Why do THEY hate us? Us, the Indians…

Why do they hate us? Why do YOU hate us?

Why, despite our much touted-diversity, are we treated as ONE? The whole bunch of a billion plus of us. Do our numbers threaten you? Then how come the Chinese get away with it?

Why are you so surprised by those of us who are successful? You don’t think a civilisation that dates back a few thousand years, and centuries of foreign influence should give us an edge?

Why is the way we speak English so much funnier than say, the way the French or Spanish or Japanese speak it? Or even some Americans. When most of you ‘native’ English speakers can’t get your plurals, apostrophes, Me and I right, why are our quirks so irritating to you?

English is the language of our business and education, of our laws and policies, so yes, we have earned the right to design our own idioms, and unique usages.

That’s Indian English, so live with it.

Ok, ‘the’ Indian accent is difficult to understand.  But, when you say things like “I can do the Indian accent”, you merely sound pompous and ignorant. Because–sorry to burst your bubble–there is no ‘the’ Indian accent. At best you might be able to do ‘an’ Indian accent.

Even in our accents we have diversity. Every state has a unique Indian-English accent, based on what the native language of that group is.

The only reason I can see why you find us and our English so funny and ridiculous is because you can’t accept that we have achieved success despite the bigoted opinions you might have of us.

Yes, there is poverty, corruption, sectarianism, murder of the girl child… any number of issues that make me cringe when I talk about being Indian. None of which gives YOU a frigging right to treat us poorly.

Despite all this, what you will find in EVERY household in India, from the poorest to the richest, is the altar we have built for education. Yes, we’ll live in slums and crap on the streets, but we will still have a revered place for books in our homes. We know that’s our ticket out of the rut we might find ourselves in, or that that was the ticket that got us out of it. That’s the ticket that will help us build personal toilets within the four walls of our homes.

Next time you say ‘those Indians’ with disdain, or treat me or my countrymen/women poorly–we who clean your homes, teach your kids, drive your fancy cars, do your accounts, write your books, fix your computer glitches or sell your produce–keep in mind we are laughing at you too.

Every day, every year, we are  all making ourselves indispensable to the way YOU lead your life. And every racist, bigoted action and word against us will come back to bite you. Because one thing you won’t accuse us of is taking the easy way out, taking our education lightly or doing ‘nothing’ to earn our living. We will work our asses off and we will make our kids study as if they were in a boot camp everyday (even if it’s Indian English along with Indian mathematics and science that they learn). Along the way we’ll learn from you too. We’ll have them focus more on arts and entertainment… we are already there remember?

We’ll be there in your faces everyday for the rest of your lives.

We will buy your supermarkets from London to Sydney; We will make the viruses, we will get the antidotes; We will clean your streets and lavatories; We will also own your banks and steel mills; We will take your sport, and make it our own megabucks venture; We will teach your kids, in your own countries, subjects that you brought to life.

And yes, we will make use of every immigration opening available around the world and move.

So get used to it.

I am sick and tired of the supposedly polite–and deeply racist and rude–questions that are thrown my way.

Am I to take it as a compliment that you are surprised I speak English well or read ‘your’ classics, or that my kids know more about Dr Seuss or Roald Dahl than yours do?

Am I to take it as a compliment that you can hardly hide your shock that I occupy the seat I do, just because you speak a European language? Even if your country is in debt so deep it will not be cleared in your life time, and it rarely ever moves away from the brink of another civil war? Am I to cower because of my Dravidian frizzy hair and brown skin, as I stand before your Aryan greatness?

I know there are some valid reasons for hating us. But that’s true for the rest of you as well. Am sure not a single one of you or your group is beyond reproach or annoyances yourself.

My next question should be Why do we hate OURSELVES so much. That’s for another day, another very long post… our actions unfortunately mirror our grievances.
 
Sorry Mona Eltahawy for borrowing your now famous line.
 
