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Bangalore was in the news last week for an incident that has once again sparked debate on racism in the country. A Tanzanian woman was beaten, stripped naked and paraded by a mob, for no fault of hers, and the car she was travelling in was set fire to. Outrage was expressed over the shameful act and questions were raised over the safety of women and of foreign nationals in our country. The incident took place on Jan 31st has brought into the light hidden demons who are looking for opportunities to shame the country and its citizens with their regressive mentality. We went through some bloggers’ posts who have lamented the incident while sharing their point of views.
The editor of Communalism Watch talks about the incident and tells us how thick skinned our system and the judiciary has become over time. A similar incident had taken place in Delhi 4 months ago, and the rising frequency of such incidents is alarming.
“The entire episode raises a disturbing question: is it any longer possible, or even plausible, to express shock at what has happened? Such acts of violence are not peculiar to Bengaluru alone. Indeed, something like this did happen, not too long ago, in Delhi. Under the controversial guidance of a Law Minister of the State, African women were branded as ‘prostitutes’ and molested in a ‘midnight raid’. The Bengaluru mob, too, seems to have given free rein to racism. The repeated targeting of Africans suggests a case of pathological colourism — discrimination and hostility directed against dark-skinned people. Indians’ cultural preference for fair skin is well known, and amply attested by the vast market for fairness creams. It is quite common to find people remark admiringly on how ‘fair’ a newborn baby is. And matrimonial advertisements are notorious for seeking ‘fair’ brides. However, to reduce the depressing message from this episode to skin colour alone would be to underestimate the discrimination and violence in India against those who are visibly ‘different’.”
Paulami DuttaGupta in her article in The Frustrated Indian talks about how the incident has shamed us as a nation. She refers to Mahabharata, recalling the the shaming of Draupadi which was thousands of years ago, and talks about little change that India as a society could bring in the minds of its people. Does this make Indians inherently racist?
“Wednesday’s incident has not only stripped the Tanzanian woman, it has also stripped us as a nation. And this is not the first time it has happened. What plays in the mind of the mob that strip women to punish them? Glimpses of a woman frantically trying to cover her breasts while they bare her to the world gives these men an adrenalin rush? Or does it give them a sense of justice? These are the men who go back home to their wives, mothers and maybe even little baby girls? And today we pretend to talk about progress and trash the past, call it dark ages. How much has really changed? Draupadi was dishonoured all those centuries ago to settle scores with the five brothers. And today as we dream of a digital India, a mob strips a woman because another man from her race has committed a crime.”
The unfolding of the incident also brought to light another shameful fact about our politicians. The Karnataka Home Minister was seen denying the fact that this was a racist attack. Satya Vijayi on his blog mentions the 3 important and unanswered questions and how the city of Bangalore has proved to be a fearful place for Africans.
When such incidents happen, regular citizens look up to influential personalities to come forward as their opinions, views and beliefs have an influence on the general public and shape the public discourse. Suchi Bhatnagar brings out the reactions from our famous Bollywood personalities.
“ Hrithik Roshan – Injustice like this shames the entire human race. The ones who did wrong must be made to understand and repent!
Farhan Akhtar – No apology is enough for the horror this girl from Tanzania was made to suffer!! Shameful..!”
Suresh Rao talks about the religious and cultural changes that one inevidently becomes a part of in a foreign land. When these changes make them uncomfortable, it gives them a culture shock and they resort to means and practices that can be violent and dangerous.
“We know of many instances where new immigrants (even students) who come from a foreign land, culture are uncomfortable in a foreign land, often get culture-shock, may get disappointed, get frustrated and even resort to violence to disturb peace in their adopted country.
I also know that in some countries even the native religion/language mix changes substantially, with new immigrants coming from foreign countries. I also know that in the past where invaders conquered another country by brute force they did convert natives to their religion with the natives willingly or unwillingly adapting to the new religion of the conquering race but retained their native culture. This also happens with languages too… one may learn a new language but one may never give up their native language or mother tongue even in a foreign land for at least a generation or two.”
Political parties often use such incidents to their advantage and efficiently play a blame game. ITN Network reported how Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi took a dig at Rahul Gandhi
“Such a big incident has happened and so much time has passed, still Rahul and Congress are silent for something that has happened under the very nose of their government there. No action has been taken. This shows how much hypocrisy is there in them and how they play hypocritical politics,” Union Minister and senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
“It is shameful that those who are experts in creating a mountain out of a molehill have suddenly turned silent and their silence seems to justify such an unfortunate incident,” Naqvi said.”
Shuma Raha brings out disappointing facts about Indians acting in racist ways. They are more than one and can be very obviously noted by anyone. Even in the face of such blatant racist attacks, our political leaders deny the problem. If our leaders want to stick their head in the sand, how can we as a society look for a solution?
“Attacks on blacks in our country have been on the rise in recent years. As more and more students from the African continent come here to study and work, hoping to profit from India’s quality institutions, they often have to contend with frightening racial prejudice. Like every racist society, much of India stereotypes blacks as being prone to crime, violence and sleaze — the men, dealers in narcotics, the women, peddlers of prostitution. They are stared at, whistled at, called names, their “otherness” a perennial source of fear and loathing and intermittent bursts of violent hostility.
Of course, our racism is not directed at blacks alone. Men and women from the Northeast face the same animus, quite obviously because they belong to a different racial type. In 2014, Nido Tania, a 19-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh, was beaten to death in south Delhi. That, and the sickening regularity with which people from the Northeast are attacked in the rest of India, have led to the demand for an anti-racism law.”
