Day before yesterday (on 18th Aug), I accidentally came across a trending hashtag – #YoKamalaSoIndian – maybe because I am an Indian or maybe because I followed the lady a day before. The debate is on whether she relates herself as an Indian or Hindu or a Black woman. Frankly, it matters less to me – what she relates herself as – that I believe is her personal choice. Clearly, she is a proud American by citizenship for sure.
But Ms. Kamala’s story is less intriguing to me – than that of her mother – Ms. Shyamala Gopalan. Born in a pre-independence era – An Indian woman – studies science (Ph.D) and becomes a biologist. At a young age of 19 – goes alone to the US in the later 1950s and joins Black Civil rights movement much before she met her soon to be husband- Mr. Donald J Harris. She fought for Black people rights, when she wasn’t one. And her nation had just come out of 360 degrees draining clutches of British. And today her ashes are floating in the Indian Ocean – close to Chennai – her homeland.
A lot to learn from a woman who dedicated her life in isolating and characterizing the progesterone receptor gene that stimulated advances in breast biology and cancer. And who in her death – requests that donations be made to the organization Breast Cancer Action in lieu of flowers sent on her funeral.
However, the purpose of the blog is not Ms. Kamala Harris or her much respect mother. It is the tweets that people put out there – mentioning all the Indian habits under the trending hashtag #YoKamalaSoIndian.
The reason I am forced to write a blog on this is because while the world found lot of these tweets amusing and most of them have been written with a good sense of humor – I found many of them very interesting and very insightful – giving insights into a lot of funny truths, truths that Indians should be proud of and some sad truths too.
I have categorized them in certain categories defined by my own sense of judgement and decorated with a pinch of reality.
Lets see few of the tweets I could pick :
1. Funny but True
I have no idea why this happens – but I have gone through this exact life. And I do it now – EACH of these.
2. Proudly True
Yes – we reuse, until it can be reused no more. Read a tweet about Diwali dress – multi-level reuse at its best – almost implementing circular economy within the fence of a household.
Yes – we eat home made more than market food or ready made meal. And we eat fresh food more than pre-cooked items. We make our papads too 🙂
Yes- we don’t like to waste – neither toothpaste nor any boxes we get for free. I saw a tweet about a plastic bag full of used plastic bags that we reuse and don’t throw) – I could not find it again. But I don’t see what is wrong there if we are anyways using plastic. Our age old habit of carrying a thaila (cloth bag) to the market is simply awesome!
Yes- we ask the vegetable vendors to give us more (used to be free in past) – dhaniya (Coriander leaves) and kadhi patti (Curry leaves) and mirchi (Green Chilli) – firstly they are our source of iron and secondly – we love them in most food we eat.
3. Sad but True
Clearly – Poverty is a big problem that we need to solve. Poverty led illiteracy, poor quality of life, unclean and unhygienic surroundings, ignorance of hazardous aspects of plastic or any other item of daily use – all need to be dealt with and improved on. While we are headed towards the 4th industrial revolution, so many are yet to receive benefits of 2nd and 3rd revolutions. As simple as access to clean water has remained a challenge in many parts of the nation. And here we are headed to scarcity of water already, without even reaching all. #SustainableDevelopment is the only way out. Every individual, every business, every nation will have to chip in.
Some issues I could think of, looking at the tweets.
Ignorance towards hazards of re-using Single use plastic
Unsafe practices due to ILLITERACY
Poverty led mal practices and trust deficit
Women Ignoring self health
Disconnect from civic responsibilities
India needs to accelerate the speed of growth. Our Urban development is happening at 0.2 percent point compared to 2% point of the world.
Wishing goodluck to Ms. Kamala Harris for her upcoming elections. Indian or not- Black or not – you have a glorious history and a big future awaiting. Make it worth – like your mom.