Aussies, Bollywood, Racism etc

rajesh_khannaThese are scary times for the Indian students in Australia. The fear of being beaten up, or the vehicles being torched etc still prevails and its all in the name of race. The racist attacks against Indian students in Australia have sparked widespread protests in India and abroad. The most noted protest came from the old showman of the so-called Bollywood who refused to accept an award given to him by the Aussies. And the Bollywood joined in this protest against racism.

Yes, against racism. Now before I go further, wouldn’t you agree that Racism, Casteism and Prejudice are cousins? If yes, let us rewind the news a little bit. There we see the Bollywood star of the yesteryears, Rajesh Khanna, publicly mouthing against South Indians.

I had a hearty laugh when she said that when a person retires he or she gets lifetime achievement award. I disagree. Probably she doesn’t know the word (in) English, she’s probably from south (India).

So Mr. Khanna believes that the south Indians do not understand English. Now either I can go ahead and point out at more than a thousand examples of known or not-publicly-known individuals from South India, or ignore his ignorance. And I prefer the latter. What I cannot ignore however, is this kind of prejudice that prevails among us, the people of the same country. But the old Mr. Khanna can be excused since the south Indians themselves have such prejudices against each other.

Coming back to our protest against racism, we Indians seem to have easily forgotten our Desi version of it – Casteism. And as much as we like to deny it, some reminders keep popping up from time to time. Like this, for example. The 11 year old Dalit servant boy who was made to sit and eat under the table, while his masters enjoy their meals on the dining table. The image of a dog  comes to my mind, that sits under the table of his master. We even have a popular name for this set of people now – The slum dogs. And talking of slum dogs, this is about how you would treat the people who belongs to the lowest step of the caste and economical ladder.

Oh, and what was the occassion that Khanna ji made his remarks against South Indians? IIFA – The so-called International Indian Film Awards. about which I had written about in my blog on various occassions (Not in Our Name and Indian Awards, Given Abroad) and of which our old angry young man, who refused to accept the Aussie award in protest against racism, is a leading ambassador.