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The Empire strikes back


by Rohin on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:19 am    

We’re out. Little in life seems to change. But for now I present to you a different angle to the World Cup, which I originally decided not to post, until today. (The picture above is explained below.)
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This post was prompted by two things. Discussion about the World Cup with our Indian American contemporaries at Sepia Mutiny confused me somewhat. Most did not support America and many seemed rather anti-English. I thought better of posting anything then, but I received a text this evening, just as Rio Ferdinand wept.

My girlfriend is in Chennai, India, for a friend’s wedding. She told me that people were delighted and jumping for joy that England had crashed out and that no one in India supports England.

I don’t wish to turn this into a footballesque post about the Tebbitt Test and who one should support, as I believe in the freedom to do what you want. But what struck me about both the guys on SM and the Chennai wedding guests is that they are motivated by who NOT to support as opposed to the converse.

I was always told that politics and sport should not mix. Of course that is somewhat naive and the politics is what makes Iran vs USA or India vs Pakistan such fun to watch. But the intense hatred that seems to burn for England is bizarre. Both of the aforementioned clashes are fuelled by ongoing disputes between the countries. But India and England have good diplomatic relations. England - or more accurately Britain - has not been a major part of everyday life for the average Indian since 1947. But the hatred lives on and manifests itself as cheering at the misfortune of apolitical footballers whose parents weren’t even born in 1947.

India’s adopted team in the World Cup has long been Brazil and understandably so. Without a national team of note, India chose the country with most flair to their play and a developing economy, comparable to their own. Perhaps they also saw some parallels in the massive rich-poor divide and the corruption in government :) Yet the cheers for Brazil seem to pale in comparison to the cheers for England’s failure. Perhaps this joy stems from the fact India has so little to celebrate in the sporting sphere, being the world’s worst international performer in terms of success per capita.

The disdain for England in India of course stems from the Empire and as touched upon recently, this is also understandable. A New York cabbie from India was asked his views on the World Cup here:

I also like the Germans as England’s traditional enemy. Ha! Yes. I despise the English. Every four years, they are so confident. Every four years, they’re a failure. It serves them right…

Maradona scores the goal with his hand, and the referee lets it stand. And he says, “This was not my hand that scored, it was the hand of God!” And the English, they still cry it’s unfair! Ha! I suggest they consider their history with India before they complain about ‘unfair!’

Because obviously sixty-year old history is relevant to a modern sporting fixture. It’s the same moronic viewpoint that created chants as stupid as “one world cup and two world wars!” which England is thankfully growing out of.

Indians I speak to choose which countries to support arbitrarily, which I suppose is fair enough. France has won desi fans this year with the inclusion of Vikash Dhorasoo in the squad - cool. But whilst attacking England for crimes it committed in the past, they ignore the more pertinent footballing facts. Serie A, the Primera Division and the Bundesliga have been plagued by far worse racism than the Premiership in recent years. England is the only country with schemes in place to specifically encourage Asian players to enter the game. The English Premier League is the only major league with several homegrown players of Asian origin (Dhorasoo is from Mauritius). These things don’t matter.

More generally, no other footballing country has been as significantly affected by desis than England. Indian culture has become interwoven into English and British culture and India voraciously consumes British Asian produce, from TV to music to film. Yet when the football starts, suddenly these are forgotten and once again England is merely the white former master. I wonder how different things would be if we had a desi or two in the national team, the way our cricket team does.

Portugal, France, Italy and Germany remain. All of these European countries have imperial histories. The crimes they inflicted upon their colonies were on a par if not worse than Britain. The contrast between how Indians feel about the English team in comparison to how the Senegalese feel about the French team could not be more stark. It takes a shoulder one billion strong to support a chip this large.
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The anti-English mentality does not die when leaving Indian shores. Apart from the cabbie above, American citizens born and raised, seem to root against England…if they are brown. Many of the commenters on SM feel no loyalty to the US national team, which strikes me as odd but I shan’t go into this much further as the SM thread linked above got a little heated.

To end my rant, the day was marginally lifted by watching Zizou back to his best. You can get your expert football punditry elsewhere on the Internet, but what a joy it was to watch the three musketeers of Zidane, Thuram and Makelele abandon thoughts of retirement to link up with the likes of Henry and Vieira for one last hurrah. It really is the stuff of French legend.

How should I feel about their win? From what I’ve learnt I should be happy because they have a desi player and happy that Brazil are out, to spite those Indians who hurt my feelings. Personally I’m happy because I love France as a country.

Allez les bleus.



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123 Comments   |  


  1. Amir — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:30 am  

    Nice selection of girls, Rohin.

    Well, from now on, I’m supporting Pakistan in every derby test series!!

  2. Miguel Filipe — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:40 am  

    Your post was quite nice. Nice pics, specially the last one. :)

    An interesting point was how people in Goa were rooting for Portugal in the Euro 2004>/a> competition. Maybe because Brazil was not playing. :)

  3. mirax — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:40 am  

    Hmmn, Brazil is hugely popular all over Asia for many reasons - it is probably number one in term sof support. Bet it is not that different in Africa.

    In S’pore and malaysia, though , due to the colonial history and an obsessive following of the Premier League, England at least ties with Brazil in popularity, I think.

    Pity Brazil is out; my nieces, nephews and I painted a few Brazil themed T-shirts last weekend to wear for the finals…

  4. Sunny — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:50 am  

    I repeat, I love France because the women are hot and have sexy accents. And nice selections of pics there Mr Rohin, most distracting.

    I think the SM crew are a bit behind us in the evolution of immigrant patriotism, to be honest. Remember about ten years ago most British Asians wouldn’t be caught dead supporting England. Now it’s the anti-English crew who are in the minority (though this depends where you live too I guess, I think I’m broadly confident in this).

  5. mirax — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:53 am  

    Ps, I don’t particularly care that France has a ‘desi’ player (though just possibly, I might feel differently about an entire team from India for the underdog factor) SM’s spot-the-desi angle on just about everything is so limiting and lacking in self-awareness.

    So despite the fact my bf is french(not that he follows the footie), I’d still not support the French. It is the Germans for me now.

  6. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:54 am  

    Behind England, I wanted only Brazil and France to win out of the remaining teams. Shame they had to play each other now. Was happy to see the Argentinians depart and the hosts progress but it’s odd that we have all European semis for the first time since 1982 I think.

    Africa is somewhat different Mirax. Brazil enjoys huge popularity, but their own teams are more than handy. They model themselves on Brazil quite deliberately and Ghana pretty much outplayed them but ran into some bad luck. There’s a contrast between this and Indians who seem to do little proactive to do with football - not for any luck of interest or enthusiasm.

    I think what also counts in Brazil’s favour, apart from their female fans and their showmanship, is their ethos - they stand apart from most other romance language countries (for want of better terminology) in their more honest play and attitude.

  7. Amir — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:55 am  

    Now it’s the anti-English crew who are in the minority

    They number 5 million and live in a place called ‘Scotland’.

  8. mirax — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:58 am  

    I’d think that for most countries that don’t have their own teams in play, Brazil is THE default team.

  9. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:58 am  

    Pourquoi pas les francais mirax?

  10. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:59 am  

    *Why not the French in reference to you, not countries without their own team.

    Sunny the immigrant patriotism you mention is a complex and sensitive subject. At its most innocuous it could be wanting the country you live in to lose in the World Cup - I know many friends who wanted England to lose despite being born and raised here, although almost none are desi. I suppose these feelings arise out of not being fond of your country and if it treats you like shit then fair enough. America often shocks me with its attitude towards (brown) Asians, but in general day-to-day life seems not that dissimilar to here when considering places like New York etc. So I do find it weird that so many Indian Americans are anti-America in sport. I disagree with many of my government’s decisions but how does that affect my support of the football team?

    That’s innocuous. But at its worst not feeling like you belong in a country or not feeling ‘British’ or ‘American’ can lead to resentment of the culture in which you live. Some express this in worse ways than others.

  11. Amir — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:13 am  

    Rohin, I agree.

    However multiple and hybrid our identities people still need to connect to the wider social and political entities of which they are a part. Patriotism, to be distinguished from aggressive nationalism, is an unselfish emotion, and as such is instrumental to democratic justice.

  12. Mash — on 2nd July, 2006 at 7:22 am  

    First, I want to know what goal the woman in the last pic is celebrating.

    Back on topic, from across the pond here in the US, I feel for England tonight. I always root for four teams: England, France, Germany and Holland. Of course I like watching the Brazilians play - who doesn’t.

