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Op-Ed

Opinion on how to end racism in Indians

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By EMN Updated: Oct 03, 2013 8:35 pm
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Thepfulhouvi Solo

[dropcap]I [/dropcap]REMEMBER the first time I became uncomfortably aware of people staring at me, was in 1962 when I was the lone Fresher from a North-East State at Gwayer Hall, Delhi University. I was descending the Stairs from my Room No 9 on the First Floor and was walking down the Stair to the Dining Hall on the Ground Floor across the Rooms; when a very lanky Student who sat at the door of his room stared at me the moment I became visible to him at the foot of the Stairs.His Skin was butter white; arms hairy and he had two very fine pencil thin jet black eyebrows. Below the memorable eye brows was two of the largest, whitest, Eye-balls, as big as a flawless Table Tennis Ball I ever saw in whole of Stephen Hawkin’s Cosmos, I still remember vividly to this day 51 years after.
All the teases and the taunts of Chinkis, pokes, peers from the corner of the eyes, the gawking at Public Places and the sudden withdrawals of inquisitive infants in the Airports, Gardens and the staring, of any person from South of the Sahara and the North East, is an Indian, not others.
Nowhere in the Selfridges or Marks & Spencer in London or at Omega Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich or other places exhibit petty discriminations on the dark skinned or the yellow Skinned than the differential Services at Tables in Hotels, Airplanes, Shops Counters and many others places, revealing a common behavior in many Indians.
Nagas have the habit of using not very beautiful terms for Tribes other than his or her own. The Angamis, when talking in distinctive terms for other Tribes say: ‘Se tala mezha’, commonly for formerly Loin clothed Nagas; ‘Mezhaamie’, in low bass tone for Zeliangs; ‘Dzütsüko’: ‘Neuters’ for Khasis and ‘Thevoko’: Pig for the Mizos for their stout hefty appearances. The Aos describe Angamis as: ‘Azü Achirtem’, Dog eaters’; Trans-Dikhu Tribes as ‘Meyir’ and Sümis as ‘Moyar’.
These Terms Identity Tribes than derogatory ones unlike the Scheduled Caste ‘Chamars’ are viewed in the Indian social hierarchy. In the educated Naga society today, the earlier uglier Terms are progressively replaced by the actual name of the Tribe, like Angamis, Aos, Lothas, Konyaks, Mizos, Khasis and Tangkhuls etc for a person from the Tribe.
Nagas often, very regrettably mistreat laborers from mainland India not giving thought they are agents for increasing our economy. We are now slowly realizing Indians are much more ‘chalak’ than us but they do for us what we cannot do and increase our Income. In everything there is a limit but in peaceful civility and decency the limit should stretch very long.
Everywhere people, particularly small children, are curious at strangers with uncommon looks, but ‘looking at’ or using the Eyes to see something is not ‘staring’ which is looking fixedly at something often without goodwill. If the stare is at something uncommon in the Sky or at a big Great Dane in the Shop in wonderment and admiration; it is natural but if it is at a stranger Human Being who has conscience and sense of propriety, it reveals a degree of civilized insensitivity of the perpetrator.
The solution to this insensitivity should start from the Perpetrators who know best why they do it; than from others like the North Easterners or from people of other Continents. A Kenyan student friend in the University confided to me shockingly that he was taunted “Buffalo” by “Indian” children outside the Hostel!
Perhaps the single most important step in the search for solution is: ‘Not To Stare At Strangers; whether black or green or yellow or white’ many Indians seem to feel no hesitation to. The endeavor should start from the Home and teaching our children not to stare at Strangers is the first step.
If one wants to see a Stranger very closely, why not extend a Hand for a Handshake and say: ‘Hello’ and then start a short conversation sizing him or her to one’s heart content instead of Staring at him or looking sideway queerly at him/her.

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By EMN Updated: Oct 03, 2013 8:35:23 pm