The Obituary of a Movement

10280.annaManu Joseph in Open the Magazine:

There is a type of talented Indian who lives in the United States with his austere wife to whom he lost his virginity, and has two children who are good at spelling. He walks with a mild slouch. He is still intimidated by White waiters, but not Black waiters. In an elevator, chiefly in an elevator, he suspects he is probably small. He does not drive a Prius. He is acquainted with the word ‘generalise’ as something other people should not do. He is often a she. He is fundamentally a good person by almost all the definitions of that human condition—he is against genocide, burning people alive, including Muslims, and stabbing children, including Muslim children. And he loves Narendra Modi. ‘And’ not ‘but’, for ‘but’ will mean that he has considered all the facts and has made a moral decision. He loves Modi for honourable reasons. He loves the idea of a smart, tough and proud Hindu. He loves him because he loves Mother India. He was not always so traditional and patriotic.

He will give many reasons why he is so now, he will give abstract reasons. He will say love is abstract, love is inevitable. It is not, in reality. Love is calculated, always. In America’s caste system, he is nowhere at the top. In fact, at times he feels he is at the bottom. There are moments, he knows, when brown is the new black. Back home he was something by virtue of his birth, his lineage and education, which was clear to all in plain sight. And the riffraff, which knew its place, readily granted him his, unlike in the United States. That is why he loves India. That is why the Third World middleclass and the rich who live in the West are deeply in love with their homelands. Nations that are filled with the poor are feudal in nature, and so excellent homes for the middleclass. India is probably the best.

Resident Indians, despite all their reasonable grudges, experience the privileges every day. That is at the heart of the collapse of Team Anna’s apparent revolution, which called for a battle to the brink to overturn Indian politics, and asked informed Indians to dismantle what ignorant voters had erected.