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Racial attacks in Australia: Why Indians only?
The recent attacks on Indian in Oz have posed many questions on civil society. The reasons are sociological, economical, educational and ethical. The article analyses this issue from socio-anthropological and economic perspective.

THE RECENT attacks on Indian students studying in Australia have attracted global attention. This rabid cultural and racial menace has attracted worldwide condemnation. One Sravan Kumar Theerthala was hit with petrol bottles by some unidentified teens while he was reading book in his house at Melbourne.

Baljinder Singh, another student from India studying in Melbourne, was robbed and stabbed in his abdomen. Both are struggling for life in hospitals. Sravan’s condition is reported to be very critical, he is still in coma.

In a separate incident, four students were attacked and burgled by racist elements in Australia. One Suketu Modi, a businessman from Surat, was attacked in train by a group of students when he had gone there for IT business. According to student’s organisations, these racist attacks have been taking place in Australia for quite some time; most of them went unreported. According to a report, about 20 racial attacks on Indians have taken place last month in Sydney alone.

Australia, interestingly, is not the only country where rabid faces of racism have been raising heads. Such dastardly incidents have been taking place in countries like UK, Germany, France and some African and Gulf countries.

This incident has raised a very perturbing question, which every one of us would like to ponder about and like to find consolable if not acceptable answers.

Reasons of such attacks:  It is too simplistic a proposition to categorically brand them as acts of criminal or opportunistic activities as uttered by Australian High Commissioner and DCP Melbourne, John McCarthy. The former has, however, not denied that some racist elements might have been involved in what he called Shameful criminal acts.

If not the global society, Indian civil society must quest reasons behind it; after all why Indians are being attacked everywhere? It seems that the existence of these vestigial racial elements even in cultural, plural societies does have other hidden reasons apart from ostensible causes. Chagrin does not prevail in Australia; and even Australian media lamented only after vociferous diplomatic and societal protests at home.

Economic:  India has written stories of astounding success in economic fields; thanks to flooded brilliant young brains in fields of science and technology, management and other frontier areas. Our IITs, IIMs, and plethora of business and other schools have produced best brains in the world. The campus selections by MNCs and TNCs over a couple of decades have been a matter of concern to the students of those countries, which have been destinations of our ‘smart English speaking IT-BPO guys’ for obvious reasons. Many of them feel that their job opportunities are being eaten up by Indians. Many guys working in MNCs and TNCs in countries like the US, the UK, Australia, Germany and a host of other such developed countries have faced similar acts of discrimination. Many of such incidents go unreported for simple reason; as the victims have to run from pillar to post once FIR is registered.

Student community particularly do not like to be involved in legal wrangles because they think that they have come here not to fight legal battle but to complete their studies and make careers. They are also tormented by the lackadaisical, callous and sometimes, ignorant attitude of police. For instance, in Australia, the police did not act till the matter was blown out of their capacity to hold. According to Forbes; about US$ 13 billion is spent by Indian students abroad annually. Australia alone has a US$ 15.5 billion business with foreign students and as many as 1 lakh Indian students study in Australian at present.

According to an estimate about 8.3 lakh Indian students are studying in countries like the US, the UK, Russia, France, Australia, etc. Needless to say, those going abroad for higher studies belong to affluent class of the society. The number of High Net Income (HNI) individuals in India has swelled for some years. Like many other areas, the lopsided development in the field of education has created a dangerous in-equilibrium. The affluence of these students studying abroad or working guys, who earn handsome salaries in MNCs, betrays in their lifestyles and attracts opportunistic activities by teens, who have been already suffering from a sense of inferiority complexes. These complexes find expression in such opportunistic acts blended with racism.

Sociological and educational:  With the passage of time, the colonies have gained independence from colonial powers. The European countries are finding their erstwhile colonies rubbing shoulders in gatherings at International forums. The sense of hatred unconsciously precipitates in their mind and find expression in such abhorable acts of racial attacks. History has tough us to be proud of our past. Their past had been excellent but future is full of intense competition which extra-individualistic. In the present global financial regime, every one, may it be individual or nation, has to find a place for itself not on the basis of its past but on the basis of its present.

The economic hegemony of the US is all set to nosedive. The American Tsardom in financial market is likely to be over. The global financial crisis (GFC) has bashed the US, the pain of which is still emanating. Asian giant China has purchased US$ 1.3 trillion worth US Treasury Bills. A sense of chagrin prevails in USA, what a travesty; once lender has become a borrower. The Chinese export juggernaut into the US has changed the entire economic power structure. Protectionist measures taken by the USA and host of developed nations have these social and psychological dimensions also. The sense of frustration is obvious in younger minds because their economic future is not as secure as it had been decades ago.

