It was a matter of time before the highest political offices in the West came to be occupied by ‘Kamala’, ‘Rishi’ and ‘Priti’. There is something altogether thrilling about the familiarity with which these names roll off our tongues, and the affinity we feel is not wholly invented. We share with today’s US vice-president and Britain’s chancellor a cultural heritage that goes beyond the oftentimes limiting tropes of nationality and genealogy. When Priti Patel, UK’s home secretary, speaks to her Conservative Party colleagues about the value of seva (service) in Manchester, she is making Indianness a part of their discourse.
In a year when discussions about race and identity seem to have radically altered, we see immigrants owning their narratives like never before. But while there is, on the one hand, a clear, new confidence with which the Indian diaspora is now doing its business, we also see that they are demonstrating a greater responsibility towards the world in which they live. Having been made Microsoft chairman this year, Satya Nadella has shown an earnest commitment towards reducing his company’s carbon footprint. Despite record profits, ArcelorMittal Group executive chairman Lakshmi Mittal is, similarly, just as concerned about the environment.
Some NRIs have also proven true that Indian adage—it is invariably our own people who come to our aid when we are in peril. As Covid exacerbated concerns about our health and economy, it was Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, who helped us prepare better for adversity, and it was the IMF’s Gita Gopinath who gave us an economic roadmap for recovery. Be it a simple Google search or fighting the pandemic, there now seems to be an Indian hand in everything. This is our best moment.