Understanding INDOPHOBIA

Vamsee Juluri talks about how the Indian American community faces biased and prejudiced coverage in leading publications and asks some uncomfortable questions in his excellent essay at HuffPost

Now, Crossette writes about how annoying it is to deal with India on important global issues, such as trade and nuclear non-proliferation.

[She goes on to] denounce India as a sanctimonious rogue among nations. The words that are used to describe India include “pious,” “craving,” “petulant,” “intransigent,” and “believes that the world’s rules don’t apply to it,” all of which a student of postcolonial cultural studies would recognize as obnoxious cliches that have come to characterize Western discourse about the colonies for decades now.

Why is it that some Australians reacted to the beating and killing of Indian students with the odd retort that “this happens in Mumbai”? Why did NPR cheerily lend its audience to one man’s claim that he saw an Indian get the Nigerian airline bomber on board? Why does Foreign Policy get to call India “evil” without a drop of concern for how it feels to Indian readers or how dangerous words like this were in the past for the colonized nations? Why does New York Times choose to show agonizing restraint when Pakistani terrorists massacre civilians in Mumbai and run screaming headlines naming the arrest of an “Indian” after Madrid? Why does Slumdog Millionaire, one of the most exhilarating movies of our time, depict the majority of Indian characters in it as irredeemably cruel and barbaric (not the nice Indian hero with the British accent though, of course not)? Why did the fictional slur “slumdog” and the image of poverty reportedly figure so often in the Australian attacks? Finally, why does Glenn Beck find the name of a life-giving sacred river similar to the name of a disease? I must admit though that the last case is less depressing because it is Glenn Beck after all and the problem must naturally lie not in the word ‘Ganges’ but really in his ears or what’s (not) between them.

The occurrences are commonplace and honestly one of reasons to form this group. We would like to clear misconceptions and paint the complete picture devoid of generalizations to fit the narrative being offered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *