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Racism, in Australia and in India

Indians Protesting Racism in Australia

News in media leading to protests

It has been almost a year now since the Indian media has been blasting Australians for racial attacks on Indians down under. After all, it makes for good news which people watch. And who cares for the facts!! It it sells, then show it on prime-time TV or make it front page news… and people will watch too. But do we try to wait and understand what actually is Racism, and is it racism what is happening in Australia?

Racism is defined as “any discrimination or prejudice based on race“. Going by this definition of racism, is it not racism when political parties like MNS and Shiv Sena protests, most of the times violently, against North Indians? Is it not racism when we have reservations for certain “backward” classes for the last 60 years? Is it not racism when we have many temples in our country where non-Hindus are not allowed? In the Sabarimala Shrine in Kerala, women between the age 6-60 are not allowed inside. There are even some shrines where men are not allowed.

Dalits, who represent 16 percent of India’s 1.1 billion population are often beaten or killed for using a well or worshipping at a temple reserved for upper castes. Recently, a temple in Orissa performed purification (washing of temple floors and throwing away holy offerings) because a minister from a lower caste visited the temple. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was also not allowed entry in the famous Jagannath Temple of Puri because she had married a Parsi and become an outcast.

Now, the question to ask is “Is this not racism?“. We are discriminating people of our own country based on caste, subcaste, sex or the state they belong to. India is a secular country and the caste system is long gone, but there are frequent reports of villagers torching two lovers because they eloped / married out of their caste. The North East population have always complained of being treated like non-Indians in their own country. Why is Indian media silent on this? Why is there so much noise and hoopla about what is happening in Australia?

The problem with Indian media is it is driven by politics and money. Blaming Australia is easy because they can’t hit back. And everybody can blame Australia easily it provides for good dinner talk. In short, it sells!! Media has enormous power to shape perceptions and stories on crime, corruption, terrorism usually dominate news channels, which are more than 70 in number and in more than 10 languages. We all have friends, relatives living in Australia and if you ever ask them, they will always describe Australians as very sweet and polite people. Australian authorities have expressed their concern at Indian media publishing stories without justifying the facts. They have maintained that all the attacks are not racial in nature. But do we care? Does facts really matter in front of TRP ratings???

I would say it is time for some self-introspection before pointing fingers at others. And it is high time the government controls the media for publishing mindless stories without justifying facts. I have always believed that Media is the fourth pillar of a democratic country after Judiciary, Executive and Legislative and an irresponsible media can hurt a lot. There are enough genuine stories to cover in our country to cover. News channels should cover and show stories of hope, inspiration, knowledge rather than crime, greed, corruption. Media can shape the public opinion and influence politics.

And as with everything powerful, I am always reminded of the quote from the movie Spiderman“With great powers, come great responsibility!!”

It has been almost a year now since the Indian media has been blasting Australians for racial attacks on Indians down under. After all, it makes for good news which people watch. And who cares for the facts!! It it sells, then show it on prime-time TV or make it front page news… and people will watch too. But do we try to wait and understand what actually is Racism, and is it racism what is happening in Australia?

Racism is defined as “any discrimination or prejudice based on race”. Going by this definition of racism, is it not racism when political parties like MNS and Shiv Sena protests, most of the times violently, against North Indians? Is it not racism when we have reservations for certain “backward” classes for the last 60 years? Is it not racism when we have many temples in our country where non-Hindus are not allowed? In the Sabarimala Shrine in Kerala, women between the age 6-60 are not allowed inside. There are even some shrines where men are not allowed.

Dalits, who represent 16 percent of India’s 1.1 billion population are often beaten or killed for using a well or worshipping at a temple reserved for upper castes. Recently, a temple in Orissa performed purification (washing of temple floors and throwing away holy offerings) because a minister from a lower caste visited the temple. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was also not allowed entry in the famous Jagannath Temple of Puri because she had married a Parsi and become an outcast.

Now, the question to ask is “Is this not racism?”. We are discriminating people of our own country based on caste, subcaste, sex or the state they belong to. India is a secular country and the caste system is long gone, but there are frequent reports of villagers torching two lovers because they eloped / married somebody out of their caste. The North East population have always complained of being treated like non-Indians in their own country. Why is Indian media silent on this? Why is there so much noise and hoopla about what is happening in Australia?

