Embarrassed of their identity, Pakistani-Americans pass themselves off as Indian now
In a way it is sad that someone has to deny his nationality because of its taint. But in a lot of ways, many of the Pakistanis are responsible for what has happened in their country and the community here in the US. After all, the jingoism, the fanaticism and overtly expressed religious fervour has led the youth and the community as a whole to a point of extremism.
When I first came to US in the late 1990s, I started consuming Pak Media, something that I had never been exposed to. So, I started reading Pakistani newspapers – specifically, the “Letters to Editor”, the Opinion and the Editorial section – as well as regularly listen to the Pakistani radio stations. It was almost an obsession for me to listen to the Pak radio shows at that time to know what is going on.
I was shocked at the overt fanaticism of this entire community. It was common to call names to Hindus and Indians; but what was curious is that they would use a language amongst themselves for people even within their own community that they didn’t like, which certainly wasn’t “air worthy”.
In contrast, no Indian RJ would talk ill of Pakistan or Muslims. Indian radio shows were mostly benign and remained strictly in the entertainment side. Pakistani media, however, got shriller and shriller. The Nuke blasts made them even more openly jingoistic.
The more jingoistic the Pakistani RJ was, the more his audience would push him up in their comments. There were factions between the Pak community, and the faction which seemed to be more abusive to Indians and Hindus, use to win the “Nationalism” approval. I still remember when a kid (from his voice, he couldn’t have been more than 5-6 yrs old) called a radio program and openly announced how he planned to kill Indians and free Kashmir when he grew up. He was not only applauded by the RJ but also talked highly of by the other callers!
The trend changed after 9-11, because of fear of being rounded up and jailed, as opposed to any change of heart! It was then that the same people changed their language and the manner in which they talked of other communities.
Now, a over a decade after 9-11, the fanaticism of that same society has pushed their kids into becoming terrorists. Many of them went back to Pakistan to train with the LeT etc. I am sure that kids like the one who called that day would have done something similar.
So, the seeds sown then, by ordinary Pakistani-Americans, are now bearing fruit. Here in the US, and in Pakistan. But now it is an embarrassment for them.
It is called Karma. Every result has a cause. What is happening to the Pakistanis has its origin in not too distant past. A past that I am privy too thanks to the media.
As the actions turn a full circle, the Pakistanis are now ashamed of calling themselves Pakistanis. And, go around passing themselves off as Indians.
Shame on them, then and now!