[WSMDiscuss] [REDlistserve] Indian upper caste outrage against racism in the West is in jarring contrast to apathy towards marginalised at home

Ratheesh Pisharody ratheesh.pisharody at gmail.com
Sat Jun 20 04:49:03 CEST 2020

Thanks for sharing. In the same vein, from "The Diplomat", below:

On Fri 19 Jun, 2020, 8:11 PM Jai Sen, <jai.sen at cacim.net> wrote:

> Friday, June 19, 2020
> *Viruses in movement…, **Racism in movement…, Casteism in movement…,
> Indians in movement…, Solidarity in movement ?*
> [The US is aflame, its peoples are afire… and with them, some members of
> the Indian-American community.  But this article asks hard questions about
> this supposed ‘solidarity’, in relation to the entrenched racism and
> casteism of the same sections, at home in the US and at home in India – and
> about the opportunistic hypocrisy that is involved :
> The Dalit movement in India has taken immense inspiration from the
> African-American civil rights movement, connecting to Black struggles and
> seeking support from the teachings of leaders like Malcolm X. *However,
> the Indian upper caste diaspora in the US and other countries continuously
> equates itself to the Black community, despite being perpetrators of
> oppression against the marginalised in India themselves*.
> *Indian upper caste outrage against racism in the West is in jarring
> contrast to apathy towards marginalised at home*
> [Author not given]
> https://www.justicenews.co.in/indian-upper-caste-outrage-against-racism-in-the-west-is-in-jarring-contrast-to-apathy-towards-marginalised-at-home/
> *With protests raging across America and other parts of the world after
> George Floyd’s murder by a White police officer, the hashtag
> #BlackLivesMatter has been trending on social media. The African-American
> struggle has a long history, and many marginalised communities across the
> world seek inspiration from their resistance. Other countries have extended
> their support to the protests, while expressing concerns over racism and
> police brutality.*
> *Similar support has also been extended by citizens of India to the
> on-going protests, condemning acts of racial violence and discrimination.
> While #BlackLivesMatter needs and deserves all the attention coming its
> way, the sudden outrage by Indians on this issue seems rather hypocritical,
> considering the upper caste’s long history of brutality against Dalits and
> Adivasis.*
> There is constant outrage in Kashmir about the cruelty inflicted by armed
> forces on civilians; people in the northeastern states of India are also
> victims of racism and brutality at the hands of the armed forces. In recent
> times, several activists and students fighting for the rights of
> marginalised communities have called out Indian celebrities for showing
> selective outrage.
> Indian upper caste outrage against racism in the West is in jarring
> contrast to apathy towards marginalised at home
> The marginalised in India have often faced criticism for even voicing
> their concerns. Seeing friends and colleagues be oblivious to matters in
> their own backyard, while showing extreme interest in the US protests, is
> worrying.
> The Dalit movement in India has taken immense inspiration from the
> African-American civil rights movement, connecting to Black struggles and
> seeking support from the teachings of leaders like Malcolm X. However, the
> Indian upper caste diaspora in the US and other countries continuously
> equates itself to the Black community, despite being perpetrators of
> oppression against the marginalised in India themselves.
> Manasa Yendluri, a Telugu-Dalit feminist, poet and writer, expresses
> distress over the same, “Many NRIs and Indians restlessly shouted at the
> top of their lungs and wrote their hearts out for George Floyd. But they
> never seemed to have heard the names of Madhu, Surekha Bhaiyyalal, Manasa
> Yadav, Teku Lakshmi, Bakki Sreenu, Vikas Kumar Jatav, and many other
> Bahujans who were killed in the name of caste. They kept their silence even
> if they knew about these incidents. Animal killings in this country have
> gotten the attention that not a single Bahujan life could get.”
> On 27 May, a pregnant elephant in Kerala died after consuming a pineapple
> stuffed with crackers — a common snare used to scare away wild boars from
> plantations. Social media outrage rose to a crescendo over it, with
> condolences pouring in on every platform. The death of the elephant was
> extremely disturbing and sad. However, what is rather revealing and
> heart-wrenching about India’s reality is that Dalits and Adivasis, in spite
> of losing their lives to brutality every day, do not receive a similar
> outrage or response to atrocities committed against them. This reflects the
> truth about how lives of some communities in this country hold a different
> value when compared to others, and the value is nowhere close to the
> attention that an animal gets.
> The same people, grieving the death of the elephant, could also be seen
> proactively sympathising with the protests against police brutality and
> racism in the US. “Over the last week, I’ve seen plenty of largely
> apolitical Savarna, middle and upper caste people, join in on the global
> outrage and solidarity over George Floyd’s murder. This is particularly
> ironic when one thinks of how this empathy is absent when Adivasis, Dalits,
> Muslims and other marginalised communities in India are brutalised at the
> hands of the state machinery, day in and day out,” says Nolina Minj, an
> Adivasi researcher and writer. “While there is a history of transnational
> solidarity between Dalits and Blacks, upper-caste Indians would loathe
> recognising that their casteism and indifference towards the oppression of
> marginalised communities in their own country stems from the same unequal
> world order that enables racism. Supporting anti-racism in the West, while
> staying mum about violence at home, is a paradox that is morally flawed and
> unstable,” she adds.
> According to a study by Common Cause in 2018, the percentage of people
> detained in India without being sentenced for a crime was 32 percent in
> 2003-2005, and 31 percent in 2013-2015. 67.2 percent of undertrials happen
> in India — double the global standards’ percentage. The survey also clearly
> indicates that the fear among Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims of being
> vulnerable to accusations of crime are quite significant.
> Newsrooms in India too bustle with a homogeneous population of upper caste
> people, with this lack of diversity and inclusivity mirrored in the
> attention attributed to brutality on marginalised communities. Several
> national and state broadcasters, which have reported on the protests