The problem with Indian media is it is driven by politics and money. Blaming Australia is easy because they can’t hit back. And everybody can blame Australia easily it provides for good dinner talk. In short, it sells!! Media has enormous power to shape perceptions and stories on crime, corruption, terrorism usually dominate news channels, which are more than 70 in number and in more than 10 languages. We all have friends, relatives living in Australia and if you ever ask them, they will always describe Australians as very sweet and polite people. Australian authorities have expressed their concern at Indian media publishing stories without justifying the facts. They have maintained that all the attacks are not racial in nature. But do we care? Does facts really matter in front of TRP ratings???

I would say it is time for some self-introspection before pointing fingers at others. And it is high time the government controls the media for publishing mindless stories without justifying facts. I have always believed that Media is the fourth pillar of a democratic country after Judiciary, Executive and Legislative and an irresponsible media can hurt a lot. There are enough genuine stories to cover in our country to cover. News channels should cover and show stories of hope, inspiration, knowledge rather than crime, greed, corruption. Media can shape the public opinion and influence politics.

And as with everything powerful, I am always reminded of the quote from the movie Spiderman  – “With great powers, come great responsibility!!”

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  1. I agree with your thoughts mostly. I reminded Shirdi after reading this. If you go to Shirdi, there is a small temple where females are not allowed to enter, NOT because temple trustees differentiates them but because of some ancient stories(might or might not correct) associated with the temple which don’t suggest females to go there. I think it’s all about sentiments & women who have those sentiments with that temple don’t enter with their own wishes. I am NOT favoring anyone but not all the instances in India too can be marked as racism. Otherwise you covered some very good points like media & reservation system etc.

  2. @Divya – If women dont enter with their own wish, it is absolutely, but nobody has the right to ban an entry. If a women wants to go in, then there should be a rule / law forbidding it!! That is against the right to freedom, which is a very basic right which people of a democratic country deserve to have

  3. Yes laws/rules can be setup on different levels & right of freedom doesn’t guarantee to be fulfilled by a law set on private level. That is meant ONLY for public rules & published by govt I guess. There Temple trustee have set the rules not to enter women to that temple, nobody forces you or encourage you to go there. if in case you want to go, you should adhere those rules. It is same like if i don’t want you to enter my house I make a rule applicable to my house ONLY not to allow you to enter. You can not raise right of freedom for these private rules.

  4. omg that’s true! i have a English class that i need to produce to my teacher this Monday, like we have to right an issue about anything really so i decided to focus on about the racism towards Indians in Australia within my research iv studied and chosen to believe its not racism that the Australians are holding against Indians, no doubt!

    I have a few examples of actual scenarios were Indians were at fault themselves. *Ranjodh Singh burned alive and left on side of road. 2 Indians are charged with his murder, *Jaspreet Singh claims he was set on fire by 4 white males. He is arrested for insurance fraud, *Paul Rajendran arrested after raping woman in Sydney office building, *Joginder Singh arrested for supplying 2 little girls with alcohol in Horsham and raping them, *Indian taxi driver bashes his passenger unconscious in St Kilda, in addition don’t tell me you forgot about the little boy who was killed buy his family and stuffed the boot of a car and dumped it. Yet Australians are the ones with the problem? Ask yourself!

    I’m not a racist and never ever would be I know myself really well! After all humanity is one the sooner we realize the better it’ll be. Racism is not natural. Australia has never ever have had a mainstream culture that can accurately be described as racist. It is doubtful it ever will.

    The thing about the hole media thing is so true, but to be quite honest its like that everywhere in all countries from media, politics, … I call it corruption!!! Never believe in what you hear and see or read on the news, newspapers, magazines, radio stations (it’s better off nor to)

  5. Hi everyone , u all read whole page . Now greetings – hi I am Joginder Singh
    I got arrested last year . They gave me 8 charges with two little girls .
    I was everywhere in newspaper even in some of Indians .
    I lost everything when I was in prison . Wen I got out with clean chit they couldnt found a corner about that in any newspaper
    My question is , I got out last year after spending 9 months in prison . I beat my all charges .
    I lost a year in that shit , my job , my love and beleve from my family
    Tell me guys wat should I say about racism

  6. @Roshana – Well blaim the media cuz you people are blinded of what they show you. well you mentioned Joginder Singh in your comment but the reality is Singh came out “NOT GUILTY” on 2nd of November 2009, Why doesn’t any news mention that ??!!!