Racial Attacks In Australia: Can We Condemn?
By Dr. Shah Alam Khan
05 June, 2009
The recent or rather the ongoing attacks on Indian students down under are a chilling reminder on the existence of a farce Australian society, far from the helm of civilization. What more could have we expected from the discovery of John Cook, whose men had slaughtered the local Aborigines to make the continent livable. The savagery of John Cook’s siblings has passed on, in good health, to future generations. But how justified are we as Indians to raise a hue and cry on these ghastly acts of prejudiced murder? Do we tow the same line when it comes to our equality records? How good are we, the brown men, in treating the brown and blacks amongst us? How fair are we, the citizens of a free and democratic country in giving justice to our own citizens? Do we fulfill the criteria to condemn these attacks? These are difficult questions with equally thorny answers.
We all know that the events of last week have been condemned by all including the Australian Prime Minister. Condemn? Murderers and racial thugs are not condemned, they have to be punished. Punished as a deterrent for their peer group. Punished to justify the cause of equality and also punished for justice to the victim.
But do we, Indians, practice all of this? Honestly not. Don’t we take the wrong sides in our strife against dalits? How many of us have condemned with equal veracity the killing of harijans in Haryana and UP in recent past? How many of us even know about the Khairlanji massacre? How many among us would be willing to eat on the same table with an untouchable? These inequalities are a common or rather a daily occurrence in our country. Our abhorrence of people of different faith, low caste and different races is incredible and phenomenal. We even believe and differentiate on the basis of color, may be with a vigor and hatred that would make an Australian blush. How many times have we seen the demand for a”beautiful, tall and fair” bride in matrimonial columns. Demand for a Fair bride, in a land which was once dominated by the Dravidans, the real inhabitants of India, those whose genes bore the blueprint from the blacks of Africa.
We live through these atrocities as if they are a natural consequence of race and creed. Unfortunately, our belief in inequalities of caste, creed and religion are so strong that we refuse to raise questions and protest. It is an abject submission to the power of inequality which is rampant in India. So how can we question the Australians on their equality record? What message are we trying to give to the world? Maybe, we demand justice for some but it doesn’t matter if we ourselves are the perpetrators of a similar crime.
My argument to bring the issue of our own record is not to lessen the measure of criminal misdoings of the white Australians. What more can we expect from a race which can even hijack and Europeanize the Christ? My point is that how can a society which is so deprived of justice and social equality raise a voice against the wrong doings of someone else with a fervor good enough to produce results? How can we point fingers when our own hands are red in the blood of egalitarianism? Contradictions in the Indian society are not new. We preach morality but rank highest amongst the most corrupt nations of the world. We preach Gandhism but stage pogroms to annihilate ethnic minorities (that too in the land of Gandhi!). We claim we have never attacked another country, but did we really had time to? We were busy attacking our own churches, our own dalits, our own adivasis, our own peasants, our own men, women and children in the name of caste, religion and race.
With hands across our hearts, we should ask, are we justified enough to question the barbarism in Australia? Isn’t it time to set our own house in order? Can we stand up and be counted so that we can make our case strong against the Australians. Inner strength gives outer courage. India can claim its share of International justice only if its executive, its police, its judiciary and most importantly its people are willing to propagate and inculcate national justice and social equality.
Dr. Shah Alam Khan
Department of Orthoapedics
All India Institute o f Medical Sciences
Ansari Nagar, New Delhi-29