> against George Floyd’s murder as an outrage against white supremacy,
> thereby projecting the protests as dissent with reason, have constantly
> criminalised the anti-CAA-NRC movement in India. They have also maligned
> the Bhima-Koregaon rallies, and with no reluctance, have reported saying
> social activists are anti-nationals.
> “I have been consistently speaking out against the current government on
> social media, especially after the revoking of Article 370, during the
> anti-CAA-NRC protests, the Delhi pogrom, and the unreasonable arrests of
> activists. Several friends and acquaintances often shunned me saying I was
> blowing everything out of proportion, and asked me to focus on the
> positives in the situation. Protesting to protect my right to survive, and
> to speak about it, seemed to be costing me my friendships. But yes, at the
> same time, the same people tweet about ‘Black Lives Matter’,” says Kazim
> Syed, a journalist from Ladakh.
> It is rather distressing and infuriating for marginalised communities to
> shout themselves hoarse, only to see people around them conveniently
> dodging the subject of violence inflicted on them in their own country. The
> same people either perpetrate said violence themselves, or are complicit in
> the act by choosing to stay quiet and ignorant about the lives of a huge
> section of society.
> Solidarity is important while dealing with oppression, but solidarity
> means nothing when it is wrought with hypocrisy. “If incidents that happen
> to Dalits, Adivasis and Kashmiris in India had happened in the US, there
> would be so much more outrage. There are Whites who, like many communities
> in India, try to malign the Black protestors. But the support of
> celebrities towards Blacks is very crucial, because celebrities make up the
> US culture,” says Shripad Sinnakar, a Dalit queer activist, writer and poet.
> According to a 2018 Amnesty report, more than 40,000 crimes against the
> Scheduled Castes were reported in the year 2016. In June 2012, 17 Adivasis
> were killed in an unprovoked attack by the security forces in Chattisgarh —
> this being among the many atrocities carried out against the marginalised
> sections every day. Such incidents make for fleeting news pieces that are
> hardly paid attention to. “It’s akin to ignoring the fire in your own
> backyard, while being engrossed with the distant one being televised into
> your home. It’s no secret that Indians from dominant castes and communities
> are far removed from resistance struggles in their own country. Their
> silence then, and outspoken outrage now, speak volumes about their inhuman
> hypocrisy. It only goes to show how in popular discourse, social justice
> has become a buzzword devoid of meaningful engagement that requires hard
> work,” Minj says.
> The Indian diaspora abroad has always misrepresented India as a country,
> and also its dynamics. The diaspora condemns racial discrimination in the
> West, while erasing their role as perpetrators of violence against
> marginalised communities in their own country.
> “Responsibility lies on their shoulders to raise their voices for the
> marginalised in their homeland, if they are vocal about the minorities in
> the countries they are living in,” says Sinnakar, before adding: “But this
> is also an area of contention for me. What about the problems people in
> other countries are facing? — Muslims in China, indigenous communities in
> Brazil, Chilean protests, and so many others. Those, like our own country’s
> plight, are also talked about globally. So, I believe it’s a moral
> responsibility of every diaspora to voice the concerns of their countries,
> which I’m sure the upper caste diaspora cannot do without being
> pretentious…Solidarity is a moral responsibility; it is what heals
> civilisations and people.”
> Few days after students from Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University were
> seen protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), news of the
> Delhi Police forcefully entering the institute’s library on 15 December
> 2019, and charging at the students with canes, emerged. The videos of the
> incident were circulated widely on the internet. The police had entered
> university premises in riot gear, and had attacked students who were
> studying in the library. Expectedly, the Indian diaspora abroad chose to
> remain largely silent about the episode. Additionally, a significant
> section of this population also hosted pro-CAA rallies in their respective
> countries, while they ironically continued to fight for their rights as
> migrants in foreign land.
> It is also this sect of people who condemn racism and support affirmative
> action in the US, while speaking against reservation, and criminalising the
> discourse of marginalised communities in India.
> “Upper caste feminists only address patriarchy, and refuse to speak of
> caste. Similarly, the Indian diaspora and a majority of upper caste Indians
> can only look at racism in other countries, but not (see) their own caste
> system. Indians who take pride in admitting that they fight against racism
> are giving a statement that they are much more ‘educated’ and advanced
> (than others), and that casteism is too small an issue to fight against.
> The day Ambedkar enters their bookshelves and rests in their hands, is the
> day this nation starts advancing,” says Manasa Yendluri.
> Courtesy : Firstpost
> ____________________________
> Jai Sen
> Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of
> International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of
> Ottawa
> jai.sen at cacim.net
> Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on
> unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900)
> CURRENT / RECENT publications :
> Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – *The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our
> Dance*. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press
> <http://www.pmpress.org/>
> Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – *The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us
> Move ?* (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration
> with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN
> <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>
> , MOM1Flipkart
> <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>,
> and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
> Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – *The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us
> Move ?*.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and
> hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
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