    The World Cup should be about great soccer and rooting for great teams and players. It shouldnt be about politics - especially if your country is nowhere in sight. I root hard for the underdogs like Iran and Ghana. Who gives a damn about politics on the soccer field.

    That Indian cabbie from New York is a moron. His prejudice is getting in the way of truly appreciating the Beautiful Game. Only a moron would not appreciate that phenomenal free kick that Beckham took in the game against Ecuador.

  13. Ravi Naik — on 2nd July, 2006 at 10:21 am  

    “First, I want to know what goal the woman in the last pic is celebrating.”

    And that is important because…?

  14. Johnny — on 2nd July, 2006 at 11:00 am  

    Just saw this — Sunny Hundal the Islamophobe:

    http://forum.mpacuk.org/showthread.php?t=8987

  15. Ravi4 — on 2nd July, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    Rohin - excellent post and nice coice of pics. There’s plenty for the British Empire to be ashamed of. But the likes of Gopal help to keep that post-Imperial chip firmly on shoulder, through ahistorical exaggerations/fabrications of imperial crimes.

    Real shame that we’re out. That portuguese goalie was phenomenal though.

  16. soultrain — on 2nd July, 2006 at 12:22 pm  

    England may not be a big draw in India, and I actually don’t think that’s the full picture, but England is holds a lot of support and popularity around the world – thinking of the Far East where they are received very well, and they have their own band of England travelling supporters. A big part of that attraction is down to how David Beckham is a worldwide celebrity – one of the few footballers recognised everywhere; he does generate a lot of hype about him – he happens to play for England, so he adds some global support. Him leaving England may change things.

    Another thing to mention is that the appeal of the English Premiership is global, probably the most watched league in the world. As a result, England players are discussed a lot more, and I would have thought that transfers into some concrete support for England from objective football fans watching in other parts of the world.

    It is true though that in the last five years, Englands (and the UKs) reputation has taken a battering – over international events and foreign policy; the Iraq War, the perceived image of the UK just doing whatever the US says…(which makes more headlines than racism in continental European leagues) And I don’t deny that is a contributing factor that has turned a substantial number of people around the world against the UK – and manifests itself in vigorously supporting England’s demise at the World Cup.

    But still think that England enjoys some moderate support from people across the world coz of its association with the Premiership.

  17. John Bullock — on 2nd July, 2006 at 12:28 pm  

    Who cares a twopenny damn what a bunch of foreigners think?

  18. inders — on 2nd July, 2006 at 12:28 pm  

    Don’t need any foriegn fans, I think england should adopt a millwall chant. ‘No-one likes us, we don’t care’.

  19. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 12:38 pm  

    John Bullock, I don’t know whether your comment’s tongue in cheek, but I care because a lot of the foreigners in question are friends and family and I don’t want them jeering my team as I feel they’re jeering me too.

    Soultrain the Premiership is the most watched league and I’ve found fanatical interest throughout my travels, in all corners of the globe (especially your neck of the woods where I saw loads of Liverpool and Arsenal grafitti!) But I’m not sure how much of that translates to support for England. And now Beckham has stepped down, I’m not sure if things’ll change. Admittedly I don’t know much about who other Asians support, my area of knowledge is the subcontinent.

    I was happy to hear Nigerian, Senegalese and Egyptian friends of mine getting behind Ghana as an African nation. But I doubt South Korea and Japan win much support from the wider Asian continent - do they? Perhaps mirax can say?

    Mash, thanks for the comment. Cool you root for those 4 teams, but can I ask the question I mentioned above - how come you don’t root for USA?

  20. inders — on 2nd July, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

    Family and friends all support different club teams without too many problems Rohin.

  21. Nav — on 2nd July, 2006 at 12:54 pm  

    Would the fact that India’s economy is rising figure at all in any of this?

    Perhaps they feel now is as good a time as any to step put from the shadows with impudence and gibe the English at their lowest ebb.

  22. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 12:55 pm  

    I suppose so inders, good point. But there’s a difference between club and country. If you launch a tirade against Palace, I’ll not be happy but I won’t be insulted. But saying you hate a country’s national side is not inter-club banter, it’s unpleasant. Perhaps wrongly, I infer an insult to me, as someone who lives in England. A national team transcends club divisions and unites a country. You can love your own country, but don’t hate another.

  23. mirax — on 2nd July, 2006 at 1:10 pm  

    >But I doubt South Korea and Japan win much support from the wider Asian continent - do they? Perhaps mirax can say?

    Er, in terms of getting a bit more media coverage and our very best wishes, yes but not the kind of support where we buy their kits or wave their flags. Somewhat odd when you consider that we have so much J-pop and Korean soaps on TV nowadays. But there is nothing that we follow regularly like the Premier League or Series A, so the players are just not that familiar to us.

    When it comes to the debutante teeams or the underdogs, it is normally an African team that people get excited over, rather than anyone else.

    >And I don’t deny that is a contributing factor that has turned a substantial number of people around the world against the UK – and manifests itself in vigorously supporting England’s demise at the World Cup.

    This I have not noticed at all- isn’t football separate from politics for a lot of people? Something like this would be quite noticeable in a place like Malaysia, must check out this out.

  24. Sunny — on 2nd July, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

    Mash - Gary Younge has a piece in the Guardian every week with an ethical look at what team to support. He usually uses political factors and I have to confess I always do the same too. After that comes how good looking the women are :)

    And I almost always support the underdogs.

  25. Jai — on 2nd July, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

    Rohin,

    I’m sure you’ve already figured the following out as a fellow SM regular, but here are some thoughts anyway:

    =>”American citizens born and raised, seem to root against England…if they are brown.

    1. Usual Asian parental/familial anti-English influence and environment, especially when growing up, due to the whole imperial legacy etc (obviously), along with — in my opinion — the fact that some desis, especially the older generation, enjoy holding long-term grudges (even if the original transgression/”crime” no longer has any relevance) and apparently find excuses to hate/denigrate others if they can find a self-righteous reason to do so. I guess I’m being uncharacteristically blunt here, but this is something I’ve observed frequently and regularly.

    2. “Distance” and lack of personal (positive) experience are also factors, I think; if they haven’t spent extended periods of time here in the UK and/or have not had much direct (positive) contact with English people, that’s also going to be a factor in not redressing their prejudices and hostility towards the English. Plus things have improved significantly for Asians in the UK — socially and culturally — over the last 10-15 years, which is going to cause British Asians (esp. the 2nd generation) to have greater affection and goodwill towards the UK and its “local” inhabitants compared to our American desi cousins.

    =>”Many of the commenters on SM feel no loyalty to the US national team,”

    It’s odd if there’s some kind of racial basis to this — the US has no colonial history with India — although understandable if it’s due to disapproval of current US military/political policies and the present American government. *shrug* I don’t know — maybe we’d have to live in the US to really gain an understanding of what motivates this behaviour amongst such people, although I had originally been under the impression that Asians in the US were far more loyal, supportive and patriotic towards the country and its associated institutions (including sports) than their counterparts here in the UK. Maybe it’s just a quirk focused purely on sports, or maybe SM isn’t necessarily an accurate reflection of what the majority of American desis really think about this topic.

    I already wrote some detailed posts on the SM sports thread so you already know what I think about all this. It certainly seemed to be a very sensitive topic indeed on the part of some commenters there.

  26. raz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 3:17 pm  

    I’ve also noticed that American Indians tend to be a lot more racist and anti-Pakistani than British ones, as evidenced by some of the sickening bile directed at Pakistan at sites such as Syphiltic Mutiny and Baqwuas Rakshit. I wonder if there is some demographic reason as to why British Indians are more tolerant towards Pakistanis than American ones. Maybe there is not much inter-Asian mixing in the USA, so American Indians rely more on the propaganda they have been fed rather than direct interaction, which is why British Indo/Paks tend to have a better understanding of one another.

  27. inders — on 2nd July, 2006 at 3:27 pm  

    I’ve always heard the opposite raz. Have things changed recently ?

  28. Ravi Naik — on 2nd July, 2006 at 3:36 pm  

    “I’ve also noticed that American Indians tend to be a lot more racist and anti-Pakistani than British ones”

    I am sure the feelings are mutual. What can be said about Pakistani-Americans contributing heavily to Bobby Jindal’s opponent?

