By the noon of 9/11(2016), all the ‘hilarious’ jokes on Donald Trump that had so far been sufficient to make anyone with an acceptable sense of humor to crack up, mysteriously ceased to be funny. The Lincoln Room of the American Centre, Kolkata, which had been the venue of a lively breakfast party hosted by the Consul General of the USA since dawn, suddenly fell silent. The ‘insane fanatic’ whom the majority in the room despised was at the verge of a historic victory.
My reaction, however, was somewhat in contrast with that of my peers. I saw hope in him. Unfortunately, this did invite some glares and comments from the members of the ‘Clinton Camp’. One of them did not retract from mentioning that my support for the man can be attributed to Trump’s “I love India, I love Hindu” comment, indirectly branding me a Hindu Nationalist. In my defense, I am not a Hindu Nationalist and the cries of ‘hindutuva’ and ‘gauraksha’ disturb me profoundly, just like it disturbs any other sane Indian; and my support for Trump had nothing to do with a comment as ill-considered as “I love India, I love Hindu”. Being a student of Political Science who shows keen interest in Geopolitics, I had been fully aware of Trump’s unacceptable views on Muslims, Mexicans, Blacks, the LGBT community and women, and his choice of rhetoric which I found extremely derogatory and unbecoming of a Presidential candidate, just like any other person did. With that, I must not fail to add that I hate evils like racism, misogyny, xenophobia and homophobia to the same degree that my contemporaries do. Then the inevitable question arises, “Why did I support Trump?”
No true Indian shall forget the 18th September Uri attacks(18 killed); neither will they fail to recall the fact that the mastermind Hafeez Sayeed, and the perpetrator of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks(166 killed) Zaki-ur-Rehman Laqvi are leading happy and peaceful lives in a country that has been a not-so-peaceful neighbor of ours since 14th August 1947. It is the same neighbour, that boasts of one of the best centralized intelligence organizations, which even after being shown more than substantial evidence of a palatial house and whereabouts of the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai attacks(257 killed) Dawood Ibrahim in the city of Karachi, denies to have any information. Thus, when Donald Trump came forward and conveyed his strong stance against state sponsored terrorism, whereas Secretary Clinton indicated a continuation of the present policy of strengthening Pakistan militarily, my support went to him. One might just raise a cry that my support is against the idea of globalization and common good(which a very prominent individual did), but the right of my own countrymen to lead their lives without a constant fear of untimely death is far more essential for me than the rights of the LGBT community in an alien nation.
There was one more reason why he got my support that day. His immigration policy and resolve on making immigration difficult in his country, although it is highly unjust to certain people, made me see a bright side. Though I do not support or endorse banning the entry of an entire religious community into a country, there are some long-term benefits for India if immigration to USA is made difficult. USA observes the highest influx of Indian skilled professionals and white-collar employees in the world (Indian immigration to the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia is although the highest, they are mainly the blue-collar workforce). Our country has been suffering from this evil of ‘brain drain’ since the colonial era. The brightest minds our country produces (with exceptions of course) have chosen, since then, the opportunities the developed nations have provided them with over their own country, instead of making attempts to develop its infrastructure for the generations to come. Thus, if Trump’s immigration policies bar even a few of them and make them serve their own country instead, I believe, it will be a grand success for India.
Having said the above, all I am capable of doing is hope that President Trump turns out to be a man of his words, learns to differentiate rhetoric from real deeds and drives humanity towards a better future. If not, nobody shall be sorrier than me. Time is the best judge of events.
The author, Pranjal Mondal, is a student of Political Science at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.