(Sandip Roy is an author. This column first appeared in The Hindu on July 24, 2021)
Like politics, Bollywood and sports, “Find the Indian Connection” seems to have become a bona fide beat in our media houses. As soon as someone with Indian roots makes waves anywhere in the world, the reporters on this beat get cracking. When 17-year-old Samir Banerjee became the Wimbledon boys’ champion this year, the Indian connection beat went into instant overdrive. By the next morning, I knew that young Banerjee had played at the local tennis club on his last visit to Kolkata, where his family owns an apartment, and had eaten phuchka opposite Victoria Memorial. Assam staked its own claim to him, with a television channel calling it a “proud moment for the Northeast” because his grandfather was a general manger with an oil company in Assam in the 80s. That Banerjee is actually American felt almost like an aside, with news anchors gushing about a “huge moment of pride for India”.