  29. raz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 3:53 pm  

    Ravi,

    I have little experience of dealing with American Pakistanis, so I can’t comment. I must say that my impression of American Indians has generally been very poor, which is why I consider Pickled Politics to be a far more worthy site than the disgraceful, bigoted Syphiltic Mutiny, which laughably dubs itself as a ‘South Asian’ blog.

  30. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:06 pm  

    Hmm, interesting Raz. Perhaps because there are far more Indians in America than Pakistanis their exposure to Pakistani culture is minimal? Also the discord may exist more because they are frequently recent affluent immigrants, whereas many of the immigrants here came over from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India at the same time and had a shared experience which brought them closer.

    Although…I’m a more recent not poor (not really affluent!) immigrant from India and my best mate’s Pakistani, so I’m not sure my theory works.

  31. raz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:12 pm  

    Rohin,

    I think middle class Asians in the UK are also tolerant of one another, maybe even more so than the less affluent. It really seems to be an American thing, as far as I can tell.

  32. Ravi Naik — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:18 pm  

    “Pickled Politics to be a far more worthy site than the disgraceful, bigoted Syphiltic Mutiny”

    I actually enjoy that blog. Why do you say it is bigoted?

  33. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:24 pm  

    I like it a lot too Ravi. Raz’s criticism has been levelled at them before - that it should not be called South Asian but it should be called Indian. I guess it’s not for me to counter, but I wouldn’t call it bigoted - certainly not the posters themselves. However I’m sure they would agree that a few commenters are. I wouldn’t like people holding PP commenters’ views against me as a PP poster. What kind of things do you mean Raz?

    What’s the other one you refer to, Baqwuas Rakshit? That’s too mutated for me to get it!

  34. Zak — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:25 pm  

    I’ve noticed the Indian-North American thing as well, I’ve always assumed it’s because they are more naturally more pro BJP.

    That bit about England bashing does make one think, perhaps it’s in part because people internationally want to support winning teams? By contrast i think people know more about English footy players than any other team..I mean half the world knows Manchester because of Man U

  35. El Cid — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:29 pm  

    In no particular order:
    1) The main reason many non-white neutrals support Brazil is because they have a tradition of playing sexy football and tend to win more than most. Jumping on the bandwagon in a desparate bid for empty bragging rights is what it is. It’s like being a Chelsea fan.
    2) Ethnicity has little to do with it. If it did, non-white neutrals would support Middle-Eastern, African or Asian teams, which, of course, are rank outsiders to go all the way.
    3) Argentina, another huge favourite is 99% white European. Also Brazil is not simply a black team, let alone a non-white team — not necessarily more than, say, France or even England. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Kaka, Cicinho, Juninho, Zico, Leonardo, Branco, Falcao, etc are mainly white while legends like Socrates, Rivelino, Rivaldo, even Ronaldo, have white in ‘em. In short, plenty of European and zero Indian Indian.
    4) Guess who introduced football into Brazil and Argentina (or even Portugal and Spain for that matter)?
    5) Since when was Portuguese imperialism benign? In case you didn’t know, they initiated the slave trade and abolished slavery 50 years after the British. Decades of civil war also followed their departure from Angola and Mozambique. They also had a liking for repression and forced conversions in Goa.
    6)How comes Malaysia/Singapore and HK tend to follow England more. Don’t they have imperial ties with Britain?
    7)Is premiership footy followed much in India and Pk (or is it all cricket, cricket, cricket)?
    8)I also think John Bullock has a point: ultimatately, who cares what Johnny Foreigner thinks. Rohin, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s part of the initiation rites if you sign up to being an England supporter: it’s odd for immigrant offspring like us to take, but that’s just the way it is. We are all English now! Be pround, drink 50 lagers and smash the place up a bit.
    9)We’re possibly not liked in some parts of the world because we drink 50 lagers and smash the place up a bit.

  36. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:37 pm  

    “1) The main reason many non-white neutrals support Brazil is because they have a tradition of playing sexy football and tend to win more than most. Jumping on the bandwagon in a desparate bid for empty bragging rights is what it is. It’s like being a Chelsea fan.”

    This is more or less the point I made at SM and boy I got shouted down. Thing is, I have no problem with glory supporting for a genuine neutral. I’d support Brazil if I was Indian.

    “5) Since when was Portuguese imperialism benign? In case you didn’t know, they initiated the slave trade and abolished slavery 50 years after the British. Decades of civil war also followed their departure from Angola and Mozambique. They also had a liking for repression and forced conversions in Goa.”

    I just said this point too and one of the chaps I normally agree with on..general stuff, said “they didn’t colonize MY forefathers.” But yet, as said above, Goans DO support Portugal. They fought for their right to join India and when they got it, they asserted their difference to other Indians. Excellent.

    England fans have been better behaved this year, widespread praise. The scuffle the other day was not large in scale and the German police were quick to say the Germans started it.

  37. Ravi Naik — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:43 pm  

    We are a multi-cultural society, which means that there is no pressure to conform to a particular culture, or even show loyalty to your host country. This is the opposite in the US. And given the present situation, some Indian-Americans might feel the need to vent against pakistanis/muslims to show their idiotic patriotism. Ok, that’s my theory.

    I do believe that you are wrong about sepia mutiny being bigoted. There might be a bias, but who hasn’t? :)

    One interesting thing about Pickled Politics is that it tends to focus too much on Muslims. Given the present situation and the media attention, I understand why. However, I would like to see more about other aspects of our people and heritage in the UK. I still think that this is a brilliant blog and kicks sepia mutiny’s indo-american ass any day. :)

  38. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:47 pm  

    Hey, I don’t want to encourage any rivalry between us and SM, we’re friends and they’re cool. We’re different - they’re a general culture blog, we’re politics. We’re not in competition.

  39. raz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

    Ravi,

    I only encountered the SM blog because it was one of the links off PP. I’m not going to go into a big diatribe here, suffice to say I am not impressed with much of the commenters and I do believe there is an ‘agenda’ to the main posters as well. Also, a lack of moderate voices to stand up against anti-Pakistani biogtry as well. I will say that the self-conscious way SM lables itself as ‘South Asian’ and ‘Brown’ is patently absurd. Anyway, each to his own.

    “One interesting thing about Pickled Politics is that it tends to focus too much on Muslims. Given the present situation and the media attention, I understand why. However, I would like to see more about other aspects of our people and heritage in the UK.”

    Ravi, I have raised this concern of several occasions with Sunny. Obviously, given the current climate, there is going to be a surfeit of Muslim issues to be tackled, but I think broader spectrum of coverage would better suit PP’s mission statement. Sunny has been trying to change, bless him, although he is still prone to the odd ‘Muslim story binge’ now and then :)

  40. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:53 pm  

    I’m here to stamp out those Muslims!

    I mean I’m here to stamp out those Muslim STORIES.

    Er…that’s what I meant to say, obviously.

  41. raz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

    “I don’t want to encourage any rivalry between us and SM”

    I do. SM sucks :)

  42. Ravi Naik — on 2nd July, 2006 at 5:02 pm  

    “Since when was Portuguese imperialism benign? In case you didn’t know, they initiated the slave trade and abolished slavery 50 years after the British. Decades of civil war also followed their departure from Angola and Mozambique. They also had a liking for repression and forced conversions in Goa.”

    No colonisation was benign. And the spaniards are no exception with the massive killings of Indians (the feather ones) in South and Central America.

    But Spaniards and Portuguese did inter-marry with the locals unlike the British, wiped out their cultural identities and force them to adopt the coloniser’s culture. This perhaps creates a closer bond.

    My parents are from Goa, and our family converted to Catholicism 400 years ago. It’s silly to complain about that, just like you don’t hold a grudge against the fact that your pagan roots were erased when christiany was forced upon your ancestors. As for the repression, it happened both in Portugal and the colonies since we were ruled by a ruthless dictator for decades.

  43. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 2nd July, 2006 at 5:10 pm  

    raz,

    “I have little experience of dealing with American Pakistanis, so I can’t comment.”

    I have some expirience. They are stereotypical docile Asian nerds.

  44. xyz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 5:16 pm  

    I don’t expect Indians in general to really cheer for the England football team (I did yesterday, primarily because one of my best friends is English) but I am surprised that they would be vehemently anti-England football team, especially in Chennai.

    However, during the last cricket World Cup, when India met Australia in the finals, most of the Brits and others on the BBC boards and other outlets were vehemently anti-India and wanted Australia to win, despite the rivalry between England and Australia. The glee (and sometimes outright bigotry) exhibited by many Brits when India fell woefully in the final shows that there is also a chip or something else residual in the British (English) memory as well that they also can’t get over.

