We don’t need their education

Rupa Gulab

A German friend once asked me why so many Indians migrated to the West. "Education and washing machines," I airily informed her.
Sonja looked startled at the washing machine bit. I shrugged. "Well, at one time we only saw exciting modern amenities like washing machines in Hollywood films. Liberalisation has changed a lot of things for us, thank heavens. Now, we have a better lifestyle in our own country."

She prodded me further. "Why didn't you move to the West, too?" So, I told her why, whenever my husband got a job offer from the West, I'd threaten to handcuff him to the window grill and toss the key into the Arabian Sea: "Can't cook for diamonds."
I was embarrassed to mention the racism angle because I know Sonja's not racist. But hey, there's a lot of white trash out there. They may be fair but they're certainly not lovely.

For starters, don't be fooled into thinking that America really is committed to being a rainbow nation with Obama at the helm. While the Democrat vs Republican race for President was on, I'd scoffed at VP hopeful, Sarah Appalin (Palin), on my blog and got an outraged comment from an American citizen who urged me to check out a blog. I dutifully followed her instructions and discovered myself in virtual white trash land. Obama was blamed for everything including the fact that a few drunk white trash women got into a bar brawl. Huh? The nation was going down the toilet, they moaned and all because of him. Shudder. I felt like I'd stumbled into a pro-Hindutva blog.

Face it, there's a lot of brown trash floating around, too. If you have the stomach to browse through blogs written by white and brown trash, do keep an air-sickness bag handy. Their comments are shockingly nasty and needlessly personal. Another charming thing the white and brown trash have in common is that they haven't a clue about English grammar (yes, even the whites in English-speaking nations!).

And now, just look what the surf's washed up recently in Australia: 14 racist attacks (as I write this) in less than a month. The Aussie-invented sledging on cricket turf has spilled to the streets, and it's not fun and games anymore.

I've been wondering what I would do if I were at the receiving end. Would I counter "You dirty f****** Indian" with "And, you're a pathetic uneducated ugly boiled lobster, so there?" Or, would I hit below the belt and call my attackers descendants of convicts while they were slashing my flesh for their amusement?

While I'm no Saint Shilpa, I'd probably do neither. I don't play dirty and besides it's terribly difficult to engage in conversation while you're attempting to save your life. I'd probably hastily wing my way back home after the hospital confinement and lash out at the Indian government urging them to provide better educational institutions and opportunities at home.

My theme song would be a take on Pink Floyd:
We don't need their education,
We don't need their 'white is might' control,
No crude sarcasm in dark alleys,
White trash leave our kids alone
.

What I am vociferously protesting against right now is the state of affairs in Maharashtra. This ridiculous Maharashtrians vs Others policy is setting a bad precedent. Even worse, it's threatening to spread into the area of education with talks of 90 per cent reservation for SSC students in junior colleges in the state.

It is idiotic policies like these that send our students far away from home and expose them to racist attacks. By the way, didn't you enjoy MNS leader Raj Thackeray's take on the SSC quota issue? He very nobly said that he supports the reservation for sons of the soil despite the fact that his daughter studies in a different board.

I laughed so hard at that, my tummy still hurts. Come on, we all know that a seat will be kept aside for his daughter and lovingly garlanded too, even if her marks don't make the grade. Nobody wants broken bones, right?

Just got a brilliant idea - why don't we send Raj and his unmerry men to Australia to protect our students? The uneducated white trash there will learn their first valuable lesson.

 

This story is from the print issue of Hardnews: JULY 2009