February 15, 2014

Surging intolerance, How racist are we? ~ From an Nomad's diary

Posted by Narayani Karthik at 4:34 PM 1 comments
Sometime back, watched this episode on NDTV that covered the debate on racism against the North East Indians. The debate focused on the assault of a 19 year old student from Arunachal Pradesh, one of the beautiful Seven Sisters of India, which have a rich cultural heritage and a landscape endowed with beautiful waterfalls, Tea gardens and thick forests. The debate ranged from how the North east Indians have faced racist attacks in the past and how they have been fighting hard within this society to keep their identity up and sustaining the odds of appearing different. The debate was powerfully action packed with panelists consisting of political leaders, human rights activists, a student and a couple of academicians from reputed universities. As one stated, not enough is being done for the Seven Sisters on the growth and development sector, that has led to a huge exodus of their population, now predominantly settling themselves in metros to earn their livelihood. And then, there were a few who felt, there was a need to look beyond those mongoloid features and accept them for who they are, with respect. Whatever, the debate had a lot of sensible arguments, a few careless statements, some thought provoking questions and some crucial facts about racism in India. It ended as usual, in a truce where there was no solution, but just the basic definition of racism laid out in a more elaborate manner.

And, that set me off thinking – “What is racism?” And the Internet showed me the most passable definition – 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.”

In my growing years, I have had a slight (if not intense) taste of racism (by the definition given by Internet) and those questions at the time have been piercing and rude. Well I am not from Seven Sisters. I am a migrated South Indian whose parents have settled in North West part of India for a very long time. Despite the migration, certain ridiculous questions concerning one's ethnicity don’t seem to go away. I have faced questions like
“Oh! You are a South Indian?"
"You people eat on banana leaf right?”
“You people wear lungi no?”
and ridiculously stupid questions like, 
“You people don’t speak Hindi at home?”
"Are all south Indians dark in complexion?" and so on and so forth!

And the funny thing is, even today, some people are not aware that there are four states in South India having their own regional lingo and culture. Having been brought midst an upper middle class neighborhood mostly inhabited by North Indians, our Hindi was never an issue as we spoke it fairly fluent. But then, there is always an uncouth section of people who have little knowledge about the demography of India and absolutely no knowledge about the cultural heritage of our country. When I started working, I got questions like, “Oh! You are a Tamilian? You don’t look like one! Your Hindi doesn't sound that way!” Of course, I restrained myself from replying “Why? Aren't Tamilians supposed to speak other languages? Go get a life!”. However, I wished people stopped shooting a tirade of such senseless questions, which though annoying never bothered me to this extent until I saw this debate on NDTV. And then I realized, racism is this! It is terrible! The recent death of a 19 year old student in Delhi who was beaten after a heated altercation over asking directions for a place, was appalling. And if this is what people face each day of their lives in the so called progressive metros of our country, the word regression would not be good enough to define the mentality of the society we are surviving in. The struggle to fit in a racism ridden society, and still managing to keep one’s identity intact is no joke.

And that makes me wonder, Why all the superiority complex, after all? Yes, superiority complex is equally dangerous and more intimidating than its alter ego – inferiority complex. Being fair skinned alone doesn't make you bright. Being endowed with sharp features alone doesn't make you any sharp. Acting superior because you are a North Indian or acting literate because you are a South Indian does not make you a person worth looking up to! The recent incidents only show the growing intolerance of each other which is perilous to the mental fabric of our society. We need to know for a fact, that we all need each other at some time or the other. Berating someone or trying to flaunt one’s shallow personality is never going to help, neither the instigator, nor the victim. And the general notion that a certain community’s migration has resulted in job loss for another, is so totally lame. If a community feels so, they need to work upon their skills and make sure that they are indispensable, rather than resorting to driving away their competitors.

We all love to compete as long as the word healthy caters to us alone. We, as a society feel happy when we get success but feel otherwise when others achieve it, or worse when others achieve better than us. A sense of intolerance to anything and everything is one of the prime reasons for increasing incidents of racist attacks. We need to groom the next generation to be more tolerant and sensitive to people around and also ingrain in them that, “there is no religion or sect or caste or creed that will decide your success graph. There is only one way that will lead you there and that is hard work clubbed with sincerity”. And yes, no fairness cream will decide your oomph factor, but your intelligence definitely will. No sharp nose and doe eyes are going to fetch you glory, your dedication and hard work though, will! Only then, on a personal level, we will we be happy and then as a society, we will find no trouble coexisting with diverse communities in peace and harmony. 

BTW here is the video on the debate from NDTV.....

February 1, 2014

But, he said "I love you"

Posted by Deepa at 4:00 PM 31 comments
12th December 2009
I am sitting here staring at the computer screen.
An email open in front of me.
To anyone else it would look like just another email. For me it was different
It was the wedding card of the man I loved the most.
The man I have dreamt of living a life with every waking hour.
It gave a very bitter taste in my mouth to read someone elses name in the place where I have pictured mine to be.
There was a link of wedding website in the email too.
They say "curiosity kills the cat". This time it hit me real hard and I opened the site "Mayan Goya weds Ishjal Frakha" was written in big bole cursive letters
Beneath the title was the story of how they met.
I realised, the man who promised me love, promised it to someone else too.
The places, their meeting points mentioned there were the places where we held hands and promised togetherness.
The way he proposed her was they way I had described my dream proposal to him.
There was a picture of them holding hands, hugging, him kissing her forehead.

A bile rose in my stomach.
I wanted to throw up all the bottled emotions that have rotted without proper nurturing.
Its a weird feeling knowing soon he will officially be a husband. ...someone elses husband
I want to scream out loud, I want to shed every unshed tear, I want to rip off every emotion I have for him, I want him to know that he has hurt me real bad, I want him to know am breaking inside
But, I sit here silently penning down my feelings.

19th January 2014

Now, stumbling over this letter hidden in between my files makes me feel how dumb I was then
Why did I cry over someone who wasn't worth anything
Karma is a darling when she is on your side,
But, it surely doesnt make me a bitch when I get this sadistic pleasure to hear that he is going through a traumatic divorce because she was caught cheating on him.
Maybe this is what is called 'What goes around comes around"

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