    And as El Cid points out, who cares what Indians or other foreigners think? Especially when you have Andy Murray showing what can only be called less than enthusiastic support for the England football team and provoking some pretty heated discussions between the English and the Scots on the BBC tennis board. You don’t have to stray far from home to find dislike for the English football team, it seems.

  45. El Cid — on 2nd July, 2006 at 5:16 pm  

    “The feather ones”? Let’s call them native Americans shall we (quite a few million in Brazil too).
    Yes, Spanish empire also pretty brutal — largely because of the messianic religious angle that accompanied it. Wouldn’t dismiss that so readily.
    Would also point out that millions who died at the hands of Spanish/Portuguese in Americas were largely as a result of Euro-Asian diseases that they inadvertently spread amongst natives who had different immunisation systems — measles, flus, small pox, etc. There is a revisionist attempt to suggest that they spread them on purpose, but I don’t buy that.
    Anyway, all that side:
    So what you’re saying is that British rule WAS relatively more benign and respectful of local cultures, even if somewhat more offhand. SO, the more brutal the master the more supportive will be future generations of vanquished, even after they gain independence. Well ain’t that ironic.
    Re-writing the British Raj indeed!
    *cue evasive action*

  46. El Cid — on 2nd July, 2006 at 5:19 pm  

    xyz, I can assure you that I would always support India vs Australia, and so would every single non-Indian fellow Brit I know.
    Really, I promise you, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  47. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 5:21 pm  

    “However, during the last cricket World Cup, when India met Australia in the finals, most of the Brits and others on the BBC boards and other outlets were vehemently anti-India and wanted Australia to win”

    MOST? Can you categorically prove that? It might also have had something to do with the far more comprehensive defeat India inflicted on England than the Aussies did. My mates all supported India or didn’t care either way - perhaps because they are friends with me or perhaps because we all share a mutual dislike of Aussies :)

  48. Ravi Naik — on 2nd July, 2006 at 5:38 pm  

    “So what you’re saying is that British rule WAS relatively more benign and respectful of local cultures, even if somewhat more offhand. SO, the more brutal the master the more supportive will be future generations of vanquished, even after they gain independence. Well ain’t that ironic.”

    It is indeed ironic but not suprising. The British could never allow themselves to mix with locals, and so they were perfectly happy to create a society comprised of several communities with different cultures, living side by side.

    The Spaniards and the Portuguese on the other hand, would convert people by force, give them catholic names and surnames, and force them to learn the language of the colonial master. Indeed, the Portuguese and the Spaniards were cultural murderers.

    But generations after, what you have are communities who have little cultural affinity to England, and communities who feel a stronger connection because there is a stronger cultural affinity.

    Of course that doesn’t explain everything. I suspect that Hong Kong, unlike India, had a much healthy relation with the British, specially in the last years of British administration. Even the daughters of the last Governor spoke fluent Cantonese (chinese).

  49. xyz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

    El Cid, I didn’t mean to imply that there were no Brits who would support India over Australia, but the majority of comments by Brits on the cricket boards a couple of years ago were for Australia in the finals and against India (and interestingly, by most New Zealanders and South Africans as well, despite their rivalry.)

    This is no big deal, because Australia were/are the best team in the world and deserved to win the final. It was just the nature of many of the comments that was surprising. It went beyond cricket and belied some other underlying antagonism/sense of us vs. them/tribalism. There was definitely more a sense of unity amongst the Australia-England-New Zealand-South Africa camp (with a few exceptions), whilst the West Indies-Pakistan-Sri Lanka-Bangladesh-Kenya camp was more divided in who they wanted to win. This is not a scientific conclusion but just an observation made at the time. And it goes both ways, to be fair. If England had met Australia in the final, I’m sure many Indians would have picked Australia despite our rivalry with them.

    To expect sports to be completely free of politics and history is asking too much I think. I know some Spanish speakers from different countries in South America who would never cheer for Brazil because they are Portuguese speakers. Nothing brings out the best and the most immature in man than sports, whether it’s in the players, commentators or fans.

  50. xyz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 5:49 pm  

    Rohin, no I can’t prove that, as I said. I was going by what I read on several cricket-related boards, statements by commentators. I’m not saying that’s the truth, but just my observations. Just as it can’t be comprehensively proved that “no one in India supports England” because some people in Chennai were not supporting the English football team.

    As I said, one of my best friends is English and as you know England has a healthy cricket rivalry with Australia. However, even he, I know, deep down, only half-heartedly supported India in the final:) Maybe it did have something to do with the thumping we gave England:)

  51. El Cid — on 2nd July, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

    XYZ, hmm… I dunno what to say. Guess it says something about the type of person who participates on BBC cricket bulletin boards. Maybe there’s a white ex-pat community thing going on here. But I assure it souns petty alien to me.
    I like Australians socially. They tend to be good fun in my experience. But when it comes to sport I — like virtually everyone else I know, EVERYONE — would like to bury those cockroaches. I mean they are annoyingly successful and love to rub our noses in it.
    As for Spanish speakers versus Brazil. I’m not sure that’s the case either. Argentina and Uruguay are prolly exceptions, but there’s a strong cultural bond covering most of Latin America. I think Chavez — another bandwagon jumper — is a Brazil fan.

  52. xyz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 6:09 pm  

    El Cid, I think that’s the point. All these are just generalizations, based on our own individual experiences. I think Rohin’s post is a good one, but I’m sure there are many Indians who did cheer for England, though the numbers are probably not overwhelming. But just as there are Indians who mindlessly cheered for Portugal against England because of some chip on the shoulder or because they like some of the Portguese players or because they like their style of play, there were probably Indians who mindlessly cheered for England against Portugal because of other chips or historical reasons or connections or just for the hell of it or because they like Beckham. India’s Anglo-Indians, for example, who maintain very strong cultural ties with English culture and retain an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for it, would be more likely to support England.

  53. Mash — on 2nd July, 2006 at 6:11 pm  

    #13 Ravi, I want to know about the goal the woman is watching. I also read Playboy for the articles :)

  54. Mash — on 2nd July, 2006 at 6:19 pm  

    # 19 Rohin, I also root for the US when they are playing. But rooting for the US in the US is a lonely endeavor. Most people here do not know that the World Cup is happening. Those that do only know about it because the late night comedians are making fun of soccer.

    With such acrimony here when it comes to soccer, there is no sense of pride when the US team is playing. Most people could care less. Its quite sad but I don’t what will make soccer more popular here. When the US team lost, the reaction here was ‘oh well’. People here will cheer the team if they win. If they lose they will just ignore them and move on.

    I watch the games here with a German friend. I root for Germany with her. When I am watching the US games, its usually me in a pub watching the game on tv alone while everyone else around me is busy ignoring the game.

    I hope that answers your question. The life of a football (soccer) fan in the US is a lonely one :)

  55. Vikrant — on 2nd July, 2006 at 6:34 pm  

    OH FUCK I STILL CANT BELIEVE WE LOST… I BLAME THE FUCKING MAN U… SHIT I BLAME YOU ROHIN YOU BONG… AND YOU SUNNY FOR BEING THE FIRST ONE TO THINK WE MIGHT LOSE….

    on a sober note…

    no one in India supports England. Well this 0.5 NRI-British-Indian currently in India does…

  56. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 6:53 pm  

    Yes, we’re dealing in generalisations here. I’m sure some people in India were supporting England. Just not many.

    Mash is football/soccer a girls’ pursuit in the States? Cos your women’s league and your female national team are world leaders.

  57. Fluid Mind — on 2nd July, 2006 at 7:06 pm  

    How come they hate England…

    No one likes the England soccer team, here is an article about the Indian dislike of the English. It is funny how the English speaking nations have been the most tolerant towards immigration, yet continue to be crapped on,probably the…

  58. John Bullock — on 2nd July, 2006 at 8:16 pm  

    Well, yes Rohin, the comment and the name are ironic- what’s the relationship between a bullock and a bull? It reflects what i think of people whose idea of patriotism is getting worked up about elevn people booting a ball about. I think that the way people identify with teams and regard other countries psychologically is much more a matter of psychology than practical politics. Apart from anything else I felt like jeering the England team too and if that bunch are “my team” in some mysterious way, then it’s time we found another one.
    FOR GOD’S SAKE, IT’S ONLY A BLOODY GAME!

