Tuesday, January 08, 2008

L'Affaire Harbhajan

What a dreadful story. For those of you who dont follow cricket. During Australias last tour of India. Andrew Symonds, a cricketer of mixed race, was booed by fans who made racist comments and depictions about him (think Simian). The BCCI in my opinion did a horrible job of damage control (I would have banned those spectators for life from ever visiting a BCCI venue as per how European Soccer authorities have targetted professional hooligans). Fast forward many months India is now in Australia. During the second test at Sydney, India does a horrible job on the fifth day and inexplicably loses the test. There were some terrible umpiring decisions against India (ironically by a black Umpire - Steve Bucknor - who is one of the best in the game). In the subsequent melee, (the Indian fans at the SCG went ballistic), Harbhajan Singh is accused by Symonds of calling Symonds a monkey again. He is suspended and the BCCI is considering suspending the tour.
This has released an unprecedented amount of introspection by the Aussies. Many ex Australian players (Greg Matthews, Shane Warne etc) have come out and said the Aussies are arrogant, immature and bad sports. Either way this has been a huge embarrasment for India. I think that the underlying racism that is in most Indians towards blacks came out (Certainly with the crowd). I dont know what Harbhajan said to Symonds. The TV footage would indicate he was trying to apologize to Symonds for the crowd.
Harbhajan is not very proficient in the English language so its anyones guess what he was intending to say and what exactly came out.


Blogger Gautam said...

Just saw this - so the comment here may be a lil too late

I agree that there is a kind of racism in India. Its not just against "blacks" though

You would recall the old "madarasi" identification for anyone who is in one of the 4 southern states.

This issue tends to exist in North India , specially around the states near Delhi.

Ive heard worse said abouth madarasi "south Indian" people than the "monkey" statement.

Have a couple of times met up a in parties in Delhi ( hosted by a South Indian pal of mine). People were ranging from Kolkata to Chandigarh and Bhopal.

These people saw me as " fair/ white" who could not imagine my "sufferings" living around "dirty,ugly and bad smelling" madarasi's. ( various terms used )

I found their reactions quite funny when I told them that both my friend and I were from South India.( "but ur fair looking and ur not short and skinny" )

My pal from south happens to be a 6ft 4 person who also isnt "black".

I never felt this kind of prejudice in Mumbai - where I lived close to 10 years.

Nowadays there is a "fair" ;) amount of resentment at the successfull IT folk of the south by people in the north.

People in the South have become more prosperous since India opened up.

NOW interestingly - there is a bit of reverse "intellectual" superiority that exists amongst South Indians against North Indians.(vengence??)

I dont find it within the South Indian community viz one another ( i.e caste etc isnt a factor anymore - least not what it was)

India does have a very strong "color " bias. There is a large amount of products that promise " making u fairer" for both women and guys.

BUT then..... I seen the same craze in Nigeria !!

9:05 PM  

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