Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fairer the better..

Right from the time the Harbhajan-Symonds issue crept up, I have been wanting to write on the topic of racism in our country but somehow never got down to penning it down. Much has been said about the controversy itself and I have no intention of broaching that issue again. It is done and dusted now, and Harbhajan as we all know has already come a long from there.

Soumya Bhattacharya has a nice piece on the inherently racist nature of Indians. Our society's general "preference" for fair skin is fairly obvious to anyone who has come across any matrimonial pages in newspapers. Apart from this, the implicit assumptions about certain communities like people from the north-east is quite revolting as is obvious from this article.

I had a chat with my dad on this topic and outside the numerous examples we could think of within our family, he recounted a story from his bachelor days. Those were the days when Bhilai had a constant inflow of people from Russia who came for short stints at the Steel Plant. There was a separate colony called Russian Complex (the name and the colony still exist) especially for the Russian people. Of course, there were Indians as well as other foreigners who stayed in the colony as well. During one of the summers, a group of Nigerians had also come for a training stint along with the Russians. My dad does not recall any untoward incident as such during their stay. However, on the day of their farewell, one of the Nigerians went on stage to give a farewell speech. After thanking all the people for being nice to them, he mentioned that while there were a lot of managers who invited the Russians to their homes for lunch or dinner, none of the Nigerians received a single invitation to any of the homes. I wonder how many people in the audience really would have got pinched when he said that. Would they have even cared about what the Nigerians think? While there may be no answers to these questions now amd the incident may have happened decades ago, but has the scenario really changed?

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