Updated: Aug 13
Racism in India might sound like an oxymoron to many, but when we delve deeper into the country’s past and current affairs we are met with the harsh reality of racism. India is known for its unity in diversity. The country has always boasted this statement, I believe the statement is slowly proving to be a little untrue, owing to the rising racism in the country. Racism in India might escalate quickly if it is not contained. The issue of racism in India is because many do not understand the concept of racism. The masses should be educated and be made aware of various issues relating to it.
What is racism?
In simple words, racism is, when one deems their race, religion, or ethnicity to be superior to others of different races, religions, etc.
Against North East Indians:
Racism against them has been prevailing in the country for a long time. Many of us have been intolerant and insensitive towards them. They have been called various derogatory names such as chinky etc. There are numerous instances, where they had been asked to provide their passport to prove their nationality. One of the recent racist acts was done in the nation’s capital. A man spat on a north east Indian woman and shouted “coronavirus" and speeded away on his vehicle. This is outrageous and cannot be tolerated and yet we as “mainland” Indians protest against the racism in the western countries when we are rife with the same here. Yes, they have mongoloid features and yes, they belong to India, and no, we do not have the right to discriminate anyone based on their race, etc. The North East is filled with heavenly landscapes, rich cuisine, and brimming with artists, poets, and sportsmen. It is high time we started acknowledging them for their contributions towards our country.
Against South Indians:
They are stereotyped as being dark in colour, wearing gold, jasmine flowers and the most senseless stereotyping is that they cannot speak English properly. Adding to that Bollywood has glorified racism against South Indians in many movies portraying them as always being dark- skinned, people who speak English and Hindi with horrible accents which have been conjured up by their imaginations. The racial slur used for them is “madrasi”, honestly people should go back to their elementary school to learn geography. It is astonishing to see a major part of India being misled about them by sub-standard and racist Bollywood movies. They are much more than that. The South Indian states contribute a major part of the GDP and draw in many tourists every year and to those who have a twisted idea of how they are, then I highly recommend you to visit the beautiful land of South India.
The main reason the British were able to keep us under their control was because of our religious differences. As I had mentioned earlier, there is unity in diversity, this diversity has been used as a weapon repeatedly against us Indians. They used the method of divide and conquer to keep us shackled to them. India is known as the birthplace of many religions and also known to have people practising different religions. Yet there is always unrest amongst the population triggered by religious intolerance. The political parties are doing what the British did to us once. They want the population to be divided because it adds to their vote banks. There have been many instances where Muslims were tortured and lynched by Hindus. On the other hand, Kashmiri pandits were hunted and killed by the Muslims in Kashmir. The Sikhs faced a difficult time in the 1980s. The list goes on. The only solution is educating people and making them understand the differences and accepting them. We have voiced against the genocides done in various countries, yet we turn a blind eye to it when the same happens in India. Genocide in our nation has been muffled because of the political agendas surrounding it.
Against Different Castes:
India is a country where people are divided on caste, community, and sub-caste. The caste system was started during the Vedic period where people were divided based on their profession. But in the current world, it has been exploited to the extent where people are being treated badly for belonging to a lower caste or a tribal community. The so-called upper caste people have raped, lynched, killed, and have done worse things in the name of caste to the lower caste people. Then there is the curious case of “honour killings”, these are glorified murders. If a woman/ man marries a person from another caste, then they are killed by their family members to “protect their honour”. This brutal and savage practice has to be stopped.
Racism will end only if we accept that there are different races and cultures and we need to respect them. It is not about being the same it is about embracing the difference. India needs to bridge the gap between its diverse ethnic and religious groups before it can boast about unity in diversity. We as a nation should strive towards a peaceful and equal society. Let us all work towards an inclusive and better future together. Stay Safe.