On December 12, last Thursday, an Indian deputy consul general, (for political, economic, commercial and women’s rights) Devyani Khobragade, was arrested following the delivery of her daughter at school in New York City by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.  At issue apparently is not that she was arrested, but that she was strip searched, including a cavity examination, then, temporarily placed in a cell with other women where she remained for a short time until she posted bail.

Now, evidently India is up in arms, with their Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, calling the episode “deplorable”. One gets the distinct impression the thinking here on the part of the Indian people is how dare the US treat one of their representatives in such a manner. Never mind whether US laws were broken. India is threatening our American reps living in India who are in same sex marriages (as homosexuality is illegal in India) and has removed the identify cards of US diplomats.  A CNN video showed Indians burning the American flag.

Burning U.S. flag animation

Now it wasn’t like they had no clue this was a possibility as US authorities, according to the article on CNN, had notified the Indian Embassy as far back as September that there was a conflict, it being that the deputy consul general had committed fraud with documents submitted on behalf of her domestic helper.  It’s not like it hasn’t happened before, lying to get someone into the US and then, in the case of domestic help specifically, taking advantage of and exploiting this hired help.  But clearly the deputy consul general as well as the Indian Embassy chose to ignore the warnings.

My question is, how many US jobs are now located in India?  By how many US companies?  A very partial listing includes:

Agro Tech
American Express
Coca Cola
Eli Lilly
Emerson Electric
Federal Express
Franklin Templeton
General Motors
Johnson & Johnson
Kimberly Clark
Morgan Stanley
New York Life
Ogilvy and Mather
Sun Microsystems

With the issues India has with gang rape alone, let alone their overall treatment of their women in general, perhaps the best message one could convey to them is don’t bite the flag that feeds you as well as before you start burning the US flag, appreciate that there are tens of thousands of jobs once held by US citizens now feeding Indian families.

In any case, what has occurred, regardless of your culture and considering what has been sacrificed on the part of US citizenry, never called for the burning of the United States flag.  What likely could have been resolved with honesty has now resulted in an insult to a great many US citizens, the tightie righties notwithstanding.

The hypocrisy of the consul woman attempting to exploit a female domestic when her job is to advocate for women as well as lying on documents to ensure entry is what’s truly deplorable.  Finally, the US ain’t always right, but it ain’t always wrong either.

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Assumed NamepinkpantherozNirekSabreen60KillgoreTrout Recent comment authors
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Assumed Name

Greetings, Vegas Babe.

This was an interesting piece, and it brings up a multitude of issues, and the plot thickened as more details were drawn out in the discussion. You and I are sympatico, to be sure, insofar as I, too, am an American woman of sub-Saharan African descent, and I’m raising an adolescent son. However, it’s that last bit, raising a male of color here and now, that makes me very opposed to cavity searches on general principle. I understand that in some instances it is necessary, but it would be instructive to discover (& I have no idea!) what percentage of arresting police cavity searches yield contraband and of what sort (e.g., weapons, drugs, or what have you). As a woman, I also perceive cavity searches on a near par with sexual violation. On that note, although I agree with you that the outrage from abroad is hypocritical, it nonetheless, for me, has teeth: to my mind there was a violation of sorts even if legal.

As for burning the American flag, I’m admittedly inconsistent: on the one hand, I sing The Star Spangled Banner and recite the Pledge of Allegiance with unabashed gusto–though hugely imperfect, many of the ideals in both the constitution and Declaration of Independence are worth striving to bring closer to reality; on the other hand, burning any flag (as far as I’m concerned) is a legitimate form of expressed protest. It’s often tacky, certainly, and sometimes it’s accompanied by not a little bit of “crazy,” but I don’t find it particularly offensive or deserving a strong response. (Although not what you meant to imply, of course, I am wary of people’s over-reactions–violence over expression seems an overkill (pun intended) and is too often the case when it comes to expression about nationality, religion or, in the case of flag burning, politics.)

All the best,

Assumed Name
Assumed Name

(…and apologies for the long reply. I’m attempting to disagree without being disagreeable. 🙂 )


I am constantly amazed and appalled at what seems to be an ‘I’m the victim’ complex in Indian Society. Here in Australia, we have the case of an Indian guy who was convicted of a fatal Hit-and-Run charge, who fled back to India with a friends documents before sentencing was done. A couple of years later, he’s been tracked down and is being extradited to Australia. But this berk is bleating that he will be racially vilified if he arrives and will be badly treated in jail!
India wants to be seen as an emerging power in Asia and the World. A wonderful aspiration, but the endemic problems with the huge gap between the educated and uneducated means that, while it has its share of genius entrepreneurs and advancing technology. they are also hobbled by vast ignorance, poverty, the caste System and, like everywhere else in the world, religous strife. I don’t know the answers, but I’m pretty sure the arrest of an Indian lady in NY is a molehill spun into a mountain by the media there, maybe to divert attention from their own incompetence.


