Sep 27, 2023
Sep 27, 2023
by H.N. Bali
More by : H.N. Bali
|A delightful read. A unique narrative style with insight into the Indian and American culture. it is interwoven with the human and entrepreneurial themes make for a compelling read!|
|Fantastic narration |
|Excellent piece with the style and sense of humour I have come to admire over the years. We always talk about the US, but Dr. Bali, how about a a piece on Canada? That's a story that has been in the making for almost as long albeit at a lower key without much hype - but in no sense is it less in achievement compared to the US especially for immigrants if you allow for the population difference. I have seen boat people from Vietnam, punjabi taxi and truck drivers, Ismaili enterpreneurs all thriving and contributing to a country that has one of the highest standards of living and quality of life and surpasses the US in all of these!|
|Visual runthrough..!!!! Good to read|
|very interesting piece. inspiration for many of the youngsters heading west with dollars shining in their eyes. but let me tell you, at this point of time, there is a lot of not merely reverse streams but also youngsters opting to do similar things right here, with enough examples to give them home. its a big world and plenty of room for thousands of roses to bloom.|
|What begins as a satirical look at American eclecticism and entrepreneurship ends with an absolution of Pammi Singh, the entrepreneur and his crafty ways of pricing his wares on the way to build a sprawling Indian restaurant. A tongue-in-cheek look at “Imreeka,” with a litany of quintessential erstwhile American grand names – that invariably reminds us of their quirks and triumphs - makes this a refreshing read. Those of us who are immigrant have all known our own Pammi Singh characters. |
Stories of rags to riches are common with immigrants who have come here with no special professional education. Success stories like these are not uncommon in India as well but they are more likely in a melting pot like America where there is dignity of labor. No job is contemptible or crass - that which helps feed one’s family. This opportunity without dishonor propels people like Pammi Singh to do any sort of work on his way to unleashing his entrepreneurial calling to reach the zenith of his career.
Obama should be wearing rainbow colors instead of white all the time. Multiculturalism and ethnicity are the foundations of America that has made it the envy of the world. Ask the American Indian who once owned swaths of land in this country. For him everyone here is an immigrant, a successful one at that.
Thanks for a great rib-tickling article, Mr. Bali.
|This is an interesting article, highlighting, for me at least, two aspects of America - one, that it is a land of immigrants; two, it is the so-called land of opportunity. The second aspect demonstrates that opportunity arises from difference, the kind the immigrant brings with him, that enables him to start up something from scratch, as Pammi Singh, and through the novelty of the enterprise to ensure its success in a vast virtually foreign market that is at once, for the American citizen, a home market! |
From the primary aspect, however, that America is a land of immigrants, is the coincidence of the names imported with their bearers and reinstated in a foreign context where they assume a new 'American' dimension. In the days of the colonies, names were still oriented to the home country - thus, John Smith, and even George Washington. But once America achieved independence, English, and for that matter, European names became American names - based on sound only! For the first time names take on a character, less a provenance: an American character.
For example, J F Kennedy is never thought of as Irish, or even referred to as Irish-American, it is necessarily American, being that of the leader of Americans. But it is English names of American character that is more explicit in invented titles: Kirk Douglas, for example, has nothing to do with Scottishness in its substitution of the Russian original, it's to do with 'how it sounds like' - manly, smart. Bill Clinton from Arkansas sounds A-1 American, sounds like what the man is, as could never be the case with Harold Macmillan in the UK, for example. American names go ballistic with sound effects in names like Roy Rogers, Tex Ritter, Elvis Presley, Doris Day, Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Arnold Schwarzneggar (evocative only of muscularity!)- not to mention today's specials in Mitt Romney and the like, where names are directly evocative of the American character.
A third aspect, however, possibly more characteristic of erstwhile America, is that of categorisation by skin colour, which only recently has come to be less definitive of the quality of human being, black being then inferior to white, reckoned now a mere superficial difference - the distinction still being there, however: as in talk of America's first black president. In America, when a child goes out into the street he sees Americans, much as, in Patiala, he sees Sikhs; but, in America, the child sees Americans of different skin colours, absolutized by the adults as black and white - one is reminded of the sharpest distinction there is! Black people have facial characteristics that themselves become types, so much so a light-skinned person (say, of mixed-race) with these features is identified as black.
Other widespread immigrant communities are distinguished, for example, as Hispanics, inasmuch as they speak accented English: however, as occurred with assimilation of the Italian immigrant community, once English - pardon, American English! - is acquired with fluency, in later generations of the immigrant population, as in the case of Mario Lanza, Frankie Laine, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra - names assume an American character - they become categorised as white Americans.
Indians (from India) in America, a relatively recent influx, must be identified in a way that perhaps reconciles blackness and whiteness! - I don’t know; but it must be a private source of confusion for inveterate Americans inured to black/white distinction. Today, however, it appears Americans have overcome, at least in principle, the colour categorisation of old as to defining what a person is; it is perhaps easier, in an international climate, just to accept Americans as of all colours and features – but, distinctly American – as Barak Obama stresses in all his addresses to 'the American people'.
In conclusion, Pammi must sound to American ears as communicating an American character – popularised by the success of the man, as with all American names.
|it is beautiful travelogue spiced with delightful humour with ironical whips on American Dream. To understand a country not from without, but from within|
|Very, Very interesting|
|Eclecticism par excellence,than you|
|A very enjoyable read. Last summer, I had visited Niagara from the American side and ended up eating in a restaurant owned by a Sardar I think. Actually, I came across two such restaurants and used one for lunch and the other for dinner. I am wondering if it was Pammi Singh who provided the treat.|
|Great satire, Mr. Bali. Enjoyed, reading this. |
|Excellent! Makes me proud to think of our native business knack- hard work combined with shrewd calculation and market judgement.|
| Enjoyed reading this fascinating narration.It is an engaging discourse!|
Thank you for sharing it.
|What a delightful article Rajendra ji. Thoroughly enjoyed it! and now I am going to share it will all my friends in Social Media!|
|Wahe Guru! Badhiya...enjoyed most!|
Ayn Rand would have been proud of you
| 15 September 2012|
TO: Mr. H. N. Bali
Your account of American way of life is interesting. However, the story of Sardar Pammi Singh is hardly a surprise he being of Sikh breed, a community highly admired for their entrepreneurship. Way back in 1998 our firm had a 4-year audit assignment with Punjab & Sind Bank which was established in 1908 by 4 Sikh philanthropists and the Sikhs still dominate the Bank all over India in all its 800 branches. Thus, I could study the Sikh ethos quite closely. In their Golden Temple at Amritsar, there is no beggar unlike many temples /mosques all over India because it is beneath the dignity of the Sikhs to beg. This legacy they inherited from their 10 Gurus, who taught them uprightness even in their worst time in history when Mughol atrocity against them was at the peak. Thus, Sardar Pammi Singh-s abound all over the world, including India.
Rajat Das Gupta
|An excellent lunch, savoured it enormously.|
|This is the usual story of most entrepreneurs who've had "overnight success" but very nicely told. Crisp like the tandoori roti, sweet like the kheer and delicately carved like the tandoori bird! Or in Patiala's linko - mast-o-mast! |
Reminds me of The Doc, a doctor by profession who owns the largest number of taxis in London. If a doctor is stranded at the Heathrow and tells a taxi driver that he has nowhere to go, A Sardar Doctors Home at Southhall is always open. Till today, he is respected in the Taxi industry of UK as The Doc.
Must tell this story sometime
|Wonderful narrative !|