Because We Own The World

June 10, 2009

So the Indian students stabbed an Australian with a scew driver, and have started patrolling the streets. Soon they will march up to their seat of government, acquire it, and proclaim Australia an Indian colony. WTBF!

I have been an Indian student in the US, following which i lived a happy few years before returning to India this past week. I never encountered any racist abuse or anything of that sort. As do so many Indians all over the world. The trick is to respect the country where you are living. You need to appreciate the fact that that country is hosting you and live by the local rules and customs.

If you don’t, then you will not be welcome anymore.

About the Indians suffering racist abuse in Australia, i don’t have a lot of sympathy for them.

From news reports, there is nothing to suggest that those attacks were racial in nature to begin with.

Indian immigrants very often live in substandard conditions in an effort to cut down on costs. Most reports i have come across mention the attacks as having occurred late at night in shady neighborhoods, perpetrated by rowdy teenagers/drug addicts. I fail to understand how this classifies as racist.

If violent muggings are a hate crime, then India probably has a million such incidents every night on secluded expressways and narrow by-lanes. India must be the most racist country on that count. If we cant even put our own house in order and live like a united country, what right do we have to go to a foreign country and label any violence as racism?

However I won’t be surprised if the attacks start getting racial now that the Indian students are acting the way they are.

Nothing shouts ‘outsider’ louder than holding rallies wielding sticks and baseball bats, and shouting Bharat Mata Ki Jai on the streets of Sydney. If anything, they need to make more attempts to assimilate into the local society instead of trying to stab anyone who calls them Indian.

How long will we Indians keep hiding behind the mask of racism? Why are we always so quick to bring up the r-word at any trace of injustice? Is it because we know that this is such a safe card to play in a politically correct world?

If we are so sensitive to race, then why are foreigners treated so horridly in India with everybody out to take them for a ride?

Do we think we own the world, and have the right to go settle anywhere and expect to be treated as equals even if we dont adapt to the local ways?

(Image courtesy: Daily Nation)

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32 Responses to “ Because We Own The World ”

  1. kavi on June 10, 2009 at 4:03 am

    on the first count : Welcome back ! lets connect up some time.

    And on this entire media story around racism, i think there is more to it than meets the eye. Propped by a media which has just sensed that his is a story at hand and so do political parties.

    We have had the likes of a Bal Thackeray, stating that this is not done, and that such discrimination means you have to give up on Aussie cricketers and industry captains etc. I could only say, ‘come on’ !!

    It is important to blend in to where you live. Absolutely ! And ofcourse, if there is hooliganism, that is a matter of law & order. And nothing else. and that, as you say, is universally present.

    I hope people will see this through.

  2. ruSh.Me on June 10, 2009 at 4:16 am

    And we say that foreigners come to India and pollute our culture!! What do we do different when we are making groups and blocking walkways!! It might seem like a very unimportant(read: stupid) issue here.. Billions of people and walkways tend to get blocked considering we don’t take care of people around us(And we are a cultured society)..!! We can start talking, singing, eating, peeing anywhere on the road..!! A simple thought of opening a door for someone is missing from our etiquettes!!

    Abroad, civic discipline/courtesy is as important as everything else but we take other things on the priority and forget about discipline!!

    I would say ‘Go, Aussie Go!’ At least you will make us Indians learn some discipline!! :)

  3. Mahendra on June 10, 2009 at 4:49 am

    Wow. Nice to see a true and strong opinion piece on Amreekandesi after a long time.

    I have stayed in many countries around the world and never had such a problem. One needs to be wise and assimilate. Unfortunately, Indians are good at acting as outsiders and ghettoizing themselves. Does this come about because we grow up in multi-linguistic, multi-cultural India, where once we visit another state in our own country, we start feeling as outsiders?

    The media is good at sensationalizing the issue and milking the story for what it’s worth.

    We should remember we too live in a very fragile glass house. As I tweeted recently, “To say that Australians are racists is like saying Indians don’t allow women in pubs.”

