Monday, June 8, 2009

Racism : Indian Style

Last few weeks have seen a lot of bad times for the well meaning Indians in the Australian continent. The media has been effectively portraying the tragic death and violence unleashed against the Indian students. In spite of open arms to invite people to the great land of the Kangaroos, we are not blind to the fact how the aborigines were and are treated in the same country and how the country is strict with its immigrant laws.

"While we discuss so much about the way our Indian students were ill treated, we also can not forget the fact about which economic background these students hail from. They certainly would (emphasis is mine) not have undergone such marginalization in our country, because they hail from socially, culturally and economically sound families. It is unwise to discuss these concerns when we speak of ill treatment done to us because we are Indians", says Fr. Nithiya Sagayam.

It is also time for us to reflect on the kind of racism we follow in India! And we must reflect, think and question ourselves and each other as to whether we are happy with the way we treat each other within India.
Why blame the Aussies? Look at how we do it. In our own country we cannot reject the fact that many choices are done based on color. Our films hail fair color. Our spot interviews prefer beauties (as additional qualification). Our TV reporters need to be fair skinned, even if their English or vernacular may not be accurate. Our flight attendants must be of "fairer" sex and color. Our brides need to be fairer. Our secretaries / receptionists in offices, hotels, clubs and any public place need to be fairer. Why, even our Cricketers must be fair skinned. Most of our advertisements focus only on fair skinned ones and neglect the darker skinned. This is a country that worships fair skin. This is country where you might win or lose jobs in interviews simply because of the color of your skin. Let us be honest. Fair skin has been raised on a pedestal that our young girls are mentally occupied with toning their skin in every kind of beauty parlor they find, and with every beauty tip they avail off. It simply is impossible to be dark in India and be a Miss India.

What ever happened to the dark skinned experts: in the field of Media? In our films? Among our Nurses, among our doctors? Educationists? Politicians? In sports? In jobs? If one has to take a census of the people employed in Higher strata, we are shocked to see that India is by and large racist towards her own people. We are simply color-blind ! And we are building a color-blind generation.

We have built up a culture of preference to fair skinned.

"This calls for the need of India to rededicate what Gandhi spoke on Antyodaya, the welfare of the last becoming our priority. This way, we would find special preference to the marginalized, the oppressed, and the poor. These are not only the Tribals and Dalits but darker skinned Indians at last." Indians like me! Until we, Indians give priority to the welfare of the least, we would not come to work for the welfare of all people. This is the way to give dignity to Humans as humans, by going beyond the color of the skin.

Till then, it is not only Australia, but any country would look down upon our country.... And if you count the number of dark-skinned Indians in Australia, you might be in for a surprise. You may not find many. You will only find a large group of rich upper middle class brigade of fair skinned Indian students and their families fighting for protection against racism, supported vehemently by a fair skinned media in our country, with many fair skinned people giving their very "valuable opinions", and more fair-skinned upper and middle class Indians out on the street protesting in front of the Parliament and Australian Embassy to stop racism in Australia.... and not to touch it in India! Long live fair skin!!

(With some inspirations and inputs from Nithiya Sagayam)

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