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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Mumbai vs Bombay

Posted in Political, Social by outfielder on February 11, 2010

Today I was reading yet another article on the ongoing “Marathi Manoos” movement in Mumbai (or Bombay…do you really care?). The so called leaders of this movement –Shiv Sena and MNS (Bal/Uddhav Thackeray and Raj Thackray respectively), are separately trying their best to own this fight for “Marathi Manoos”. I remember distinctly that one of my friends while describing Maharashtra casually said that it’s a rashtra within rashtra, however the Thackeray’s have taken it a bit too seriously.  According to them, Maharashtra is for Marathis and the people from rest of the India should go out from their country i.e Maharashtra, as they are stealing jobs and other resources. I completely agree and respect the first part: that Maharashtra is for Marathis, however it’s hard to digest that people from rest of India should be secluded from being a part of Maharashtra. Our constitution has given the right to every citizen to work or live in any part of the country, and each and every person living in India must respect it. Are the Thackerays trying to say that a state is bigger than our Constitution? Also, are they suggesting that all Marathi Manoos all over the world leave their jobs and go back to Maharashtra, as certainly they are also stealing jobs and resources in other countries?

Mumbai is known for its cosmopolitan status. The Mumbaikars brag that Mumbai is their very own Manhattan.  I live in New York but I have never seen the New Yorkers asking non New Yorkers to get out from their city. You know why? Simply because it’s their identity and they are proud of it. And the same goes with Mumbaikars. Most of them, whether Marathi or non Marathi, respect their culture of accepting people from all parts of country, which in turn makes Mumbai such a fascinating city. People of all religions and ethnicities have for years now made the city their home and carved a niche for themselves. No matter how much one hates the city for its pollution, its fast lifestyle and its claustrophobic atmosphere, yet the city has almost always managed to charm people and they eventually fall in love with the city that is often their surrogate home.

And what the Thackerays are doing goes completely against the very ideology of Mumbai. And the ways they are running this pretentious movement is also not bringing any charms.  The whole movement, led by the Thackerays, is on the foundation of violence and intimidation. They kill people, burn buses, and call bandhs. And who is suffering from all this – the common people of Maharashtra, which to remind the Thackerays, include Marathi Manoos too.

Also it make me very upset that how these people cater common man in the name of culture and religion (if they belief in either of the two). What these people fail to accept is the fact that as our human society evolves, our culture cannot be measured from periods of time extending into centuries. It needs modifications and refinements. As globalization sweeps across the world and bring us closer, homogenization is the price it will extract and we cannot escape from this. Therefore it’s better to accept this reality, instead of creating predicaments for development of the society.

Finally, it is important to recognize that these mean politicians thrive on us, the common people. They are no less than a bunch of parasites that use us to satisfy their own cravings. And if we become easy prey for them then we can’t blame them-that’s the rule of nature.

Just for fun- (Forwarded by one of my friends)

If we accept the Thackareys ideologies then-

1. We should teach our kids that if he is second in class, don’t study harder… just beat up the student coming first and throw him out of the school.

2. At every state border, buses, trains, flights should be stopped and staff changed to local men.

3. Parliament should have only Delhiites as it is located in Delhi.

4. Visits to Taj Mahal should be restricted to people from UP only.

5. Relief for farmers in Maharashtra should not come from centre because that is the money collected as Tax from whole of India, so why should it be given to someone in Maharashtra?

6. Let’s support kashmiri Militants because they are right to kill and injure innocent people for benifit of their state and community.

7. Use of trains transportation should only be a privilege for Bengali people… as Railway Minister is from Bengal.