  4. R.D.B. on June 10, 2009 at 5:56 am

    HMM.. so u have reached back safely .. k

    I absolutely totally agree that Indians need to assimilate into the local environment rather
    then making their own desi islands. I’ll quote a famous saying here “While in Rome, do as Romans do”.
    I have my sympathy for the victims and am not very sure if these incidents in oz are racial in nature.
    But I strongly oppose the Indian student’s outburst. Itz shameful.Gandhiji fought against racism in a very racist society then. Had he gone ahead and burned the train he was thrown out from he wouldn’t have ever been father of nation … or a NOBEL LAUREATE.

  5. Dinesh on June 10, 2009 at 10:59 am

    They might even be hate attacks for all we know, but that gives us no right to cry fowl in the streets and start hating the rest of the general australian population, just because a few rowdies started it. It is like blowing a small smoke and putting the entire haystack on fire. Now, when the entire population of Australia or atleast majority of them indulge in hate crimes against Indians (like say in offices and even in broad daylight) then yes we have a serious situation. But otherwise it is too stupid to sensationalize. Well, the media is doing its part to feed on the story and provoke more of it. I feel sorry for the students who were attacked and I believe they are probably doing the right thing from their side, but they should know the borderline that they shouldn’t cross.

  6. Dinesh on June 10, 2009 at 11:00 am

    By the way, you haven’t written an account of you getting back to India yet. How is that? and would like to hear something about that soon!

  7. Perx on June 10, 2009 at 11:59 am

    I think we are the most racist people in the world..racist? make that smaller.. we diversify on the basis of states, cities, culture, religion, etc. etc. to a much larger extent than any other people in the world. A white person on the streets of India is subjected to a million glares and made to feel like an outsider..
    ANyway, as we are so racist, we automatically assume that others are just as racist as we are or should be and think that any attack on us must be due to that particular reason only.. in india u will hear things like : “i was mugged cuz i am a hindu..” :P

  8. Ritesh on June 10, 2009 at 2:27 pm


    I agree whole heatedly with your post. I think the media has blows this whole thing out of proportion. I am sure there were few cases based on pure racism, however I don’t buy that all those attacks were intentionally done due to our race. Some of those could have been just plain mugging! I can’t stress enough that Indians, when go to other countries, don’t live by that country’s basic (untold) rules. Here are some of my problems with desis that I have observed in US. Please don’t judge me for this, I don’t mean we are all like this, Absolutely not! However, there are lots of people who are like this.

    1) Desis are very rude. (Example, desis will speak in Hindi or other regional language in front of American colleagues.)

    2) Desis lie ( on resumes ( how can 23 yr old Software Engineer, with a MS degree have 6 years of work experience is beyond me), making social and business commitments etc)

    3) Desis don’t have any sense of personal cleanliness or hygiene ( Why do you think so many people complain Indians smell? Because we don’t take care of ourselves, body odor, not clean shaved to work, not wearing clean washed ( forget ironing) clothes, eating typical masala curries for lunch in the office etc etc)

    4) Desis are very greedy. I know everyone wants to make money, however desis will go to any level to make sure they always get the bigger and better end of the deal by hook or crook! (example :using stuff and returning to Wal-Mart)

    5) Desis are racist. Yes, its a two-way street my friends. Desis will only hang out with fellow desis or even worse - just folks from their own state in India.

    6) Desis take lot of things for granted and think its their right to enjoy the freedom US provides.

    I am no saint, I was one of ‘those’ guys myself ( okay, may be I didn’t do everything on the list above, but I have certainly done a few), but the key is to learn from your mistakes and your surroundings. I have changed. Hell, I was changed in first 2-3 years of coming to US! But there are several people who stay in US for 10-20 years but never change! What’s wrong with us?

    Okay, this is my rant of the day!!

