Trump’s accidental portmanteau helps us understand the alliance between Republicans and Hindu nationalists.
A few minutes into his speech at the Republican Hindu Coalition event, Trump said Mumbay in an attempt to refer to India’s financial capital.
He quickly corrected himself to say Mumbai, but his fumble is telling of the developing Republican-Hindu alliance.
“Mumbay” accurately captures the combination of western colonialism and Hindu nationalism that Trump and the Republican Hindu Coalition aim to take to the next level.
In this word combination, Trump brings together Mumbai, the original city name that honors Mombadevi (a Hindu deity), and the colonial-English version of the city’s name, ‘Bombay.’
In 1995, Bombay was officially renamed Mumbai as a formal repudiation of British colonialism. This was, of course, not to overlook the role of Portuguese settlers in the sixteenth century naming the city as Bom Bahia, meaning “good bay” or “beautiful bay.” But in addition to denouncing the British Raj, the name change was indicative of Shiv Sena’s new rule in Mumbai.
Shiv Sena, which might as well fold into Modi’s BJP, is a far-right Hindu nationalist group. So while India’s current Hindu fundmentalist regime may wish to overcome their colonial past with the British, they welcome Trump’s America: the America that aims to achieve prosperity with security.
Trumps motto “we can’t have prosperity without security” that he used to appeal to the Republican Hindus is just a fancy way of saying we will get richer off of the war against Islam and we will do it together.
To be clear: India and the United States will not be friends if Trump is elected. Hindu India and the United States will be friends. India has one of the largest muslim populations in the world; this India will not have a “friend in the White House.”
Trump understands the language of Hindu nationalism. His Freudian slip, “Mumbay” was just the beginning. And that’s not awkward, it is scary.
Thankfully, the youth are speaking back:
Announcing #VoteAgainstHate, a last mile effort to stop the hatred that Donald Trump has fueled. #imwithher #election2016 #stoptrump #trump https://t.co/7d7MWzNle8
In this video several South Asian Americans speak directly to their elders, asking them to consider the several attacks against brown people made during the Trump campaign. “Even if you are not with her, he is not with you,” @VoteAgainstHate claims, because Trump is not with anyone.
Trump is with Mumbay, an imaginary potential — a nightmare — that will put brown-Americans in more precarious position than we have ever known…or, at least that is the case until the trope of the terrorist changes from just any brown person to large, burlap covered figures waving around homemade lightsabers.