Monday, January 26, 2015

The Legacy of My Father

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

My dad was a simple man with little education and the only son for my grandfather, along with his three younger sisters; my aunts.  He was quite simple and yet complex with his own way of life and idiosyncrasies but was kind and gentle.  My dad was well liked. My grandfather made sure that he allowed little room for anyone else to do much including his only son.  My grandfather was for his time a man who worked very hard and lived life fully.  The last I saw him was seeing me off in the old Bombay international airport when I first travelled to America to study.  A whole lot of my friends came to Madras along with my grandfather, but he wanted to come alone to Bombay to see me off.  I was expecting nothing less from him as he always took me to everywhere I went, and seeing me off to America should have been no different.  Seeing him at the Airport gate was my last live look at him, as he passed away a couple of years after my departure to America and I never had enough resources to make a trip back to see him one last time.  I still have the only picture of him framed, and look up to him and think of the time as a child at home.  Nothing will take away the life that was and who I am and where I came from, irrespective of what I am and where I am today.  I will always be his grandson.  My dad, my mom, my grandmother, my aunts and uncles, my cousins and all of my siblings are all unique in their own way and I still remember the wonderful memories of my formative years with each one of them, and also the connection between each of them and my self was always associated with my memory of my grandfather.  After many years of passing away and even losing my father, my grandmother, one of my uncles, and a young cousin and my younger brother who was my best friend, we are still referred to as his grandchildren.  It is no disrespect to my Father, but his father was a man who pulled us all together, his children, his grandchildren and everyone around him and make them feel connected.

To forget who I am and where I come from will be forgetting the legacy of my father and his father.  How could I?  And why should I?

The same applies to who we are.  I am an Indian.  Yes, I am an American now, but I am an Indian first.  For fact that over the 500 years of migration into the USA, it is all Americans who live here but they are all from somewhere else.  The real Indians who lived here before we call it the United Sates and whatever other boundaries that have been drawn, the current occupants of the Americas have been really a recent phenomenon.  The Americans were really Indians, and only after others started to migrate into this great land became American Indians or Red Indians.  It was their land that the rest of the Americans as we call ourselves, who have migrated and continue to migrate is what we call the place we live the United States.

So referring to us as something-American is simply a fact.  Indian Americans. Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Jewish Americans. Polish Americans, German Americans, Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and Latin Americans, further even identify by regional areas of the countries that we have immigrated from to the USA for a better living opportunity is simply identifying who we are.  It is the absolute truth to our being.

Feeling that our forebears have no contribution to our being is simply ignoring the legacy of our father’s and their father’s.  We are what we are because of them, and just by moving from one place to the other on the planet doesn’t diminish the value of our ancestors and their place on the planet.  The recent comments by a son of Indians is simply distancing one’s self from the legacy of our ancestors.  It is far from the truth, and is idiotic and stupid pandering to audiences who themselves find the comments appalling.  Just because one finds one’s self in a small seat of political power, doesn’t make the person any more important than the legacy of the land or its fathers.

We are certainly Americans as with may be 100% of others who live in this land, whose folks have come here for a better life.  We are identified as Americans as we belong to this land and work and live in this land, and are proud Americans.  We are also something – Americans except for a very few of the Native Americans.  We must remember that we are what we are because of our forefathers and the land we come from, and then we have become Americans.  While it is stupid to listen to someone wanting to disown one’s heritage, most of the Americans are certainly proud to be American and also something attached to their American tag.

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