VB, I feel the same way you do about the way India treats women. You make excellent points in your post. I do have a problem with strip search and cavity search for the crime she committed. The arrest on the other hand was spot on.

BTW Dell could be added to your list. I had a dell and had a problem with it. Called tech support and guess what? Yup, a strange voice answered with a strong Indian accent which was very hard for me (hard of hearing anyway) to understand.

Well done VB


Nirek, She was arrested under a Felony warrant and a full strip search is automatically mandated. Also, I understand that this alleged perp is in a minor secretarial post, so is not entitled to normal Diplomatic Immunity. So forgery of documents and paying basically slave wages is frowned on in America, rightly so. She and the embassy were warned weeks ago, but did nothing. So Before the Indian Government makes a media-driven knee-jerk reaction, I would suggest that they look very, very carefully into themselves and their corruption, use of child labor and, of course, their treatment of women, especially as regards justice for rape.
I despair that US Companies will not stop using Indian labor to do what should be done in the US. Money, money, money beats location, location, location


Hey pink, well said, with just one exception….”paying basically slave wages is frowned on in America.”

You may want to give that statement another look see. 😉


The poor girl was paid $3.00/hour. Maybe I should have called it pittance wages, not slave. My bad! 🙂


No doubt that is bad. I was basically referring to fast food joints and Walmart employees who don’t even make enought to live on without public assistance like food stamps and Medicaid.

I know you were talking about working class Americans who are upset that this is going on, but the corporations like McDonalds and Walmart and others don’t seem to find it shameful at all.


FYI: Spandan, blog owner of The People’s View (see blogroll) is Indian-American and has a good article, also. The comments are informative as well.


Hey VB. Yes, how India is reacting is a slap in the face to America. But, in the end it will turn out to be ineffective. America is used to seeing other countries burn our flag, that this particular symbolic act of outrage has really become a cliche.

What really bothers me is the sheer number of American businesses that have abandoned American workers at home. These companies, many of them large corporations have really hurt our economy by seeking cheaper labor in India and elsewhere. They probably pay their employees in India a mere pittance.

What these big companies are doing is the real outrage, in my opinion. What they are doing is literally anti-American. Every company on that list is burning an American flag, without the symbolism, even though they aren’t literally burning any flags.


KT, how many of these corporations that use cheap Indian labor are multinational? In my opinion any multinational corporation is NOT an American citizen (person). Therefore they should NOT be allowed to donate (bribe) our politicians.

To me that is a big problem.


nirek, I absolutely agree. That is one of the big things wrong with the SC’s decision to allow corporate “personhood.” To me, that is close to treason. It’s an attack on democracy it’s self.


VB, I relate to your outrage. Primarily, it is the utter hypocrisy of a nation that at the very least, condones gang rape and the violent treatment of women by not passing and enforcing laws to protect them.

Who here would doubt that the many Indian women who have been physically assaulted while their attackers aren’t even charged, would be happy to have instead been strip searched…had they broken the law and been arrested. What are all the physically assaulted women in India guilty of? Yet this woman who did break the law, was treated like a lawbreaker and India is outraged?

Yes, I know there is a cultural thing here but for people in such a brittle glass house to be throwing stones over something as non-hostile as this while passively sanctioning hostility towards women in their own country is outrageous in itself.

There was an article on this in our news widget this morning which went on to say that part of this is due to the legacy of the caste system in India, where the privileged and elite are expected to receive and deserve special treatment and to be above the law(if it was the maid who was arrested and strip searched, I doubt this would have been an issue).

Sorry but that doesn’t fly here. It is especially when the elite are punished that Americans have greater respect for the law and their society. I’m sure the elite here would love for India’s affirmation of class superiority to be the popular mindset here in the U.S. but such beliefs are the enemies of a fair and just society.

Here’s a link to that article: http://news.yahoo.com/mistreated-maid-profound-insult-153429104.html

Very timely article, VB! Well done!


Last I heard, Computer Associates had built a company town in India. They are a very large software company — the type that gobbles up smaller companies and cancels their (competitive) product lines. Many American companies have disappeared in this manner — and some significant ones too.