Bobby Jindal Zindabad! The Republican Formerly Known as Piyush Jindal, has become the Governor of Louisiana. But before one breaks into a bhangra in the barn, it would be useful to note that Mr Jindal’s becoming the youngest Governor in the United States has little to do with his roots or race. While some of us desis now reckon that his governorship is another example of Indians spreading the good work, it would be wise to remember that Mr Jindal has got the top job because of voters perceiving him as the man who can deliver the goods. Nothing less, nothing more.
For a country that spent a good while debating about whether a foreigner born outside India could be a Prime Minister or not — regardless of the Indian Constitution having no problem with it as long as she is an Indian citizen — it’s quite cute to see the same worthies claim Mr Jindal as a sada puttar. The atavistic nature of identifying a person by the colour of his skin hasn’t quite become passé in India. For better or for worse, any ‘Indian connection’ — even if it’s Kim Thayil of the 1990s rock band Soundgarden or Vikash Dhorasoo of the French football squad — is lapped up by us non-NRIs.
This is not to deny Mr Jindal our admiration and congratulations. And we are tickled by the fact that Louisiana, not exactly a model for race relations in the past, has chosen a brown neck as its governor. So will there be a time when India chooses chief ministers who aren’t from the states’ ‘stock’ community? A Marathi as a Chief Minister of UP? A Bengali as UP CM? You don’t have to reply.