Thursday, February 11, 2010


Australian attacks are a metaphor of basic human instinct..

Australian attack on Indian students has been in news for sometime now. In fact, what started as petty incidences finally culminated to a grand scale of national racial abuse on Indian students studying in Australia. Few incidences were so ugly and horrifying that even global media picked up the issue in support of the Indian student community. These incidences have also marred the otherwise peaceful relationship that India and Australia has been enjoying throughout. And it is just not that the Indian students have only been at the receiving end, Australia is also loosing out on the Australian $15 billion dollar international education market!

This apart, a recent announcement made by the Victorian police chief, drew my attention, once again to this ordeal that the Indian student community has been facing for sometime now. He appealed to Indian students that – ‘Don’t display your iPods, don’t display your valuable watch, don’t display your valuables. Try to look as poor as you can to avoid crime’ The statement is extremely interesting as it directly implicates two things. First – flaunting valuables is risky only at places where people in general have been robbed by their own government or anarchies or perpetual conflicts or people who are into compulsive wrong habits like doing drugs and the likes. In both these above cases, crime rates are high. But then these kind of crimes happen irrespective of the colour of your skin. That brings us to the second indication – flaunting valuables becomes risky where people in general have a feudal mindset and where you are not expected to posses things which are meant for you. And that is what most of the Australians are finding it difficult to accept. So whenever they see an affluent Indian who otherwise should have been perpetual destitute, they latch upon him to take away every belonging which is not supposed to be his.

The fact of the matter is that what the Indian students are facing in Australia is nothing new. It is a classic metaphor of basic human instinct. The discriminatory feudal mindset is an age-old, global phenomenon. In 2005, when I met the Dean of one of the Ivy league business schools in the US, I was literally shocked to hear him say that – these days our kids (American kids) don’t study, so half of my PhD class is constituted of browns and the other half are yellows! I could have expected this from anyone in the US, but from an educated man like him. But then as I said, whatever Indian students are facing in Australia or in the US, it is something they themselves do to their fellow Indians on an everyday basis and well within the geographical boundaries of our nation.

I don’t mean to say that everyone does it, but most of them do it, simply because the ones travelling to Australia for studies belong to affluent families and they in turn commit similar acts to their ‘meant to be weaker’ counterparts. What is ironicis the fact that none notices when a Dalit woman gets raped every other day by some upper caste men, none notices that a corrupt bureaucrat is fleecing money from people but it becomes a global news when the very same people or their wards are at the receiving end in some foreign land. And term it as a racial abuse!

All in all, feudalism runs in our blood and we cannot deny this that we live in a feudal world. At the global forum we can yell at an American hegemony or an Australian racial attack, but back home we are all the same.


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