Ethical and moral: There is no denying the fact that economic development in India has changed our lifestyles and cultural traits to a great extent. Still then, our social, family, and religious ethos, which have deep roots, have not eroded to the extent of disappearance. Religious tolerance and non-violence are still way of our lives. When our boys go abroad we preach them to be adherent to these ethos. In spite of state of attacks, students in Australia decided to take out a peace march rather than taking to streets. Normally such incidents meet violent backlashes. But the kind of restraint, which has been showed by Indians in Australia and abroad, is suggestive of the fact that ethos of non-violence and satyagraha are still alive in our soul and the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi are inculcated in our way of life. These characteristics of ours have been taken by many nations as timidity and cowardice. After all, what explains when two teen attacked four students and went un-retaliated, physically they could have not only been overpowered but thrashed also.

Progress and affluence of students studying abroad do manifest in their lifestyles, which tempt these racist elements to attack that serves twin purpose; on the one hand they snatch something from them and on the other it satiates their hidden desire of inferiority complex.

Role of embassies:  The role of embassies in this regard has particularly been callous. According to reports available in public domain, hundreds of such attacks have taken place on Indian students in different parts of the world. When the students approach the authorities in embassies, they are treated with callous and cool attitude. This has emboldened the morale of such lumpen elements, who indulge in acts of such vandalism and at the same time, it leaves students at the mercy of their fate. In this case also, the Indian Embassy could take up the issue only after matter was reported in Indian media and the prime minister and External Affairs Minister talked to Kelvin Rudd and Julia Gillard in strongest possible diplomatic over tune and conveyed their frowning over the issue. This approach of our diplomatic babus needs to be changed.

To sum up, we can say that these incidents are rooted in sociological, economic, historical and ethical soil of developed cultural, pluralistic societies. The lasting and amicable solution therefore can only be found in the roots and not in stems.

