Studying My Indianness in the Foreign Land of Hong Kong


In the fall semester last year, I was a teaching assistant for a course titled ‘Indian Culture and Society’ aimed at undergraduate and graduate students of anthropology for a university in Hong Kong. The course was being introduced for the first time in the syllabi with the aim of inculcating an interest in India amongst mostly Chinese and some international students.

I was the only ‘Indian’, or let’s say a person holding Indian citizenship, on the course. This is not to say that there weren’t any Indophiles sitting for the course, or scholars – who have either engaged academically with India or were planning to do so in the future.

During the course, a person who was also married to an Indian introduced herself to me by asking me what community I belonged to – as a preliminary question for her to understand my roots.

I have felt more rooted in the last five years living outside India in comparison to the uprootedness that I felt while spending my childhood and teenage years in the country. I did not feel like I belonged even while completing my university education in India. And I am not the only one; my peers in the group also shared similar sentiments.

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