Monday, June 22, 2009

AN EXILE UNTO ITSELF

The Scream by Edward Munch

Apart from the bai-sexual jokes circulating about a shine-less actor these days, the other piece of news grabbing eyeballs has been the racist attacks on Indian students in Australia. Demonstrations were held, memorandums submitted and diplomatic relations rendered awkward. Hopefully, tensions will ease soon and life will go on as usual. Or will it?


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?

9 comments:

  1. Well said, my man! I can't wait for our country to grow up on this front.

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  2. yup, while I was reading the article I was already thinking about commenting on that statement mentioned in the film but then i reached the end of the article. There was an incident at Gateway some 2 years ago where 2 girls from Meghalaya had been robbed and knifed by a nutcase. They kept screaming , we are Indians , we are Indians and still the people had looked on. But I think that wasn't because of their nationality or anything, but well the spectator attitude we have. And yes we are racist. It's disgusting but yeah we are. India is one of the few nations where products like ' fair and lovely ' make profits. Same with when they look for spouses in bureaus. They look at your complexion. Its pathetic. And I want Raj Thackerey to make one comment about the Australian attacks. They are attacking foreigners but he, is targetting our own country people. no wonder he's been keeping a low profile

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  3. I think every one is a racist. We let this bias germinate in a kids' heart when we brand people and 'non self' hatred creeps up before kids even grow up.But there is hope. The way India and Indians every where loved you in all your work is proof. The simple idea of permitting yourself to change is enough to wipe this racist attitude out. But that demands growing up and admitting to the fault first.

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  4. Hi Meiyang,

    Rightly written and also pointed perfect – “How would you feel if you were treated like a guest in your own motherland?”

    This infact needs to be seen with more seriousness than just like a passing thought. Every Indian Citizen is equal by the Law of the Land, then why is there so much differentiation everywhere. India is a multi - cultural population and on that note so is United States....... there too everyone is an outsider since its basically a country of Immigrants... so a wider collision should happen amongst them.....nd that's exactly is something that amuses me...its difficult to point what makes them United........ is it since its called the 'United States of America' that pulls them together and fight their battles hand in hand or is it that every house there has the American flag in their compound whether torn or faded no one cares...as far as it cares to shout that we are Men and Women of the same nation......or is it the mutual respect for another human and humanity at large. If you are an American out there nothing is difficult..... the tourist too are well looked upon so that we would revisit their country again....but then on this side of earth..if i start to think...there are somethings that are going wrong amongst us........is it that we all are so much misinterpreted by the world at large that we try to prove ourselves more superior within or is it all because of our selfish motive of landing somewhere better than our peers...its difficult to point what exactly is wrong and why somethings are never an issue at some other lands.

    All i can feel is we need to voice it properly

    We are afterall children of the same God - what we call him in our respect is another thing.

    People around the world need too see the reasons to their problems with a correction which is unbiased of the religion we follow and the clothes we wear.

    This can only be achieved on the grass root level, our schools.

    But then there is so much to be done......and at the given moment to start......to grow as a generation of equals....living with this rule in our daily lives... and comitting ourselves to this change....

    for us.

    bye and take care.

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  5. Hi Chang!

    Thanks for writing this article.. I'm from Manipur and from a Hindu background.. However, our own hindu people look at us like foreigners in the places like delhi. I can understand .. we are in a new nation which lacks knowledge about other community. However, the worst part is we have no legal awareness campaign in schools / organizations and police stations which should send out a strong message that anyone can be punishable for racial attacks. It's very shocking to hear that delhi police avoided a molestation complain from a manipuri girl .. just because she came from a remote state.. how can this happen in the capital? we can not change common people's mind but govt should take some initiatives to deal with this.. anyway .. i'm so glad that popularity of someone like you will help thousands of students from Northeast.

    regards
    shan

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  6. Chang

    As much as India may claim to be a tolerant society, the fact is that we, Indians, have been parochial and periodically display our intolerance in most virulent fashion. I live in United States and have observed the evolution in tolerance level of its people from dark days 50 years back when seggregation was still a reality to the present when son of an African immigrant is the president. As India matures as a self-governing society, I believe we, Indians, would reject most types of narrow-mindedness that currently chracterize our behavior.

    BTW, saw Indian Idol on youtube for the first time ever! Loved you!!

    Cheers
    Mukul

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  7. This reminded me of an article from Outlook recently called 'Our True Colours' that talked about how dark skin is looked down upon in India, and the experiences some Africans and Black Americans have had in India.

    http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?250314

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  8. “How would you feel if you were treated like a guest in your own motherland?”

    A lost angel, out of place everywhere, at home nowhere.

    Hi Meiyang,
    After long time I stopped by your blog, and I am so glad I did!

    I have lived half of my life in India and half in the UK, honestly speaking I have experienced prejudices in both countries. I have travelled to many countries and made same observations. If we all looked closer to home, we will find imperfections too. It’s about time we (everyone) started seeing beyond the race, caste, religion, nationality; and we treated people the way we would like to be treated, with respect and equality.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this blog and a very well done to you. Ignorant are people who would think of you as a foreigner in India, as I have said previously you are a true Indian and a great role model for many!

    Keep it up!

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  9. Anonymous3:50 AM

    huh tell me about it. I was and still a victim of racism......- apg

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