  59. Desi Italiana — on 2nd July, 2006 at 8:21 pm  

    Raz:

    “I only encountered the SM blog because it was one of the links off PP. I’m not going to go into a big diatribe here, suffice to say I am not impressed with much of the commenters and I do believe there is an ‘agenda’ to the main posters as well. Also, a lack of moderate voices to stand up against anti-Pakistani biogtry as well. I will say that the self-conscious way SM lables itself as ‘South Asian’ and ‘Brown’ is patently absurd”.

    Hear, hear. Some of the commentators on SM are mind blowing. There is more of a right wing, pro Indian slant that continuously bashes Pakistan and Muslims, something that does not even get contested as much as I would like for it to (despite the fact that I’m not of Pakistani origin or Muslim, but still).

    And about the “South Asian” self proclamation….in proportion to the number of posts on India, I hardly see posts about other teeny little places, like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, etc.

    (PS. I’m not trying to market my blog or anything, but just to provide a personal observation, over on my blog, we are accutely aware of this India and US bias, and we are TRYING [note: “TRYING”] to overcome this, precisely because we can’t very well say that we deal with South Asia and South Asians, and then exclusively discuss India and the US.)

    Sorry to threadjack.

  60. El Cid — on 2nd July, 2006 at 8:25 pm  

    FOR GOD’S SAKE, IT’S ONLY A BLOODY GAME

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  61. Desi Italiana — on 2nd July, 2006 at 8:42 pm  

    I read the other comments re: Indians in the US, so allow me to express my views, being an American Desi:

    Raz:
    “I’ve also noticed that American Indians tend to be a lot more racist and anti-Pakistani than British ones, as evidenced by some of the sickening bile directed at Pakistan at sites such as Syphiltic Mutiny and Baqwuas Rakshit. I wonder if there is some demographic reason as to why British Indians are more tolerant towards Pakistanis than American ones. Maybe there is not much inter-Asian mixing in the USA, so American Indians rely more on the propaganda they have been fed rather than direct interaction, which is why British Indo/Paks tend to have a better understanding of one another.”

    First, we are INDIAN AMERICANS, not “AMERICAN INDIANS” which are two different things :) I’m only pointing this out so as not to ride over the existence and history of American Indians (Native Americans) who have been here much longer than we have :) .

    Now, in terms of the Pakistani and Indian divide, there are several factors. I don’t want to make any assertions about South Asians in Britain, but I think these are the differences:

    1. Indian Americans are THE wealthiest ethnic group in the US. They even outdo the whites. Not only do they not socialize often with Pakistanis, but the same could be said for other ethnicities, such as African Americans, Hispanics, etc. Their socio-economic status and privelege allows them to do so. Furthermore, though there are Pakistani socio economic counterparts to Indian Americans, the rate of poverty in the Pakistani American community is higher than that of Indian Americans. Here, it is a class issue.

    2. 75% of Indian Americans are foreign born, ie first generation, according to the 2000 US census. Furthermore, most (not all, 10% of Indian Americans live in poverty)are highly educated, and have a high sense of Indian nationalism. Do not expect an attempt to be objective towards the issue of Kashmir (but I have to say that Indian Americans HAVE raised a ruckus to beat back the American Hindutvavadis, so all is not lost).

    3. In terms of the South Asian diaspora, Indians represent the overwhelming majority. Pakistanis follow up, and then other South Asians are in tow.

    4. It depends on the geographic dispersion. Most Indian Americans are concentrated in large metropolitan cities. But because of this fact, they are surrounded by OTHER Indian Americans. This allows Indian Americans to socialize with other Indian Americans easily. Back in the day when I was young (my generation; I am 27 years old now) our numbers as Indian Americans in southern California were small. We HAD to socialize with other non Indian Desis, this is all we had. Now, there are enough Pakstanis and enough Indians to the point that one group does not feel that it has to latch onto the other. Numbers allow both to go their own seperate ways.

    5. Lastly, all of you are making assertions about Indian Americans based on Sepia Mutiny comments. But the commentators on Sepia Mutiny DO NOT represent all of the 1.7 million Indian Americans that exist in the US!! Furthermore, you guys are taking swipes at us for the fact that many of us don’t feel all charged up about the US soccer team and rooting them on. But soccer is not that faithfully followed in the US. It’s not a national sport for us the way it is for you guys. Try asking us about the Olympics and certain sports that has the ability to attract more patriotism.

    On a personal note, I myself am not a nationalist and patriot, I’m usually suspicious of this concept. This is partly attributed to the fact that I am very criticial of the US’ domestic and foreign policy.

  62. Kulvinder — on 2nd July, 2006 at 8:43 pm  

    Didn’t read the article, just looked at the pictures…was then thinking about the pictures as i ignored the comments.

    I supported england, i couldn’t really care less whether other british asians did and the scottish didn’t. I did and screw the rest.

    Having said that the english team displayed the same inept flat footed mongchoppish performance they’ve always shown. When rooney went lampard should have been taken off not cole. Utter bollocks. Svens gone (and if anyone fromm the FA is reading don’t fucking get another manager who cut his teeth in italian negativism) but we’re left with a middle of the road middle of the primership mclaren.

    I don’t think we’re going to qualify for euro2008, i really don’t think we will i’ve got that same ‘oh fuck’ feeling i had in keegan’s era.

  63. Desi Italiana — on 2nd July, 2006 at 8:47 pm  

    Forgot to add:
    Re: #2 of my comment #61, I have to say that with the second generation (of which I am a part of), there is a deep, deep sense of being SOUTH ASIAN AMERICANS, rather than exclusively INDIAN AMERICAN. I suspect that this will continue to accrue more social and political power as the number of the 2-gers grow with time. Probably because growing up here, we’ve realized that we share more things in common rather than differences. And we don’t necessarily absord our parents’ version of history, politics, and identity.

    Plus, Americans tend to see us as all the same anyway:)

  64. raz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 8:55 pm  

    Thanks for the detailed comments, desi italiana. I am aware that it is unfair to say that the likes of SM represent the views of all Indians in the US. Hopefully there are many more moderate Indians like yourself who can balance out these goons.

  65. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 9:02 pm  

    “Try asking us about the Olympics and certain sports that has the ability to attract more patriotism.”

    I did D.I.! But the point I made there is that the US Olympic team kicks ass, the soccer team doesn’t. I think that also affects enthusiasm for support.

  66. BlueStar — on 2nd July, 2006 at 9:27 pm  

    Raz

    Hopefully there are many more moderate Indians like yourself who can balance out these goons

    And it’s good to know that not all British-Pakistanis are foaming at the mouth fanatics and anti Semitic Hindu hating potential terrorists! God Bless you Raz for breakingthe mould ;-)

  67. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 9:37 pm  

    Another link for you, courtesy Ultrabrown.

  68. Desi Italiana — on 2nd July, 2006 at 9:50 pm  

    Raz:

    “Hopefully there are many more moderate Indians like yourself who can balance out these goons.”

    Most Indians in the US ARE, contrary to what it may seem, pretty moderate. To be honest, the majority of them are more interested in making a buck than anything else. This is why Indian Americans, who are the wealthiest and most “educated” (meaning, degrees and college education) in the US have been deemed until recently as “apolitical” in the American political process. But this is changing. Sadly and unfortunately, those that are the most vocal are first generantion, right wing, conservative, anti Pakistan, wealthy doctors and businessmen. But the reason we hear so much about them is precisely because they are the most vocal, and this is because their money gives them access to be so.

    The same could be said about the Indian American Hindutva movement in the US. Again, this is an extremist fringe minority, but extremely wealthy. They even go as far as saying that they “represent the Hindu American Community”. This has caused a huge backlash. Amazingly,the Indian American communinty AND South Asian American community have risen to the occassion. This is a good sign.

    Lastly, there is a generational divide between the 1st generation and 2nd generation(which manifests itself big time on SM, like the “American Born CONFUSED Desis” remarks that always pop up on every single discussion on any topic). Like I said, 75% of the Indian American population is composed of 1-gers. Most 1-gers (not all, by any means)have very different views than some of us 2-gers: we are now starting to identify ourselves as “South Asians’ and not narrowly “Indians”, we have a different take on the politics and events in the US and back in the various Deshes, and so on. And some 1-gers don’t always agree with this (and hence, our views are dismissed as being invalid by accusing us of being “confused” Desis).

  69. Desi Italiana — on 2nd July, 2006 at 10:17 pm  

    Rohin:

    “I did D.I.! But the point I made there is that the US Olympic team kicks ass, the soccer team doesn’t. I think that also affects enthusiasm for support.”

