BY ANITA JOSHUA
California Dreams: India Shining in the Land of Hollywood, Gurmukh Singh, British Columbia Books
`I'FOR industry; `I' for inspiration; `I' for innovation; `I' for influence. Cut to the chase, `I' for INDIA. This is the sum and substance of California Dreams: India Shining in the Land of Hollywood in which journalist Gurmukh Singh chronicles "some splendid tales of struggle, success and the reality of the American dream" of the Indians in Southern California. Beginning with a foreword by Stanley Wolpert, Professor Emeritus of South Asian History at UCLA, Los Angeles, Singh reveals how much the Indian community of Southern California has contributed to the growth of the United States in general and the region in particular. Described by Wolpert as the "best educated, most creative and wealthiest minority in the U.S.", Singh's narrative on the Indian community of South California takes the reader back to 1899 when the first Indians — four Sikhs — are believed to have set foot on California. He traces their struggle for American citizenship along with their foray into politics and every walk of life; becoming a veritable institution in some fields like the hospitality business which has to reckon with the "Patel Motel" phenomenon because Gujaratis control over 40 per cent of the mid-sized motels and hotels in the country. Essentially Singh's is a "feel good" book on the Indians who made it big chasing the American dream. But, he also makes a passing reference to their squabbles, which resulted in the 2,00,000-strong Indian community of Southern California losing their chance of having a "Little India" of their own in the land of their dreams.