  9. Ritesh on June 10, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Oh, I forgot to write - under # 5 above. I have heard that at Taj-Mahal, there is different entry fees for Indian citizens and Foreigners! Of course foreigners pay way more than the regular entry fees. Is this the most absurd thing you have heard or what?! Can you imagine having to pay more to see Statue of Liberty if you are an Indian? Wow, we will burn the whole NYC !

  10. Chikki on June 10, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Wonderful post.Loved it! I agree with you, we think on the same lines.

    Of all the people Indians should not talk of racism, we are the least courteous ones on planet ‘earth’ most probably.Look at how we treat ‘outsiders’ when they come to our country.

    Look at the way biharis were attacked in Mumbai, look at the way people treat you in cheenai if you are a hindi speaking dude.Look at the way local languages are being made compulsory in Govt aided schools in states like karnataka, maharastra, whatever happened to NATIONALITY!!

    We are just hypocrites who refuse to see the truth.:-(. Sad state of affairs!

  11. Philip on June 10, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    The Aus police and some sources say that its the Lebanese and other gangs who are attacking Indians. The Indians on the other hand say that its the Aussies who are attacking them. The Aus govt is having a tough time not only fending off racism claims but also trying to save the billion dollar education industry.

    And our media is having a field day shouting at the top of their voice about the racist Aussie.

    What about Shiv Sena / MNS kind of racism that we see in Bombay against our own citizens? How come no one points out that? Or the racism that the Gujarat govt practises against muslims in Gujarat by pushing them into ghettos and keeping them away from jobs and businesses?

    People living in glass houses must not throw stones at others. But this is in no way exonerating the Aussie govt’s utter failure of preventing attacks against Indians in Aus. And for the same matter the Indian govt’s pathetic performance when it comes to security of its citizens and foreigners who visit India.

    • ACanadian on September 9, 2011 at 11:25 pm

      Those who have stayed in Oz major cities would know…that Lebanese gangs are quite common. It doesn’t have to do with one’s race, but with one’s pockets. So next time those OZ indian bozos who talk about this sh*t, don’t wear those thick golden barbwires around your necks.

  12. Solilo on June 10, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    AD, you already in India? How does home feel? :)

    As for your post, I absolutely agree with everything you wrote.

  13. Mysoul on June 11, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Finally I hear something different. Its not easy for the Indians who go outside to think in terms of how the other views you. There is a saying - you meet the kind of people you are. I mostly agree with it. When we leave our shores each one of us in an ambassador for our Nation but I dont think most behave in a manner that lends a positive image about Indians.

  14. amreekandesi on June 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    @kavi - Thanks so much for the welcome.

    The Thackerays complaining about the racial drama is so ironical. Aren’t they the ones responsible for beating up non Maharashtrian people at railway stations?

    @rush.Me - Strong thoughts there! I agree though…there is no concept of courtesies in India. Its each man for himself.

    @Mahendra - Thanks. I haven’t had much time to blog of late, but i have always felt very strongly about my country (which was one of the reasons for returning), and it upsets me when some funny acting people end up establishing a stereotype against which all Indians are forever evaluated.

    @RDB - Yes i did reach India safe and sound. Thanks :)
    “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Indeed. This is one of my favorite quotes - so relevant in today’s world.

    @Dinesh - Indeed, The students should not cross their boundaries and try to become freedom fighters of some sort. They are only going to make it worse for themselves and everybody else in that country, maybe even elsewhere.
    A post on my return is coming up very soon. I have been tired, sweating, jetlagged, and too busy eating mangoes to be able to put my thoughts together.

  15. amreekandesi on June 11, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    @Perx - I agree, Indian society is inherently very intolerant and racist.

    @Ritesh - Thanks for the comprehensive list. A lot of it i have also seen people do, which is quite shameful, and gives a bad reputation to all Indians. But like you said, all Indians are not the same. There are many thoughtful, caring, benevolent Indians out there who do a lot for society.

    @Chikki - Thanks. Exactly my point - there’s no concept of nation among many Indians. If we cant tolerate our fellow Indians, why demand that Australians be nice to us?