A country that boasts of the Ramayana and Mahabharata as epic scriptures, unfortunately sees very little of the life values implemented by its citizens. These scriptures are known to talk about the evolution of mankind for more than 4000 years. So what are we supposed to question? The present or the past? Or the civilised nature of our civilians? India Opines takes us to our roots.
Guru Aiyer brings out the reality in the incident, Indians and our system of justice. He talks about how can we become more inclusive as a society. He is of the opinion that
constant engagement with citizens and government authorities and the police would help us to weed out racism.
“There is no need to politicise the incidents. It clearly shows the society’s pathological non-acceptance of people who are ‘foreign’ with a darker shade of skin colour. In the case of Australian, it is a case of not tolerating a difference in attitude. Indians are well known for their liking of fair skin. To vent mob anger against people of darker skin in the most brutal form of violence takes this to another level. In mob fury, reasonable individuals are the first casualty for they tend to get swept aside by the tide of hatred. We only need to sensitise the society by constant engagement towards normative behaviour. Sensitising the police too is an essential step. Racism is not to be tolerated.”
Satadru Sen describes the mob lynching notion in our country. He describes how community lynching started in different parts of the world and how lynch-mob politics brings out the horrible side of a crowd.
“For those familiar with Indian public life and its patterns of violence, what happened to the Tanzanian woman is almost entirely familiar, and not just because of the rage that lurks below the surface of relations between the car-borne and the pedestrian. The particulars of the Bangalore incident are easily recognizable as the idiom of violence against low-caste women in rural areas and provincial towns, and even urban women on ‘festive’ occasions. In a patriarchal society, there is nothing like sexual humiliation and terror to enforce the intertwined hierarchies of caste, class and gender. That enforcement is typically abetted by the police, who are after all there to maintain ‘order’ in every sense of the word.”
Sandeep Kadian brings to us the different opinions of general citizens and celebrities on racism. While some deny that Indians are racist, there are some who are accepting it. There were some who claimed that Indians did not discriminate against foreigners as long as they were white.
“What racism are they talking about? Every time I see a white guy, I start treating him like a divine creature. What more can we do? This is utter nonsense that racism is prevalent in India.” said Ranjit, a Mumbai resident.
A wedding planner in Delhi, Mr Gurmeet Singh echoed Ranjit’s sentiment. He told us, “No question of racism at all sir. For every wedding I get requests to arrange at least a dozen white skinned people. How can such a country be racist? We are inviting unrelated people of different skin color to our family functions and then some people have the audacity to call us racist. Not fair at all.”
A tourist guide in Goa gave us further example of Indian love towards people with different skin color. “You should see the crowd of Indians at the beach around every white skinned female in a bikini. So much admiration for people of different skin tone and then these newspapers call us racist. This is just a media creation.” Mr D’Costa, a guide in Panaji told us.”
Indians have long since prided ourselves on being inclusive. This country has absorbed everyone who set foot on its soil – be it Aryans, Mughals, the British, French, Portuguese, Parsis and many more who make the rich fabric of the nation. It’s about time we realize that everybody adds their own colour and uniqueness to our nation. It would do us good to remember that these colours will shine the brightest only when they are welcomed and nurtured.
What are your thoughts on the Bangalore attack incident and racism in India? Have you read any interesting pieces on it? Tell us in the comments section below!
You know why we love #PerkyTweets? Because one look at them and you know what’s trending across Twitterverse. Like this week’s Perky Tweets are a great mix of award functions, Valentine’s week, Twitter, and a lot more. We have curated them especially to make you smile…so don’t disappoint us and pull your lips into a curve after going through these funny Indian tweets.
The weekend is here and we are a few days away from Valentine’s Day. Celebrate and share love in our #LoveAndLaughter activity. Share with us the funniest memories with your better half. The first 70 entries win assured vouchers worth Rs. 300 and winners will be rewarded with CaratLane vouchers worth Rs. 5,000. This week’s WOW prompt ‘Nobody Knows That I‘ will decode your innermost secrets. Join our Bloggers To Authors Program and level up as a writer. Publish your own book, earn surprising profits on sales and build your credibility. We interviewed multi-talented award winning blogger Priya Adivarekar. You cannot miss reading about her passion for everything from blogging to dance.
Now time for a cup of coffee and fresh posts by our bloggers to start off your weekend.
What is it that replenishes the spring of curiosity constantly? It is the search for something new, different and useful. Technological innovations keep us on our toes, never letting us become complacent. Innovations are a continuous process and every minute, the envelope is being pushed. If you are a tech enthusiast and can spend 3 days immersed in learning about the latest and the coolest innovations in the field of science, technology and entrepreneurship, then head to QUARK ’16, BITS Pilani’s annual techno-management festival.
Everyone has stories that are hidden from the big world that we are a part of. They can be happy or sad stories, habit or an opinion, a special or shocking secret, yours or somebody else’s. These are known only to you and no one else. So what is it about you that nobody knows ?
Our homes are our pride and joy, places where we can truly be ourselves. Everybody has their own favourite corner of the house, along with their favourite memories. Like our fashion sense, our sense of decor also reflects on what kind of person we are. In this week’s Collective, we are giving you a chance to own the decor of your home by not buying, but making things to decorate your corner in the world. Trust us, you’ll love the compliments that come your way!