Mar 1, 2014

Racism.. Is it in us?

Racist !! A single word that destroys a community, a persons reputation, can categorize a country and every single citizen living in it. So easy to call one, extremely difficult to get rid of, once classified as such.

It was the recent article that came up in all the papers about North Eastern Indians being targeted in Delhi. People being made fun of, students being jibed at, students being ragged in colleges, society making fun of these, eventually leading to death.

This has not been the first such case (and probably will not be the last) as reported of students being ragged in colleges, or cities, but the very fact that this episode was given a racist note, puts things into a different perspective. As the matter was delved into deeper, it came out more that this was a pure act of treating a fellow country man differently, simply because of the way he dressed, looked, rather a very simple act of having a different hair style! And again this is not specific to a particular city or state.

I am not getting into the political aspect of the discussion (not that I hate politics), but could not wonder. Are we, Indians, racist??

Simply speaking it is an action, practice or belief, or social or a political system that consider different races to be ranked superior or inferior to each other. We hear a lot about the Britishers and the Australians being racist and treat other nationalities as inferior to them. We have all read and heard about the Nazi's, the Klu Klux Clan, who considered themselves to be superior races and every one else inferior, even leading to the deaths of millions of people. We have all read about the Red Indians, the Aborigines, the Slaves, how they were considered inferior, how they were killed. We hear about the Dalits, the Scheduled Castes, and Tribes and either pity or loathe them. Was that era or the current, not reflective of Racism?

Coming down to modern times, we all call ourselves educated and modern. We consider ourselves to have moved on from the narrow minded societies of the past, where there was a clear demarcation between the nobles of the society and the not nobles. We have learnt from the history of our forefathers that what they did at times was wrong and we have moved on. White never accepted black, today, Black and White are an integral part of society. We see relationships being built on love and not on caste and creed, or on colour. We are bringing in a new world, where future generations are no longer part of a single community or creed, but mixed in blood, religion and cultures.

Yet, we still retain within ourselves some element of dislike against people. We still consider people by their backgrounds. It could be based on religion, or by the type of job that a person does, a cleaner, a driver, a sweeper, or even by nationality. For us these are not people making a life, making ends meet, but people who we and our families should not associate with. We judge them by what they do and how they live, without ever caring how they feel with this insult.

Within our country, and here I speak of India, we are bifurcated into 29 states. Each state having its own culture, its own background. We call ourselves as citizens of a country that boasts of a history going back 5000 years or even more, but yet, when it comes to considering each other as equals, we stop short. 

The North considers the South as lowly, or uneducated, the South considers the North as boorish, the East considers itself more cultural, the West more progressive. Each one considers themselves to be a cut above the rest. This keeps on within our mind set, within our beliefs, the way we live, and ultimately passing down generation upon generation. One may say, that this division of classes is the modern man's invasion, but when looks at the past, it goes back to time immemorial.

Has this been handed down by our forefathers, has this reduced over time, or has this been built even more over time, but the fact does remain and the question does always arise:.

Is this not racism?

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