Hi. I am Pavan Choudary. I am a student of wisdom. This is my first blog entry and I write because I am pained by the attacks on Indian students in Australia. And I condemn them. And I am glad that Amitabh Bachhan and Aamir Khan have already come forward in their support. And I am glad how the media is giving this issue the importance it deserves.
But Why does racism still persist? Why are Indians being targeted again and again?
In my view there are several reasons for this.
Political and historical reason : The Anglo saxon race still remembers that it ruled us once and some among them may consider themselves superior to us for this reason. Machaivelli has said that if you don’t fight the wars which you must you will have to fight them tomorrow at a greater disadvantage. How true it sounds. We didn’t fight the Mughals and the British enough. So Pakistan troubles us still and our kids are having to fight the anglo saxons at their home ground at a tremendous disadvantage to themselves.
Social & Cultural reasons: In the social pecking order if one community has an advantage over another and the latter wishes to claim equality the first fights fiercely not give up its position of advantage. The fault also lies in our behaviour with foreigners. Our older generation over respects the Westerner. Respect is an almost alien concept to the Westerner. The Westerner is not used to it. First he looks askance at our respectful behaviour and then starts liking it and gets used to it. Simultaneously he perhaps also slowly starts thinking that if we so respect him we must be less than him. When our youngsters interact with them equally the westerner now gets rattled. He thinks, “ your elders defer to me and you are trying to come on an equal footing with me?” He misbehaves to retain his position of assumed advantage- a fight breaks out. (Note that the mistake is mostly ours).
Indian students going abroad also need to learn the western social etiquette. It is considered bad for example to stand in people’s way or to talk loudly in your native language.
Is racial intolerance new to Australia ?
No. At the end of the world war many Lebanese migrated to Australia. They also had to bear the brunt of racial violence. Till they organized themselves and started hitting back. I was recently in Australia to speak on such issues when I was told that if a Lebanese is accosted by lumpen white elements all he does is makes a call and within no time help in the form of a large protect group arrives. So there is hardly any racial violence against them any more. They have been left alone.
Indian students are not one cohesive whole. They are sub divided in to linguistic, regional or religious minorities. They are not united.
Our cultural bringing up also often makes us ineffective, impractical and weak.
In the West it is said that the Lion which leads the herd gets to feast. In India on the other hand the child is taught through proverbs like, “The cow which leads the pack gets eaten by the lion”. Such cultural indoctrination makes us weak. The truth of life is that lions circle the hesitant prey. Our reluctance to fight imposes on us more and more fights. Our culture’s search for peace proves counter productive.
Physical reasons- We are smaller built. We don’t exercise as much as many other communities do. And we are also not trained in martial arts as some other communities like Chinese are. This is a very important aspect. Mao in China stressed on this. And said if inspite of your small built you want that the international community should respect you learn martial arts and stay physically fit. Our socio-political leaders have so far failed to provide such leadership. Even if they give a clarion call we might not follow them. It is people like Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan who are making the society eveolve. They are the real social reformers. It is time that some social reformer like them takes up this cause.
Economic reasons: Immigrant students are allowed 20 hrs of work a week as per law. To make ends meet Indian students usually flout this limit and work longer hours. This often necessitates late night travel which is often unsafe. More importantly when they are assaulted they are then reluctant to report the crime to the police as they feel that this might bring to light their transgression of the law as well. They fear their visa might get revoked or they might have difficulty when they apply for permanent residentship. This is our mistake. We should not flout the laws of the country where we are living.
Also if a student is prosperous he should not make a vulgar display of his wealth.