Indian History Happens Elsewhere. In Chicago, For Instance

Authorphoto_1 Amitava Kumar in Indian Site:

“I am an American, Chicago born – Chicago, that somber city…” That was Saul Bellow in The Adventures of Augie March, introducing us to a city in motion, a city made of immigrants whose energy, and whose words, the stories that they forged for themselves, were changing America. But Bellow’s first-generation immigrants and even their offspring spoke with “an unerasable Yiddish twang”. His Chicago wasn’t made up of Indians or Pakistanis or Sri Lankans or Bangladeshis, the mixed nation of what one desi rapper has called “oblique brown.” But they are there, and from this distance they are shaping events, for good and for bad, in their homelands too.

For the past several days, I have been following the tweets of reporters inside the Chicago courtroom where former Pakistani Army doctor Tahawwur Rana was standing trial. Late last evening there was a tweet from Chicago Sun-Times reporter Rummana Hussain: “#Ranatrial: There is a verdict!”

The jury was split. It found Rana guilty of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba as well as participating in the conspiracy to commit terrorist acts against the Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. However, the jury acquitted Rana of what might be regarded as the principal charge, of involvement in the November 2008 attacks on Mumbai.