Not Indian Like Me

My mother called me a few days after the mosque fell. We had gone to India together earlier that year, when debates over whether the sixteenth century mosque had been built on the ruins of a temple dominated the national news. I told her that the news upset me. She said the Muslims got what they deserved. Shocked, I reminded her of her Muslim friends and of the kind face of religious tolerance that Hinduism wore. How can you be a Hindu and believe what you said? I asked. You cannot understand, she said. You are not Indian like me.

Himanee Gupta-Carlson teaches American history and storytelling at SUNY Empire State College, and writes both narrative non-fiction and poetry. This piece is a slice from a non-fiction book in progress on growing up as a child of Indian immigrant parents in Muncie, Indiana.

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