Indians have a reputation for the way they welcome outsiders. We are pleasing and warm to others, and possibly one of the humblest beings in the world; or that is what the image was until we arrived in the present and stained the picture.
What has stained the picture in recent times are the incidents in Delhi where an African national Masonda Ketad Olivier was attacked and killed, discrimination against Africans and other friends from far east. These are some instances when the country and the people are disgraced while India is being looked down upon by fellow developing nations and the world.
With a recent peace protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi being canned, many Africans residing in India and studying in Indian universities were left irked. Although, the Ministry of External Affairs and Delhi Police helped the students with an assurance that their safety is treated as the government’s priority. Many of the students were restricted to college campuses and found themselves safe among friends.
Joshua Boit, president of the Kenya African Students Association in Aurangabad travelled to Delhi to attend the peace rally but was disappointed on the protest being cancelled. Speaking on behalf of fellow Africans, he said the attacks in recent times have been very degrading for them. He has also written about this to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and was looking forward for the response from him.
The recent attack only reflects the attitude prevailing within masses of the country, what happened in Delhi is synonymous to hate crimes in Hyderabad or let it be the situations in Bangalore. We all have been a witness to one of our African friends finding it difficult to find a shelter, when most of them are looked at cat eyed, being judged to be drug peddlers.
It is not just in societies that African nationals face discrimination; it is also at government structures – at airports, at government offices, even at banks.
Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs minister tweeted in good faith to fellow Indians that every time they see an African national, one must approach them and tell them that ‘India loves them’. She also assured that the officials are working on the situation, which is a great move and at the same time something that is very moving. The only way to subdue this discrimination is to befriend them and assure their safety on a personal level.
Remember how we promote tourism in those government sponsored ‘Atithi devo bhava’ television commercials but at present how India actually practices them, looks like more of a chalk and cheese situation.
What has made us incredible is our hospitality. India currently has opened doors to world economies and with incidents such as these, we would be displaying a very wrong character.
Does discrimination help you in anyway, hypocrites? Question yourself.