I wonder what Indian media and people like Amitabh Bachchan (and, of course, that Foreign Minister of India – I forget his name) will say to this – that 29,000 Indians migrated to Australia in 2011-12, thus becoming the LARGEST group to migrate to Australia.
Call Australia racist, but want to live in Australia!
And what does this say of Australia – which welcomes 29,000 new Indians to its shore to live here PERMANENTLY in just one year? A very racist nation, isn't it? Of course.
Now, let me add that in saying this I do not by any means intend to play down the MASSIVE soft racism that is typically practiced in Australia. It is thriving as ever before. My experiences confirm the ongoing pattern of body stereotyping. But that is no less or more an issue than the caste and other forms of racism (skin colour consciousness) practiced in India. Indeed, Indian racism continues to be FAR more insidious and problematic than Australian racism.
Both need to go.
I have only one word for those who think "race" is a real concept: If you think that “race” is a real concept, then you are an ass.
One thing, though, this does indicate that India is now becoming SUCH a big problem to live in, that TENS of thousands of its brightest people are rushing to flee India.
The solution is clear: we need good leaders to rise and reform India's unbelievably hopeless governance. Join the Freedom Team if you have the capacity to lead India.
Watch these short films. Nothing to write home about, but the message is there:
Lest my writings against casteism/ racism be construed to mean that I want a role for government in these matters, let me reaffirm, as I've done on many occasions, that this is not the case.
A government has ABSOLUTELY no role in our personal prejudices. So long as we don't directly harm anyone else, we can be as prejudiced as we like.
It is only within government jobs that such discrimination must be punished. In private life, you are free to be as casteist/racist as you like.
I OPPOSE such prejudices in every way – in my personal capacity – but so long as you don't directly harm anyone, you are free to be as bigoted as you like.
Such things are for social reform and public debate, not for regulation.
Here are extracts from a discussion on FB:
GS Dear Sir, Humbly I must put that I am really pained at this misinformed post of yours which mallignes Hinduism. Caste system is present not just in Hinduism but also Christians, Muslims, Sikhs etc. In fact in Kerala there are separate churches and burial grounds for Dalit Christians…Hindus welcomed a Sikh Prime Minister, a muslim president was more popular than the present Hindu president . UPPER CASTE Hindus will certainly WELCOME A DALIT PM, KR NARAYANAN WAS A LOW CASTE GUY Caste System still survives because of the reservation policies of the government and only free markets and economic progress can eliminate caste system over a period of time
Sanjeev Sabhlok "Caste system is present not just in Hinduism but also Christians, Muslims, Sikhs etc." Let's assume this were true. Does it mean that if a fool jumps in a well, you too should follow the fool? The point is this caste thing is the GREATEST blight on mankind today. It is intolerable that Hinduism has a caste system. It is discriminatory and offensive at all levels.
GS These days it is fashion to malign Hinduism, of course people donot have balls to malign other religions .I have myself read your 'measured posts' on Islam. Caste system is not a product of Hinduism alone and I am not sure how it came up in the first place…but some kind of factions and divisions are present in all societies. I strongly object to you calling hindus racists and against liberty. that is something that can be avoided
Even Krishna said that you donot become a kshtriya by birth and Brahmans fought in the war in Kurukshetra….now for your information…here is the message of Bhagwad Gita ( and tell me if you find a better message from any other religion) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V42dN_z0SCY&feature=related
Hinduism and Buddhism are in my knowledge the only religions that come closest to freedom and liberty….as against Islam, which one of my friend calls (and I agree) a collectivist political ideology
Sanjeev Sabhlok Dear GS re: "I strongly object to you calling hindus racists and against liberty. that is something that can be avoided".
I'm afraid the truth must be spoken. There are many Hindus who are AGAINST caste system and in favour of liberty. But those who want to exploit the caste system for their personal gain are opposed to changing it. They also oppress the "Dalits".
You keep saying (very incorrectly, I may add, but I'll not debate that), that "Caste system is not a product of Hinduism alone and I am not sure how it came up in the first place…but some kind of factions and divisions are present in all societies." The truth is that the caste system with its most obnoxious and hideous discrimination is ONLY found in Hinduism. Social inequality is found everywhere but has never been institutionalised to the extent found in Hinduism.
Please don't quote me the Gita or Vedas. I care for the truth that prevails TODAY. And the truth is very ugly. The sooner you admit it, and start a battle against this evil, you will help India's growth as a free nation. When 30 per cent of India's population is treated almost on par with slaves, India can't become free.
I have mentioned on this blog in the past that I find Indians to be among the most racist people in the world.
They look at the world first through the prism of skin colour. Then caste, then parentage (who was your father), then your geographical coordinates (the state you "come from", the town or village, and so on ….
Merit comes a distant tenth (or even fiftieth).
Such a deeply parochial and bigoted view of the world was perhaps appropriate for a static agricultural economy which needed to reproduce all necessary goods over hundreds of generations without a hiccup. Intensive stereotyping was perhaps useful, then.
But today it has become an extremely incorrect way of looking at the world. We can be very easily deceived if we assess the worth of people based on their skin colour.
I was reminded of this issue today because someone mentioned to me earlier in the day that he finds his Indian friends to be the most racist of all. They are "proud", for instance, of the fact that they are not Africans or Aborigines.
I'm willing to believe this, for I have heard many stories about how badly African students are treated in Delhi. These people are also derogatively called "Kallus" – a term I first heard from one of my fellow Indian PhD students in USA.
It is necessary that we ask ourselves the harsh question: ARE WE COLOUR-CONSCIOUS? If so, we need to work hard to eliminate this false consciousness.
