The definitive guide to South Asian lingo

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Noun. October 14, 2012, Word of the Day


In the end, after the lengthy primaries that precede the Presidential elections in the United States, voters only have a choice of two: Republican or Democrat. Many South Asians find that they have at least one cantankerous male relative that invariably votes Republican. We've got a term that describes this character: Republican Uncle. And being intrepid Samosapedians and sociologists, we boldly bring to you a definition of this opinionated Sofa Sadhu, this sometime Drunkle, this vituperative lambaster of the liberal.

The 70s in India were a time of expansion of government power, oftentime in controversial ways: Indira Gandhi's Emergency, for one, alongside the cementing of the so-called License Raj. It was the beginning of the Brain Drain, which continues today: many of the best and the brightest take up in foreign shores, typically in North America. Supplement this with other pieces of legislation that came in about a decade later: the Mandal Commission findings, which became implemented in law as reservations by V.P. Singh in 1989 (allocating slots for Backward Castes in colleges and government jobs), and in Tamil Nadu, the DMK's anti-Brahmin legislation, which also gave berths in colleges to scheduled castes, and you have many of the ingredients that distill the Republican Uncle's political thought.

You see, in his heart, which is grand where his family is concerned, but perhaps less grand where the social contract is concerned, the Republican Uncle simply does not believe in gorement. He cites the frustrating inadequacy of Nehru's Fabian socialism as proof that government simply cannot cure societal ills like poverty; he cites the laziness of those on welfare, claiming them coddled by the State; he cites the horrific injustices of India's experiment in righting the historical injustices of the caste system (the Mandal Commission or the DMK) as why affirmative action can never fly. Is he racist? Yes, sadly he may bring with him the petty biases of the Old Country. Is he unkind? Well, that depends. Are you a doctor, lawyer, engineer, banker, or otherwise, wealthy, well-educated, and well-raised? If so, you will benefit from his smiles and bonhomie. Are you struggling? If so, it must certainly be your fault.

The Republican Uncle is wealthy, and idolizes Ronald Reagan. The true American cowboy, Ronald Reagan epitomized a great wave of prosperity and American might. Gorbachev tore down the wall under Reagan, didn't he? Why, Ronald Reagan even kidded around with Rajiv Gandhi, allowing that youngster to address both houses of Congress! And then there's taxes. The Republican Uncle may be in an elevated tax bracket. To use the rhetoric of the times, Republican Uncle may have made it into the vaunted one percent. Tax him? But for what? The Old Country's taxes were too severe, and government too stymied by the morass of its own size. Why, then, should that be the case with the New Country? Republican Uncle has become a true blue, with white peers who regard him as one of them (except for his accent, which to this day fuels impersonation by his cheeky nephew). He believes that voluntary charitable giving is a better option than mandatory taxes under the aegis of the social contract. And don't get him started on health care, particularly if he himself happens to be a doctor.

Republican Uncle has an analogue in Pakistani communities, Bangaladeshi communities, and many other new immigrant communities in the United States. But let us not judge him harshly. He is an immigrant hero, hardworking, believing he earned every cent, and the right to keep as many of those cents as possible. He is a bold investor, a glass ceiling breaker, a disciplinarian, a golfer, a teller of galling PJs. There he stands, dismayed that his daughter would phone bank for Obama, dismayed that Romney's speech about freeloaders is causing such a furor, optimistic, a believer in the promise of an America where Family Values and Hard Work are the watchwords of the day.

Give him a glass of Black Label, and grin and bear his rambling and ranting. He may have a cute daughter.


Jay: Yo bro, how did it go with Shalini's parents?
AJ: It was cool, but... her dad... man.
Jay: Whattup? Oh, is he a Republican Uncle?
AJ: JEEZ! It's unbearable. Went on and on about why Obamacare wouldn't work and why Paul Ryan's the best part about the ticket. Best part is I think Shalini's bro's gay.
Jay: Whoa, is he cute?
AJ: Yeah. I'd introduce you guys, but he isn't a nice desi boy to settle down with.
Added 2012-10-05 by mainmacha





Related Terms

Gorement job, licence raj, Raj

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