    Here is my personal take:

    In the US, patriotism and nationalism are extremely strong. I have traveled and lived in many countries, and I have to admit that I think US patriotism is probably the most crude and strongest form I’ve seen so far. And patriotism is conjured up all the time for EVERYthing. If an administration is going to enact a domestic or foreign policy that could be potentially controversial, American patriotism is invoked. Here, US patriotism is literally the “opium of the masses” (or if an American criticizes US foreign policy, accusations of being “anti American” are levelled). Our patriotism basically says that we are the best, we are number one, we are the world, and the world is America: “America is the world, and the world is America” (to quote the British writer Sardar). Others simply do not exist, and if they do, they are inferior and certainly not equal to the Americans.

    Now, this type of US patriotism bleeds into the sports industry as well. Take the fact that we have a “World Series” of baseball, but it’s actually just American teams playing each other. Or take the Olympics- we expect that the US is somehow going to sweep away EVERY SINGLE gold medal in every single event because we are, simply and naturally, the best. We get suprised that another country wins. We’ve been socialized into believing that America is naturally the best.

    The worst is how Papa Bush marketed the Iraq war in 1991 during the football Superbowl halftime- the most watched event on US TV every year. After a rendition of Bette Midler’s “Hero” by a little blond haired blue eyed boy, there was a live message from Papa Bush with footage of the US troops in Iraq and updates about the war- but entirely from the angle of the US and its troops. During a baseball game in NYC following 9/11, Baby Bush was there on the field, not giving condolences to the victims and what not- which is not questionable- but to transmit wounded pride/belligerent messages about how “those that knocked down the Twin Towers will soon hear from us” and how we have a “duty to step up to the plate and pitch the ball”. Football and baseball are probably the closest things we have as “national sports”.

    This is why I feel the way I do. Personally, I root for the teams of another country. While in Italy, I rooted for the South Koreans against Italy. In the US, I root for the Italians.
    Rebel without a cause….. :)

  70. Sunny — on 2nd July, 2006 at 10:56 pm  

    I have love for the brothers who write at SM, and they are definitely not bigoted. They might have an Indian male slant, but that’s about it. I have made the point there plenty of times about this too.

    I think Indian Americans in general are also quite right wing than British Asians, which is why I think they’re a bit hostile towards Pakistan, but they are definitely not sympathetic towards the Hindutva crew.

    I think Desi Italiana in 61 made some excellent points about class. Also their recent immigration to the US may also be a big factor.

  71. Ravi4 — on 2nd July, 2006 at 10:57 pm  

    Is the refusal to support the US that Rohin encountered at SM a purely Desi thing or is it something to do with the US left more generally?

    I’m reminded of yet another Michael Walzer quote, from THAT famous article ( http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/Fac/Adler/Politics/Waltzer.htm )

    “2. Powerlessness and alienation: leftists have no power in the United States and most of us don’t expect to exercise power, ever. Many left intellectuals live in America like internal aliens, refusing to identify with their fellow citizens, regarding any hint of patriotic feeling as politically incorrect. That’s why they had such difficulty responding emotionally to the attacks of September 11 or joining in the expressions of solidarity that followed…”

  72. Desi Italiana — on 2nd July, 2006 at 11:14 pm  

    Sunny:

    “I think Indian Americans in general are also quite right wing than British Asians, which is why I think they’re a bit hostile towards Pakistan, but they are definitely not sympathetic towards the Hindutva crew”

    Not entirely true. Indian American political participation is a deeply understudied phenomenon, partly because Indian Americans have been more of a “cash cow” for political contributions rather than political participation. But the majority of the Indian Americans have traditionally been Democrats (I know, in the US not much difference from the Republicans in practice), and in the last election, they voted more for the Demos.

    Generally, they are conservative and “right wing” when it comes to- you guessed it- paisa.

    It’s just that the vocal few have been depicting our community in a certain way (certain lobbies and what not).

  73. xyz — on 2nd July, 2006 at 11:14 pm  

    “I think Indian Americans in general are also quite right wing than British Asians, which is why I think they’re a bit hostile towards Pakistan.”

    In that respect they are really no different than their Pakistani-American/British-Pakistani counterparts who are also a bit hostile towards India. You can sense this sometimes on college campuses in the U.S., where many Pakistani-Americans will not attend South Asian Students Association meetings/functions or join it (although Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis, Nepalis and Indians do), choosing instead to participate in campus Islamic societies.

    I’m not sure why, but it seems as if Indian-Americans, no matter what their politics, are being asked to bear the burden of creating this “South Asian” identity. I wonder how many Pakistani-Americans would identify themselves first as South Asians instead of Pakistani-Americans or Muslim Americans? And damn those communal, bigoted Indian restaurants (and many of them are Pakistani owned) for not calling themselves South Asian restaurants. :)

  74. Sunny — on 2nd July, 2006 at 11:27 pm  

    Desi Italiana - I was referring more to the SM posters but there is truth in what you say. I think it applies more to the older generation though.

    Ravi4 - I disagree. I think most liberal blogs in America, specially Daily Kos, are fiercely patriotic. America Blog is another example, as is Atrios. Their whole philosophy is that America needs to be saved and the Republicans are definitely not going to do it. And I agree with them. That may apply to the Noam Chomsky types but not bloggers.

  75. Desi Italiana — on 2nd July, 2006 at 11:41 pm  

    “I think Indian Americans in general are also quite right wing than British Asians, which is why I think they’re a bit hostile towards Pakistan, but they are definitely not sympathetic towards the Hindutva crew”

    Though in a certain way, you may be right. As I’ve explained elsewhere on the Open Thread thingy (? or maybe on another thread), “liberal” or “moderate” in the US may very well still be “right” in other countries.
    Pro India and anti Pakistan sentiments there.
    Re: supporting the BJP, it’s because the BJP was staunchly anti Pakistan and pro market and liberalization. The Hindutva segment of the IA population obviously voiced its support.

    XYZ:

    You bring up an excellent point- there is this tendency for Pakistani Americans to identify themselves more with their Muslim identity rather than South Asian. BUT, there are many South Asian American political groups (which lack the money and consquently, the power to make South Asian American concerns heard)with plenty of active Pakistani American participation(mostly 2-gers, just like 2-ger Indian Americans, too).

    I think a lot of the IA and PA communities’ politics and agendas have been hijacked by the 1-gers. 2-gers have voiced this concern. In time, the 2-gers will prevail (YES!) and I think it’ll be different.

    Also, I really do see a class divide. An example: the Desi taxi drivers in NYC- who come from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh- see themselves as South Asian. This is because of their shared socio-economic position.

    OMG- it’s 5:34 PM/17:34!! Gotta get work done. Although, I could just cut and paste all of my comments posted here and put them in my thesis.

  76. Rohin — on 2nd July, 2006 at 11:58 pm  

    “I have love for the brothers who write at SM”

    Don’t forget Anna and Neha, how can any young lad not love them?

  77. Mash — on 3rd July, 2006 at 12:49 am  

    #56 Rohin, it very odd in the US. Soccer is huge with both boys and girls at the youth level. I played in a youth league when I was a kid. My 5 year old daughter has already played 3 seasons in a mini-soccer league! (too much fun to watch the munchkins play:)) They have soccer camps with professional trainers for the kids, even the 5 year olds. High school soccer is also pretty popular in the coastal regions of the US (less so in the heartland).

    But the pro men’s league never took off and is only somewhat popular in cities with large immigrant populations. And even though the women’s national team is quite popular, the women’s league folded a few years ago for lack of funds.

    There is a visceral dislike for soccer in the US. I think part of the reason is that its considered to be the sport of foreigners and people in the heartland of the US associate it with all things immigrant (that is, bad). There is a great deal of xenophobia associated with the dislike for soccer. American’s call it a “girl’s sport” to try to denigrate the game - but what underlies the insults is very likely xenophobia.

    Another aspect is also the non-stop nature of the game. Its not advertiser friendly and that hurts sponsorship so financially it has not been viable here.

  78. Rohin — on 3rd July, 2006 at 1:03 am  

    Very interesting mash, thanks. Never thought about the advert angle. How sad xenophobia underlies much of the dislike, which is why I’m glad there is no doubt football is the world’s favourite sport. The Americans can’t brush it away saying “oh but that’s not a major sport” like they could do for cricket, rugby etc.

