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Australia in Tight Corner on Racist Attacks

…the Australian government’s dilemma on the matter is crystal clear. It is, in fact, in a tight corner on the issue. On one hand, it has to give the world a message, and to save its grand revenue, by actions on such assaults. On the other, it has to deny racial undertones behind assaults to save the country, known for peacefulness otherwise, a blot and more importantly to keep discontented native population happy…


Saurabh Dharmeshwari

Racist attacks on Indians in the US and West are run-of-the-mill events, dating back to nineties, or maybe further back to eighties or seventies or time immemorial, when Indians were forced to booze in exorbitant hotel pubs only to make them vomit and  be thrown out on road in an obvious affront. It was a time when racist attacks were purely racist attacks, having nothing to do with the success of non-invited, unwelcome coloured expats from East.

Now the time has changed, and even Aussies and Kiwis – though they themselves are mocked at by their superior clones, the Yankees and the Brits, for their relative inferiority in terms of scientific, industrial and intellectual growth – are out to avenge Indians for destabilizing their disillusion of being a superior race at least over Asians (you must be knowing that in international contests like miss world or an international sports events, Aussies and Kiwis ironically finish up being classed alongwith Asians). To their dismay, Indian students have shown better success rate in job market, and economic recession is further playing monsters for domestic students.  

It’s really surprising, even shocking, too, to observe that students of a country whose demographic profile is swiftly changing because of a reoriented immigration policy, in which education is key revenue contributor and Indian students form nearly 60 per cent of total overseas students, are expressive of only their envious

It’s really surprising, even shocking, too, to observe that students of a country whose demographic profile is swiftly changing because of a reoriented immigration policy, in which education is key revenue contributor and Indian students form nearly 60 per cent of total overseas students, are expressive of only their envious born out of their failure to supersede Indians in having a share of the pie which they, the dear Aussies students like those in the US and West, think is an outcome of their ancestors’ decades long toil and is unarguably a property of their inheritance, solely. Like India, there is no denying of hardcore nationalists existing everywhere.  

I’ve have always been under an illusion that at least a country where intellectuals, in particular authors, look to West for a kind of theme – ignoring one of their own country’s – that can turn their writings into universal bestsellers; where youth themselves migrate to the US and West for further success, would know what living abroad means, in a country developed than your own. I mean the fear, the anxiety, the insecurity, the aspirations, the dreams and everything that are part of our lives there, equally. I thought that they would understand what living in country means which you don’t know beyond your university campus, the libraries, the restaurants, the parks, the theatres, the hostels and so on.

Unfortunately, what we have is a phrase for mishandlings and beatings of Indians – “curry bashings”. Let’s go curry bashing, they say when they feel like hitting Indians, as if it is a sort of shopping or fishing or hunting.

More disheartening is the fact that Indians, or people belonging to other developing countries, or to an inferior race for that matter, are soft targets of white people’s fitful violence because we, the coloured, the cursed, the outsiders, don’t lodge a report against violence and they know it, they know that even if a report is lodged, local police will side with them, the locals.

Australia is one of the most preferred education destinations for Indians, rated second only to the US, and perhaps the most sought after by Indian middle class, for it provides quality education at a cost lower than the US and the UK’s. Indians go there because they, unlike in the US and West, are invited, welcome by the universities and the government. Of course, dreams are shown; and students fly there dreaming their dreams.

The way Australian government has acted and reacted following the extensive media campaign against recent racial attacks – the European media did not launch the campaign but showed sympathy alone (which is still welcome, relieving), while British media preferred not to give any coverage to the incidences – was but expected.

Premier Kevin Rudd deplored the violence, assured Indian PM Manmohan Singh of action; John Mc Carthy, the Australian High Commissioner to India, just as Victorian police, denied racial undertones behind the assaults and linked them to routine events of criminality, of robbery and violence, that is; and asked Indian government to make students aware that racism exist in his country and they should know the country well before relocating there for studies.

The Australian government’s dilemma on the matter is crystal clear. It is, in fact, in a tight corner on the issue. On one hand, it has to give the world a message, and to save its grand revenue, that Australia is a safe country for overseas students by steps such as deploring violent attacks, beefing up patrolling in areas Indians live, initiating actions against culprits etc. On the other, it has to deny racial undertones behind assaults to save the country, known for peacefulness otherwise, a blot and more importantly to keep discontented native population happy, for its cities are graveyard for jobs, too, and its agriculture is nearly failing.  

Whatever theirs or ours government do on the matter is destined to turn out to be a no-solution in the ambience of abhorrence, conflicts of cultures, rivalry for birth-based superiority, and dog-eat-dog competition for a living, survival.

Whatever theirs or ours government do on the matter is destined to turn out to be a no-solution in the ambience of abhorrence, conflicts of cultures, rivalry for birth-based superiority, and dog-eat-dog competition for a living, survival.

In countries, Acts, laws, rules have consistently failed to achieve what they were designed to; failure of diplomacy has become commoner than it was in the era of cold war, of a bipolar world. Foreign policies are screaming for success.

FISA’s (Federation of Indian Student Association) sharp reaction to Mc Carthy’s recommendation of making students aware of Australian realities in India itself before flying there is really justified and offers an insight into the matter i.e. Australians want Indians to understand them, their mentality, their culture, their so-called superiority, their ambitions, their birth right on their country and its resources and opportunities, they don’t want Indians to confront them on any of these issues; whereas Indians want actions against them in Australia itself for any violence that might arise out of co-incidental confrontations like their getting a job instead of Aussies. 

Since Acts, diplomacies, foreign policies fail on such matter and if Mc Carthy’s suggestion has to be followed, it has to be followed both ways. If Indians need to know white people better, white people need to know coloured people better, too.

Australian government must run a drive to make natives aware of the importance of overseas students’ contribution to their economy, which cannot be overlooked only because some Australians are unable to outshine outsiders in job competition. They should be made to understand that globalization, which offers opportunities to foreigners at par with domestic candidates, has been heralded by white people themselves with a purpose of further prosperity and will definitely pay them dividends when their turn, as per the rules of globalised job market, comes. They should be enlightened on foreigners – who have job there – contributing to their nation’s building, as well.

Indian students, while accepting and preparing for Australian ground realities, should work to convince them that they, unlike Arabs, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, are a more flexible, open, progressive race, which is fastly getting westernized. Indians are liberal on everything, language, culture, food, clothing and school of thoughts. The only solution of the problem is acceptance of hard core white people of our values whichever way it comes.

Given the circumstances, we can also take initiatives instead of biding white people’s ministry’s action on the issue. After all, what we Indians are, a discovery of West? Vaskodigama discovered us in fifteenth century; no matter historical evidences suggest that we were known in the world thousands of centuries before he was born!

saurabhdharmesh@gmail.com

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