In a world already divided by boundaries, language, religious beliefs & ideologies, further division & derision on the basis of color and features is disgusting. For long, many foreigners have taken potshots at us and have literally, made us feel like sh*t. As Indians, fortunately, we have largely been an extremely tolerant lot and forgiven many their trespasses, because as Mahatma Gandhi had wisely quoted, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” Racism in any form in any part of the world is an unpardonable offense & those who indulge in it are not fit to be called human beings.
But who says Indians are always at the receiving end? We as Indians need to see beyond ourselves and cock the mirror to be able to witness our own fractured reality and our misdirected ire against fellow Indians just because some of them look like phirangs or follow a religion contrasting that of the National sentiment or speak a language which is not spoken nationwide. Yes, our country does have its differences on the basis of caste, creed, color and religion but that’s another story altogether. My grouse, as of many who do not “look” like Indians is that how do we cope with being branded a ‘foreigner’ after we, our parents & our grandparents have lived all our lives in India? Why is the warm feeling of acceptance always a fleeting illusion? Why does “but I’m an Indian” become an oft-repeated phrase for us? Why do we face & will keep facing taunts all our lives?
Generalization is preposterous. One bad fish does not make for an oceanful, and India absolutely cannot be seen as a subconsciously racist country. I thank all those large-hearted people who’ve accepted people like me as one of their own, but on a countrywide scale, I can’t help but wonder what lies in store for us who are Chinese/ Nepali/ German/ Nigerian / British/ American and the like by blood but Indian by birth, and proudly so . Mutual respect might not stop some around the world from continuing with their disparaging attitude towards us, but the least we can do is honor the Unity in Diversity tag that we so pride ourselves in, to be one in principle and action. Unless we achieve this singular goal, we have more to fear from ourselves than our neighbouring countries.
The statement of a North-eastern character in Chak De India might have gone unnoticed in all the grandeur of the movie, but it strikes a chord with all those who face my predicament. The line went thus – “How would you feel if you were treated like a guest in your own motherland?”
Seriously, how would you feel?