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Made in India


Racism /ˈreɪsɪz(ə)m/ noun
the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
Racial tolerance
Image from the Washington Post

In the last couple of weeks, a chain of racially motivated cases of assault and murder in New Delhi has reemphasised that racism not only lives, but also thrives in India.

We are always in a vicious cycle of racism. The Americans call the mainland Indians curry and coolie, and these mainland people call us momo. We belong to a very terrible place of the world, bracketed as the Northeast India (a term which is in itself problematic that we will see later). For the sake of continuity we can add with what we call those who are considered even lesser unfortunate—and further cover the whole circle—but we have different issues at hand here. Maybe, a drier eatable would follow after curry and momo. Dry dabaluti—it’s white?! 

We get the gist of racial craps if we look at it from two perspectives. One, on evolutionary ground, besides age and sex, race is one of the primary factors that identifies an individual, howsoever it is a social construct; and biologically you are not much different from me, and I from you regardless of how we look like. Two, from sociological perspective, the issues of racism are a part of a multicultural society though that’s not the end of the story.

The reality is in front of us, outside the books. It is just like we are told about living in the biggest democracy called India, while our life is dictated by military orders. We live in such a socio-politically volatile corner of the world and the world is seemingly no better when we come out—here, New Delhi in this context, where we can see the never-ending cases of racial attacks and discrimination over the years.
Image from here and there

A huge gap between aspiration and the existing condition can result in a disastrous cocktail. Just look at the pathetic sociopolitical condition in any of these so-called Northeast India, except for a few sporadic areas in a couple of states. Maybe the television commentator was right. He reasons economic depravity is one of the reasons for the mainland people looking down on us as we compromise the luxuries of modern life, high up in the Himalayas. If we were like Japan, we can easily retort that the criminally inclined mainland people to go fuck themselves. That was his point on the TV, not necessarily with the expletives, while some other talking-shop enthusiasts rejected his hypothesis right away. Yes, crime sees no races or reasons or riches.

Again, back to the books, we are taught about our similarity to different flowers of a garden, ingrained with such lofty ideals as unity in diversity. Such is the way we are taught about the nation inside classrooms in metaphorical shits. Yet when we grow up, we found the garden is nothing more than an illusionary shithole painted in different shades and hues in an invalid democracy. 

Talking about diversity, there are 33 different ethnic groups that are officially recognised in my native place, Manipur—another province among the eight that comprise the Northeast and it has a population of hardly three million.

In contrast to the general perception that only tribes inhabited this region, there are people and places with all the luxuries of a civilisation. For instance, not only in India but in the entire Asia, Manipur was perhaps the first erstwhile kingdom to hold a democratic election with a clear-cut constitution. That was 1948–49 when the Indian nationalists were putting extra effort to form a nation by hook or by crook. They got rid of the new transformation in a flash. And now we are in a kneep-deep shit of generalisations, stereotypes and prejudices.       

News from the backyard
Image from Anonymous ART of Revolution

In New Delhi these days, protests on the series of killing and rape and assault have been tickling the arses of those in the throne of power. Possibly it is because there is an election later this year. Even the seasoned politicians like Narendra Modi had visited Imphal and announced that Sonia Gandhi is responsible for the prevailing discrimination on the basis of race. For the record, LK Advani, the old BJP chieftain was smacking the army’s arse when the state was on fire a decade ago in the backdrop of a careless peace negotiation. And for Congress, and for bias-proof—Okram Ibobi has sold his arse to them as well. Just the other day the CM said all these are not a serious issue. (You cannot help but gag when he gabbed ‘racist crimes happen here and there hai na’). What do you expect from these hopeless leaders? But it will be wrong to brush them off because for each dumb leader, there are a thousand and thousand of dumber followers. 

The epicenter of the recent uproar: A fortnight ago, some goons killed Taniam Nido, a lad from Arunachal Pradesh because of just one reason. He looked different; he looked like no ‘India’. What an Indian look like is still an open question.

It was plain unacceptable because Taniam Nido had a face that did not resemble India in the mystic Indian imagination. If you think this kind of attitude does not exist, you definitely do not belong to this part of the world. Or else you might say everyone is racist, like I am. But it’s all about the degree. And why it is obnoxious when it comes to India is because there are so many underlying currents, with blatant discrimination and intolerance showing only the tip of an iceberg. Historically and culturally we had very little contact with the South Asian people until the British came and changed the rules of the games. But how long will it go on? Six decades sound so little and all these craps.  

By the way, the province, Arunachal Pradesh where Nido hailed from, has always been a bone of contention between India and China—like the monkeys fighting for territory. Truth be told, this issue of land record is the only important aspect of Indian policy-makers and their interests in the region. The Chinese, we can see some other day. Much has been as well analysed in books like Bertil Lintner’s Great Game East and Thant Myint-U’s Where China Meets India.

Back again, the people and the regularly excreting developmental trashes exist just for the namesake. By nature, the people are just followers, who even the least cunning political leaders can mislead with no extra effort.  

