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Why Himynamistan?


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Antonio, a ninth-grade geography student, raised his hand. The teacher, Señor Capistrano, called on him.

"Sir, why is our nation called Himynamistan instead of Mexico or Anahuac?"

"Excellent question, Antonio. It all has to do with the history of the place. As you know, slavery ended around the world, beginning around 1830. When it ended here, the former rulers still sought to have a compliant labor force that they could exploit more so than the local one. Therefore, they began to import coolie laborers from India.

"Ironically, the word "coolie" may be derived from either the Urdu or Turkish words for slave, both of which are pronounced, "kuli." They were called by names other than slave, but they were for all intents and purposes, slaves. Various legal and economic constraints kept them from being truly free.

"Anyway, the former colonial masters of Mexico had a difficult time recruiting coolies from Southern India, so they instead began to recruit from Northern India and Afghanistan. That was a mistake, as they brought in many warlike Punjabis and Pashtuns. When these warriors were brought here and forced to work, they tended to suddenly rise up and kill their [i]de facto[/i] owners and then run off to the hills to form robber bands. Eventually, a leader of one of the bands, a man named Ram Singh-"

Antonio brightened with recognition. "The guy on the 5 peso note!"

"Yes, that's the one! Well, he led a massive revolution and overthrew the landlords and ended the practice of importing labor from India. He ruled wisely for a time, and he named this land Himynamistan. We honor him today by keeping the name of this land when it was free under his leadership."

"OK, so why have we had so many revolutions here? Because I can remember hearing about maybe 4 or 5 others."

"After a few generations, we need a new revolution to revitalize the land and to make sure we do not forget the poor. Most of the time, only one generation after the revolution forgets its purpose. Some wise leaders have perpetrated their vision for two or three generations, but no more. Not even Quetzalcoatl of old could have his revolution last past four generations. Therefore, we have a need to constantly be ready to renew our constitution with armed sacrifice."

Antonio nodded with understanding before Pancho thumped him on the shoulder for being a nerd.

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The teacher continued, oblivious to Antonio's abuse. "Because of the Indian connection, Himynamistan has significant Islamic and Sikh minorities, with the Sikhs being the larger of the two. Combined with our Iberian heritage - and its own Moroccan influences - this makes for some great food in our nation. Anyone here like Pav Bhaji con queso y espaguetti?"

About a dozen hands shot up.

"You can thank the Indians for about half of that. The immigrants from Ohio gave us the rest."

Antonio raised an eyebrow. "Ohio? Wait, when did they get here?"

"They were a group of Mormons, being persecuted for their new religion. Some of them fled the area and came here. That was back in the 1830's. The family ties remained, however, and years later they returned to visit. Around 1950, I think, is when some of them brought back what they called 'Cincinnati chili.' Just goes to show you how important family ties can be, eh?"

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