This post is dedicated to one of my closest friends, Ishan , who is studying in Melbourne . This guy has managed to turn around his life , from the disordered state it was in , and is now on the road to success many will envy . He has battled quite a few challenges in his life , and emerged victorious . He has taken decisions , audacious ones , that some of us can only contemplate about and then dismiss dejectedly . And I know , the tough guy he is , he will face racism and any other ism thrown his way , and come out on the top . Kudos to you buddy . I have never told you this , but I am proud of what you have achieved so far , and you are an inspiration to me . I mean it man .
This post is inspired by the recent racist attacks on Indian students in Australia . As per the news reports , 4 students have been attacked so far , and 1 is battling for his life . I emailed my buddy , to inquire about his well being , and a general WTF-is-going-on-there . The contents of our conversation have been sanitized for you , as the original was peppered with slangs and swear words liberally employed by both of us . This is what he said -
"I am good man . We plan to protest in the heart of the city in some time . The venue has not been decided as yet . You would not believe that one of my friends and I were actually planning to do so , before the attacks took place. So far, there are 10 students who are willing to join this movement. But, there must be like 200 students in the university. Most of these Indians are cowards. That is the reason these goras get them so easily. They dare not attack the Asians cause they know they will get their asses kicked. Not even the Pakistanis or Afghanis , who are lesser in number, as compared to Indians. Some of these attackers are on drugs and/or unemployed. They have no jobs and no money , and that is the prime reason. A side-effect of recession , may be. Indians have been staying in Australia for the last two decades, but this usually does not happen as compared to States . This place is quiet . Only a few suburbs are notorious infested by these crazy guys. I have made some posters and I am putting it on the university notice board. I have taken permission from the dean to organize a protest of sorts. Let me see how many call or contact me . I need at least 50 student to be there for at least 4 hour so that the media can cover them. That is all I want, the whole world must know that we are not happy. Even I have my exams and project work , yet , I have taken the initiative ."
My advice to my friend, "Do it Gandhi style" . I am ashamed and aghast at the response of these Indians . I think , If you try and reason with them , they will come up with excuses like "We are here to study" , "You can't help it , this is part and parcel of life here" and "Stay low on the radar and avoid getting into confrontation" . I bet if the father of this nation had some similar thoughts , he would not have been the father of this nation . My question here is , for how long should one tolerate and bear with racial or any other discrimination ? There must be a threshold, and I think the line has been crossed. These Indians did not go there uninvited . They are not illegal immigrants . The bloody Aussies thronged all over Indian cities , holding road shows and what not , to attract foreign students . And now , they are bearing the brunt of being brown, in the White man's land . I am not saying that these students should pick up hockey-sticks and start fighting . But they must protest . They must shout out loud , that they won't be discriminated against. Can you imagine , living a in a foreign land , thousands of miles away from home , in a country “supposed to be the First World” , and yet , feel threatened and insecure . I hope some of them muster the courage to protest . I cannot envision a multi-polar World Order , with India as one of the poles, if its citizens swallow their pride and be humiliated , for being Indian, and not white . We need to get over the White Man syndrome .
Just imagine how different things would have been, had it been the other way round. A white person getting killed raped or mugged in India. First of all, I think even our own media would give it more attention, well, because they are ass-lickers in general, and what is better than kissing the White Man’s ass? Secondly, their respective government, French, German, English or American would be at the Indian Government’s throats, demanding an explanation, not merely expressing “apallment at the horrendous incident”. And thirdly, they wouldn’t hesitate at labeling India as not safe enough for their citizens to travel, if it came to that. It is a reflection of how they value the life of their citizens, and not just consider them a source of votes. If you remember the Graham Staines murder, which was not racist, but equally or more bad considering the reason, you would get an idea. The furor created by these attacks are not even close. You might think I am getting agitated over nothing, as in the Staines case, 3 people were burnt alive, and in the Aussie one, the students were brutally beaten and no one has died so far. But for how long, before the beatings turn into murders? And when you stab someone, the intent is not exactly benign. And is this just limited to Australia ? I don’t need to embark on narrating the tale of Air France VS Indian Passenger.
Respect is earned , or fought for, it is not handed out as an alm .
p.s. No disrespect intended toward those who were attacked, and are living in fear. I hope this ordeal ends as soon as possible . I am sure a lot of our fellow country men are praying for them .
p.p.s I wonder what Andrew Symmonds has to say about this .
Edited to add : Stay away from Australia , says Bajinder Singh