'Half Indians', Adopted 'Germans' and 'Afghan Indians'. On Claims of 'Indianness' and their contestations in Germany

Urmila Goel


‘Indianness’ is not an essence but a social construct, which is dependent on the specific context. Taking the example of Germany Urmila Goel discusses the claims of ‘Indianness’ expressed by young people socialised in Germany and the contestations of their ‘Indianness’ by others living there. In particular the cases of so called ‘Half Indians’, i.e. people who have only one parent who migrated from India, of adopted ‘Germans’, i.e. people who have biological parents from South Asia but were adopted by ‘white’ German parents, and ‘Afghan Indians’, i.e. people who were born in Afghanistan but identify more with India since they are Sikhs or Hindus, are analysed. Their claims of belongingness to India and the refusals to accept this belongingness are discussed on the basis of racism theory. In particular Paul Mecheril’s concept of the fictitious ideal type of a standard German is adapted to analyse how ‘Indianness’ is filled with meaning in the German context.


German, Indian, identity

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