Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dogs and Indians

My late grandfather, hated the British. He hated the British more than he hated Pakistan.

Which to me seemed weird, everyone I knew hated Pakistan. Especially on a Friday when there was a game at Sharjah. Nobody hated the British. Everyone actually wanted to be British, and here was an old man who hated them more than the arch enemy itself.

But his logic was sound, or at least in his mind.

"When I was growing up" he would say "the British wouldn't allow dogs and Indians in to their private clubs".

However as the world changed, our exposure changed, and our world view changed. Pakistan and Pakistanis, looked no different from us. They had the same issues in their lives and they looked just as miserable as the rest of us. So did Americans, British, Chinese, Japanese, and pretty much everyone.

No one seemed different as a race, but definitely differed from person to person. I met Indians in the US who lived like they never left their mohalla from 1989, and Indians in India who lived in a first world country.

People are different, people are the same.

Why am I ranting all this, and what does this have to do with you?

That's because I got an email in my inbox today, which went something like this.

This is to bring to your notice that over the last few years it has been observed that Foreigners (of all origins) and Bachelors (including Indians), who have been residing on rent, have over-run the peace and tranquility of the esteemed XXXXXX Society. They have been a regular cause of nuisance and insecurity by means of vandalism, arson, violence, misdemeanor towards ladies, creating late night ruckus and disturbing the ambience of the society by performing illegal acts (Including drugs).

They are posing a serious threat to the families of flat owners residing here. It is to the extent that there have been some recent incidents whereby some flat owners and their family members have received beatings and physical harm and injury from these foreigner resident goons/ bachelors, when they requested the foreigners to refrain from performing acts of vandalism or misbehavior.

Owing to such serious threats to life and property and based on considerations above, we hereby request you "By Order of the XXXXXX Residents Co-operative Housing Society Ad Hoc Committee", invoking the legal powers and authority vested vide Letter from XXXXXX Builders Corporation (Memo Dated: 25th January 2012), to evict Foreigner/ Bachelor rental occupants from your Flat by 28th February 2012

XXXXX - Society name redacted on purpose to protect identity and confidentiality

It's wrong at so many levels, that I'll not bore you with everything. Just that a fatwa against foreigners and bachelors renting flats is pretty common all over Pune.

But not every foreigner is unwelcome here. Americans, British, Australians, and pretty much everyone who is Caucasian is ok. Foreigners are only Irani (not Iranian, Bahraini, Syrian, Palestinian, Iraqi, Kuwaiti… just Irani. Another way to be Irani, is to be not white, brown or black) or African (he of black skin). What's more, this is acceptable.

Which makes me wonder, whether the gripe my grandpa's generation had, was not that they were being disqualified simply for being brown skinned or Indian, rather that Indians were being compared to dogs.

Maybe if the British had placards which went like "Lions and Indians not allowed" we'd probably still be happily under British rule J

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