COMMENTS (50)
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John
Thank you Yadav, I will give you examples of my own experience when i was in Delhi & Chandigarh. We 've our culture of openness with either gender & i hope this culture of ours can be practiced anywhere unless we disturb the other, rite? In one of such occasion we were visiting some of our female frens(One was already married), some few minutes after that a guy came straight into the room without even knocking, a complete stranger. i stood up & ask him what he wanted, he said he is a Police personal. i asked for his ID proof & you know what, he showed me his PAN Card. i took his card and asked him go. At the same time we called the Police. The guy left & before the Police came the elder brother of the guy came straight into the room again & started asking for his bro's PAN Card. i told him o wait for the police first but started getting rough & since there were ladies in the room i asked one of 'em to write down the details of the PAN Card & gave it away. the Police came asked details & we showed 'em & we showed 'em the house. They asked from the family members the where about of the guy but they family members lied that he had gone for work though in actual they have asked him hide away. the police caught the elder bro and took away & after some time the family members of the guy came and instead of asking pardon on behalf of their son they started blaming us for ruining their reputation. All the more the police personals came back and called me privately and asked me to pardon him & not to make a issue out of it. So more more can i do when both these parties take it that way? On the other hand in Chandigarh when i was studying there, we had a function & i had gone for that function with one of the Punjabi female fren. As we reached the place, every one started staring at us and i ask her why every one was staring at both of us, to which she replied that since she was with me. i was shocked. When an Indian going around with an Indian in ones own country is looked down in such a manner why do these Indians doesn't looked at those Indians who are going around with White people in the same manner? There are so many instances of such type & i feel this column insufficient to explain it all.
Kabir
Many have said and bring out such brilliant facts about our own country that they should really be appreciated. The religion, mis-behaviors, castesim, non decency, greed, blah blah blah.... hey we all know about them and i guess we are continuously trying working upon to run a single/unique economy in the world with so many diversities and views , but does that give others an open right to do any wrong and then justifying them by fingering upon our internal problems (one australian minister gave such a statement). More surprisingly and personally speaking those who are cornering their own frustrations into these blogs may better perform in the open debates elsewhere. If you ask me, i agree that their are many problems in my own country and i am concerned about them, but does that mean that if i am outside for my studies or working their, then anybody can do anything to me, coz the same is happening back into my homeland. And now if you deny the truth that whatever happened in Australia was just a part of normal crime then let me tell that, stealing or robbing someone is a different thing AND murdering someone/burning alive is an entirely different crime with a different purpose. I am studying and living in UK from the last four years and i must say that i have adopted to the local culture here from my very first day, i mean with using "PLEASE THANKS" if that is what bothering a few here. Secondly i wasn't starving in my own country when i came here, and i have got a such an upbringing that many people here appreciate my attitude. What i mean to say is, rather than to criticize yourself try to understand the problem. I agree that their always are some exceptional cases, but then they use to be everywhere. Besides everything else, Australians should think about any problems more seriously OR should stop providing easy accessibility to their system by foreigners if they are so bothered about their cultural or economical turmoil. An open invitation to all, in the form of work permit to all students/PR etc. would surely attract many all over the world to exploit their resources if they think so BUT they are generating great benefits as well on the other side. And if the Australian government understands this simple maths then they should strongly react against their long rooted racism (like the other nation did) rather then to deny it time to time.
Jagy Kehal in Toronto
The attacks on Indians in Aus are highly condemnable. Mr. Yadav has done a good a real good job. I came to Canada as a student about three and a half years ago and I find the views here in the article highly biased in favor of Indians. First of all my experience tells me that most of the students who come here or US or Aus or UK for the matter of fact, don't have education as a primary motive. It's not that they don't want to, but because they can't. And yes you got it, communication skills, highly disciplined culture are some of the hinderances. And Indians who are highly inefficient at using "thank you", "excuse me" and "sorry", become a highly despicable lot (I'm not joking). Education system here involves student participation in classroom discussions and projects and exams account for only 40% marks, and trust me 80% Indian students in first world can't cope up with it, so they drop out and start working in factories or restaurants or some other places where they can make 'dollars' in "Cash". Which is illegal and unlawful and seen by citizens as taking away of the jobs they deserved by some illegal workers. I had to try real hard to fit into this culture, which demands that you pay and show very high respect to another person. I went to India in Jan this year( for the first time after coming here) but I forgot to change my mental gear. Absolutely no traffic sense, people won't maintain a respectable distance while standing in queues, forget about all the other curtusies. My dad told me that all this is acceptable here and that's the way things get done here. If I was so shocked just imagine how shocked must be the 'goras' who can't even imagine this kind of behaviour after dealing with Indian students, who just don't want to lose their sardari. So when in Rome do as Romans do and stay out of trouble
Jagy Kehal in Toronto
The attacks on Indians in Aus are highly condemnable. Mr. Yadav has done a good a real good job. I came to Canada as a student about three and a half years ago and I find the views here in the article highly biased in favor of Indians. First of all my experience tells me that most of the students who come here or US or Aus or UK for the matter of fact, don't have education as a primary motive. It's not that they don't want to, but because they can't. And yes you got it, communication skills, highly disciplined culture are some of the hinderances. And Indians who are highly inefficient at using "thank you", "excuse me" and "sorry", become a highly despicable lot (I'm not joking). Education system here involves student participation in classroom discussions and projects and exams account for only 40% marks, and trust me 80% Indian students in first world can't cope up with it, so they drop out and start working in factories or restaurants or some other places where they can make 'dollars' in "Cash". Which is illegal and unlawful and seen by citizens as taking away of the jobs they deserved by some illegal workers. I had to try real hard to fit into this culture, which demands that you pay and show very high respect to another person. I went to India in Jan this year( for the first time after coming here) but I forgot to change my mental gear. Absolutely no traffic sense, people won't maintain a respectable distance while standing in queues, forget about all the other curtusies. My dad told me that all this is acceptable here and that's the way things get done here. If I was so shocked just imagine how shocked must be the 'goras' who can't even imagine this kind of behaviour after dealing with Indian students, who just don't want to lose their sardari. So when in Rome do as Romans do and stay out of trouble
Vishal
I am surprised that in all sense only one aspect has been taken into consideration while writing this article. The media has not highlighted few things which I would like you to know 1- Many students from india go to Australia not because they want to study there but they have their own aspirations and want to live in a developed country. These students as I know few of them are not in a mood to study and perform but spend their money in enjoying life. One of my friend who is studying in Australia told me that in their college there are few groups made by students from Haryana and punjab who had been involved in attacking australian students there. They literally spoiled the image of indian students their. Although, they are in a small number but their act has harmed the other Indian sincere students there. 2- It is only the Indian media that is shouting over this issue. But when you look at the international media they don't even put a word over it. This means that racism prevails across the entire globe and not only in Australia. 3- Even in the Australian media only channel 9 is shouting because it has some presence here in India as well and get a good chunk of its revenue from Indian media partners. They are like ND TV india and few other channels that are basically Indian chanels but as they have colaborated with Pakisthani chanels therefore they never say anything bad about the pakisthani govt or terrorist support and nurturing in that country. 4- Are we Indians not racist in the other sense. IF two Australian students can stab and beat four Indian sutdent then isn't the Indian were suppressed with an infiriority colplex towards a white skin. Imagine the tons of fairness cream that is being sold out in India and this symbolizes our complexes towards white skin. 5- Last but not the least - When a black man or a Negro visits India do we respect him in the Same manner as we respect the white skin? 6- Before i end are we not biased to each other on the basis of cast? And a sever descrmination had been there in the Middle East against the Indians. Why did we not talk about that? Because the Indians there are poor workers and the Students in Australia are from afluent and rich class? This is just the beginning. And believe me that even in the next semester thousands of Indian students would reach Australia for their so called higher studies.
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