From 'de-wogged' migrants to 'rabble rousers': mapping the Indian diaspora in Australia
This article maps the trajectory of Indian migration broadly, and specifically to Australia, to first highlight the heterogeneity of the Indian diaspora, and second, to comprehend the impact of this heterogeneity on the homeland alongside recent events involving the diaspora, such as the highly publicised attacks on Indian students in Melbourne in 2009–2010. While there is abundant literature on the history of Indian migration, as well as on diasporic identity formations in a globalising context, the Indian-Australian migrant subject is a recent subject of media and academic interest. The ‘new racisms’ perspective is used to examine the mediation of the student attack issue through the comments of ‘integrated’ Indian-Australians in a random sample of Australian media outlets. Feature articles, news items and opinion pieces appearing in the media covering the student attacks are examined for mentions of, and comments from a carefully selected group of professional Indians living in Australia who are often cast as a ‘model minority’. Conclusions are then drawn on how the remediation of India and its newly assertive commercial media offered by these comments effectively redraws a nation previously receiving limited coverage (literally and discursively) in Australia. What is significant here is not merely the ‘de-wogged’ views of a seemingly integrated minority, but also how oppositional readings (by way of diasporic cultural production) signal a way forward for the Indian diaspora’s representation in Australia, as well as for its relations with both the home and host societies.