    @Philip - The Indian govt is pathetic at maintaining law and order. Delhi’s roads are no longer safe at any time of the day, cases of foreigners getting raped abound, and yet our PM is busy calling up the Australian PM to talk about the attacks on a dozen students?

    @Solilo - I have been in India a few days now, and feels good to be home. It almost feels like i never went away :)

    @MySoul - I also always thought of myself as an ambassador for the country, and like you i also noticed that many Indian immigrants dont really care about that. Its a mad rush for money for most immigrants.

  16. Roshni on June 11, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Very well-said! And, I think Ritesh just stole the words from my mouth too!!
    Hope you are well-settled now and ready to give us an account of your first few days living in India!!

  17. R.D.B. on June 11, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    I agree wid Ritesh but ye there are many more who have assimilated into the main stream as well.

    But ye we Indians are a strange lot..!!!! When I was new here, being a vegetarian, I tried carrying my luch wid me to office but soon realise that It wud be better if I tried out the Office canteen. I used to go there and ask about each and every item on offer and they were always very forthright and sincere with their answers..

    consider the same scenario in india .. if a foreigner asks about the food , one person will try to answer while others will b smiling (giggling!!!!) and some more trying to glorify it against all the other foreign receipes…!!!!!Jus imagine how comfortable we make outsiders…:).
    So u see I have tried to be a part of main stream but mayb ‘coz am the only “desi” in my office (lol..) But I know many people who nvr miss a day without homemade spicy curries n even party means indian food by default as other things are mere “bread - butter” n hence a waste of money!!!!!

    Basically it depends on an individual n how receptive u r to change and adapt…some are open to change while some abhore it.. sadly, I feel, we as Indians have more of the later type.!!!

    and yes did u manage to relish mangoes in India or mayb mom-made mango shake..:)) or hve u missed out….!!!!!

  18. The Quirky Indian on June 12, 2009 at 1:09 am

    Welcome to India, sirjee. :-)

    Excellent post, and I couldn’t agree more.

    @Ritesh, Philip: Very true.

    Indians are actually the most racist of the lot. And, as others have pointed out, we have terribly irritating habits.

    As for assimilation: what’s that?


    Quirky Indian

  19. Smitha on June 12, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Everything you say and what most commentators have said is so true.. The trick is to respect the host nation and behave as ambassadors of our country of origin - a lot of us forget that..

  20. amit on June 12, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I think the idea is to blend in. Wear their clothes and do things which they do. The more you stand out, the more are the chances that you will be in trouble.
    There are bad elements everywhere. India is like the epitome of racism and many more things. But when we are very good at blaming others too.
    And the media is always there to add fuel to the fire. They got their masala.

  21. […] : Amreekandesi What : Because We Own The World Spicy : A very different and a relevant view on the attacks on Indians in Australia. Most of the […]

  22. me on June 13, 2009 at 8:04 am

    True.We cheap,greedy desis.Recently had an experience on this, first hand!! Its not just ‘me, me, me.Its me,me,me and NOT YOU.

  23. amreekandesi on June 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    @Roshni - Thanks! The first account is already up - apologies for a late reply to your comment.

    @RDB -

    “Basically it depends on an individual n how receptive u r to change and adapt”

    Very true! And rest assured, i am attacking Mangoes with a vengeance ;)

    @QI - Thanks for the welcome, and thanks for the appreciation :)

    @Smitha - True!

    @Amit - Exactly. And of course, our useless media just needs to have some story to sell the ad slots.

    @MeSingh - Yups. Good point there…that’s another despicable behavior that comes from people’s insecurities.

  24. Nita on June 19, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I haven’t read all the comments here but this is what I feel. One, that yes Indians need to try and assimilate. Two, however badly the Indians behave, it is no excuse for any locals to get violent. Three, the police have to act, whoever complains. Four, I have no idea if it is racism. If it is, then its shameful. But I just want to repeat, there is no excuse for the violence. If the aussies are attacking the indians because they talk loudly or stand around in groups or talk in their native language (as was reported in the indian press) then its racism.

