"Is This the Desi Future? "
On the 18th of August, the India Day Parade, grandly marshaled by Madhuri Dixit (Chandramukhi to Shahrukh Khan's Devdas), was meandering its way down Madison Avenue, when it ran into an irresistible force. A band of around 100 desi youth, comprising members of Youth Solidarity Summer (YSS), The International South Asia Forum (INSAF), South Asians Against Police Brutality and Racism (SAPB&R), Not in Our Name (NION), stood on the frontlines, giving love to marchers from SALGA (South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association), DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving), labor unions and numerous other service groups, while holding the line against corporations and Hindutva groups. A variety of colorful signs were on display: "Brown, Proud and Loud," "Anti-Capitalist Queer Desi," "VHP, stop raping my sisters in Gujarat," and "Dow shalt not forget Bhopal". Slogans rose above the noise of the parade. "Beautiful, one and all, we don't want your Barbie doll" (this to a float advertising a beauty contest celebrating the likes of the Miss India contest). "INS, FBI, no more detentions, no more lies." "Bad Capitalist: No Martini" (to the corporate floats). The desi frat boys that were forced to wait for the parade to start moving again stared in confusion at the group that looked like their peers yet were chanting at them: "2-4-6-8, don't assume you're all straight" and "down with brown misogyny."
This is the continuation of an organized youth response to the politics of model-minorityism in the desi community. This is the face of assertive desi youth. Conservative right-wing desis, be afraid. Be very afraid.