Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Australia Racism Attacks

Recent (and continuing) violent attacks on Indian students in Australia have ellicited a swift and vigorous reaction in India, as they ought to. The Prime Minister himself has gotten involved, and Indian students in Australia organized a street protest where they were joined by a number of other immigrant groups in Australia.

From a protest in Varanasi to Brett Lee making public comment, many have had much to say. There is also the disturbing and tragic possibility that Harbhajan Singh's nephew may have been a victim. Harbhajan has asked the Indian government to get involved. In too many places in our Web 2.0 age, this is being viewed flippantly, the sentiment being "trouble in Australia, can Harbhajan be far behind".

Amitabh Bachchan has had a peculiar reaction. After first claiming that "My conscience does not permit me to accept this decoration from a country that perpetrates such indignity to my fellow countrymen,", Bachchan goes on to say that "I shall put this up as my poll question and shall feel obliged if (my) extended family (of fans) can indicate to me their opinion for me to be able to take the correct action," !! So Bachchan's "extended family", which he has taken to addressing as "Dearest EF", can sway his conscience. If you scroll down to the end of that post, Bachchan makes some attempt to address accusations that he does things like these to seek attention.

Bal Thackeray the Shiv Sena "supremo" has also lived up to his billing and issued the following diktat "Two things should be done immediately. Captains of Australian companies who have invested in India should be summoned and told that the business atmosphere would not be conducive till the attacks stopped,...... Secondly, Australian players in IPL teams should be removed. Team owners like Vijay Mallya, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta should display nationalism by doing so,". The man who was unforgetably christened 'T Baalu' (in my view the most wickedly, pointedly funny nickname ever given to any politician in the history of free India) wants Indian businesses to shoot themselves in the foot, because a bunch of enraged zealots in Australia have taken (unknowingly) to following in his footsteps.

To each his own. The world which we make sense of today through our electronic media and networks is whipping up yet another primal soup fact and emotion for us.

1 comment:

  1. Our modern age plays a part, especially with the spread of partial information, but I think these sorts of things always makes storms. Many Indians instinctively look at these attacks (which ar emany and varied) as attacks on Indians. I, as a non-Indian recent international student, instinctively focus on the fact that the victims are international students.

    One of the attacks in Sydney was reported earlier, focussing on the actions of one vicitm to save a friend. It was explicitly said that noone knew the motivation for the attack and no ethnicity was mentioned. Someone else characteristicly used that as an example in their (unsuccessful) attempt to convince me that the relevant are was not safe to live in. The next day some explicitly racially motivated attacks and the general trouble in Melbourne made the news, and suddenly it this one was an attack on an Indian student...

    It's all very confusing, but on one level it's natural - we react to these things even without all the details, because they are so disturbing.