Hari Shanker R

Hari Shanker R

A Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

Racism: Some hard facts

If you haven’t been following the news, there’s been  back-to-back (supposedly racist) attacks on at least six Asians (Indians)  in Australia. One person (a 25 year old student named Shravan Kumar) suffered serious (almost fatal) injuries and is still in critical condition. The media has had its field day, voicing venomous rhetoric on the spate of racist attacks. There’s been a flurry of protests, globally. 18 Indians were arrested after one such protest (for no reason, apparently) and later let out, in Australia. The incident has reached spectacular proportions with  Amitabh ‘Big B’ Bachchan rejecting a doctorate degree conferred on him by Queensland University of Technology, Australia, in protest.

CC credits: ThinkVegan

A few thoughts in this regard:

  • In India, millions of people were/are slaughtered (not just beaten up, but hacked into pieces) just because they belonged to a particular religion/caste/sect or because they spoke a particular language. News items about foreign nationals getting attacked/molested abound by the day. Such a nation, which can’t even handle its internal woes has no right to protest about half a dozen of  its citizens getting flogged abroad!
  • People who go outside the nation to pursue higher education – I do not blame them. Our education facilities are abysmal to say the least. But they should keep the fact in mind that there’s no reason cribbing after being hit by drunk/unruly/racist people. They should’ve thought about the consequences.
  • Australia, is more pluralist a nation than India, and if you check the stats, the incidents of violence is far lower than the same in India! Calling Australia (and other foreign nations where NRIs live, for that matter) ‘racist’ without any sound reason, whatsoever, is sheer madness! Any country would give preference to its own citizens rather than foreigners – it’s natural. Cribbing over policies by foreign nations that support its citizens and condemning their ‘discriminatory’ laws is childish!
  • The media has a staunch hand in beating the issue out of proportion. Far from showing solidarity with the hapless victims, it has commercialized the whole issue, spewing meaningless debates, in a relentless quest for eye-ball space and ad-revenue! I’m reminded of the quote by media-baron Rupert Murdoch (which incidentally, is featured in the bond movie – ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’): “There’s no news, like bad news.”
  • Why bother to leave your motherland for a distant land in search of ‘better prospects’? Given all the resources of our nation, it’s not so hard to find success here. All one needs is some will-power to fight the anomalies of the system that bog you down and to cut the red tape!

All said, Racism is a reality – an ugly truth that refuses to go away despite all the anti-apartheid-struggles and tryst-to-destiny’s. Xenophobia and racism – meaningless mutual hatred, will exist as long as man remains to be a social animal. However stringent the laws become, however brainwashed people get, in the back of their mind, many citizens, if not all,  will always be xenophobic. The only way to tackle racism is to stay back in your own nation, swear by it and to work for it!

Still, is it so hard to realize that despite minor bodily, soci0-economic differences, a subsaharan tribal is a carbon copy of Hon. Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd? 🙂

The last ink drop:

Check out this series of racism tests – an ingenious way to check if you’re racist or not!

14 Comments

  1. Lakshya

    I disagree with your post completely Hari. Australia is a racist society and there are no two ways about it. I believe bloggers like you need to speak up for those helpless Indian students who have to pay for the faults of a fanatic society which needs a serious relook at itslf. I admire your blog, Hari and love to visit it almost every other day, but I feel this post has come at the wrong time. If you cant help those in distress down under, atleast dont hurt them.

    “Such a nation, which can’t even handle its internal woes has no right to protest about half a dozen of its citizens getting flogged aboard!”

    I couldnt disagree more with this irresponsible statement. Yes India has its problems at home. But the roots of the problem lie in the massive illiteracy, unemployment and poverty rampant in the country. India is still a DEVELOPING nation. Australia, on the other hand is developed and boasts of an educated population. Its international students earn it a lot more foreign exchange than all its farm and textile exports put together, and thats a VERY important reason for the country’s prosperity. Aint that reason enough for the Australian govt to provide adequate security to its international students? When the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in Pakistan, the Aussies withdrew from the Davis Cup and the T20 cricket tournament to be staged in India, and issued a travel advisory to its citizens against travelling to India citing security concerns. Now pray, tell me, if the aussies can be so concerned for their citizens’ safety in India due to attacks in Pakistan, why the hell shouldn’t we voice our displeasure when OUR citizens are being targeted in Australia?
    * People who go outside the nation to pursue higher education – I do not blame them. Our education facilities are abysmal to say the least. But they should keep the fact in mind that there’s no reason cribbing after being hit by drunk/unruly/racist people. They should’ve thought about the consequences.

    “Calling Australia (and other foreign nations where NRIs live, for that matter) ‘racist’ without any sound reason, whatsoever, is sheer madness! “Cribbing over policies by foreign nations that support its citizens and condemning their ‘discriminatory’ laws is childish!”

    I am surprised by your lack of knowledge on this issue Hari. The least you could have done was follow up on the story, do some homework and then posted. Are still in search of a “sound reason” to call Australia racist after a dozen “Indian” students were selectively attacked in hardly a week, with many more attacks going unnoticed and unreported, as claimed by the Australian leader of opposition himself!
    And we are not talking of “discriminatory laws” here. The issue remains the attacks and the resulting fear in the Indian community living in Australia.

