I read with interest an article in the Eastern Herald titled “India: It’s time to recognize the Romani People as Indians by Rit Nanda dated April 28, 2020
It is interesting that though two former prime ministers of India and a recent foreign affairs minister have acknowledged that the Romani people are of Indian origin and are persecuted across Europe and promised help to them, nothing has been done so far to alleviate their sufferings and hardships.
While Indian governments must have honestly wanted to render help to the Romani people, the Indian nation always become engrossed in internal caste and religious conflicts. In addition to the ongoing Hindu Muslim mistrust fanned by Pakistan and the wider Islamic world, there is the fear by the lower caste of the upper caste and the educated elite contempt for the masses.
Christian missionaries are actively peddling their propaganda in India. They believe that they have the divine right to convert the entire population to the one through Lord and Saviour. The elevation to sainthood of Mother Theresa was a major step toward that goal. Such actions are the machinations of foreign governments and other interest groups with sinister motives.
Sometime I am tempted to believe that democracy is India’s biggest enemy as it breeds indiscipline. But the reality is that Indians have made tolerance and acceptance their biggest handicap so much so that they are ready to embrace an unrepentant enemy all in the name of piety.
The recent passage of the Citizen Amendment Act by the Indian Parliament to grant citizenship to prosecuted Hindus and Christians minorities from the Islamic states of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan was met with street protests mainly by Muslims and led by a Communist intelligentsia and political opportunists. Such protests only confirm that many Indians are uncaring about the welfare and safety of prosecuted kits and kin in their backyards, far more to imagine the welfare of Romani distant miles away.
India has always been vocal against unjust and oppressive regimes in South Africa, Rhodesia, Cuba etc. When the struggle against apartheid was in full swing in South Africa India was the first country to recognize the African National Congress and provide it with an office in New Delhi. Despite this generosity Gandhi’s statue was removed from the University of Ghana recently on the charge that he was a racist to black South Africans.
The truth is that Indians need to step outside of themselves by overcoming their insecurities and fears. It is not how much we have that matters but more so the compassion to share the little that we have. Also, it is not how strong we are but how courageous are we to speak out against injustice.
We certainly cannot take the Deyalsingh’s route. Taking the Deyalsingh’s route is not one of strength but weakness and death. The Deyalsingh’s route is one of fear and cowardice like a drunk at a rum shop entertaining his patrons for a drink.
The Romani people are a symptom of a psychological failing of Indians-a readiness to appease others out of fear. Indians need to transform appeasement to service or seva which is done through love.
Indians remain an enigma. In the midst of the coronavirus Indian families and groups have come together to reach out to the poor. Both Hindus and Muslims are in the forefront reaching out to needy families without discrimination. This is exemplary and must be commended. However, Indians must also have the courage to question the integrity of the government in its disbursement of public funds. This must not be swept under the carpet. Not challenging the government for accountability is surrendering to lies and bullying.