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Racism: Diverse faces of discrimination in India

India is the land of culture, colours, and tastes and also the land of rapes, caste-based discrimination and racism. India has a long history of racism. But the face of racism witnessed in this multi-diverse land is slightly different from the rest of the world.

For centuries different types of discrimination have flourished in this country. Discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, colour and sexes has always been in the headlines.

Caste-based discrimination

The caste system is one of the core problems the country has faced for millennia. The caste system originated from ancient Indian civilisations. With time the cast problem has strengthened its root in Indian society.

More than 2,000 different ethnic groups reside in India. Every group have its unique ethnicity, traditions and rituals. But with diversity comes differences; a world value survey reveals that 43.5% of Indians don’t prefer living with people of a different race than theirs.

Untouchability: Hinduism, one of the oldest religions in the world, begin about 4,500 years ago. Hindu society back then was divided into varnas. Dalits were described in the fifth varna addressed as ‘Panchama‘.

The Dalits’ children have suffered discrimination in schools. There were cases when SC/ST teachers were abused by the people of the so-called upper class.

This kind of racism was witnessed in many aspects, for example, Social persecution by caste Hindus, Heath and nutrition and crime etc. But the government have provided these socially deprived group with reservations; to help them overcome their social situations. Various other kinds of political rights are provided. But still, the problem resides in a few rural parts of the country.

Marriages: Even in the 21st century inter-caste marriages are a taboo in India. Various cases of honour killing come up from time to time in this aspect. Parents burn their daughters alive for inter-caste marriages. More than 100 cases of honour killing relating to inter-caste marriage come every single year in India.

Access to Education, socioeconomic disparities, slavery, access to land, political rights; and many more are the problems that have emerged from caste-based discrimination in India.

Religion-based discrimination

Indian constitution’s article 25-28 guarantees its citizen’s freedom of religion. And on the ground level too, it is true; here every person has the right to choose the religion they want to have faith in.

But the problem and discrimination here are in the relations between the people of different religions. Especially the Hindu-Muslim who most of the time live together, love and respect each other; but sometimes ignite into battles against each other.

U.S. Commission on International Religious freedom stated India as a “country of particular concern”. The reason is the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Bill); Which has turned into a violent protest and lasted for months.

“There has been a drastic increase in the religious discrimination and violence in India,” says the United States Institution of Peace. Religion-based discrimination in India mostly targets the minor sections of society.

Discrimination with the north-eastern Indians.

2012, a Manipuri student, Richard Loitam’s murdered. Dana Sangma, Nido Taniam; Likewise hundreds of more people from northeastern India were assaulted or murdered. The only fault of theirs is, not being visibly Indian.

In other parts of India, a few people see northeast Indians as non-Indians. Northeastern Indians usually become victims of violence and abuse.

Neha Sinha says “Racism gets more and more pernicious when entangled with other forms of differentiation”. Women of northeast India suffer a lot. When discrimination combines with the sexes, people start generating the wrong perception about them.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the northeast Indian’s suffering in other parts of the country has increased. People call them Chinese and blame them for the spread of the virus.

Gender-based discrimination

Since the entire world knows how safe India is for women, no wonder women face discrimination here. Apart from women’s safety, women here face discrimination in ways that sound impossible. The patriarchy of India has suppressed women as inferiors for centuries.

43% of women in India are married before age of 18; says the district Information System for Education (DISE). 1 out of every child bride in the world belongs to India.

Income inequality, women here, are most of the time earn less than men for the same work. From property rights to acid attacks, women suffer everywhere.

The skin colour of Indian girls matters a lot in Indian society. Neha Dixit says that girls with dark skin colour are more prone to discrimination than lighter-skinned girls.

Xenophobia in India

Auwal Aliyu, a 27-year-old Nigerian along with several other Nigerian, were attacked and brutally beaten in the capital city of India.

Africans face discrimination in India. Basically because at the core levels a few Indians still value the colour of their skin. Having white skin is a big privilege here in India.

There have been mob attacks on Africans in northern India. The experiences of white men and women are contradictory to those of migrants with dark skin.

India needs to stem the tide of racism

India is a diverse nation with people from different parts living together as one. As one it is the collective responsibility of the government and people to conquer discrimination.

India’s home ministry and external affairs ministry has to take some concrete steps to tackle discrimination and racism problems.

If not fought soon, racism will, without a shadow of a doubt, weaken the soul of India which is ‘unity in diversity. For a better world, complete eradication of racism is important, above all because ‘EVERY LIFE MATTER’.