From rapists to racists

India has not only lost its way culturally, but is so insecure it cannot tolerate its own.

bikram

Bikram Vohra | February 7, 2014



 

In your face. For months rape was the dubious distinction for India. Now, it has been joined by another sinister cousin. The cold blooded immensely senseless killing of a student in Delhi who came from the eastern states underscores a huge divide in India. The idiots who beat him up did so because they didn't like his hairstyle. He looked Chinese to them. He had a snub nose like I do. Mongoloid eyes which, for some reason, is funny to the rest of us. His accent was different. He wasn't really Indian enough.

For racism it is tough to beat us. We have made it an art form. We clubbed all Africans into drug dealers and this miscarriage of social justice was spearheaded by a Minister of the Aam Aadmi party who entered the home of four Ugandan women without any warrant. The Gestapo is well, alive and living in Delhi, open the door. Racism spawns bigotry and prejudice. India's historical fractures of caste, colour and creed, you and me, have gotten worse. We have even added the new dimension of reverse racism with the so called upper castes being outnumbered and often made to the pay for the arrogance of their flipping ancestors.

North Indians look upon their fellow countrymen from the south with a conceit that is difficult to understand but it exists. Aryans and Dravidians play off against each other with a ball made of leathery contempt. Don't even touch religion, that's another dimension entirely. So much for our strength in diversity or is it unity? We have become so much more insular with technology when we should actually have been enlightened by it.

In Mumbai they want non-Maharashtrians out. In Delhi the hostility to Tamil and Bengali enclaves sits on very dry powder keg. In little villages rural despotism rules the roost...where else can elders punish a girl for wanting to marry outside her religion by ordering her official rape by 14 teenagers, line up guys the fun is this way. We all gasp with agony and then shrug it off; it is just a story in the papers unless it happens too close to home. Then we scream a bit and carry on. Not even a fraction of a percent of 1.2 billion people cares enough for each such incident. Like with an aircraft that crashes, it is a series of little errors that create that firecracker string and lead to the crash. We have started our errors.

Many years ago when I was a journalist in Delhi, the Commonwealth students’ team came on a visit. All the white people were invited for meals to Indian homes. All the black people were invited to the coffee house. I can never forget Neville, a West Indian Brit who said, what's with you people, are they embarrassed by me.

And I said, sort of, what will the neighbours think, everyone will be uncomfortable. So it goes on, if you are different I will mock you. A nation that has not only lost its way culturally but now is so insecure it cannot tolerate its own.

Wake up to those errors, use the social platforms to talk about these things, that boy's death is a lot more symptomatic of the illness in the body public than you wish to think. That cancer will spread.

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