Bobby & Nikki – Getting Indian-American Knickers into a Twist

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Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal

Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal at the White House in 2013


Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley

Tunku Varadrajan holds up a mirror to Indian-Americans


“Most Indian-Americans are an infuriating, thin-skinned bunch, their runaway success in this country notwithstanding. Always on the alert for cultural slights, theirs is a largely mercenary attachment to American society…They are ‘drop in’ immigrants—like those drop-in cricket pitches so popular these days: situated on American soil, but not an organic part of it. “
– Tunku Varadrajan on Indian Americans and their reactions to Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley in Open Magazine

Nikki and Bobby Come to town

In this piece he writes about the impact of Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley on these discomfited Indian-Americans.

But Indian-Americans, as a whole, do not do dispassion well; and, instead, they have pilloried Jindal on Twitter and other social forums with hashtags such as #JindalIsSoWhite.

Jindal’s Indian-American ‘twin’, on the other hand, is just getting started. Haley, too, has been derided by desi-American- lefties for her political conservatism. There is, among this cohort, the belief that an ‘Indian Republican’ is, by definition, an oxymoron. So if you’re Republican, you’re a race-traitor. Desi- American-Hindus hyperventilate less about Haley than they do about Jindal because she converted to Christianity from her parents’ Sikhism. Had Mr and Mrs Randhawa been Hindu, all hell would have erupted.

For the whole story and to see what gets “Indian-American knickers into a twist”,  check out Varadrajan’s piece.


About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!


  1. Narender Reddy on

    I’m always amazed by the ferocious criticism of Governors Jindal and Haley, more of Jindal, by our Indian American community. They just ignore their accomplishments but only looks at their exercising their right practice a religion of their choice. At times, their Indian American critics use ‘abusive’ language. I’m yet to see a criticism based on Governors Jindal or Haley’s policies or their administration of two major southern States. I’m too a Republican and I’m proud of my political affiliation.

  2. Lavina Melwani on

    Indu Dey via Facebook

    He is against immigrants he is against equal rights to human beings like gay he is against women right for abortion and he is against anything which is not bible. You mister republican

  3. Lavina Melwani on

    Atul Tolia via Facebook

    Love lassi with lavina, yeah!
    born again lassi with locho? nah lol

  4. Lavina Melwani on

    Aseem Chhabra via Facebook

    Hello Lavina – not competing with you (haha), but there’s a lot of heated debate going on my FB page as well!

  5. Lavina Melwani on

    Narendra Reddy,there are two sides to every story and I think it’s the total negation of his Indian roots which offends Indians. Being hyphenated Indian-Americans and acknowledging that just makes life richer, I think.

  6. Lavina Melwani on

    Retweeted on Twitter by Vijay Pandey, Marielle, Catalyst and Tunku Varadarajan

    “Most Indian-Americans are an infuriating,thin-skinned bunch, their runaway success in this country notwithstanding.”

    Roy Abrams @RQA
    @lavinamelwani @tunkuv Show me an ethnic/religious groups that isn’t thin-skinned, qua ethnic/religious group. Mormons, maybe.

    Sam Panini favorited your Tweet
    Jul 4: “Most Indian-Americans are an infuriating,thin-skinned bunch, their runaway success in this country notwithstanding.”

    Atul Tolia ‏@aavo

    @chhabs @lavinamelwani How many #IndianAmericans does it take to change light bulb of @tunkuv? Not Haley & Jindal

  7. I don’t understand why they have to acknowledge their Indian roots – they were born and brought up in America! Besides, why would Indians want to be associated with such people! 😀

  8. Hi Roshni, everyone acknowledges their roots, no matter where they were born. What’s the point of history and ancestors? We are the products of many things but certainly also of our past, our upbringing.