The racist Indian

It is appalling that people are being attacked for their skin tone

rahul

Rahul Dass | March 29, 2017 | New Delhi


#racism   #India   #African attack   #Northeast  


 
Our heads must hang in shame over the attack on five African students in Greater Noida – for it was no ordinary assault. It was an attack on our Indian sensibilities. It showed our rabid intolerance, a dark side that remains hidden behind flowery ideals of peace and secularism.
 
We howl in protest when Indians are attacked in the US, but there is no collective uproar when the same happens within our own country.
 
It is not the first time that Africans have been assaulted. It has happened in the past too. They have been beaten and abused. They have been called “habshi”, a derogatory word.
 
An online video shows an African student being beaten up at a Greater Noida mall. And none of the 'brave' bystanders step in to stop the assault.
 
The Noida apartment complex where I live too has seen its share of racism. A young man from Kenya shifted into a flat near my home a couple of years back. He was a student at Amity University. That weekend, he held a party at his home, which I was later told was quite loud.
 
The next weekend when a party was held again, the police were called. The party was halted. Fine. But, why didn’t the same conscientious neighbours act with alacrity when young Indian students did the same in the same apartment complex. They were warned and let off. The cops were not called.
 
A month after that, there was some issue with a water outlet pipe and I went to the African student’s home. I am yet to see a flat where students are staying and that is so well maintained. There was not a speck of dust. It had been tastefully decorated. A few days later, I heard him playing the piano. It was enthralling.
 
And here we are stuck with racist minds who suspect all Africans being on the wrong side of the law. There may be some, but don’t judge all of them by the colour of their skin.
 
Even Indians too are not spared in India. Those from the north-east face constant harassment, be it Delhi or Bengaluru. The students are called “Chinkis”. What a shame. Wonder how people would feel if they travel to the north-east and they are called names.
 
While growing up, there would be whispers about a school friend from the north-east that he was on drugs. No proof was produced. He was a damn good footballer and his strength on the football field was attributed to his taking drugs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He was targeted since he would never retort, whatever the provocation. His footwork in the football field would do all the talking.
 
Those in north India also perhaps do not understand what it means to have a dark skin tone.
 
A young engineer from Tamil Nadu was looking for a home in Noida. He called me up as I was looking for a tenant. You know what he told me over the phone: “I am dark skinned.”
 
I was shocked. “So what,” I said, not understanding what exactly he meant by that.
 
“So, am I,” I told him.
 
He later said he wanted to make it clear as he had “felt” that was an issue in north India.
 
If a highly educated engineer who has spent two years on a fellowship in European universities feels like that, wonder why we have allowed racism to take on this devilish form in this country – and when will this stop.
 

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