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Are Indians Racists?

I posted this comment on this Open magazine article about that Indian-origin winner of the Miss America contest.

Agree with Madhavan obviously ... 

I see in the comments that the 'HIndu warriors' are out in force ...


But that is an easy thing for me to do. I want to pause and really think about this.

Of course, what matters is 'discrimination' and not whether you want to define it as 'racism' or 'caste-ism.'

So, let's talk 'racism' in America. It was 'allowed' till the '60s. Then the Civil Rights movement led to enactment of 'laws' during the Johnson administration which officially 'abolished' discrimination.

Well, India too has 'abolished' dowry as per the statute books.

But what is the reality? Well, of course, in America one can't discriminate against anyone based on their 'race' in the workplace.

But really?

So how many blacks (or should I 'compulsorily' use the politically-correct 'African-Americans'?) are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies?

How many blacks (I will use the shorter word to save me some typing effort) figure in the just-out list of the Forbes 400 Richest Americans?

What percentage of the millionaires and billionaires on Wall St are African Americans?

Obviously, I am no Ta Nehisi Coates; so, won't try doing what he does in terms of explaining the place of race in America.

All I am saying is that it is possible for something to be statutorily abolished and yet for that thing to be present in society.

I do not need to refer to the crime statistics and the prisoner statistics and all that ...

How many inter-racial marriages take place in America for that matter ....

Let us talk Europe. That tiny continent made up of even tinier countries ... the size of Indian DISTRICTS; let alone states.

What have they learned after killing each other in some rather deadly battles fought over some 200 years? The countries still remain. the borders still remain. When some economic trouble stares them in the face as it is doing at the moment, they predictably fall back on their nationalistic identities.

The biggest 'racist' was an European. i.e. Hitler, right? Although, poor Russians suffered even more than the Germans in rescuing the world from the Nazi madness.

And then the racism of the Japanese which persuaded them to orchestrate an orgy of killing in China ... perhaps more in numbers than even the Holocaust.

With that short survey of the world in mind, look at India. Admittedly, an old civilization with a religion which divided folks into a bunch of occupation-based castes. Well, perhaps these castes of carpenters and business people may have had their relevance once upon a time. No longer relevant obviously.

The sad thing is that looking at the 'matrimonial' behavior of people will leave NO DOUBT in one's mind that people continue to subscribe to the old divisions.

I wonder if it is only the 'old' people who are so obsessed about it all or whether the "youth" is "too easily" persuaded by the spurious logic of the *respected* elders.

The fact is that India is this strange nation which consists of many ... perhaps hundreds ... nations within it. First, you have the various states mostly based on language. Then, inside each state, languages get divided into dialects.

I can only speak with a modicum of confidence about my own personal experience of growing up. A smallish state such as Odisha is home to more than one language. Outsiders might think that 'Oh, everyone in Odisha must speak Odia' but no, that language has a few dialects. May be two or three or more. I do not wish to go further into this as then I might tread on the territory of 'language experts' or something ....

But my point should be clear. Clearly, the 100 million people of Bihar similarly do not all speak 'one' language. Same applies to all the large and perhaps most small states too.

And THEN come the 'castes.'

No wonder, the best advice for foreigners visiting India is NOT to even ATTEMPT to understand the bewildering diversity of India.

So, when it comes to critical life decisions such as that 19th century ritual that Indians love ... called 'marriage' ... Indians marry within very, very strict boundaries indeed.

Very rarely will you find someone from Karnataka or Kerala or Tamil Nadu marrying someone from Assam or Gujarat or Kashmir or Punjab. Well, of course, if you want to 'justify' that, probably there INDEED "are" very good justifications.

For example, there has got to be some common language for folks to be able to communicate. In India, perhaps Hindi and English are the only two languages that can work across various borders.

Leaving aside the language challenge, it seems the caste-based restrictions are followed EVEN MORE rigidly. Perhaps because Indians love their Hindu religion so much and the 'gods' or the priests won't be quite 'pleased' if you violate various caste-based guidelines laid down in the religion of the Hindus.

