By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
With changing dynamics of the 21st century and the increase in movement of people for prospects in other states and countries have changed the dynamics of metropolitan neighborhoods but one thing that hasn’t changed is our readiness to accept the differences at an external level like appearances, religion, cast, creed etc.
In past few months there were constant reports of attacks on African nationals in India. For whatever valid or invalid reason when it comes to people of African origin we tend to take law in our own hands. Police always gets the last notice after mob has meted out its version of justice with fists and kicks. Now I’ll tell you a very frank reason for that, a lot of these African students and professionals don’t get accommodation in regular middle class colonies. Why? Because they look different as simple as that and it does not limit to regular Africans studying or staying in India. People from northeast face it, Tibetans face it, tourists especially ladies face it, Dalits and the list goes on. Anyone who is different than others in any given state can very well face this sort of situation. Unfortunately no one can change their background or looks for convenience sake but this should not be an inconvenience in the first place. In most cases African nationals had to live in cheap but sometime rough neighborhoods where things can and may times does go out of hand. End result usually end up on TV and all Indians get blame for actions of few miscreants. There are reports that even diplomats and envoys from African countries have faced discrimination in public space. Few days ago news came of Indians being attacked in Congo in retaliation of mistreatment of Africans in India.
Government is running pillar to post to assert India’s position on world stage. India has a huge interest in Africa and other countries on economic and strategic matters. These incidents if allowed to increase can jeopardize that interest and mire our reputation. With economy growing and India emerging as a hub of manufacturing and education, more and more people from around the world will flock to our shores and more and more Indians will go out in search of opportunities. By ensuring security of foreign nationals in India we will make our people safer in other countries. Personally speaking, I got chance to work and interact with African nationals and African Americans, they are hardworking people with dreams and hopes about life just like us. Though different in appearances, we are all humans after all. Hope this fact doesn’t get lost in the fray.