Arindam Chaudhuri
[June, 2009]

- economically growing Indians are the envy of the recession-struck developed world!

Before we talk about the jaundiced racist attacks on Indians in Australia, we have got to go to some basics. And unfortunately, the basics lie in India's enviable growth story of late. As long as the western world was growing, India's provocative growth story made great news. After all, the altruistic western media had to look charitable and benevolent to their lower ranked earth mates. The problem, however, began as their economies started getting into recession – something that was of their own doing. Instead of looking at going full throttle to develop markets in lesser developed regions like Latin America, India, China etc, Europeans and Americans kept capriciously selling to their own citizens through artificial means like luring non-creditworthy people into taking loans – in the process making their people dehumanized materialistic consumer dustbins. The delinquent process bombed, their banks started failing and they realised that a Japan-like zero growth era was here to stay.

At such a time of exasperating global recession, for the west to see a third world country like India growing at 6.5 percent plus – a rate of growth they haven’t seen in a few decades – can have dire consequences psychologically. It started with Slumdog Millionaire. The movie ridiculed India in every possible way – every aspect of life that touches foreigners in India was ripped apart in the form of a love story. The cheeseparing west enjoyed it so much that it showered the film with awards after awards, the Oscars included. To me, the clearly partisan name of the film, its huge success and those grandiose awards – all smacked of illiberal racism. At a purblind time when the west was spluttering economically, they found a special thrill in seeing the film and metaphorically consoling themselves that well, India is the world’s ‘slumdog’ becoming a millionaire by pure luck and coincidences. And as expected, in cricket matches in New Zealand, one could see jingoistic posters with racist undertones saying the Slumdog Millionaires are here.

The current caustic situation in Australia is just an extrapolation of similar feelings. All over the developed world, they see that places of higher education are full of ‘yellows’ and ‘browns’. They also see their jobs being outsourced to the same yellows and browns. And now, in these troubled times of rampant job losses, it’s a pain to see educated Indians getting jobs in their own country. Thus, the still existing – in subconscious – racist and apartheid feelings have started showing their ugly misanthropic colors. And no wonder they are against the student community – the community, which is the real future threat. History is testimony to the fact that unemployment and frustrations always lead to crime. And it’s time the prejudiced governments in developed countries launched campaigns to educate their citizens on how to deal with these termagant times than to close their eyes and allow the citizens to take to racial crimes – unless of course they too, in the heart of their hearts, want Indians to leave their country. And if education campaigns fail to prevent the corrosive racial attacks in the short run (such campaigns work best in the long run), then the governments should step up their policing to put an immediate end to such shameful acts of clear-cut racist violence, instead of trying to pass them off as isolated and sporadic cases of non-racist crimes. What a shame! Indians are culturally and by nature peace loving and nonviolent due to various reasons. In India, there are unfortunate crimes against foreigners; but these have more to do with lust and petty theft. They aren’t racist crimes. But what’s happening against students in Australia is certainly and increasingly intolerantly racist. And it must be brought to an immediate stop. It’s time the developed nations got used to the idea of the Indian growth story, and it’s time they worked hard to take part in it rather than ridicule it, as that would serve them no good. For if we were to stop companies of developed nations from coming into India’s blossoming markets, their corporations’ last hopes of revival would see the end of the day.
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