not acknowledging his Euro ancestry enough.

  20. 116 · DC_Desi said

    <

    blockquote>114 · boston_mahesh said

    when you feel that you vaguely look Greek, Italian, or Iranian that, perhaps, you *want* to look for these traits, and that what you want to see is somewhat arbitrary. However, if you wanted to see Ethiopian, Indonesian, or Thai, you could more easily see these features in you as well, however you should *want* to see those features. But we *prefer* that we resemble Europeans, even though India has had far more migrations and influence with Indonesia and Thailand.

    This is so true. I always wondered why American blacks do not claim European heritage when so many of them show so many European phenotypes. It is to their credit they want to call themselves African Americans.

    Hello DC_Desi,

    The European heritage of most blacks represents a shameful and unfortunate past, namely miscegenation and rape. Moreover, they have a lot of Black Pride, and the analog is very much lacking in India. I’d love to see “Mahogany Magazine” in India or a “chocolate color” option on Indian matrimonials.

    Here’s something to think about: Who was the “grEEEAAATTTest” Celtic Muslim athlete of all time? ANSWER.

    If the African-Americans adopted the “1 drop of foreigners = foreigners” attitude, than the African-Americans in the USA would all claim to be Scots-Irish, British, and/or Scottish, even though they don’t look alike at all now, speak alike, etc. A typical entry in Wikipedia for the ficticious scenario for a “clan/caste of African-Americans with the surname of ‘Jackson’ would read: “The ancestors for the Jackson family settled in Mississippi, and their ancestors came from Scotland. This is why they speak English, which is a white language. They also had a component that came from Norway and France. In 300 AD, clergy from Palestine came to convert them to Christianity, hence the Jackson Clan is also part Arabic. Because of all this, the Jackson clan is the oldest and purest white clan in all the USA.”

  21. Talwar : I admire your “hamdardi” spirit for wanting the Indian army to go to the aid of threatened Indian diaspora.

    RahulD : Given your military experience, how difficult would it be for the Indian army to train and equip commando teams made up of resident Indian diaspora.

    These teams would know the local language and customs, the local terrain, and be able to inflict swift retribution on their “ethnic” persecutors. In addition, this would give the Indian govt. “deniability” if something went horribly wrong.

  22. If the African-Americans adopted the “1 drop of foreigners = foreigners” attitude, than the African-Americans in the USA would all claim to be Scots-Irish, British, and/or Scottish, even though they don’t look alike at all now, speak alike, etc. A typical entry in Wikipedia for the ficticious scenario for a “clan/caste of African-Americans with the surname of ‘Jackson’ would read: “The ancestors for the Jackson family settled in Mississippi, and their ancestors came from Scotland. This is why they speak English, which is a white language. They also had a component that came from Norway and France. In 300 AD, clergy from Palestine came to convert them to Christianity, hence the Jackson Clan is also part Arabic. Because of all this, the Jackson clan is the oldest and purest white clan in all the USA.”

    AWESOME!

  23. Hi Amitabh,

    I appreciate your well-worded response. I 100% agree that there were many migrations into India, but the ones that we’re willing to take credit for are migrations from the north and/or west. I’m not doubting the Aryan migrations, unlike a lot of others here, and I’m not doubting the migrations of others such as the British, Afghanis, Iranian groups, Central Asian Turks, etc. Many Indians want to claim that they are part of these “good races.”

    However, are you aware that India has always had a very large Dravidian population living all over the north west of India, in present day Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Pakistan, parts of Afghanistan? Also, India has had Australoids living there for over 30,000 years. Finally, we’ve had many migrations of “bad races” such as Siddis/Habshis from Eastern Africa during the 1700s, South Eastern Chinese migrated to North Eastern India, and to this day, they speak the same language family in NE India as they do in Vietnam. However, no Indians want to lay claim to these “bad races.”

    I personally believe, and please don’t take offense to this, that when you feel that you vaguely look Greek, Italian, or Iranian that, perhaps, you want to look for these traits, and that what you want to see is somewhat arbitrary. However, if you wanted to see Ethiopian, Indonesian, or Thai, you could more easily see these features in you as well, however you should want to see those features. But we prefer that we resemble Europeans, even though India has had far more migrations and influence with Indonesia and Thailand.

    I wish Razib the geneticist would respond to this thread.

    I actually thought that there really wasn’t much migrations that made a huge impact into India for 1,000s of years. And Dravidians don’t have any racial difference from the north indians…and most of the mgirations that did happen into India came from up North and not really anywhere else. I think some Indians are deluding themselves into thinking that their migrations are most closely linked to up north, but I’m sure some indians do have a close link (closer that is than the rest of india).

    Where is it shown that we have had far more migrations from SE asia?