We have barely any locus standi

when we rant about the racism in Australia … because we can’t treat our own countrymen with respect.

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Keep an eye out for the series that the HT is running.


35 thoughts on “We have barely any locus standi

  1. I clicked on the second one first, which is kinda ironic, as I’m from the north-east myself. However, I’ve been told, “You don’t look like you’re from Assam” as if it’s a compliment.

    I’m not surprised at any of these, really. I don’t know why people act outraged when a white person seems to indulge in racism against us, when we do so much worse to our neighbours. We discriminate by caste and religion, we even kill each other in riots.

  2. All of the articles happened to people in Delhi. Is it worse in Delhi? Or same everywhere in India?
    The one with the little boy, who didnt know he was Muslim touched me a lot.

    Arent you on vacation from blogging? 🙂

    Me: this doesnt count 😉 its just a bunch of links and i didnt want to save it for July by which time it would be stale. frankly Delhi is the least racist part of the country because there is no ethnic group who can lay claim to it unlike an MNS in Mumbai or hooligans elsewhere who insist that you learn their language etc. It just so happens that the HT is a paper strong in Delhi, using local examples. I’ve had more racist experiences in the other metros.

  3. Ohh Thank you so much for this post. Whenever I try to point this out to my friends, I am told you just want to show India (ns) in bad light…how is acknowledging your faults a bad thing?

    Me: I get the same response. Never mind – I think we’re better off with a degree of self awareness rather than living in denial.

  4. So true. I’ve lived in this part of the world long enough to call it my home away from home. I came here as a student too, but personally not once have I ever been treated unfair. These episodes that are being described have been going on for long enough but not to be classified as racial. Indian students work late nights in lots of places and become easy victims for petty thefts and robberies..that’s it. Late nights I suppose because it sometimes gives them double pay as opposed to standard pay. People here do give snarky comments but if you know how to get back at them, they give you the due respect! Similar to what happens with cricket..when they play other teams…they constantly sledge, but when they are treated the same way, they turn it down. The links provided some very interesting reads!

  5. Yara MM, the whole panga down under is not as simple as racism..had blogged about it a while ago. ditoo silvara

    Me: oh yes – i read. read Silvara’s too – and commented too

  6. Really disheartening… but go and enjoy your holidays dear… these are never going to be stale.. its happening everywhere around you and me and everyone…

    Have a nice time…

  7. I was born and brought up in delhi, studied in a public school. I think during the days i was in school the city was still less cosmopolitan that it is now. Have traumatic memories of how some classmates treated me. All through schooling i kept it to myself that I am from Bihar. Was mostly an outsider in my own city.

    I do feel these experiences can make us campaign for better civil and human rights anywhere in the world, starting with our own country.

  8. youve faced more racism in mumbai??? i agree to the whole MNS fiasco, but on a grassroots level, ive never really seen anything of that sort out here. and the MNS agenda isnt really based on a racist ideal, it is pretty obvious its a votebank strategem. as opposed to random people walking up and going bloody chinky

    Me: sure. had a nice educated old lady tell me that those who dont learn marathi should get out. but then people like my husband who was there on a transferable job or like me for a 1 year college programme are there for a short period of a year at a time… you’ve barely got your bearings and you find you’re moving on. who has time to pick up an entirely new language on the run like that?

  9. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, we will find similar cases. No point in debating about which city is more racist.

    Me: true – my point exactly. delhi isnt better or worse – we need to start introspecting i guess when we cry foul over australia… which iss not to say what happened there is forgivable

  10. @Unmana : I’m from Tamilnadu and have been told that I dont look like one cos am not dark.

    I’ve stopped reacting to such comments now..possibly the older and wiser thing 🙂

    Me: hello – so why be anon? 🙂

  11. Unmana…you’re an assamese? Me too…well, from my mother’s side..I take after my dad who’s a south indian, so I’ve never had to go through a lot of indignities my assamese cousins have…from being wrongfully accused of shoplifting at a jewellery store to being disgustingly propositioned at a club..simply becuase of their chinky eyes.

  12. I do not for a moment want to justify the acts linked out by you, however I do feel that as a nation, we should not take any violence against our subjects lying down. If we do that the nation begins to loose respect.

    Me:no doubt. although with the rape of british girls in Goa and others in Delhi – i’m guessing we have no major respect to be lost! my point is not that we need to sit down and take it – but also to say its about time we treated our guests better too -and naturally before all, our countrymen

  13. I have actually been struggling with this for some time..It is with huge guilt that i say this but unconsciously i find myself getting scared every time i see a predominantly Muslim crowd..On the streets, in the market..I used to never feel this way earlier but increasingly I have been noticing this slight discomfort in such settings..The first instinctive reaction is to turn around/move away/avoid…I have to make a conscious effort to make sure that i carry on as normal. I dont know if this is racism/discrimination…I would never voice such fears/thoughts… But it upsets me that such thoughts enter my head in the first place…Feels like i have lost faith in the goodness of people….i guess the terrorist attacks over the last few years have tainted my perception.

    Just trying to put a different perspective forward…I have no strong religious leanings so I hope that the comment is not taken as criticism for any particular religion/community…

    Its just something that i am struggling with personally..

  14. Thanks for those links MM, I’ve been telling friends for years now that such incidents happen but they insist it isn’t so. I’ll be glad when we start to introspect more as a nation and feel comfortable talking about our defects.

    Sometimes I think discrimination in India stems from our collectivist culture. Conforming and belonging to a group is important, so other groups and people outside the group are open to suspicion.

    There is also a general lack of sensitivity (a very Indian kind of rudeness) towards people who’re different. People say things to your face and think nothing of your feelings.

