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Are We Indians the Most Racist of Them All?

  • Akshay Rane
  • October 16, 2017
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What happened when a white-skinned foreigner and a dark-skinned African national boarded the Mumbai Local Train…

I have been traveling in the Mumbai local train, over a decade. I have also encountered people from different ethnicity and cultures. At the same time, I have also encountered various episodes in this illustrious career of train traveling.

Still, many new incidents do take place on an everyday basis that continue to baffle me. One such incident, quite recently, made me ponder over the hypocritical Indian society that we live in.

It was just in the last week that a foreigner, probably from the United States, boarded our crowded Mumbai local train. It was peak-hour and the trains were pretty crowded.

The foreigner, apparently had entered the wrong train as he wanted to alight elsewhere. Being a foreigner, he was clueless the way Rahul Gandhi is about Indian politics.

Thankfully for him, there were some kind Indian commuters, who were well-versed in English, and helped him to alight. They even played the role of shield-bearers, the way you saw in 300-the Movie, and protected the foreigner from other commuters boarding the train at every platform.

Once the crowd dispersed, they personally guided the ‘White Guy’ to the correct train. I was amazed by this genuine gesture. Aamir Khan would be moved to tears on seeing the perfect display of ‘Athithi Devo Bhava’ in Incredible India.

I was pleased by the hospitality shown by my fellow commuters. But, the reason I was shocked – a few days before this very incident, I had come across a polarizing treatment meted out to another foreigner, this time, a black-skinned-African National entered our local train.

A week back, a African National living in the far-flung suburbs of Mumbai had entered our crowded local train during the peak-hour. Just like the American foreigner national, the African national was clueless and his first reaction was to nudge the people to enter inside.

The moment he nudged the co-passengers a little, everyone got aggressive and started ganging up on the African National. Before he could ask for help, a hundred commuters had already declared him as a drug peddler who was on the run from the law.

No one even considered his plea for help, forget giving him enough space for standing. The minute he started talking in English, all the formal-wearing English-speaking commuters started arguing and speaking in Marathi or Hindi.

The foreigner was of course perplexed and scared in spite of his towering personality and physique.

Within the 2 minutes he entered the train, he was met with hostile stares and had to face all kinds of accusations. From ticket-less traveling to drug peddling, the unofficial court of that Mumbai local had already sentenced him for life.

Finally, he got down way before his intended destination, for good.

These two different incidents only go to highlight our hypocrisy towards skin-color and racism of the highest order. We Indians being a darker shade of brown tend to frown upon anything that is below a single-shade of white. Also, we complain of racism in foreign countries meted out to us, but we racially abuse darker-toned individuals in our own country.

No wonder, a certain skin-fairness brand, mints crores every quarter. Racism it seems, is ingrained in our culture or how else would you explain our fascination with white skin, fair brides and preference towards everything white.

If we want our Indians to be treated better in foreign shores, it’s about time we start treating other foreign nationals in a better way in our own country, without stereotypes. This also includes fellow-countrymen who are dark-skinned.

Remember, Dark is Also Beautiful!


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