There will be two, maybe three, more posts going up to the 15th August.
Now, what is wrong with this picture?
Does the girl look Chinese?
Is she “Chinky”?
If you answered ‘yes’ to the above two questions, then you are wrong.
She is from the North Eastern state called Manipur. There are seven states in North East India, where the people have Mongoloid genes. It is one of my favourite parts of the country. I have travelled there in the past, and intend to travel and photograph it again in the next few years.
She is not Chinese, nor is she “Chinky”. She is very much Indian, and she is a friendly girl who once served me up a fantastic hot dog.
Yet, people in Delhi call them Chinky and beat them up. Several have been killed.
When I was 16, I was sitting quietly in the Army Mess ( we were to be seen, but not heard) listening to a Parsi Lady wax eloquent about the Americans, and how they mistreat Indians, and discriminate against us. She then went on to criticise black people, and when I finally, timidly raised my hand and said, “Ma’am, but aren’t you doing the same? Discriminating against a bunch of people?”
Giving me a withering look, she said, “Young boy. You don’t understand. We are light brown. We are not black. Therefore, no one has the right to discriminate against us.” With that, I was dismissed.
A few years back, there were reports in the Indian papers about Indian students being beaten up in Australia. Now, I am not going to go into the details, nor excuse the Aussies. Neither will I excuse the Indians who, other reports claimed, had made no attempt to integrate into the Aussie society.
Yet, here we are, discriminating against our own people, simply because they look different, and come from a part of the country that not too many Indians know about.
Methinks, we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves how we, as Indians, can do better.
It is easy to talk about Americans, Aussies, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Blacks, Yellows, Whites, Greens, and say – “You bad sonofabitch! How dare you discriminate against me!”
We have made strides, as a Nation. When I was in my teens, any one from the South was considered dark and not fit for marriage into a North Indian family. With the opening up of our economy, things have improved on this front. But not enough.
Unless we learn to respect what, and who, is different, we will never find peace on this planet.