The Freedom Team
heartily congratulates Barak Obama on his election as the next President of USA. His electoral victory is a historical step forward for mankind in its journey towards equal freedom and equal opportunity. We must not forget, however, that Obama is the beneficiary
, not the creator
, of this victory. The credit for equalising opportunity in the West must go to liberals like Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Modern racism started relatively recently. As Charles Hirschman notes: ‘race and racism are not ancient or tribal beliefs but have developed apace with modernity over the last 400 years and reached their apogee in the late nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century.’ Modern racism is a consequence of the economic power of post-Renaissance Europeans over commercial slaves who were ‘black’. This power made the ‘whites’ think they were specially blessed by God!
Science tells us unambiguously that ‘race’ has no genetic basis beyond the most superficial. Humans started out with a dark skin as they left Africa 60,000 years ago. Paler skin colours in higher latitudes then arose because babies with a lighter skin survived better, being able to absorb more Vitamin D. Yet, as Hirschman has noted, ‘Even in modern societies, which have exposed the myth of racism, race remains a widely used term for socially defined groups in popular discourse – and, in some countries, also in scholarly research, and public policy.’
Until 1967 ‘interracial’ marriages were banned in many parts of USA and till 1973 Australia had a ‘White Australia’ policy. But over the work of the great liberals has finally started showing results. By 2007, when Obama arrived on the national stage in USA, the vast majority of the Americans were no longer racist. By electing Obama, America has sent a strong signal to the world about its firm belief in equal freedom. Liberty has had a great victory, with Obama as a messenger.
Despite this victory, roughly 5-7 per cent of the US population (‘white’ and ‘black’) continues to discriminate even today on the basis of skin colour. Obama’s victory will hopefully deal the final blow to this residual racism. That is good news for Indians in the West who have often complained in the past about racial prejudice.
Now for us – India – the last bastion of racism in the world. Even as the West buries its 400 year history of racism, India continues with its 5000 year history of caste and colour based discrimination, a consciousness not just Hindu but also found among Indian Christians and Indian Muslims. Racism of this type, based on caste and skin colour, poses a great challenge for social reformers in India.
The Freedom Team of India
, as a voice of reason and freedom, is totally committed to equal opportunity and equal freedom. It is committed to treating each Indian equally. That means abolishing all laws which deal with religion or caste
. All kinds of false practices such as reservations, and interventions in or subsidies for religions, must go. The recognition of someone’s caste or religion by a government is totally unacceptable to a free society. The state needs only know that we are Indians.
That will be enough in the future
great country called India.