31st May 2009
Amitabh Bachchan's baseless generalisation about Australia
Continuing on my previous blog post on a similar subject (which I don't want to clutter with other things) two things become clear:
a) The media in India has vastly over-reacted. While SMK may not have called these recent assaults 'racist', the media very clearly has, and continues to do so. E.g. "Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has reacted to racial attacks on Indian students in Australia by rejecting an honorary doctorate offered to him by an Australian university." (see Express India, 30 May 09)
b) Amitabh Bachchan has generalised without basis re: the entire country. "I mean no disrespect to the Institution that honours me, but under the present circumstances, where citizens of my own country are subjected to such acts of inhuman horror, my conscience does not permit me to accept this decoration from a country that perpetrates such indignity to my fellow countrymen." (same article above).
Mr Bachchan, I respect your work but I think you've misconstrued the situation pretty badly. Do not libel an entire nation. It is not Australia (nor Australians as a whole!) but a few stupid louts who have attacked a few Indians. Crime happens. Others too get attacked. Please check out the crime scene in Melbourne. It is not crime free! It is broadly safe, but not crime free.
It is REALLY bad logic to generalise from incidents which are likely ordinary crimes, to the entire country. I urge you to take back your decision and ask your advisers for evidence that there has been a disproportionate harm inflicted by goons and criminals in Australia on people of Indian appearance. Don't listen to the Indian media and TV. These guys are out of their mind!
31 May 2009
PS. Australia has dramatically reduced its levels of racism over the past 30 years. But crime is a different matter.
Thus, out of the roughly 90,000 Indian students in Australia, some will inevitably get caught in crime. The only proof of these incidents being caused by an increase in racism (or being motivated purely by racism) will be to demonstrate statistically that the crime rate experienced by people of Indian origin in Australia is HIGHER than that experienced by the rest of the Australian population, after controlling for place of residence or work. Indian students tend to live in high risk and high crime areas and work late night and return back by public transport, walking on empty streets, or driving taxis that collect all kinds of weirdos, drunkards, and drug addicts at late night. For someone with that residence and work profile, I don't think Indian students are experiencing a particularly higher crime rate, ie. the are not being discriminated by the louts and criminals of Melbourne. But I'm not the expert on this and will leave it to the Police to investigate and tell the people what is going on.
PS 2 (added on 2 June 2009). A sensible article in The Age today