    * The media has a staunch hand in beating the issue out of proportion. Far from showing solidarity with the hapless victims”

    Funny, you first call the victims hapless and then criticize the media for standing up for them. Atleast the media does make up for a few heartless bloggers out there who care a donkey’s ass for their countrymen living elsewhere.

    “Why bother to leave your motherland for a distant land in search of ‘better prospects’? Given all the resources of our nation, it’s not so hard to find success here. All one needs is some will-power to fight the anomalies of the system that bog you down and to cut the red tape!”

    Thats hardly the question, is it? Does that give the Australians an exvlusive right to indulge in ugly racism? NO. Those were students, and not professionals working in Oz. And most of the victims like young Shravan Kumar, who is now fighting for his life at a Victoria hospital, had the dream of returning and working for their motherland after education.

  2. Prasanth

    Lakshya, the media is nothing but a shit hole that is not oncerned with anything other than trp. they have done this before, they will do it now and they will do the same with anything from arushi murder case to the latest australian racism issue. its time we get some good media that is fee of barkha dutts and rajdeeps who actualy DO something than just talk, talk and talk.

  3. Praveen

    I agree to the point that the media has hyped the issue to epic proportions..
    But saying that India has no right to raise its voice for its own citizens who are suffering abroad is a little too much..
    Accepted that we’ve our own racial occurrences to point out..But does that mean we should keep quiet when our countrymen are being attacked with screwdrivers and knives?

  4. andy

    a highly absurd post!!!
    i got some things damn clear..
    u had never stepped out of our home.
    u had never lived in an alien land.
    u havent heard an racial slurs till now and so is oblivious of the damages it cause to ones sense of being.
    think its shravan today, it can be anyone tomorrow ..may be even you!!!
    **sorry if my comments were blunt its jus cos u deserved nothing less!!

  5. andy

    thxx 4 ur mail!!heres my link..
    y i was so pissed out of ur post was am livin outside the bounds of kerala and wenever i get sometimes referred to as a south indian or a in a crude way madrasi, it surely dents my self esteem. a while ago raj thackerays MNS were running after bihari migrants claiming they have no survival (living for them was a distant dream) rights in the maximum city. your point in a way clearly vindicated the actions of rajs and the other xenophobics of the world. the genesis of this mindset stems out from their narrow mindededness and lack of other worldly exposure..
    u will retort back the points in this post if u happen to live outside by yourself away from your support sys of your parents and friends…trivandrum is not a world in itself buddy…the shades are lot diffrent outside..even today being a “koopamandookam” is highly dangerous!!!

  6. hari

    @ Lakshya:
    First of all, thanks a heap for taking the time to read and critically analyze my post. 🙂 I’m honoured by all your candid comments, trust me. 😀

    I think, I’ve misquoted myself a bit, since I wrote this post in a hurry – irresponsible thing to do from my part, yes!

    Anyway, let me clarify:

    About India being incapable of tackling its internal woes:
    Well, that was rather a figure of speech. What I meant to say was that, India must give priority to its internal woes before it tackles the issues of Non Resident Indians. That doesn’t mean that Indians mustn’t be concerned about the problems NRIS face! My point was that Internal Issues in India must be sorted out.

    About the racial attacks in Australia:
    Again, I’m misquoted (my fault)! 🙁 I was actually referring to a global situation. Whatever you do, it’s hard to cleanse the minds of people who naturally tend to distance themselves from people of other ethnic groups. I’ve seen people view foreigners with distaste even in India!

    About your retort on my media statement:
    The issue about the racism in Australia is a fact. But the media actually made it look like a national calamity or something in their quest for TRPs. That’s all what I meant.

    Er, that was a personal attack! 😛 Nevertheless, I take it in the right spirit, buddy. 😉 My views are mine, and I’ve all the freedom to express it in my blog, as is your right to voice your comments. 😀

    About the superiority of India:
    Did you see the response(s) of the Australia victim(s)? Most of them were telling just that! 😛

    And Lakshya, really, thanks a heap for your response. 🙂 Please comment more often here. It’s great to see your prescient words adorn my blog. 😀

  7. hari

    @ Prasanth:
    Bravo, buddy! All the media looks for is TRP!

    @ Praveen:
    Point taken, bro. As I’d replied to Lakshya, I never meant to demean NRIs. What I meant was that, India must make religious tolerance a reality and set an example. 🙂 Again, I’m misquoted! 😀

  8. hari

    @ Andy:
    Well, thanks for your candid words, and I took them in the right sense. 🙂 Feel free to voice your views here, however harsh they may be. Thanks for the link too.

    As to your comment, yes, you’re right. I haven’t been out of Kerala much, and my views may be lopsided as a result. But I feel you haven’t got the essence of my post fully. 😀 I’ve actually spoken your views about racism within India, if you will notice. 😀

    But sure, I’ll keep in my mind what you’ve said. Thanks once more! 🙂

  9. andy

    hi hari..
    on a second look,i felt bad tat i used some very harsh and personal remarks..but grt that u took it gracefully..the impulsive me thot there was an underlyin anti immigrant tone in this well written post..and i took it on a personal front!!!
    keep writing!! good wishes!!

  10. Zitian

    im currently a grade 8 student and im writing an essay about racism, and was wondering if it was okay if i used this articles and some of its comments for ideas in my essay writing

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