Outfielder's Blog

Race-to-Racism

Posted in Political, Social by outfielder on March 4, 2010

The government in Australia is in a troublesome situation with the recent spate of racist attack on Indian people in Australia. In order to avoid ‘racism’ accusation, Kieran Walshe, Victorian Police deputy commissioner had recently stated that- Indian student are soft targets for violent incidences because they tend to travel on their own, late at night – either from study or employment – and carry valuable items such as laptops and phones . So in other words, instead of increasing the security on the streets of Australia, the Australian government is proposing Indian students to avoid going out for studies or job and not to carry their cell phones (Can someone tell the Australian government, that if they don’t carry their phones, will they be able to call for help if any unfortunate incidence happens?).

But today I am not writing this blog to condemn Australian for their racist behavior but to retrospect our self.  We feel bad when our people become a victim of racisms in other country; however, we spent little time to notice the racism prevailing in our Indian society from years.

Despite India’s egalitarian veneer, there still remains an invisible separation between the country’s upper and lower castes that lasts from birth to death. For most Indians, opportunities in education, employment and marriage are still determined by the ancient social hierarchy of caste. Meals are rarely shared between Brahmins and Dalits, which also includes a constellation of in-between castes. Many restaurants are often self-segregated along caste lines. Also, some of the Hindu temples and Muslim mosque are off-limits to other religion (I still wonder what screening procedure they use to recognize whether the person is Hindu or Muslim).

According to Hindu religion, the Hindu castes originated from of a “primordial being” out of whose body each social group, or varna, was born. Brahmins, priests and educators, came from the mouth; Kshatriyas (warriors and kings) grew from the arms; the Vaisyas (merchants) and the Sudras (Labors), respectively, grew from the thighs and feet. The Untouchables, or Dalit, are considered so depraved that they weren’t associated with the body at all. It is also believed that higher the caste more fair will be your skin color (Oops, if Darwin had realized this earlier, he would certainly be disappointed on his work on genetics). The same goes with Indian Muslims. They are mainly divided into-Ashrafs and Ajlafs.  The Ashrafs (who claim that their ancestors are Arabs) consider the Ajlafs (converted from Hindus) the lower castes. These centuries’ old classification on basis of caste still strongly folds our Indian society and we have become so used to it that we hardly acknowledge it as racism.

One of the classic examples of racism is also seen in our beauty product commercials? There will be a girl with dark complexion, most dejected in the world with zero self confidence. Her family members feel shame to introduce her in the society, she gets rejected in job interview, she couldn’t find her love of life etc. And suddenly when she starts applying the particular beauty product, the whole life seems to be like a Karan Johar movie. She gets money, fame, love and the list goes on. These commercials are a wonderful example on the way our Indian society treats people based on their skin color.

Not to forget the inter-caste marriage, that is still not accepted in our society. Some families in India are so stubborn that they would be ‘honored’ to kill their children then to let him/her to marry in other caste. And that included the families from good educational (and ‘Intellectual’) background. Apparently their social standing is more important than their own family member’s life.

It’s a national shame that country which is known for its cultural and religious diversity have such a deeply embedded seed of racism. And we have become so use to it in our daily routine that we hardly acknowledge it as racism. It has to be realized that we cannot be Hippocratic in accepting racism in our country and strongly condemning it in other country.

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One Response

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  1. Puja said, on March 17, 2010 at 6:55 am

    There might have been rational logic for the creation of caste system in India,like its said the life expectancy follows the same order and hence they were differences of emerging professions in that era..may b shudra didn’t had privileges of good food and health .a shudra going for battle..ofcourse questionable,n the kings would have lost the battles…quite possible some genes of this caste might have faced greatest challenges because of malnutrition and hence the probability of finding good/healthy genes would have been low,while the other possibility could he that some muted genes would have evolved for facing the challenges..its an valuable area for anthropologist and genetics..
    but now since times have changed..every caste have equal exposure, i see less meaning in these logic.


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