Thursday, October 25, 2007


The racial allegations leveled by Andrew Symonds have opened the proverbial can of worms.

Initially, there was the disbelief that Indian spectators could subject white coloured foreigners to any kind of racial abuse. I use the word disbelief deliberately since even in the context of Indians, the colour of the skin has a very important bearing. There are ‘fairness creams’ which promise to make the dark coloured girl fair much to the relief of her father and family who find it difficult to find a groom. The creams also promise to make the wearer shine on the career path as well. It is no secret that most of the mothers want fair skinned daughters-in-law.

The Indians always hold white foreigners in awe and no wonder even the advertisements for underwears feature a white male or female. Indians attach great prestige to the recognition given by people of the Western world. An Indian novelist or a poet or for that matter anyone from any walk of life is not considered good enough unless there is an approval from a foreigner, especially one with a white skin. The Indian cricket fan is also not different. Giving something back to the Aussie players is not an option since the retribution is feared.

The win in the T20 World Cup where the Aussies were one of the victims of Dhoni and company, emboldened the Indian fans. Suddenly, the fans realized the prospect of the Aussies looking beatable. This added to the noise and Symonds might have misconstrued this as racial abuse.

The Aussies have the right to be aggrieved if the Indian spectators hurled racial abuse. But in the event of no such evidence, there is no way the Aussies should complain for their fans are notorious for their hostility towards players from other countries.

With the allegations, the media made Indians feel ashamed over the racial slurs. Some cricket writers also joined in castigating the behaviour of the Indian spectators.

The reaction of Sharad Pawar in the whole episode was typical of a politician. He argued that the whole issue was due to the inability of the Aussies to decipher the Indian languages. Pawar himself expressed his inability to understand many of the Indian languages. No wonder, the farmers are committing suicides since their pleas cannot be understood by Pawar who is also the Minister for Agriculture in India.

There is no place for racism but it cannot be removed.

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