The currents of our time

The Northeast India is inhabited by the Mongoloid people, who are distinctly apart from the Aryans that dominate the majority of the record-breaking population of one billion people. But the term ‘Northeast’ can be misleading. Just like there is no such thing as an Indian or a Chinese language, there is no such entity as the Northeast—it has been coined for mere geographical convenience; and outside academic pursuits, the term only adds insult to the wound. To add, this region is connected to the mainland through a narrow 21-kilometre stretch of land that defines the chicken-neck syndrome.
The chicken neck is highlighted in red
Image from Wikipedia


If not for the worse, the Aryan-versus-Mongoloid perspective creates only negative concepts of us and them. The main problem is that our look is not included in the Indian imagination of what an Indian looks like; though it is no surprising, considering this has always been the case over so many decades after the departure of the British Raj. But remember they were the original slave masters. The Indians seems to have learnt well!

If we survive on lip service, we need nothing more in life. We can easily communicate on what an Indian should look like, though it will only make the matter worse if we take into account of the concept of India. In a city like New Delhi, should there be an existence like a melting pot? Perhaps it might; but it will be a useless exercise because the crime-obsessed racists in droves are just dumb and do not discriminate in spreading crime. What about those educated and salaried class of people being ask about such a concept?

A few years ago, a successful engineer—he is related to one of my friends—when he was introducing, I told him I’m basically from Manipur and he said he has many friends from Kathmandu. I should have taken his mother’s contact number and ask her to teach her son a bit of geography. We cannot deny that he was only echoing the trend of thought in the prevailing air of ignorance and arrogance.

But this is not a one-off incident and he is not the only one: a large group of educated middle-class mainland people do not know it is wrong to use racist words and comments to cover up their geographical dumbfucktardness. And we do not eat snakes and insects. But they do not care, because all they want is to study in some IIMs and IITs, get a job, get arranged marriage, get a baby or two, get an insurance policy, get the choicest names for the Pakistanis (which is the height of Indian patriotism) and die.

Image from Anonymous ART of Revolution

This must be hard to digest for the Indian nationalists and patriots. But how will they react, if other self-proclaimed higher people of higher race, questions about their Indianess or racial superiority? It’s not like there is no such condition. The Nazis are like the right wingers such as the RSS and its product BJP in this nation, except that the Germans have the finer definition of an Aryan. That was a long time ago when racial supremacy would even lead to world wars. Still such claims exist: the mistreatment of the so-called Northeast people in mainland India is the living example. That does not mean we need to beg for recognition. We are simply making a statement. This is the reality. The truth is we are begging for our place in the core concept of India, as if recognition will get rid of the crimes.

I doubt we are on the right track. What do you say?

Unity, identity and Molotov cocktail

It is interesting to eavesdrop on other people’s take on the issue. A political leader demands for ‘unitedness’, while another activist agrees the people from the region are also racists, which is evident from hurling ‘petron bom’ at the outsiders’ (read mainland Indians and refugees from Bangladesh) places of business in the region by extremists and fanatics.

More craps will resurface if we observe and increase the length of the list. Many people live in boxes, unaware about the 21st-century world. The boxes of narrow-mindedness and intolerance. For example, why do we find it hard to accept and provide a space for the LGBT community? The legality is terribly a farce though the people are trying so hard. When the judiciary system is too weak to give legal solutions for such stuffs, we know exactly what we are supposed to get in/from other sensitive issues.
Image from Anonymous ART of Revolution

Now when people demand for anti-racism laws, it is apparent that we are simply unconcerned about the draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act—which is cruel as much as it is ineffective. Passing a bill is one thing; it is totally another thing to see how it is executed and this is best left to the establishment, which can kill because it has the power and it can, so it kills.

A few months ago, the government did a trick by announcing anyone who used the term ‘chink’ can be thrown into jail. So ridiculous. But it did not mention that the legal crap has been clubbed under some useless provisions for schedule castes and scheduled tribes. The law makers, just like the majority of the people in the mainland, are ignorant that there are as well general people, with no caste or creed, but with established and civilised faith system in this region. Alternatively, maybe they are so wise that they can lead the people to whichever way is possible. The problem starts right from the head. The foot soldiers are only following their leaders’ behavior. Sad but true.

Some people claim there is no racism in India. Even the Manipur chief minister, as mentioned earlier has such an opinion. They deserve to kill themselves and no one would even notice it. Again, if we go by convention, there should be some effort from both the government and its subjects. The former has a huge role in spreading awareness and for the people it is essential to see more of the world and become wiser. This is merely a practical suggestion, though the problems are more complex than we can discuss here. Racism is such a disgrace to the humanity as a whole.

Concluded.

A screenshot from the Facebook page of
Stop Discriminating People From the North-East India, 26 Feb 2014

Brahminism is practised not just by the Brahmin against the Kshatriya or the Vaishya against the Shudra, or the Shudra against the Untouchable, but also by the Untouchable against the Unapproachable, the Unapproachable against the Unseeable. It means there is a quotient of Brahminism in everybody, regardless of which caste they belong to.

The Doctor and the Saint

Arundhati Roy
http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/doctor-and-saint




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