The conclusion is rather confusing for me: Indians appear to be living in tiny little islands, pretending to be 'oh-so-not-communal or racist or caste-ist' but on the plus side, nothing has yet persuaded Indians yet that it was worth killing millions of people for.

The partition riots were there and perhaps all of the 20th century and the 21st too has seen communal clashes and the attendant death toll but it seems to me Indians have not been responsible for violence on the scale perpetrated by Germany/Japan/Stalin/U.S. in various different wars in various different theaters/nations.

I like to wonder about how much 'large heart-ed-ness' Europeans and Americans would be able to show if for a moment Europe and America were to become poor on the same scale as India is. Japan of course is already an extraordinarily closed and uniform and single-race society.

Of course, I give full credit to Americans, Europeans and the Japanese for being so smart and recognizing the value of science and the scientific method and to leverage science & technology to make their societies rich whereas India continues to suffer from this ultimate curse of self-inflicted poverty.

People often like to blame 'others' for India's 'fate' but looking for 'historical injustices' is mostly a pointless exercise.

People of India are prone to look for 'easy' solutions for their problems. Recall the sudden burst of patriotism two years ago under the spell of 'Anna' when the "youth" (in Delhi at least where I was witness to it) thought "Lokpal" was going to solve all of India's problems. Well, of course, our spectacularly-talented politicians have so far managed to push a flag-pole sized thing inside the rear hole of Indians ... by not passing that Act.

But the bigger point there is of course that "Lokpal" ain't gonna solve India's problems.

Do Indians really, REALLY want a capital 'R" Revolution? Well, let me spell it out here itself what THAT will take.

1) Forget religion. Forget the gods.

2) Set a target to reduce India's population to 300 million in 30 years at the most.

3) Turn the rules of the old people on their heads. Make a self-made 'rule' that the youth follows to 'voluntarily' *marry* across a state boundary.

4) Better still, stop following the age old rules of man-made things called 'marriage.' Challenge, question, and then END monogamy and better still marriage.

5) It goes without saying that people must stop producing babies but I will say it nevertheless — if you want to have a 'baby,' adopt one.

You want a 'developed' India? You will get a developed India. But sorry, the 'Kalam' formula won't make us developed by 2020.

So, THIS explains 'How To Make India A Developed Nation'.

Well, I think all human affairs are interlinked. So, I started with race and ended with making India developed. If anyone wants to find fault with what I have said, please do so. You are most welcome. But please refrain from making 'personal' attacks or drawing conclusions about me based on my last name.

I am making this so elaborately clear as I had the experience of silly commentators posting silly and personal comments as reactions to my comments and then I feel like getting personal with them and it becomes a slanging match.

P.S. I will list out a couple of recent news items which showcase the strange attitude of Indians towards Americans ... or perhaps to ALL 'foreigners.'

Today, we had this widely reported 'news' of a guy graduating from a Delhi engineering college and that he got a job offer from Google that will pay him $100,000. So, WOW WOW!!

Indians just love that stuff, don't they?? I mean $$$$ of course ...

The other day Open Magazine had an article about the new IITs and the comments there were rather interesting.

Folks were talking about how 'oh, even graduates from the new IITs are getting into Stanford and MIT' and I was thinking: 'oh, so the benchmark or the purpose of the IITs is to produce engineers who are *good enough* for CalTech and GeorgiaTech'.

What a FANTASTIC 'Quit India' *project* or "mission" Indians are STILL carrying on in 2013!! Bravo!

Oh and never forget the 'preference' ladies express for their prospective fcuk-buddies (ahem, I mean 'husbands' yo ...) to be located in USA, UK, Canada, Australia.

No wonder, Manmohan Singh CANNOT WAIT for that UN General Assembly ... later this month? ... Ahhhh, the joys of flying Air India One and staying in an exclusive Manhattan hotel. Cool perks of the job, right?




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