Filmmaker Mira Nair’s son Zohran Kwame Mamdani won a seat in the New York state assembly in the 2020 US elections. 29-year-old Mamdani has made history as one of the first South-Asians to clinch a seat on this assembly. Alongside Mamdani, Indian-American lawyer Jenifer Rajkumar also became the first South Asian woman elected to the New York state office.
Mamdani, a Democratic Socialist, had run unopposed to represent the 36th Assembly District in Astoria from Queens. Declaring his victory on social media, Mamdani wrote, “It’s official: we won. I’m going to Albany to fight to tax the rich, heal the sick, house the poor & build a socialist New York. But I can’t do it alone. To win socialism, we’ll need a mass movement of the multiracial working class as well.”
Confirming the news, Nair tweeted:
And Zohran is in! Change is gonna come❤️ https://t.co/6Zk5SsoM7j
— Mira Nair (@MiraPagliNair) November 4, 2020
Zohran Mamdani And His Desi Roots
Zohran Mamdani, who is also known for his career as a rapper, is the son of Indian-American filmmaker Nair and Indian-born Ugandan academic Professor Mahmood Mamdani. He was reportedly born in Uganda and grew up in New York. Under the stage name Mr Cardamom, the young politician has released several hip-hop numbers, among the most popular of which is Nani starring Indian actress and popular cook Madhur Jaffrey.
During his political campaign, Mamdani relied heavily on his socialist ideas impacted by ideas of equality, bridging the class disparity, rights for immigrants, housing, and healthcare facilities for the poor. “That’s why I’m trying to fight for universal rent control in the same breath as I’m fighting in Times Square for an India that respects a pluralistic vision that so many of us Indians are proud of,” he said in an earlier interview.
Mamdani, during his political campaign for the assembly seat, had taken a desi spin on the popular phrase ‘bread and roses’ and changed it to ‘roti and roses.’ And the reason “it’s roti and roses is because we’re both fighting for something universal and something specific, and the specificity is about being an Indian-American, a desi Muslim American running to represent our communities which have been shut out of the conversation for far too long,” he explained further.
Mira Nair On Her Son
New York-based Mira Nair, whose recent Netflix web series A Suitable Boy released to wide viewership, had said in a 2013 interview that her son, “is a total desi. Completely. We are not firangs at all. He is very much us.”
Even then, she did not see him following her path into films: “He should do whatever he wants to do. I don’t see it in him to make movies. He is very involved with current affairs, politics, and political issues. I think he can be engaged in the world in someway to make a difference. He is very very interested in that.”
Image Credit: Twitter/YTalkies