Indian-American Samir Banerjee won the Wimbledon Boys’ single title on Sunday this week. The United States Consulate in Kolkata, while applauding Samir Banerjee, made a rather controversial comment. The US Consulate called him ‘Bengali-American’.
“Congratulations Samir Banerjee for winning the @Wimbledon Boys’ singles title. Junior World No 19, Samir Banerjee, a Bengali-American #tennis player has won his first junior Grand Slam singles title! Way to go!” posted the official Twitter account of the US Consulate in Kolkata.
Congratulations Samir Banerjee for winning the @Wimbledon Boys’ singles title. Junior World No 19, Samir Banerjee, a Bengali-American #tennis player has won his first junior Grand Slam singles title! Way to go! pic.twitter.com/iu1qyDdfaV— US Consulate Kolkata (@USAndKolkata) July 11, 2021
Netizens slam US Consulate after it is found promoting subnationalism
But no sooner did the US consulate in Kolkata referred to Samir Banerjee as ‘Bengali-American’, netizens on Twitter slammed them, accusing them of promoting sub-nationalism and using an erroneous term to describe the winner of the Wimbledon Boys’ singles title.
One of the Twitter users commented: “When did Bengal become a country?”
Another one responded to the tweet, asking the US consulate in Kolkata if Samir’s origin is Bangladesh to be referred to as ‘Bengali-American’.
Is his origin Bangladesh? https://t.co/3a2pOoSMdv— KISHAN DEV (@Kishandev_) July 13, 2021
A Twitter user replied on the tweet that ‘Bengali-American’ is the wrong title to describe a person and the correct one to describe Samir Banerjee would be ‘Indian-American’.
Its Indian American & not Bengali American! There is no term as Bengali American!— bikram chakraborty (@bikram24) July 12, 2021
Who invents these terms….not very bright I think!
Yet another social media user highlighted how it is a bit odd to say Bengali-American since one is a state and another is a country. The right way to describe Samir, the user said, was to either call him Bengali-Newyorker or Indian-American.
It’s a little odd to say Bengali-American, one is a state and another is a country.— Anurag Singh Rana 🇮🇳 (@anuragsinghrana) July 12, 2021
Maybe say Bengali-Newyorker or Indian-American.
Social media users take potshots at the US Consulate after it posts a clarifying tweet on Samir Banerjee’s antecedents
Taking cognisance of online criticism, the US consulate of Kolkata posted another tweet, saying: “Samir is an Indian-American with Bengali origin/heritage with Assam connections.”
Samir is an Indian-American with Bengali origin/heritage with Assam connections.— US Consulate Kolkata (@USAndKolkata) July 13, 2021
While the clarifying tweet was meant to assuage the feelings of people hurt by the wrong title attributed to Samir Banerjee, it did not stop people from taking potshots at the US Consulate in Kolkata for furthering its subnational propaganda.
One Twitter user commented why did not the US consulate also mention the details about the district, town, village, lane from where Banerjee belongs.
Which district/ town / village/ lane … mention that as well… it’s confusing…— Vinay Shenvi (@Vinay_Shenvi) July 13, 2021
Hopefully you delete the tweet…
Another user commented that the US consulate should up its game in diplomacy by providing details of Samir’s building and locality connections too.
Tell us about his building and locality connections too… you need to up the game in diplomacy…— Traveller (@iamchasa) July 13, 2021
Another Twitter user was quite acerbic in his criticism of the US Consulate. He suggested the Consulate stop using Twitter to shoot itself in the foot. After calling Samir ‘Bengali-American’ and later tweeting that he had “Assam connections”, the user wondered if the Consulate would now mention his gotra too.
You really should stop using Twitter and shooting yourself in the foot. First, he’s a “Bengali American”. Then, he has “Assam connections”. What’s next? His gotra?— Sachin (@Eternal_EB) July 13, 2021
Samir Banerjee wins the Wimbledon boys’ single title
American tennis player of Indian-origin Samir Banerjee on Sunday lifted the Wimbledon boys singles title with a straight-set win over compatriot Victor Lilov. Playing only his second junior Grand Slam, the 17-year-old won 7-5, 6-3 in the final that lasted in one hour 22 minutes.
Born in the United States of America (USA), Samir Banerjee grew up in the state of New Jersey. His parents had moved to the USA in the late 1980s and are now settled there. His father, Kunal, is a chemical engineer from Assam, while his mother, Usha, is from Andhra Pradesh.