Over the last two weeks our TV sets have brought home news and images of racist violence against Indians in Australia. Our noise brigade, our politicians and anyone else who has had a microphone thrust in their face have been at pains to rightly denounce this spate of hate-related violence. But at this point we also need to stop and introspect – why are Indians being targeted?
Although I never condone violence of any sort, I also believe that when we live in a world so filled with hate it is each person’s responsibility to look out for himself and not become a target.
Note: A lot of what I say here may also apply to other ethnic groups, but right now it is the Indian group that we are discussing. So while claims that others also do these things are valid, it is not a visa for us to do them too.
If you happen to watch a cricket match played in Australia, England or South Africa, the support the Indian team receives is staggering. It is common for citizens of that country who are of Indian origin to be flying the Indian tricolor even when the opposition is the home country. These are people who have left India because India did not give them what they needed. They felt let down by the country and the opportunities she offered them. So they stand for hours in the hot sun or pouring rain for an interview at a foreign embassy. They throw parties, huge parties, when their papers are processed. Their families back home are proud of their child making it out of the country. So you would think that this disillusioned lot would work hard at absorbing the country that has been good to them. But more often than not, this does not happen. They cling desperately to their Indian roots, so much so that it makes them stand out as outsiders. So if the question arises, “If we are at war with India, who would these guys support?” it would not be surprising.
We must not forget that we are a people who watch the Muslims closely during an India-Pakistan cricket match to see where their loyalties lie. Why should we expect that it will be any different in Australia, England or South Africa?
Like I said earlier, violence against another human being cannot be condoned. But when something like this happens, it is also the moment to take stock and ask ourselves – why did it happen?