Can Subcontinental Serenades Swing It?
Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative Party candidate for the London mayoral election slated for May 5 has obviously deconstructed his electorate quite minutely, going by a newly released election video. While the 20% ethnic minority Londoners are indeed a bloc that cannot be ignored by candidates, especially Goldsmith, who trails his Labour rival Sadiq Khan in the opinion polls, the lengths to which he is willing to go to get through to them is touching indeed. Though the main refrain is in Hindi, the fact that there are snatches of Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali shows that he is interested in reaching out to the gamut of South Asian voters. Whether he has annoyed speakers of Gujarati, Tamil and other subcontinental languages not included in the video remains to be seen. Why Mandarin also figures in this subcontinental serenade, can be regarded by some as suspicious. Presumably other multi-lingual medleys promos exhorting Polish, Romanian, Ethiopian, Arabic, Croatian and other voters are also in the Goldsmith pipeline. Nothing similar has emerged from the Sadiq Khan camp, but clearly his task (as part of the 20% ethnic minority) of reaching out to the 80% majority cannot be achieved by any “Jeetega, jeetega” video in English, even if it cunningly incorporates all the accents of the London boroughs in order to be inclusive.