A scroll down my Twitter timeline landed me up on a video of a woman crying over "hate and bullying" she faces as a Hindu living abroad. My first thought was-- of course, this is a satire. Perhaps, a sketch on NRIs living far far away in pursuit of a better life, but gloat over ultranationalism, exoticize rural India (thanks to Karan Johar's portrayal of India for NRIs in DDLJ, Pardes, Kal Ho Na Ho, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham).
But 30 seconds into the video, it turned out the woman was actually crying. She was crying over Hinduphobia. She begins her video with "You don't know history", reminding us of desi parents who say "you don't know religion" when you ask questions on superstition. The video is all over Twitter and it's practically pissed off everyone. And, rightly so.
The woman looks upset over the treatment that the Indian community faces abroad. "You have colonised the entire world," she says and her voice cracks into the most bizarre line "We have one place where we can enjoy our spiritual heritage."
Privilege lets you conveniently ignore the fact the world is more than majoritarianism.
She says "you bully us for wearing bindis".
Well, here's the truth for Indian Karen. Muslims are bullied for wearing headscarves in many places, sporting a beard and a skullcap can land you up in front of police for questioning. In fact, France has a ban in place for face veils. Not that two wrongs make a right, but there is no law by any government abroad barring Indians from wearing a bindi. When we talk about the rights of Hindu women, bindi isn't a part of the debate. On the contrary, the oriental eye's representation of Indian culture is a saree-clad woman wearing a bindi and saying 'Namaste' with an English accent and not a sharara-wearing woman saying 'Adaab'.
Talking about the video, there seems to be a few plot twists in the monologue. In the beginning, the woman says that "they are happy when we sing kirtans on the beach." But later on, she says Hindus are bullied for chanting mantras.
We are not sure if this woman is aware of political happenings back in India, the 'only place' she has to enjoy her spiritual heritage. But again, here's a note for her. There was a rallying cry late last year, soon after the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed. It said anti-CAA protesters would be recognised by their clothes. What happened in the days and months to come is well known. Attacks on universities and students, riots, witch-hunting of student leaders, and so on.
Issues like the struggle to wear a bindi in the West look trivial when your name or clothes is enough to get you killed by an angry mob in a place where you have lived all your life, where your family traces its roots and holds its memories.
So, again, for our Dear Indian Karen: Here's a quick look at the privilege of the Indian diaspora abroad. While white supremacy and silence over racism were called out during the Black Lives Matter protests in May, much was talked about the Brown silence. A report in CNN says that many South Asian communities abroad, particularly the Indians, are portrayed as model minorities there. They are better off on the parameters of socio-economic criteria and in some cases do better than the Whites.
"The problem with the practice is that it pits ethnic minority groups, which could otherwise be allies, against each other. It perpetuates stereotypes in and outside the group and, worst of all, it gives governments, companies, and institutions of power a mask for their own systemic racism. It completely ignores the fact that one minority group may face very different challenges or levels of racism than another," the report adds.
Having said that, it is always a good idea to check your own privilege, pan your neck around, and see what is being done in your name, before you cry before that selfie video and post it on social media. The video is brimming with problematic content that can only come from a place of privilege.
You can watch the video here. You have been warned.
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I’m uploading this again. Because this was my true expression, and now people are mocking me and that is not okay. This is for the ancestors who sacrificed their lives. This is for the Sadhus who were lynched. This is for the Hindus that were tortured in West Bengal. This is for the Hindus that are not allowed to practice their faith in Pakistan. This is for all the times we have been called cow piss drinkers and Bhakts for simply talking about our spirituality and origins. This is for the mob that accepts the suffering of everyone across the globe apart from Hindus. . This is not about the caste system. Don’t reduce the depth of Sanatan Dharma to the caste system. This is the way the woke mob bullies anyone who defends their culture, human rights, mocking our Gods and denying we even originate from this land, despite this being one of the most ancient cultures in the world to still be living in the modern age. . This is the ancestral pain of what we’ve been through. What makes your pain real but mine invalid? . All communities have suffered some form of discrimination. Christians are having their crosses removed in China - they wiped out all ancient culture in the West but the reference point is suffering. You can’t be polarised. Native family, Black family, Muslim family, Pagans family, - all have their own issues. They have their extremism, and they have their suffering. We need to see it all. . So why am I obliged to bow down to you, if you deny my right to care about my culture? Where are the females who care about women now? My pain does not invalidate your pain. And your pain does not invalidate mine. 🙏🏼 . MAY THE WORLD KNOW PEACE. Make the world know compassion May the world HEAL through the teardrops that contain the story - of our ancestors. We all come from Maa. And we will all return, to Maa. Stop judging other people’s suffering. (Now people are mocking me I am reuploading. That was my honest expression and I shouldn’t have deleted it.) . Maybe one day, if we drop our egos. Learn from each other. Forgive and accept each other; own up to our mistakes and heal with love, we will find peace. Jai Maa 🙏🏼🕉
We have witnessed it all. Now, we also have an Indian Karen.