  79. Abhi — on 3rd July, 2006 at 1:33 am  

    Just for the record though I think any American at SM that doesn’t support the U.S. is a traitor. :)

  80. Nanda Kishore — on 3rd July, 2006 at 8:00 am  

    IMO, this is over analysing…

    …no one in India supports England…

    Not true. EPL enjoys lot of viewership among the football loving types (Kolkata, Kerala etc.) and Beckham, Lampard, Cole and co are much admired there. I’m not sure at all the whole colonial thing is a big deal when it comes to the English football side (as opposed to cricket, where we play each other). I know hardcode Chelsea/United fans in Kolkata.

    Mostly, there isn’t as much support for England as for say, Brazil or Argentina because of the way England play, which, you have to admit, is boring or at best not elegant. There is some support for teams like Germany or Italy because they have had great sides/stars in recent times (’80s/’90s) and since India is never a factor, Indians basically have 32 teams to choose from (I see you have mentioned this)! As El Cid said, you just pick your bandwagon.

    Some African sides enjoy backing because they are quite entertaining and are always underdogs. Roger Milla was a big hit in India because of his flamboyance, for example. Ditto for Senegal in 2002.

    Btw, you couldn’t avoid having a dig at India’s dismal performance at sports, could you? So we are even :)

  81. Nanda Kishore — on 3rd July, 2006 at 8:03 am  

    If it is any consolation, England did play better than Portugal in their QF. But I still didn’t mind them going out. With all those skilled mid-fielders, the best they could come up with was a long ball to Peter Crouch? You guys should be glad SGE is history.

  82. Desi Italiana — on 3rd July, 2006 at 8:11 am  

    Abhi:

    “Just for the record though I think any American at SM that doesn’t support the U.S. is a traitor.”

    You don’t work for the FBI or CIA as an undercover agent under the guise of being a blogger, do you? Are you scoping out who’s a “traitor” based on people’s comments, then tracing their IP addresses, handing them over to the FBI and CIA, who can then track “traitors” down and detain them for “sedition”? :)

    Don’t report me to the State Department. Please. :)

  83. SajiniW — on 3rd July, 2006 at 9:17 am  

    Lots of Indians hate the British - they’re a proud people, still bearing a grudge against being colonised and downtrodden; the lack of support for the England football team in India is unsurprising.

  84. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 10:35 am  

    Bloody sheeyit i’m still in mourning….. On the side note, some yobs defaced a hoarding advertising a Porto-Goan owned Indian restaurent in me town. Poor Goans….

  85. Neil — on 3rd July, 2006 at 10:45 am  

    Who cares who people support. I’m not bothered in the least that Indians dont support England. It natural really that they will prefer a team like Brazil or perhaps promising African nations. Thats not to say that those who know about footy in India dont admire Lampard or Cole etc.

    I myself used to want whoever England played against to win, mainly cos of racism where I was growing up. These days I’m not bothered either way.

    All those here that say Indian ‘must’ support this or that team, are just chatting rubbish.

  86. sonia — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:00 am  

    there are lots of indians who do support england, as it happens. perhaps they weren’t in chennai this particular weekend.

  87. sonia — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:04 am  

    “Lots of Indians hate the British - they’re a proud people, still bearing a grudge against being colonised and downtrodden; the lack of support for the England football team in India is unsurprising.”

    and lots love the british, are desperate to have their kids to go to oxford or cambridge etc. etc./

  88. Neil — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:08 am  

    Just because they want their kids to go Oxford/Cambridge doesn’t mean they love the British.

    I’m sure they would love their kids to go Harvard or Princeton or wherever just as much, it got little to do with the country concerned.

  89. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:11 am  

    and lots love the british, are desperate to have their kids to go to oxford or cambridge etc. etc./

    Sonia they arent exactly ‘desperate’ considering Indians have institutes like IITs which according to Time Higher Education suppolement are better Engineering schools than Cambridge and Even Imperial College!

  90. Roger — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:13 am  

    ““Lots of Indians hate the British - they’re a proud people, still bearing a grudge against being colonised and downtrodden; ”

    and lots love the british, are desperate to have their kids to go to oxford or cambridge etc. etc./ ”

    They’re often the same people, which is why it- and their emotional attitude- is so complicated.

  91. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    hell tution fees at Cambridge for Indian (i.e international students) is abt £18000(theives!) p.a to add to that i dont think they conduct STEPs in India.

  92. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:20 am  

    “On the side note, some yobs defaced a hoarding advertising a Porto-Goan owned Indian restaurent in me town. Poor Goans…. “

    Hey, if that alleviates the pain for some then I am all for it. :) Or maybe it is the food. I hear that not everybody appreciates a good vindaloo (vindalho). It comes from a portuguese dish (Vinha d’alhos, which literally means garlic in wine), although we Goans spiced it up. Both portuguese and goans use pork.

    For those in the ABP (all-but-portuguese) camp, there is a french version called vin d’ail. :)

  93. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:28 am  

    ravi umm dont mind if ask.. isnt Naik a Marathi surname?

  94. Neil — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:35 am  

    Naik is a Gujarati name as well. My best mate is a Naik.

  95. justforfun — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:37 am  

    This is a really fascinating read -
    Raz raised an interesting point about Indian Americans and British Indians/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis etc. I had not really considered it before but it made me think.

    So for fun here is my Anti US rant - is there anything in it that makes people think again about history? It was never as we actually thought and always far more complex and nuanced.

    Could one say America is an ideological construct, the most ideologically based nation on earth, unlike most other countries that have evolved over time due to other forces. Was America constructed to create money and avoid taxation for its own defence? What started out as a tax/trade protest was not seen as a revolt for independance until later in the conflict. Why is the Star Spangled banner based on the British East India Company’s flag? and the first skirmishes were fought with both sides using the Union Jack as their flag. Makes one think perhaps that all is not as is now the official history of America’s creation. These are all historical occurances that have been swept under the carpet as America seeks to portray its independance struggle as a nobel ideal - when in fact it could be argued it was just a bunch a money grabbing capitalists who wanted to go further across the Applatians than the Crown would allow, because Treaties with American Indians stood in the way. The defeat of the French in the 1750’s in Canada meant there were bill to be paid but no enemy left to frighten the colonists into still needing the protection of the redcoats. The colonists were happy to have around when the American Indians and French threaten retribution for the colonists barbaric behaviour towards the indigenous population. Its strange but most of the native Americans tended to fight for the French or under direct British Crown commanders but resisted fighting under colonist control. But of course the Redcoats are blamed for these slaughters now rather than the colonists themselves, curtesy of the ‘Mel Gibson’ school of history. The French went as traders and the English went as farmers so it is easy to see than in 150 years the farmers would be the ones the native Americans hated while the traders, who took a stand off paternal outlook, were favoured.

    Does America at its core have another other basis, and once it ceases to be the place that can create money it will cease to be? Although it strives to intergrate its immigrant communities, the ‘hyphen’ is used all the time by its immigrate groups and once the money making ceases what is the future for America. What will hold it together. While here in Britain I am glad to see the ‘hyphen’ less and less.

    As for SajiniW comment in 83 - perhaps for the younger Indians that might be how they feel they ought to think - but then why is there still plenty of support for the British in the older age group of Indians who perhaps actually lived through 1947. What is the explaination for that? Why did Indian Army soldiers fight the Burma campaign when the Japanese and INA claimed to be India’s liberators? It was not at the point of a gun as the Indian Army in the field was by then completely under Indian officers outside the staff.

    An invented history is a crutch we all use to justify our current prejudices. We should really argue about the present and use current events as the basis for our points of view without trying to use history as an excuse.

    Justforfun

  96. Rakhee — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:39 am  

    Great article R and the women are indeed lovely.

    But where are the fit men? This site is for women (who also have an interest in football) too you know.

    *humph*

  97. sonia — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:40 am  

    Sure Vikrant - and in any case it’s silly because unless they’ve done A-levels, they have to do their undergrad already - but as you’ll find plenty of people in e.g. St. Stephens College Delhi who will after they finish be applying to oxbridge ( and i think they can get their degree in 2 as opposed to 3 years) and they seem to think its worth it. incredible levels of snobbishness ;-)

  98. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:41 am  

    Naik is a Gujarati name as well.

    Well strictly speaking most of the Gujratais having Maharashtrian surnames (Joshi,Desai) are descendents of Maratha emigrants from the days of Maratha empire.

  99. sonia — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:41 am  

    :-) rakhee, good point!