I was editing the 'race' section of DOF a moment ago. I'm providing the current draft below for your comment (and, hopefully not necessary, englightenment).
Evolution is unrelenting. It doesn’t stop – even for a single generation. Millions of mutations occur in each generation, as the life force engages in active experiment to prepare itself for contingencies. The overwhelming majority of these mutations die. Millions of unsuitable human foetuses are aborted by nature every year; and thousands of defective ones that are born, quickly disappear. Only ‘good’ mutations, that give (or can give) the species a competitive edge, survive. This evolutionary process allowed our ancestors to roam the earth, adapting to all its environments with relative ease. Only the children best adapted to the environment cold survive. In this process a number of cosmetic differences emerged.We all seem to have descended from dark skinned African forbears who were adapted to intense equatorial sunlight (to block out harmful wavelengths). As humans moved to the higher latitudes they found less sunlight, making it hard the dark-skinned to produce sufficient vitamin D. In the high latitudes, children with a mutation that helped them produce less melanin (lighter skin) had better odds of survival than their darker siblings. Over time, the so called ‘white race’ evolved, as a local environmental adaptation. Note that being a function of random chance, evolution doesn’t lead to exactly the same ‘solution’ or adaptation everywhere.Similarly, children with mutation for longer hair survived better in higher latitudes than those with Afro- (or short, curly) hair because long hair keeps the head warmer. Once these mutations had emerged, other factors such as their ‘popularity’ (sexual adaptation, which is often linked with fitness), would have come into play.A range of ‘hidden’ adaptations which are not cosmetic but otherwise crucial to survival, also emerged. For instance, those Europeans who had a mutation which protected them from bubonic plague survived the Black Death. Those without the mutation, died. As a result of this, the progeny of the survivors (being most of the Europeans living today) are also resistant to the plague.While such adaptations have led to many (minor) differences, overall, these differences account for less than 0.01 per cent of the variation in the human genome. We are identical in 99.99 per cent of our genes. Scientists tell us that ‘[i]t is impossible to look at people’s genetic code and deduce whether they are Black, Caucasian or Asian.’ Variation amongst individuals within a so-called ‘race’ is generally far greater than variation across so-called ‘races’. Thus, ‘modern human genetics … deliver[s] the salutary message that human populations share most of their genetic variation and that there is no scientific support for the concept that human populations are discrete, non-overlapping entities.’ The myth of ‘race’ had long ago been exploded (such as in Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race writtenby anthropologist Ashley Montagu in 1942), most people continue to believe in this concept. Our use of such a term is a really bad habit. It falsely creates categories where there are none, and distorts the social and political discourse.We are one big family and ought to learn to treat each other as such. Indeed, scientists are now beginning to ask the opposite question: Why are we so similar? William James Burroughs believes that ‘[g]iven the length of time humans have existed, there should be a wide range of genetic variation, yet DNA from people throughout the world is surprisingly similar.’ There are competing theories about why this is the case. One plausible explanation is that human population declined to just around 5 000 to 10 000 around eighty years ago, before clawing back from near extinction. If true, then all of us have potentially evolved from a single tribe, or a handful of closely associated tribes in North Africa just about 75 000 years ago, which explains our extremely low diversity as a species.
Racism simply has no legs to stand on. But this mis-conception won’t go away so easily since most humans have very a poor understanding of biology. Only the spread of education will eliminate this myth about ‘race’.
 E.g. Johan Moan, of Institute of Physics at the University of Oslo, said in a research paper: "In England, from 5500-5200 years ago the food changed rapidly away from fish as an important food source. This led to a rapid development of … light skin." The Australian, 31 August 2009. [http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,26004285-26040,00.html. Also, Nina Jablonski’s work.] Henderson, Mark, ‘Gene tests prove that we are all the same under the skin’, Times Online, October 27, 2004,[http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article499598.ece] Lynn Jorde and Stephen Wooding of the University of Utah, cited in Henderson, Mark, ‘Gene tests prove that we are all the same under the skin’, Times Online, October 27, 2004. [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article499598.ece] Burroughs, William James, Climate Change in Prehistory: The End of the Reign of Chaos, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, p.138. Google books. Transcript of Cusack, Sinead, ‘Supervolcanoes’, BBC2 9:30pm Thursday 3rd February 2000.[http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/1999/supervolcanoes_script.shtml]
This is an extract from a current draft revision of DOF.
Btw, I'm inclined, in order to explain the existence of the racist caste system in India, to give credence to the theory that the Vedas were brought to India from outside India (e.g. Michael Wood's BBC documentary on India). Linguistic theories support that. Either way, I'd welcome input from any reader who can explain to me why Indians DESPERATELY seek to get married to fair people. How is it possible that this behaviour is practiced widely in society and yet India insists that caste is not racist?
Since DOF is still a draft, I'll be happy to revise it based on appropriate information.
THE WHITE BARBARIANS
Racism is a relatively modern phenomenon and concept. As Hirschman notes, ‘race and racism are not ancient or tribal beliefs but have developed apace with modernity over the last 400 years and reached their apogee in the late nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century.’ Indeed, Robert Draper believes that ‘‘[t]he ancient world was devoid of racism’, not only were darker-skinned people like the Indians far more advanced than ancient Nordics or Caucasians, the extremely dark-skinned Nubian civilization was relatively advanced. (The Nubian civilisation preceded, or was coterminous, with the Egyptian civilisation. The modern world doesn’t know much about it yet because archaeologists have only recently started discovering its glories.)