Saturday, June 27, 2009

Intra-racial racism

Racial problems are still haunting us Indians, I think it's becoming the second biggest social issue; after reality shows. What concerns me is that the racial attacks are taking new dimensions - with Indians starting to racially abuse their own countrymen and countrywomen. The first known victim of this intra-continental racism is a VVIP who complained about it in an international conference on water resources. He says people from other parts of India racially abuse him by asking whether he is an Indian. You might be wondering how that is racist, my question is not only that, I also want to know what’s the connection between water problems and racism - unless of course the water in discussion here is of a different ‘spiritual’ level altogether.

Whatever that is, the point is that whether enquiring about somebody’s nativity/nationality is racial abuse. Even if you agree with those who think it is, the question that remains is whether an Indian asking another fellow Indian his/her nationality can be racial or not. Now that a lawmaker himself says it is, I got to agree. Now I remember, a cab driver in Delhi once asked me whether I was from the south. The cabbie got away with that since I was not this informed a person at that time. Else I could have dragged him to the nearest police station and would have ended up bribing the cops for getting both of us out.

Be careful - is what I want to say to my readers. Hereafter if you meet a person and want to check on his/her nationality because you cannot deduce it due to the artificial hair color or the made up English accent or both, don’t inquire on the nationality directly, you can get into trouble because that’s a racist question. Instead, – supposing the person is from Nepal - ask “Are you related to Madhav Nepal”. Since this is a family related question, it cannot be racial. If it’s a Nepali woman whom you are trying to ‘nationalize’ without hurting her racial sentiments, ask whether she is related to Manisha Koirala, she may even buy you a coffee, let alone being upset about racial abuse. Now, if the person looks like having a Dravidian origin, you can check on their kinship with Rahul Dravid and if that sounds too stupid, ask about his/her favourite dish/film star, you will get some clue easily.

This intra-subcontinental racism brings in administrative problems as well, compared to its inter-national equivalents. Because currently there is no ministry in-charge of ‘highly condemning’ these domestic racial abuses. Hitherto we only had trans-national racism; hence we had that job split between ministries of External and Overseas Indian affairs, depending on who grabs the mike first. The National Human-Rights Commission that we have itself is violating human rights(as reported here ), so no hope there. I recommend setting up a Ministry of Racial Abuses, that way couple of more coalition partners can be bought without horse trading as well.

Before I take leave, I’ll leave you with a question – The question is whether a person buying a fairness cream/ hair color is racially abusing herself/himself as well, because essentially what he/she is stating is that dark skin/hair is bad and is trying to become fair-skinned, fair-haired, harebrained etc, isn’t that racist too?

1 comment:

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