It is high time we accept that Indians are indeed racist

Published: April 8, 2017

My experiences with the way we react to Africans and the colour of their skin have led me to believe that we, as a nation, need to change our attitude.

The government has taken great pains to explain the last few days of turmoil in Greater Noida to the world, with Indians being dubbed “xenophobic and racist”.

And it is high time we accept that Indians ARE indeed racist.

My experiences with the way we react to Africans and the colour of their skin have led me to believe that we, as a nation, need to change our attitude.

I simply cannot erase the memory of the day a few of my older sister’s Kenyan friends were mistreated at my house in Varanasi. Many Kenyans believe India offers the best prospects for education, and those among them who can afford it, prefer to study here rather than in the west. Since completing her university education from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), my sister’s friend has long gone back to her country and is doing extremely well in her chosen field of work. I am, however, sure that she and her fellow Kenyan friends carried home some bitter memories too.

A group of Nigerians was attacked in Greater Noida on March 29.
Photo: Videograb/IndiaToday

BHU has a hostel for international students where most Kenyan students live with cohorts from other countries. My sister’s friend also had a few family members doing their PhDs at BHU and one of them was living with her one-year-old child. At the time, my sister, also a student of BHU, had invited her friend over to our house. So one of those days, the Kenyan family, including the baby, visited us. The child was the cutest cherub I had laid my eyes on. I was dying to hold her and take her around our house when our landlady promptly stepped in, asking us not to bring the baby inside the premises because she considered it a “bad omen”. I was still in school, and neither my sister nor I knew how to respond to this absurd statement. We could only hope the guests did not hear or comprehend her embarrassing remark.

How in the world can a baby be a bad omen?

We dismissed her outrageous reaction and went inside the house. My sister’s friend said that she knew that Indians called them ‘kala bhooth’ (black ghost) and that they were not as welcomed as the white foreigners. Due to this, Africans, as a community, used to be scared of us Indians and preferred to stick with their own in a group. Owing to their fear, they never ventured out to make friends with any of the Indian students.

I am sure that today, just like me, my sister too wishes she could turn back time and give our landlady a befitting reply in order to change at least one person’s perception of some of the nicest people in the world.

I can only hope that we change our attitude and perceptions for the better. It will not just stop this mindless violence against a certain section of the world’s population, but also encourage more African students to visit, study and make a home in India.

This post originally appeared here

Vidya Kumar

Vidya Kumar

The author is a bio - journalist for over a decade mainly covers the courts. She has not lived in all the states of India but wishes to travel the country. She tweets at @journovidya

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Rohan

    Expected this article to be put up here after all pakistan will do anything to denigrate India and Indians and justify the 2 nation theory which died in 1971Recommend

  • khan saab

    how absurd you sound!!! Instead of condemning this heinous attack you are diverting it to another pit. very low from you man!Recommend

  • Sane

    India, a country of racists and rapists.Recommend

  • common

    While fully defending the right of the author to post anything she wants and also thanking her for showing bravery to post a negative piece about india on a pakistani news site, i am sorry to say that this piece will attract the vile vermin pathetic no lifee trolls from both countries here. They will proceed to type something which is little better than garbage, putting it forward as their opinion, and completely overshadowing any meaningful dialog. So its better such articles dont appear on cross border website.

    Just my opinion
    Have a nice dayRecommend

  • akhil g

    Yes we Indian are racists.We are also racists towards Whites because we call them “Firangi” which literally means wrong color or “Badrangi” which means bad color or “Laal Muh Wala Bander” which means red faced monkey.I am also racist so I should kill my brother because he is duskier than me,he may be of some other breed from some other parents and also I should broke the idols of Krishna,Rama,Kali and Shiva because all they are black and start worshiping Jesus because European says he is “white God with blue eyes”.Recommend

  • kp

    We northerners (North Indians, Pakistanis) are epitome of racism, we think that we are perfect. sick mentality of ours.Recommend

  • Shah Saeed

    The Blog Is By An Indian And Secondly Your Media Bashes Pakistan Day In Out If Something Appears On Pakistani Media Your Backsides Start BurningRecommend

  • Saikumar Yerubandi

    So you based the whole article on the reaction of your landlady and that becomes India??

  • ajmalkhattak

    India is not only racist but a criminal entity built by British so the few dozen Upper Class Hindu Baniya families could control rest of masses. it has no future it has to disintegrate just like Soviet union and Yugoslavia.Recommend

  • Muhannad

    When terrorists commit their acts we never said Muslims are terrorists.So for the acts of some illiterate indians why paint all indians as terrorists , sorry i mean racists?Recommend

  • SuperNeo™

    Most of Nigerians are involved in banned drug business. they all come for better education but in reality do business of fake dollars or drugs smuggling from african nations,
    what ever happened with them is very correct same way they should be teach lesson in Goa and other states too,
    non guilt for this act every citizen has right to contribute in cleaning his country.Recommend

  • Patwari

    What a great article. Kudos to the author. A marvelous piece of writing.
    Please keep up the good work. It’s amazing to see a Hindustani expose
    and peel off the Bharati national psyche, still mired in superstitions, voodoo,
    black magic and everything in between. Like layers of an onion.
    Truly, a magnifecent piece of writing. Indeed.
    This includes feeding a newborn infant honey for the first few days of it’s
    life. So that the infant will have a sweet vocabulary when it grows up!!
    Never mind that the newborn’s digestive system is not equipped to handle
    doses of any amount of honey. Mother’s milk or baby formula is about all
    a newborn can digest at this stage. Talk about infant mortality rate of
    The ingrained, cultural mores such as Sati, Caste System, Untouchables,
    and a plethora of social guidelines will simply not change, anytime soon.
    So you go back to square one. A Hindu Desh that invented plastic surgery
    5000 years ago. And has an extremist, known as ‘the butcher of Gujrat’
    ruling it.Recommend

