An educational institution is ideally a place where one goes to study, take part in extracurricular activities, and make friends.
However, beyond this rosy exterior lies a more unpalatable reality- Indian campuses are often witness to racial discrimination among the students.
Treatment of African Students
Several reputed colleges in India have opened their doors to students from African countries for arts, science, and engineering programmes.
However, many of these students tend to avoid interacting too much with Indians because they complain of being mocked for their skin tone and hair, which is a hypocritical and shameful action by us Indians, and a sign of how colour-conscious we are.
North Eastern Students
Another community of students that face flak for their appearance are those from the North East.
“Our classmates say that I am Chinese and call me ‘Jackie Chan.’ I know they don’t mean to be insulting, but they need to understand that I am as Indian as them,” says Sonam (name changed), a North Eastern student studying in Chennai.
The North/ South Divide
A prominent private engineering college in the south recently organised a cricket match for the students. The teams were ‘North Indians’ vs ‘South Indians,’ which shows clearly the divisive mindset of the students.
To make matters worse, an ugly brawl started during a dispute related to the match, and racial slurs were used by both teams, each of which believed they were superior simply for being “North Indian” or “South Indian.”
Colour and Language Shaming
Eshwar (name changed), a Tamilian pursuing his studies in Delhi, says, “I am often taunted for being dusky- some North Indian students equate being dark with being ugly. As a majority of South Indians are dark-skinned, I find this quite unfair. They also look down on me for not knowing Hindi. It isn’t the national language, it’s just one of India’s many official languages!”
Birds of a Feather?
Christina (name changed), studies in a college with a large Malayali population.
She said that, “I’ve noticed that many of the Malayali students prefer not to make friends outside their community. They refer to us Tamilians as ‘pandis’ (a derisive term), and even when they are in a mixed group with people from other states, they continue to talk only in Malayalam, whether the rest of us understand or not.”
While central universities have reported far fewer instances of racial discrimination due to the largely mixed population they house, it is still appalling to see youngsters with such a backward mindset towards their fellow students.
How does it matter if you’re fair or dark, speak a different language, worship in a different way, or even look different from your fellow students? At the end of the day, we are all human beings living our lives in the same environment- our backgrounds do not matter.
We need to learn to look beyond things like race and religion, which do not have any impact on the kind of person you are, and start behaving in a more mature and sensible manner. Respect and acceptance should have no boundaries.
Image Credits: Google Images