We all feel proud when the name India comes in news for all the right reasons- Like the successful launch of 100+ satellites by ISRO, The good economic growth figures for the next couple of years and so on.. Positive news makes us feel happy and good about being an Indian and keeps our hope alive that we as a country are on the path of great economic growth and taking our position in the world leading economies and countries.
But, then in the midst of all this we do get a shameful news like this where African students in a suburb of Delhi are beaten black and blue, racially abused so much that they have to run and hide away from any Indian’s in sight just to ensure their safety. This is just not only disappointing but also shameful to say the least. Not only this kind of behavior socially, morally, culturally not acceptable it is down right inhuman and despicable.
We all want India to be the next super power but I believe we as Indians also need to introspect and understand on what it is like to be living in a high growth global economy or the next superpower which due to it’s economic heft and opportunities will attract people from all over the world to have better skills & better life’s. We need to answer those questions on what it is like to be a part of a new India that will attract people from all walks and cultures because if we do not answer these questions I am afraid we will have many such shameful incidences where our heads will have to hang in shame.
And, all your questions will lead to only one answer- We as Indian’s need to follow our basic civic duties which I think are forgotten quite easily. I hope, being human , being civilized is not too big an ask for us to have the India of our dreams. Right?
I am sorry my African brothers that you had to go through this cycle of madness again.
With regards to the recent unfortunate incidents in Delhi concerning an African National, I was invited to be part ofBBC World Radio Talk Show.
The topic being discussed was how is it to be an African in India? Although, I was happy to be presenting my views on the topic, I was surprised by really sad and unfortunate experiences of couple of speakers.
You can find our full conversation from the show by clicking over here: BBC World Have Your Say! In the link, our discussion starts, at about 33:00 Mins and I chip into the conversation in the last 10 minutes of the show basically summing up my points on this incident from my previous write up on this issue, which you can find by clicking over here.
I do believe that Africa-India relations are centuries old and no matter how many hiccups, we have only one way to go, which is UP! There can be obstacles in the way but we need to take them head on and get them out of the way and we need to do this if not for today but for our future!
Was pleasantly surprised to find the below rendition of a Hit Punjabi pop song Patiala Peg by some of my really talented and musical African Friends. I think this fusion of cultures is the way forward for all of us in IndiAfrica!
I am sorry. I am sorry that, we have yet another incident in Delhi, which was yet another attack on the sanity of mankind and which was yet another example of the growth pangs that we are facing here in India- where in the New India is still fighting with the Old Age India.
But, let me be very clear to you my friends in Africa, you are not alone, it is really unfortunate that one person lost his life and it should have never happened but to tell you the truth, it could have be any one of us. Yes, I said it right- It could even have been an Indian/ Bangladeshi/ American/ Chinese anyone who may have been unfortunate enough to come in the way of people who think law of the land is theirs to keep.It just happened to be a soul from Congo who was standing in their way that night and who became an unfortunate target for these people to prove that they were someone, maybe they were well connected and drunk on power they needed to prove that they had the first right to an auto rickshaw ride.
You see in our country, everyone who is someone needs to prove to others around him that he really is someone. It is like a jungle out there and if you are an animal in a jungle you need to understand your position in the food chain right? So, how does a deer know about his position in the food chain? Does anyone teaches that to him? No, right? It comes naturally to him, its like auto programmed in his mind. Similar is the case for majority of Indians like me who have no connections in power, no money to throw around and no caste connections to save him in time of crisis. We have understood our position in the foodchain and if one of us would have encountered a similar kind of situation, we would have straight away let go of that auto rickshaw without even blinking an eye but then again I do not think, we would even dare to venture out in a city like Delhi on our own at 11.30 PM in night and this is Not because the whole city is unsafe but the chances of meeting some of these bad elements become higher in the night.
But, what I want to tell you is that, this is not an India specific problem, this is a problem for a majority of the developing world specially of my friends in Africa, Tell me how many of us will feel safe to venture out in a city like Lagos on our own after 7 in the evening? Kinshasa? Abuja? Juba? Even Nairobi? We and I mean all of us from developing countries face similar challenges where in the rule of law is hard to keep and follow by people drunk on power and I guess it is a part of our growth pangs where in a new order is still fighting the old one and it is nothing new. Sample this, New York City, supposedly one of the safest and most loved city in the world had a really bad crime problem in the 90’s . Read on here! It could take a very special effort on part of the city administration and politicians to get rid of the crime from the city.
Change will come around, it may take some time coming but I am sure it will come and this is what I want to focus on- Positives!Unfortunately we live in a world today in which media carries negative news 100 times faster than a positive news and it is easy to become negative after being bombarded with only negative news day in and day out. I have been asked but lot of my African students/friends/ parents/partners on how safe is Delhi? To them i say, Delhi is a safe as any other city around the world, yes there are some bad people but majority of people are a generation of Indians who are eager to make the city a better place to live in each day.
Our National Government, has put in place a huge emphasis on India-Africa relations which are growing at a rapid pace. We just organised a highly successful India Africa summit in New Delhi which was attended by Head of States of all African Countries. The people to people contact is on the rise with lot of Indian businesses now operating in Africa, lot of people from Africa traveling to India for quality and affordable healthcare, Education even tourism.India-Africa relation have only one way to go, which is UP!
It is highly unfortunate that one person had to loose his life and I am really sorry for that but please do not judge a whole country on the basis of few rotten apples in the system. We are really happy to work with our fellow Africans in developing world to shape a brighter future and look forward to have a stronger relation with our Friends in Africa.
Things fall apart, is an old classic book, published in the year 1958. It was among the first African books written in English to get critical acclaim. The author is Mr. Chinua Achebe, who is from Nigeria. It is also widely used as a text book in schools around the world and talks about life in Africa before and just about the time, the Christian Missionaries arrived their.( Source: Wikipedia) And, that is exactly what I found interesting and thought of taking up this book, have not been able to read much on Africa and thought of it as a good beginning.
The book is centered around a Strong Man and through him his Clan in Nigeria, through out the book, the writer gives you a glimpse of life in Africa before westerners colonized it, he has beautifully woven stories, to showcase the life and customs in pre-colonial Africa, If you go through wikipedia, they mention that, this book talks about effect that missionaries had on clans in Africa, and I was interested in that aspect also, but sadly, I do not find this book describing that much in detail. Yes, it talks about them but only after half of the book is over and that too not in detail. So, you can give this book a skip, if you are looking to research on that, not a page turner, it will take time for you to get engrossed in this one.
1. Those who are not interested in History
2. Those who do not like slow paced books
From my side, I would rate this book 3 on 5.
P.S: You may take time to get a hang of African Names in the book!
Source for Picture: http://www.alliedpublishers.com/BookDetails.aspx?BookId=20