Xenophobia.

xenophobia
/zɛnəˈfəʊbɪə/
Learn to pronounce
noun
dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

Recently after the news spread that the Corono Virus should be really called the Chinese virus, right or wrong, many Indians from the North Eastern states who have mongoloid features were subject to abuse in many states within India. When I read this news, I was ashamed of being an Indian but, on reflection felt sad about our education system that does not teach our people about the diversity of our population within the country.

For all practical purposes, India is like Europe rather than any country. It has many ethnic religious, linguistic and cultural groups and also running within each group sub groups, castes etc and unless one has been privileged to visit all the states and interacted with the local people, eaten their cuisine and enjoyed their differences, it is not surprising that such aberrations take place within our own country leave alone, xenophobia against people from other countries.

I can without hesitation say that I am xenophobic when it comes to Pakistanis and the worst experience that I have had while my travels overeseas was to be mistaken for one in the UK. Since both Pakistanis and Indians come essentially from the same genetic pool, they look the same and it is easy to be mistaken for either by ignorant foreigners. If I felt insulted at being mistaken for a Pakistani, I feel flattered that many Pakistanis, in the UK and other countries name their restaurants as Indian eating places to avoid being mistaken for Pakistani establishments! Although rather dated, this explains that phenomenon.

Very often, xenophobia is confused with or combined with racism and I suspect that this topic was suggested after the recent developments in the USA. Having expounded on xenophobia, let me now address the issue of racism. I have personal experience of racism during my travel and it is not something that one would like to experience ever. We in India too are racist in a way. Since our nation is a mosaic there is a definite preference for fairness and aversion for darkness. The following two ads say enough.

That preference and aversion of colour exists is best explained by the inimitable Mohamed Ali first in a video and then by Robert Mugabe in a statement.

 

“Racism will never end as long as white cars are still using black tyres.

Racism will never end if people still use black to symbolise bad luck and white for peace.

Racism will never end if people still wear white clothes to weddings and black clothes to funerals.

Racism will never end as long as those who don’t pay their bills are blacklisted not white listed.

Even when playing snooker, you haven’t won until you’ve sunk the black ball, and the white ball must remain on the table!

But I don’t care, as long as I’m still using white toilet paper to wipe my black ass, I’m happy.”

Here again a complete overhaul of our education system to treat White and Black as opposites and different rather than good and bad may perhaps change attitudes sometime in the future.

In the meanwhile, I have serious doubts that we can eliminate both, at least not in my life time.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Sanjana. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Mom.

It sounds odd that almost all the recent Hindi movies that I have been seeing are women centric and Mom brings up the latest in it. It has been touted as a come back film for Sridevi and if it is so, my reaction is – “Wow, what a comeback!”

Remarkable as she always is, and I have some very nice recollections of her role in English Vinglish, this one brings out the best in her yet. It is not easy portraying a step mother spurned by a step child but Sridevi brings it off with aplomb and verve.

The story, built around a gang rape, very topical now in India, is gripping and the movie speeds along from scene to scene in a very logical and attention holding way.

The other actors, despite their star rating, like Akshay Khanna and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, play rather unusual and perhaps therefore insipid roles. That however only shows up Sridevi’s remarkable histrionic talent , and it is all for the good.

The step daughter’ role played by Sajal Ali is another female role played to perfection.

Excellent direction, cinematography and subdued background music all go to give a very enjoyable and thrilling experience. I strongly recommend the film to those who have not yet seen it.

I am just mystified by the choice of a Pakistani actors for the role of the father and daughter pair. Couldn’t Indian ones be found? Or is there something happening that we mortals do not know about?

Memory Trigger 17: Separated Brothers.

In the good old days of Bollywood films, young boys getting separated during fairs, calamities etc and growing up to be one good guy and one bad guy was quite common.

I could not resist the temptation to write this post today as earlier this morning, I had to do a double take on today’s Hindu newspaper. Two separate articles has two separate photographs of renowned figures.  The experience triggered the memory of the old separated-when-young-brothers films.

The top photograph is that of Mr. Abdul Basit, the outgoing High Commissioner of Pakistan to India.

The bottom photograph is that of Mr. S. S. Mundra Dy. Governor of the Reserve Bank Of India.

Please do not misunderstand.  I am not suggesting that one of them is the good guy and the other guy is the bad guy. 🙂

The resemblance however, is simply too striking not to deserve a mention from me!

Effectiveness 2.

Please re-read my post Effectiveness to refresh your memory before reading the following two links.

The first one that caught my attention was this news item.

I couldn’t believe my eyes and so probed further and found out another older story.

I wonder what Peter Drucker would have said about this man’s effectiveness in achieving his ambition!

Effectiveness.


My exposure to the word effectiveness for the first time was when I got into corporate life and it was drummed into my head by a number of mentors that Peter Drucker was to be kept in mind all the time. I flatter myself that I have been effective rather than efficient in my life. So rather than bore my readers with a long pontification on the topic, let me share somethings that to my mind are very effective.

My young friend and ex blogger Ashok posted this on his facebook page recently.

“I am a commerce graduate sir. Have a real estate consulting business as well as a fleet of cabs. My wife and I met through mutual friends, fell in love and got married. She is exceptionally brilliant in economics sir and has a masters degree in arts with a gold medal.

My father also pushed her to do her B.Ed course. I am encouraging her to write the UPSC exam next. My dream is to see her become a bureaucrat and I will become her driver.”- Abdul, my Uber cab driver from today morning.

After seeing numerous instances of patriarchy and oppression of women, conversations like these really inspire hope. India shines every once in a while :)”

There are three stories to demonstrate effectiveness here. The first one of course is that Ashok is a remarkably observant fellow besides being of the kind who can get strangers to talk to him. A very effective young citizen of India doing his bit to change our society as a lawyer.

The second is that of the cab driver. Here is a graduate who instead of asking for doles and reservation from the government has decided to be effective as an entrepreneur. Not only that, he wants to be effective in exploiting opportunities that are available by encouraging his wife to compete and succeed.

And the third, the father in law in the story who unlike most of his ilk, wants his daughter in law to study and qualify for a professional life instead of again asking for favours from society. And, more importantly, instead of being a girl at home cooking for and looking after the menfolk!

Another case of effectiveness at its best. A corporate advertisement that strikes the right cords and conveys a powerful message too.

The story starts with an old Indian man telling his grand daughter about his pre partition times in Lahore and about his childhood friend whose family ran a sweet shop there. The grand daughter uses Google to locate the shop’s telephone number and contacts the childhood friend there. The grandson at the other end in turn uses Google to get passports and visas for the grandfather and himself and both of them eventually land up in Delhi for a reunion of the two childhood friends separated by events outside their control.

Has this post been effective?

I have suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.