Indians are innately racist and it’s time to admit that. Indian history is one of a deeply entrenched caste system is, in itself, racism.
An attempt to emerge as the champion of anti-racism, it has backfired on former BJP MP Tarun Vijay. In his foolish bid to prove that Indians were not racist, Vijay asked if this were so, why do we live with south Indians?
Congress leader P Chidambaram, who hails from Tamil Nadu took a shot at Vijay on Twitter, “When Tarun Vijay said ‘we live with blacks’, I ask him who is ‘we’? Was he referring to BJP/RSS members as the only Indians?”
Globally Shaming Indians Everywhere, It’s About Time
Vijay had made the remark defending India and its culture during an interview with news channel Al Jazeera’s online show #TheStream to discuss recent attacks on African students in Greater Noida.
“If we were racist, why would we have all the entire south…Tamil, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra…why do we live with them? We have black people around us,” the former Rajya Sabha MP was heard saying in the video.
Faced with the backlash, Vijay took to Twitter to apologize and said he meant to highlight India’s composite culture that worshipped the dark-skinned god, Krishna.
“Feel bad, really feel sorry, my apologies to those who feel i said different than what I meant.”
He later claimed that he never called south Indians “black”.
“I never, never, even in a slip, termed south India as black. I can die but how can I ridicule my own culture, my own people and my own nation?
Think before you misinterpret my badly framed sentence,” he tweeted in response to accusations of racism.
Black is the color and everything people fear, don’t understand and consider bad. And the same has been extended to people who are dark-skinned.
Before you get absolutely angry about this jab at South Indians, yes I know you want to raise the flag and go all proud to be an Indian but stop right there.
I personally am not surprised by what Vijay has said and there is nothing to be mad about. Indian’s are racist to their own and if you’re darker, you’ve probably heard of ‘Fair & Lovely’. Get my drift?
For centuries, anyone dark-skinned has been portrayed as evil in the inherited culture. Raavan was black and so was his sister Surpanaka.
In some Indian myths, it is said that the dark skinned folk were the remnants of Lord Raavan after his body was chopped into pieces, flung into a fire that gave birth to dark skinned people.
In fact, the rakshasas are said to have had dark skin in mythology. When Parvati turns into Kali (literally meaning black), a form in which she is naked and adorned with skulls and no longer benign or nurturing but more violent, she is black.
Amid escalating tensions between African countries – who’ve condemned India of doing very little to stop the assault – and India’s government views this as an unfortunate event and Sushma Swaraj has been preaching sensitization of race and gender stereotypes however it has proven futile.
The Hindu sect of India has shamefully applied the rule of casteism, some might say this was the machination of the British Raj to incite the divide and rule concept; others will reference the great epics and religious order to be the other sanctifying reason.
But one really wonders what the fuss is all about when it comes to skin colour; some of you are wondering where am I going with this? Just hang on I am getting there.
Our South African Indian ancestors looked beyond the garden variety of caste rules that burdened them when they arrived here.
In a foreign land far from saffron rule, South Africa became home to them, they saw an opportunity to LIVE, renouncing caste-based stereotype. They challenged injustice and majority today are an example of the ideology that racism is wrong and there is no other way to justify it.
You see racism is not about disliking someone who is different. It is systematic oppression that entails telling a segment of the population they deserve less and are less than the others.
Tolerating people of colour has been a defining course of ‘unfortunate events’ in many a-nations; South Africans do not have to look beyond our borders.
South Africans of Indian descent are somewhat lucky; when our ancestors landed fresh off the Truro, we were watered down and divorced from the abhorrent culture of casteism but that affects millions of Indians in ‘Bharat Mahaan.’
But racism rose again this time in a new mask, in the form of colonial ideology and practice of apartheid, which shattered lives in South Africa.
Today, the effect of colonialism still haunts every South African, every Indian, Black and White. Racism is something we cannot eliminate just because Mandela, Kathrada and others were released from Robben Island. We have to live their values of forgiveness to achieve a non-racial and non-sexist environment.
Defeating racism comes from it being a daily mantra; to live by principles by not forgetting what racism is and what it has done to us. That is where you will find your humanity.
Never forget, always forgive and stop being silly.
For more on the values of anti-racism visit the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation which is built upon the directives to challenge injustices in South Africa and around the world.
A Rakshasa (Sanskrit: rākṣasa) is a mythological being in Hindu mythology. As this mythology influenced other religions, the rakshasa was later incorporated into Buddhism. Rakshasas are also called ‘Maneaters’ (Nri-chakshas, Kravyads). A female rakshasa is known as a Rakshasi.