    I’ve had complete strangers ask me about my “infertility” and suggest temples where I can go and pray. Being childfree is a choice I’ve made, so I don’t get offended by such remarks. However, I always wonder how painful it must be for those who truly want children and can’t have them.

    In another incident, travelling on the Delhi metro last year, the lady officer who was inspecting my bag peered at me and asked “Aap south se ho?”. I said yes and she then proceeded to look me up and down with a half-smile, as though I was an animal in a zoo!:)

  15. HAd no clue about the HT articles..thanks for sharing..it is exactly this that I have written about on another forum…
    will keep a lookout for more such articles

  16. I get the point of your post, but I disagree with the overlying point made. If that were the case, the US would have had no locus standi to fight against the Nazis.

    Me 🙂 awright then. fair enough. i just feel its time we stopped acting outraged as though we’re not guilty of racism. theres a radio spot asking us to treat tourists better.

  17. Anon: I’ve heard that before. A friend was told she didn’t look South Indian because she was fair. She seemed to take it as a compliment.

    Namrata: Isn’t that awful? I’ve faced none of that myself because I dont look ‘chinky’ – isn’t that a disgusting word?

  18. Dear Perakath @ 21,

    The US entered WW2 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by declaring war on Japan, not because of any ideological opposition to Nazism.



    Me: thanks PM 🙂 you tell that cheeky little college kid !

  19. This is sad. I remember we had gone on a tour to Shimla-Kulu-Manali and were outside a temple waiting for the bus. There was this pretty white girl with a huge backpack walking without slippers towards the temple. ON seeing her the college kids on the tour with us started pointing and laughing at her. The poor tourist who looked barely 20yrs old just looked over and smiled. I felt really bad and I just smiled back at her. After she passed us one of the kids said I dont know why the foreigners come here…. we should throw all of them out!

  20. Such has hit the nail on the head. Difference is pointed at, ogled at, leered at and suspected.

    And Anon, yes, being fair in South India invites ‘reverse racism’. I am sick of people practically plastering themselves on my car windows staring like I’m some kinda specimen. “You must be North Indian, ma’am”, really gets my goat!!!

    And yes, I saw it while visiting Delhi, this North-South fair-dark divide, and was pretty shocked.

    And Bangalore is a mix of colours, communities and nationalities, but still far behind in accepting difference of any sort. When I taught in college, I was horrified to find young Indian women loudly shouting “fatso, darkie, blackie” at students from Africa as they walked through the corridors.

    Blend in, don’t stand out, and then cry foul when the Ozzies beat us up. Yeah, right.

  21. Hey MM, as a girl from the northeast who has lived in both delhi and bombay, I found delhi more racist. That there are more overt displays of racism in delhi would be a better way to put it.
    @Unmana, I have often been told that I dont talk with a north eastern accent, or how its is surprising that I am an enterprenuer. I too have wondered if it is meant as a compliment. Here is where I wrote on my experience http://shetalkslikejune.com/?p=885

    Me: I’m sure its all a question of personal experience. Some have had their worst experiences in Chennai or Calcutta. My point was merely that we’re on the whole a racist country and really need to look within. Which is not to say its okay to accept it from Oz.

  22. this is not an australian problem or an indian problem or a US problem. Very sadly, this is a HUMAN problem that exists because we are a selfish, insecure nasty lot that tends to lash out at others inhumanely. you point me to a country that does not have these issues…can’t find one!

    it makes me sad. all we can do is to fight injustice where we see it and be aware of our own prejudices.

  23. Pingback: Hey, where is our joke? « Lost on the street

  24. Hey MM I’m from Manipur. And I have to agree with Comment #28 ‘She talks like June’

    I have been in Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and now in Bangalore.

    Strictly from my experience I found Chennai to be the least racist, no one called me ‘Chinky’ or teased/harassed me. Then again, most of my tamil friends didn’t know Manipur in a state in India. They thought I was some foreigner.

    Typical conversation:

    stranger/friend: Where are you from?

    me: Manipur.

    stranger/friend: Err… Ummm.. Where? How long have you been in India?
    [or] Maniput? in Nepal?

    Imagine how it must to be a foreigner in your own country.

    Worst experience was in Delhi. In fact I didn’t know we were referred to as ‘Chinky’ before I came to Delhi. Being teased/harassed for no reason.. happened all the time.

    Mumbai and Bangalore are somewhat better in this regard. Yes, I have been referred to as ‘Chinky’ here also. But nothing compared to what I faced in Delhi.

    But then, this is just my experience.

    Me: Yes of course I understand. We can only speak of our own experiences. Funnily my worst experience was in Hyderabad when a man tried to pull me into his car at 11 am, broad daylight, on the busiest street in town. I was in such shock simply because i knew it to be a safe city.

  25. I am not sure who would raise their child to discriminate people based on race, religion, monetary status, sex, looks.. or plain even discriminate. The biggest discrimination I have faced in India is reservation in colleges where there was direct impact to me. In the US, when I visited a predominantly white neighbourhood, I heard someone scream asking me to get back to my own country – These articles just go to prove no country is left behind unfortunately 😦

  26. ha ha ha I am glad you mentioned Hyderabad. The watchman of our building is so anti-non-telugu that he tried dissuading the landlord from keeping us as tenants – “These people are not telugus, don’t keep them”. Since his advice was not heeded, he does nothing for us that he does for the other households, keeping the parking space, helping us find domestic help, ironwallah etc. in fact he goes out of his way to turn away people who provide services.

    Thankfully the whole of Hyderabad is not like him.

  27. I prefer to call it “bigotry”, because (at least in India), it applies to skin color, linguistic ability, religious leaning, political leaning, and – as we saw not too long ago in Bangalore – even dress sense. I could write a whole laundry list here.

    When someone is not “people like us”, all our primal pack instincts kick in, and we go for the jugular…

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