Namaste India

Following a series of racist attacks on African students in India, an African student in India wrote this.

Image credit Riccardo Romano via Flickr (CC).

Remember me, right?

I came to visit your home at your humble request. I am very good friends with your son/daughter. I came over and you served me chai and namkeen. Then you asked me to visit you more often.

You see, I go to college with your son/daughter. We are very good friends. We help each other with class work and assignments and we even go shopping together. Your children have shown me the best markets in the city and we have taken a thousand photos together.

You know me.

You know me from the metro. Where you have taken selfies within my range so that you can show your friends and relatives that you spotted a foreigner today. You have asked to take random pictures with me in public and very often I have smiled for the camera.

You know me.

You know me from your dhabas and your shops. I come to buy milk and bread every morning. I often chat with you about the weather before picking up my grocery bag and heading home, where I have sometimes given young Indians the opportunity to clean my house or iron my clothes for a fee that will help feed their kids.

You know me.

You know me from when you draped my saree for me from your home; That time it was your cousin brother’s marriage in a far-off place.

Your daughter and I have wiped each other’s tears and danced together in the rain. We have figured out that even though we are from different places, we can still work together. I learn from them and they learn from me.

Sometimes I’ve been asked why my skin is dark. “Is it because Africa is very hot?” And I’ve often answered that India is hotter than Africa and that my skin is darker because God gave me more melanin than you.

You know me.

Well at least I thought you all did; enough to know that I do not and can not and will never eat a fellow human being.

You know me.

I am not a cannibal.

Image credit GNLogic via Flickr (CC).

My parents sent me to India to study. At home, I have a sister and brothers waiting for me to come back with a degree. My parents are constantly worried about my wellbeing. Shouldn’t they?

And today there’s news that people of my race are being attacked for no reason at all. What if I were your beautiful Sunita, or your beloved Rohit? What would you do if you heard they were missing or being beaten up by a mob in an African mall just because they are brown in color?

Every race has a stereotype towards another. We often tend to judge that which we do not understand; that which we could never be. But just because my skin is packed with melanin or I have locks in my hair does not mean I do not have the same feelings as you. Does not mean I deserve to be beaten up to near death for a crime I never committed.

There are millions of Indians living in Africa. I do not think they are being treated this way. Help stop the hate!

I have parents waiting to meet me alive at the airport some day. Please help me be safe. Help my friends remain safe here until we go back home. Help spread the truth. Help stop the hate and discrimination.

Aunty, Uncle, you know me. Help me.


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