Curry bashers beware

Australia appears to be unaware of how serious a risk the attacks on Indian students poses to its economy

The Australian’s Greg Sheridan weighs in on an issue that has—despite its economic and political significance–received unduly little coverage in the Australian media.

The recent spate of bashings of Indian students in Melbourne is an appalling episode in this nation’s history. It is a serious social, educational, diplomatic and probably economic crisis that no one is taking seriously enough. The performance of John Brumby’s Victorian Government has been pathetic. It has stumbled from bland denial to belated symbolism, never acknowledging the gravity of the problem or its own culpability and not taking any serious action to confront it.

The Rudd Government’s response also has been belated, but there is a better sense in Canberra of the problem’s dimensions.

It seems astonishing that you would have to argue with anybody that a big outbreak of racist violence in an Australian capital city is a first-order problem.

Last financial year nearly 1500 assaults and robberies were committed on people of Indian origin in Victoria, up by nearly one-third from the year before. But what has rightly gained international attention is the many assaults on Indian students.

Brumby and his Police Commissioner Simon Overland at first were inclined to deny the problem was racial at all. Eventually they came to admit that some attacks were racial, but still cling to the idiotic defence that most of the crimes are opportunistic, as if it’s impossible to be opportunistic and racist.

In making these assertions, Brumby and co must be the only people who believe them. Certainly the victims of the crimes don’t. [The Australian]

Mr Sheridan’s piece is worth reading in full. As a Australia-based commenter on Atanu Dey’s blog says, Indian students are aggrieved that both the Australian authorities and the media are not treating the matter with the seriousness it deserves. It is wrong to think, as some Australian politicians seem to, that more cricket will somehow repair the damage to Australia’s reputation these incidents have caused.

Related Links: Niranjan Rajadhyaksha and Atanu Dey draw attention to the need for India to liberalise its education sector.

12 thoughts on “Curry bashers beware”

  1. The problem is not the quality of education. It is the lack of job/career opportunities in India.

  2. Australia(and UK) is a known racist country. But also a democratic country which introspects deeply. Not only in Australia, neo-Nazi attacks have been reported in Russia on a high scale. Lets not jump the gun..What did we do for people trapped in fascist countries like Saudi Arabia,Kuwait,Qatar,UAE etc and made to do slave labor,whipping and executions on false and outrageous charges…
    Since Australia is democratic..moral pressure can be brought on it and we are over-doing it..The same we did in that Islamic doctor’s case. Australia is a potential strategic partner against China..
    If we want our curry preserved, lets got to Canada or New Zealand for education. There are some especially settled families in their self-interest..telling us to shut-the-fuck-up..
    That is insane and we should not kow-tow..but atleast we should not loose proportion and start calling names..
    What did we do to punish Pakistan which killed 100s with impunity on 26/11
    and did train bombings in 2006 and did something similar in 1993 blasts..?

  3. Kannan,

    With Australia we have some leverage( Aussies want our education dollars) we can put some valid pressure on them.

    With Gulf countries and Pakis – we have no leverage! Gulf countries want cheap labor – they can get it anywhere.

    “Australia is a potential strategic partner against China..”

    I don’t think so. China has 5 times (just a random no ) more leveage on Aussies than us.

  4. Reminds of the time the Australian proselytizer Graham Staines was murdered in Orissa. Australian media and government were all outrage.

    It is my contention that the ostensible liberalism of some “western” countries is a mask. This liberal pretense is used to hold countries like India to some higher standard. The moment their ugliness shows up though, they get into denial mode.

  5. Nitin

    If the quality of education were the problem, a lot of them would turn around and come back to India post their M.S and Phd programs. Hardly anyone I know goes to US/Aus/UK/Singapore with the intention of coming back and working in India. Most of the students do want to settle in those countries and look at it as an opportunity to migrate.

  6. @Dark Lord

    from the press report, I understand that there are about 95,000 indian stundets in Australia currently. While its obvious that most of them would like to get a job there post-studies, what proportion of this number would ultimately find a job there? Ditto for people who go to place like US, canada etc. My guess is that a large proprotion of these guys come back to India after their education. Only a minority of these students – who happen to study in good universisties – get a job and stay back there. I personally know of quite a few people who have come back to India after finishing studied abroad.

  7. Dark Lord,

    A lot of students who study in Indian universities also end up working abroad. That’s their decision, and that’s fine.

    The question is how many of the 75,000 students might have studied in India, had the higher education scene been different?

  8. Guys the whole world is racist & other things including us in India. Just take care of yourselves and be smart and remember to cultivate friendship with those who are nice to you – whoever. That’s simple life.

  9. We come to conclusions at the drop of a hat. Terms like Racist, Sexist are used without giving much thought to them. When a white man is charged twice the cost for a taxi ride in India, Can this be called racism? No definately not. The reason being, the auto/taxi driver just sees an opportunity to earn more money. The same way when a Indian is mugged in New York or Sydney it is just that they have become soft targets to these attacks. These students should have stood back and fought instead of our country’s media acting like a big brother, crying racism. Let our education system encourage more sport in its ciriculum, make it students tougher and they will be ready to face the world.

    If we just had the opportunity to ask Mahatma Gandhi if this is racism, I would assume that he would laugh, what he experienced in South Africa was clear discriminatory action and is termed racism. The state had discriminatory policies for people of different color (seperate seating etc) and that’s racism!

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