On the 25th of March, a 17-year old boy Manish Khari died of drug overdose. The family and the locals hold a group of Nigerians who allegedly supplied those drugs, hence surely responsible for his death.
Let us take a minute here to analyze the situation. What seems to be the biggest problem here – a 17-year old student dying, the fact that drug overdose killed the child or that five Nigerians might be somehow connected to the case. Judging by the way the mobs at Pari Chowk area have been harassing the Nigerian students, it certainly seems to be the latter. No one cares to look at how the family itself failed miserably at parenting and making sure the child did not get into wrong habits. No one even tries to see which of the Nigerians actually had anything to do with the death. All that is visible is that a group of people that differ from us in certain ways met with Manish Khari a day before his death and hence are to held responsible for anything and everything that went wrong following that rendezvous.
Looking deeper into this particular case, it becomes clear that the real reason for these incidents is the need of the victim’s family to blame someone for their woes. So, they go out to say that a bunch of people from a distant foreign land were the ones that brought doom upon the kid. That is okay. Everyone has the right to think whatever they want. But the problem arises when you move to the streets, instigated and driven by the self-proclaimed patriotic organizations that feast on “masala” generated from scandals. Even such counter-productive, inconvenience-causing, life-disrupting acts are tolerable to an extent (it’s India we’re talking about, after all) but the moment you go about thrashing any and every black person you see on the streets, the protest gathering immediately transforms into a mob. Hitting random Nigerians the mob sees in public places such as malls just goes on to prove to the world that we’re so blinded by racial discrimination that all we see in a differently-coloured human is a culprit deserving punishment. Ironic considering our own colonial history.
Simply because some people look, dress, talk and live differently does not make them evil. How is that even feasible to think? Indians have been subjected to discrimination and practices that placed us below people of fairer skin. Having struggled and fought through such treatment during the British rule, we take pride in the fact that we do not judge people based on the colour of their skin (we discriminate based on caste, religion, language and sex – but never on colour). Then pops up this news of random black people being indiscriminately and thoughtlessly subjected to uncalled-for acts of violence – flushing all of the pride down the drain.To see all of this occurring in a region inhabited by the supposedly ‘educated, open-minded’ people of NCR is a let-down for the country.
Being biased is acceptable – it is an integral part of human nature. However, when the bias intensifies to an extent that we start labelling people around us as an inflexible colour coding of black or white, it is no longer simple bias but a case of prejudiced judgement. Such judgement incites hatred and the resulting retaliation makes this vicious cycle start anew. Indians, at least when it comes to racism, are often on the victim’s end. Hence, it is expected of us that we respect and treat people fairly irrespective of their colour. Contrary to this, even we are mistreating foreigners and projecting ourselves as a hostile country to the world community. Be it overcharging non-Indians for items of everyday use or alienating them in social and academic environments, the problem might soon into an issue of severe political and diplomatic consequences. Rather than seeing the world around us as consisting of browns and blacks, we’d be many times better off just being blind to all these colours and being receptive to what the real person under the coloured hood has to offer. Personality isn’t skin deep either.