  • Ahmed Ali khan

    2nation theory is alive and presently Modi, proving it everyday.Recommend

  • Fazlullah Omar

    I can accept india being called a racist state but definitely not a failed state like pakistan Recommend

  • fahadchaudhry

    I don’t agree with you and I do have firsthand experience of facing racism from Indians at my workplace in Gulf. I am the only Pakistani in a group of companies in Oman and apart from the Omani owners of the companies, rest of the workforce is of Indian Hindus (majority from Kerala and remaining few from Telangana and Tamil Nadu) and I know how tough it’s for me to work with them because of their racism towards me in every aspect, be it any work related issue or any perk given to me by owners – THEY SIMPLY CAN’T BEAR IT. And it seems that “Racism” and “Dirty Politics” is in blood of Indians.Recommend

  • Bogan

    Rohan, go take a look at who the author is, she’s not a Pakistani. This is not about Pakistan or Pakistanis, this is about black people (mostly students) getting beaten up in India for being Black, in “vibrant shining India!”.Recommend

  • Cushtic

    This is the bitter reality of modern India, i’ve seen some of the videos of an entire mob of people going after some Nigerians in Delhi, and the police just standing there doing nothing. India is going in the direction of hatred, racism, and that in itself is fuelled by Hindutva ideology. You might get the odd Communist who might take the other side, but thats just token support, with no real substance. – All of this, In spite of the fact that MILLIONS of Indians live all over Africa, and have benefited from it. – The Pakistanis on the whole seem to have learnt the bitter and harsh lessons of ethno-nationalism and racism, and how it has been used to create problems within PK, and thereby have on the whole actively reject it. Yes there might still be some ignorance, but you ain’t gonna get 200 people running after some Nigerian students in Lahore, just because they’re black….Today the average Pakistani looks at the world with a Pan-Islamic lens. Its the bitter reality, that most on here won’t want to hear or accept, but again, the reality.Recommend

  • Akbar Sait

    Try ascending in your thought processes. Mind you colour and race prejudice is a common problem that we all share in the sub continent. Possibly one more illustration of intellectual backwardness, the same that keeps India and Pakistan wasting vast resources in their unending cold and hot war. Recommend

  • Fudayl

    No Rohan, I for one will not do as you expect. Racism is indeed a scourge for the entire humanity and most Pakistanis have same feelings as most Indians have, I am sure.Recommend

  • Sonali

    Same Pakistani parroted replies – Sati, Caste System blah blah. What do you know about caste system? Modi is a backward caste fellow if you so want to call it. Mayawati a dalit has ruled UP for decades. fix your own house.Recommend

  • Sonali

    Which Hindu “baniya’ families are ruling it? Do you know any Hindu apart from a baniya?Recommend

  • Ziona

    They were not beaten because of skin color but because of the nefarious activities like drug peddling they are involved in. There are many dark skinned Indians who live normal lives and are not beaten day in and out for the color of skin. Recommend

  • Milind A

    Your whole country is a fraud… Recommend

  • Patwari

    Ah there! So the Caste System still exists! Thanks for verifying!
    Straight from the horse’s mouth. And Modi Sarkar is a “backward
    caste fellow”. Good grief! Had no idea there was a ‘backward caste’
    too. Thought it was just the Brahmin, the Warrior, the Dalit, the Bunya,
    the Untouchable, and now a new category,… ‘Backward caste’
    Who is this Mayawati? She rules UP? They have rulers in UP? Gosh!
    No wonder Modi is carrying so much baggage….[bad juju].
    It definitely translates into his blood soaked outlook on life. But then,
    what else can you expect from a chai wallah, who turned into a butcher
    the Butcher of Gujrat.
    Do you see all this? it’s called …karma.Recommend

  • ab

    India is well on the verge of self destruction, divided once again this time in multiple pieces. happened then and it will happened now also.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Huh? Wha…? Say again,…you?..Well..when did you decide
    to become a “Northerner”?
    Meaning you are from Chitral? Hunza? Gilgit-Baltistan? Pak
    Kashmir? Hindustani Jammu and Kashmir? Laddakh? Kohistan?
    Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa? Swat? FATA Tribal Areas?
    These are the true blue Northern Areas. The rest don’t count.
    Barring hindus in IOK and Jammu, these Northerners are the
    most forthright, self respecting, hospitable, welcoming, simple
    people. With not an iota of racism or any hint of being bigots.
    You must be one of those transplanted “southerners” or “lowlanders”
    from either South Hindustan or South Pakland.Recommend

  • Sane

    Why Pakistan is being discussed. This is Indian issue and very grave. Needs correction.Recommend

  • siesmann

    This(address below) is how Indians(not Hindus exclusively) of “low castes” are treated in India. These are poor Africans!!

  • Kasturi K

    A secure, sure road to failed state. Speaking from experience. But never mind, keep trudging on this road, run with full speed, no problem. You
    are on the right path, man.Recommend

  • jai hind

    and what good it will do to you. you will still continue to crawl in your pakistan. India is there from 5000 years. countries like yours will come and go. Recommend