Differential Indian response to discrimination
It has been a month a series of “racial” attack have been reporting on the Indian students in the Australia and responses to the coverage lead to proactive rallying around of constituents of the democratic institutions i.e. legislature, section of bureaucracy, civil society organizations, and high profile celebrities to condemn the “racial attack” on the Indian students. A Phd student at IIT, Mumbai, Nilratan Shende deliberates on the topic further..
It was not really surprising to observe this development of the media on the racial discrimination against the Indian origin people. This refreshes the memory of Shilpa Shetty and Harbhajan Singh episode of racial discrimination when entire Media along with celebrities assembled around them for voicing their concern against discrimination and showing solidarity for the cause.
The media and the celebrities were lightening quick to highlight and have been vocal against “racial” attacks but nature of uniformly vocal response over other forms of discrimination would determine their seriousness , their genuinely or extent of hypocrisy of their response. The media and celebrities, who are lightening quickly for protesting against racial discrimination, convenient neglect to air their concerns proactively on prevent forms of discrimination namely caste discrimination, gender discrimination and the violence, atrocities that stems out of inhuman practice of untouchability.
One would like to questions, why do celebrities and media are oversensitive to the racial discrimination? How do they manage to turn blind eye to the conspicuous increasing heinous brutal caste discrimination in India? Why does this duality over discrimination exist among celebrities and media fraternity?
One of such response was of legendary actor Mr Amitabh Bacchan who turned down doctoral decoration of Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia in order to protest the racial attacks on the Indian students.
Does he maintain uniform stand on the prevailing discriminatory practice? Isn’t it a response of a hypocrite who maintains duality in discriminatory forms. The analysis of the discrimination in India and abroad will reveal otherwise. He is protesting against the racial attack on one hand but has he sacrificed any honour or award conferred to him by the government of India in the protest against caste discrimination and practice of untouchability? He has received lot of honorary degrees from the Indian universities, why has not he turned down any of those doctorate or award conferred to him by government of India, does not this exhibit hypocritical stand on discrimination. He is asserting his voice against racism against Indian studying abroad but why does not he express his views when afro Americans walking on the streets of Mumbai are humiliated by calling them “negro”, to when north Indian are called “chinkies”. Will he move a step and express similar kind of sentiments for the marginalised dalits and tribes? Why are they mute on the racial slurs thrown at the north eastern students?
Why does not Mr. Amitabh return all civil hours of Government of India in protest of increasing atrocities of upper castes over dalits? Amitabh Bacchan would really set the precedence if he shows similar kind of sensitivities to the plights of dalits and tribes in India. Will he continue to shred crocodile tears or weather he comes out of his stand on racism as mere hypocrisy, would be revealed over an actions he adopts in order to provide visibility to the issues of the marginalised. Activists, civil society organization dedicating their lives for the social movement may brand him as hypocrite if he fails to initiate similar protest forms in providing visibility to the exploited, oppressed dalits and tribes but it’s up to Amitabh Bacchan to decide whether he wish to be contended with and lead a life of the reel hypocritical hero or the real advocator of the justice, piece in the wake of increasing discriminatory practices against dalits and tribes stemming from caste system and practice of untouchbility.
On one hand his consciousness does not allow him to accept the decoration offered by the Australian University but on the other hand how does his consciousness allows him to accept the honours , awards and doctoral degrees offered by Indian government and universities in the midst of practice of untouchability leading to gross violation of human dignities. Amitabh Bachchan is one like millions other Indian who pretend to stand and fight for discrimination .
Duality of stand over preferring voicing discrimination concerns to the race than caste, roots from upper caste consciousness and identities over larger humanitarian issues.
Their quest for equality and justice is prominent in case of discrimination of racial abuse against Indian citizens of higher class who are mostly the higher caste as well. Isn’t this a fair enough indication that their pursuit for equality and justice is limited to the higher class and higher caste while conveniently ignoring the rights of the millions of vulnerable dalits and tribes in India who are subjected to and exposed to day to day inflicted perpetration of the violence for raising their rights for attaining social and economic equality, justice and quelling their peaceful democratic retaliation. The case of dalit massacre of Khairlanji and its deliberately delayed airing and quelling of the dalit demonstrations on the name of “law and order” would be vocal instance of this glaring hypocritical quest for justice and equality of the electronic media and celebrities alike, on the name of racial discrimination.
The contemporary Indian media who have been acting as a “watchdog” and “custodian of justice” need to introspect deeply to their purposeful suppression of the perpetration of the crime against dalits and tribes does more harm than good as it only strengthens the dominant social structure while leaving aside adequately addressing the issue of discrimination and justice .
The modern democratic pillars like media, which has deliberately maintained partisan image of issues of the vulnerable, would do a world of good to a larger goal of attaining discrimination free egalitarian society. This can only be achieved by abandoning prejudiced opinion, shrugging off victims; approach, perspective from below and backing it with genuine actions for the larger interest of discrimination free egalitarian accommodative civilization.
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