Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Undoing the Ideals of a Great Nation - Racism and India

The past few months were eventful in regard to India’s stand in the world. One of our own diplomats was treated in a manner not befitting her stature in the United States. The nation was in the state of an outrage.  The outrage stemmed not only from the fact that an important ally chose to humiliate our diplomat, against all tenets of international law, but the fact that our country’s representative was subjected to racism of sorts. 

While the national anger wasn’t misplaced, a few people from the National Capital stooped down to commit the same crime which we so abhorred a few days ago. The Nido Taniam case has reopened old wounds. The Indian mainland isn’t a stranger to crimes against people from the North East of this country. When Prashant Tamang, the winner of Indian Idol 3 made waves with his singing, an RJ from Red FM quipped, ‘shopkeepers will now have to make their own security arrangements as Gorkhas have taken to singing.’ This comment also attracted a widespread anger by the people belonging from the North East. And these are no isolated, random events. Throughout history, people from the North East have been treated as aliens in their own country.  

But people of the Seven Sisters are not just the ones who live through the scourge of racism in our country.  People from the state of Bihar and neighboring states have been subjected to racism in states like Maharashtra and other states. As foreigners, India’s track record for treating its guests hasn’t been to stellar as well. Ironically, people of African origin are some of the worst affected in India. The irony lies in the fact that Mahatma Gandhi, as a barrister sought to remove the scourge of racism in apartheid South Africa and we, his children indulge in the same wrong which he tried so hard to right. 

But all is not lost in our country. People from the all parts of our country play a very vital role in our day to day lives. People from the North East, Bihar and other states form a force to be reckoned with called the Indian Armed Forces, men and women who protect our borders and keep us safe. People from different states are responsible for providing essential services that help us run our daily lives as well.  

While racism is a crime of the mind, it is not too hard to root it out. We can prevent it by: 
  • Interacting more with people from different states and countries at our office, college, school or workplace 
  • Appreciating the diversity in our country by travelling and discovering more people and their culture 
  • Applauding and respecting the contributions made by people of different states for maintaining national integrity 
  • Educating our children to be more receptive and tolerant towards people of different races 

Respect for members of different states is paramount for national integrity. Let’s take a pledge to be more inclusive of our brethren from distant lands of this country. 

If you too have been a victim of a similar crime, file a report with Zerocrime at

Article written by Vistrit Choudhary, a writer and volunteer with Zerocrime

Picture Credit- AksdaReflection

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