  100. justforfun — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:43 am  

    Sorry - just read my post again - I thought it was much shorter :-) - sorry.

    Justforfun

    Vikrant - from Imperial? Things in India must have changed alot - 25 years ago it was just a question of buying a degree from the IIT univerities :-)

  101. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:44 am  

    incredible levels of snobbishness ;-) Hehe very true. My Mumbai cousin attends Dhirubhai Ambani International School the snobbiest of all! Hell she even knows names of obscure British villages even tough shes been here only once! To top it up, her RP accent is more perfect than mine!

  102. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:45 am  

    lol i’m justforfun attend Imperial (i’ve just takesn me GCSEs!! from shiity Kings College, Surrey!)…

  103. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 11:51 am  

    eek…. plz don mind me literary blasphemy…

    lol justforfun i dont attend Imperial

  104. justforfun — on 3rd July, 2006 at 12:02 pm  

    Vikrant - now you know how to make me feel old :-)

    Bikhair has a good way of describing people and Imperial was full of “metrosexual Iranians” and “docile Asian nerds” :-) - I wonder what it is like now?

    Forgive me Bikhair for quoting you, but you say in few words all my prejudices.

    Justforfun

  105. flygirl — on 3rd July, 2006 at 12:53 pm  

    and now for more inanity…

    I wonder if the lack of support for the US team is partly due to it being an unpopular sport but mostly because they aren’t that great? in oz, we’ve struggled for years for football to shake off its “wogball” tag to reach the mainstream. of course, now that we’ve made it to the WC and the Round of 16, it’s flavour of the month. there’s been many efforts but little success to really bring the game up to standard.

    as for confused national loyalties, heck, I adore the socceroos and loathe the Aussie cricket team - a more arrogant and tiresome bunch of sore winners you never saw. disclaimer: i am sri lankan descended. 1996 is forgiven but not entirely forgotten ;-) .

    as for england: dudes, i have a soft spot for england for the reasons Rohin has outline before: a terrific, well-known league with the least racism in europ etc etc. but watching your national team…i was so bored i wanted to slit my wrists after the first match. please, please, please get a decent coach!

  106. Ravi Naik — on 3rd July, 2006 at 1:10 pm  

    Hi Vikrant,

    My grandfather told me that ‘Naik’ was our ancestor’s surname before converting to Catholicism which usually involved adopting a “christian” name and surname back in the 1600’s. Like I said, our colonial masters were cultural muderers.

    However, my family speak Konkani and not Marathi. Both camps had a bitter dispute in the 80’s over the official language of Goa.

  107. BlueStar — on 3rd July, 2006 at 1:16 pm  

    The point about the difference between American and British desis is skewed by the fundamentalist profile of British Pakistanis. Until any other community in the diaspora produces suicide bombers and extremism like the British Pakistani community, there is no comparison between them and any other group. They are on their own. For a British Pakistani like Raz to castigate Indian Americans is so farcical it’s funny, and a sympton of denial - I mean you think this guy would have other things to worry about, like the fanaticism of his community, wouldnt you?

    Oh well, lets save the world from the evil of Sepia Mutiny! It’s not like theres a jihad going on is there? ;-)

  108. Sunny — on 3rd July, 2006 at 1:59 pm  

    1996 is forgiven but not entirely forgotten

    Totally agreed flygirl. I loathe the Aussie cricket team on that basis too.

  109. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 3:14 pm  

    Interestingly Ravi, my maternal family (Chougules) has its origin in Goa, Margao to be precise. Tough most of them have migrated to other parts of Maharashtra.

  110. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 3:18 pm  

    Hmm… even tough my Marathi is pretty bad, i can understand snothces of spoken Konkani. Its like Marathi spoken faster.

  111. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 3:30 pm  

    For a British Pakistani like Raz to castigate Indian Americans is so farcical it’s funny, and a sympton of denial - I mean you think this guy would have other things to worry about, like the fanaticism of his community, wouldnt you?

    Very true… i find it hypocritical on raz’s part to ciritcize SM guys seeing that few months back he was the one ejaculating bile directed against India. BTW American Pakistanis arent exactly saints…

  112. Vikrant — on 3rd July, 2006 at 3:36 pm  

    Jumping on the bandwagon in a desparate bid for empty bragging rights is what it is. It’s like being a Chelsea fan.

    Woow… El C… guess whom the kids in Mumbai s’port?… ARSEnal. Frankly i’m NOT a glory supporter. My town has been Chelsea since David Speedie lived here….

  113. NotAEnglishSupporter — on 3rd July, 2006 at 7:58 pm  

    Ha Whinners! Thats reason enough not to support English.

  114. Abhi — on 3rd July, 2006 at 9:12 pm  

    Desi Italiana said:

    You don’t work for the FBI or CIA as an undercover agent under the guise of being a blogger, do you? Are you scoping out who’s a “traitor” based on people’s comments, then tracing their IP addresses, handing them over to the FBI and CIA, who can then track “traitors” down and detain them for “sedition”?

    I do in fact work for Uncle Sam and I do treat unruly commenters with an iron fist at SM :)

    For example, I would water board commeter “justforfun” (#95) for his utterly specious commentary.

  115. justforfun — on 3rd July, 2006 at 9:40 pm  

    Abdi - sounds like you go in for benign censorship over at SM, if you would not allow a deceptively attractive commentary on your site. Is the attactiveness of the thoughts that worry you or the deception I have tried to pull on the poor easily led Picklers :-) who can’t think for themselves.

    Probably just that I diverged to far away from the topic at hand - LOL.

    Justforfun.

    Funny - seem to have read the word “specious” a few times in the last few days - must be the sychrononisity in the ether.

  116. Rama — on 5th July, 2006 at 5:44 pm  

    As far as the diversity and originality of posts are concerned,this blog can’t hold a candle to Sepia Mutiny. Call it American ingenuity if you may.I do concede though that SM’s censorship culture is very authoritarian. This blog is more freewheeling. But the downside is that here you see a lot more juvenile ranting similar to that on certain yahoo messageboards. Also commenters on SM are nowhere nearly as obsessed with PP as commenters here seem to be about their American cousin. Noone pokes a dead dog. SM also is quite left of center and self segregationsist. In fact one of the commenters there has now started referring to South Asians as bros and sisters. Seems he has taken a page out of the African American victimhood playbook. And yes Anna does seem to think that the world revolves around her!

  117. Rohin — on 5th July, 2006 at 5:58 pm  

    “As far as the diversity and originality of posts are concerned,this blog can’t hold a candle to Sepia Mutiny”

    This is why I said it’s meaningless to harp on about PP vs SM. We have a specific political remit so obviously their posts will be more diverse.

    Sincerely,
    Dead dog.

  118. justforfun — on 5th July, 2006 at 6:08 pm  

    Rama - over here I just have to have the BBC Radio 4 blurbing away in the background to get all the diversity I need. ;-) Anymore “diversity and orginality” and my blood pressure would rise to crisis point and allow my Doctor to strike me off his list as too expensive a patient.

    Justforfun

  119. Rama — on 5th July, 2006 at 7:25 pm  

    I didn’t mean to imply that your blog is a dead dog. I was defending SM’s character from some of your foulmouthed commenters. Why do they have to talk so much about SM if it’s so lame? SM is no dead dog.

  120. Sunny — on 5th July, 2006 at 7:34 pm  

    Heh justforfun.

    Rama, we’re not actually trying to compete! Other people make the comparisons (and I’m flattered since SM is obviously more popular) but really, the posters here definitely do not see each other as competitors.

    from some of your foulmouthed commenters

    That is what happens when you discuss politics. It is a dirty business.

  121. Rama — on 5th July, 2006 at 8:12 pm  

    On second thoughts, I do think your blog is quite worthy.It’s only my first day here and I guess I was just trying to pick up a fight. No one fell for it though. It’s just that I haven’t been laid in sometime and hence quite a bit cranky.

  122. justforfun — on 5th July, 2006 at 8:45 pm  

    Rama - Hang around long enough and Kismet will give you some help ;-) . Or Raz can post a few of his pics if you really are desperate but he has to wait for Sunny to be out the “office”.

    Justforfun

  123. viva la calle — on 6th July, 2006 at 4:51 pm  

    I have plenty to say about all this but I need to not lollygag around on blogs and get to something productive, so for now, I leave you with this:

    Next time, how about some futbol player eye candy photgraphy to go with your world cup blogging? (C. Ronaldo of Portugal would be very welcome…)

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