  25. Chiranjib on June 30, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Hey, visited your blog after quite a long time.

    So many updates!

    Regarding this post. Well, you have a point there. But you know something, there is a difference between collaboration (read assimilation) and compromise. If it’s collaboration, it’s good. Actually, there has to be a balance somewhere. Yes, we are not perfect! We have the Thackereys, the higher fees at the Taj, atrocities like those on Graham Steins, communal hatred… we have everything! Yes, assimilation is the order of the day. We need to understand the viewpoints of others and tolerate different cultures. But, in spite of all of these, attacks on Indians cannot and should not be justified. Every civilized nation has law and order. If things like what happened emulate those in India, tell me, how is Australia different from India? We are a ‘developing’ nation, but they had ‘developed’ long ago! (Well, really?)
    I do not support the mishaps in India - no true Indian should. Foreigners are our guests and they deserve to be respected and helped in all ways possible. But the same holds true for them.
    I agree with your views that many Indians abroad do not demonstrate the basics of assimilation and thus invite unwelcome attention from not-so-civilized people. I would be happy if that is the case, since, then, the onus is on us to improve our behavior. But the question here is: Is that really the case?

  26. Swati on July 1, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Hey there, good one. I live in Sydney and have experienced aussies all over the place to friendly and helpful. First, it’s media that overhypes, second- security is something that we need to be aware of everywhere, not just in Sydney , Mebourne or Mumbai.

  27. Alok on November 16, 2009 at 3:51 am

    Hi everyone… I had no idea about this site earlier, and commenting almost 5 1/2 months since the last post! I’ve gone through every Response to this Article(Because We Own The World). i found myself most agree with # 24 Nita. even agree with others too. But the discussion was started about Ozs attacking Indians. Most of you, talked about how Indians, behave Globally. they’ll behave like they are… Then they should face the same situation like OZ around the world, but not!!
    There is no excuse for the violence.

  28. In India, White is Right | AmreekanDesi on April 30, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    […] to think we cried ourselves hoarse complaining about racism over a couple of muggings in […]

  29. Ankit on June 17, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Its realy easy to sit on your ASS and write a lecture or give your valuable comments on this lecture while scratching balls, for the indians living in sydney. Desi,you are such a DESI that you dint even try to do some close research and then write something. next time you need to do some more research before commenting about the incident of sydney or any where else.

  30. Abhishek on December 16, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Indian students in Australia are CUSTOMERS and deserve excellent service from the Australian authorities who spread red carpet for them. Do not confuse America with Australia. America defines itself by its values of freedom, Australia sees itself as a white utopia. Sure, American history is littered with evil, but the difference is that while Americans are ashamed of their evils, Australians are proud of it. Aussies just dont have the sense of fairplay and justice that Americans do. Freedom is a cultural value inculcated in the foundations of a nation: while America was founded on the idea of freedom and justice, Australia was founded on the idea of white utopia.

    And most importantly, you should remember America is a superpower while Australia is lucky to be considered a minor power. Let us keep it real: the onus is on Australians to win our favour. And Australia is pretty rude and loud for a power so small: just look at their discriminatory ban on uranium exports to India. Obama recently ordered the Aussies to repair relations with India and the poodles scrambled to lift the uranium ban 24 hrs before Obama touched down to inspect his Australian subjects.

    And lastly: there is no harm in a chant of Bharat Mata on the streets of Sydney. If only Aussies had been more respectful before, they would not have to pathetically lick their spit on the uranium issue. And some 7 days after the ban was lifted, Kevin Rudd wanted a military relationship with us that we promptly dismissed. If anyone needs to be ashamed of their racism, opportunism and spinelessness here, it is not India.

  31. mallikaa on March 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    reading your old posts in the middle of nightt…

    U can 4 sure count me in your list of fans…..

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