A friend came and told me about an interesting study; it claimed that Indians are the most racist people on earth. On the periphery, it seems outrageous, but is that really the case? We live in an amalgam of umpteen cultures, with numerous beliefs and castes. We claim to be a mature and educated nation that has adapted well to its diversity. Then why is the disparity so evident?
I often wondered why Lord Krishna was always depicted as blue in colour. It was later that I learned that people found it fallacious that their god could be dark coloured (Saawla) and hence they depicted him blue. Hindus worship a million gods and yet none (barring Kali for the aggression) are shown to be the colour that we are; they are all beautiful and fair. It’s only when we go towards the Dravidian region do we find dark coloured gods. We worship racism.
A very intriguing fact about racism is that it goes east to west. People from Bihar think of Assamese to be inferior, in Delhi ‘Bihari’ is used as slang for anyone who exhibits stupe behaviour. Go further west and Mumbaikars hate Delhi, and so comes the UK and the US.
I do not have much knowledge about other colleges but Manipal Institute of Technology is surely one of the most diverse colleges in the county. People from all parts of the country come here to study, people from well to do families who can afford the steep fees (I take the liberty of assuming them to be well educated as well). Here we find a unique concept in play- reverse racism; the otherwise considered inferior, form a strong group among themselves. People from Bihar from all four years generally move in one group that is generally the aggressor over all major affairs in the college, there is an Andhrite group that takes up the whole theatre on a Sunday local release, the Tamils move differently and so do several others…
Racism and regionalism as a concept have now become so sensitive, that their definitions have started to blur. Sometimes one feels that we being so influenced by the thought of righteousness that instead of curbing racism with all kinds of reservation and social taboos, we just highlight it. Why is it wrong to describe someone with their colour? How is ‘dark’ more polite than ‘black’? Why can one not claim that most Bengalis speak loudly, Biharis have an accent or sometimes have difficulty in speaking English (they converse in Bhojpuri/Maithili and prefer speaking it) or that people from south fail to socialise with people outside their area? Yes, there are exceptions but I believe that such people should be glad of the highlight rather than take offense.
Humans tend to generalise things, it’s not something they do to hate someone but just something they do to make understanding easier. The main argument that arises is that “You cannot judge a person just because of a few others.” It’s what is happening in the US these days. In such cases, the public extends the mentality of extremist minorities to the whole group. It is similar to blaming everyone on the team for not playing like Sachin (not a great analogy but I hope the hate crimes retire as well).
Unlike my other articles, I won’t come down to a conclusion on this. I want to know from you as to how much racism is fine? Do we draw the line at the slight mention of colour or the association of a religion with terrorism?