 
About

Umm Oviya + Nilah = Mother of Oviya + Nilah. Because in the Arab world a woman is first addressed as bint X (daughter of X) and then once she has a son (Y) she is Umm Y. I am not sexist, so don't mind surrendering my identity to my daughters.

Posted in Arabs, expats, ignorance, india, racism
28 comments on “Why do THEY hate us? Us, the Indians…
  1. Navina Anand says:

    Agreed. Profound. Loved the IPL reference… Can’t wait to read the sequel !!

    • Hema says:

      I cannot agree less. Living outside India, these questions burn in your mind every day. Waiting to read the next one…..

  2. john gray says:

    I think India is corrupt country for that reason they hate us….
    and our country is poor than other country so this is another reason behind that i think.

  3. Kisara says:

    Leaning on my “neighbour from across the Palk straits” credentials here… Just wanted to say – Ferocious…and true!

  4. A subtle reality, put beautifully in words… Looking forward to the next one…

  5. Peter Draper says:

    I grew up in a town just outside of London called Gravesend, currently home to Europe’s largest, almost finished, Sikh temple. As a boy I remember the first Indians arriving, not many of them, but they quickly established themselves as hard workers. There were a few racists that tried to make issues, and I even remember my late father telling me some racist stereotype bullshit, However, there were never many issues of any importance and more came, set up shops, became important members of the community, bought established businesses such as taxi companies and identified needs and created their own business models. By the 1970’s we had an Indian Mayor, Indian Pub Landlords, Indian Magistrates and more. I remember my daughter when she was 6 or 7 coming home from school and telling me she had a crush on a boy at school. I asked what he was like and she could only tell me he had black hair. I was so proud when I saw him and saw he was Indian and that his race and colour had meant nothing to her (but he DID have really nice hair). Residents of the town are called Gravesendians, some are called Gravesindians but by and large there is no hatred there of the Indian population.

    During the 58 years of my life I have watched an immigration milestone, and I couldn’t be prouder of the town or of the way the communities melded into one while each retains its identity. The hatred isn’t universal by any means, so when you do take over, remember I’m one of the good guys ;)

  6. Arch says:

    I am so glad you wrote this! Beautiful angst. Looking forward to more!

  7. UmmON says:

    Thanks all for the comments. Hope you are as thrilled when I do list the ways in which we make ourselves disagreeable. :)

  8. Laksha says:

    This post – so true but I can already feel in my bones that I will agree with every letter of your sequel :) See it everyday here how desis put down other desis more than anyone else does. You go, Ummon!

  9. Asma says:

    I truly loved your article Vani!! Amazingly written and I wanted to write something similar but I don’t think I would have written this beautifully :) Kudos

  10. BBD-Lite says:

    Wow you sound very angry. I’m happy to say I haven’t experienced racism where I live, but then again I do live in Canada. I very definitely do not feel hated. One thing I would like to point out is people being surprised when Indians speak good English. I don’t understand why some Indians get so offended by this – “oh, you speak English really well” is meant as a compliment. This is usually coming from someone who knows as much about India as I do about Nigeria or Turkey (i.e. practically nothing) – and think about it – speaking in percentages out of 1.2 billion Indians the number who speak English well is a minority, right? Ditto for reading English language classics. Maybe some of the questions are rude, but try and look at the intent, whether it is MEANT to be hurtful or if it just plain ignorance about 1 of about 196 countries in the world.

    • UmmON says:

      Yes, at 38, having made a career of talking to people and understanding their points of view, I can confidently say that I can distinguish between ignorance and deliberate hurtfulness. And you don’t have to know about any country, to be respectful to/of its people.

  11. mark D says:

    *AN European language

  12. Hooriya says:

    Yes. Yes Yes! I think it hurts their ego so much.

  13. Hank Henshaw says:

    Communication leads to so many break downs in communication. I respect every Indian person I have had the joy of working with because most of have risen out of situations much tougher than mine. My previous Project Manager told me stories of her time growing up that would have broken many American children in this day of age.

    Here are a few reasons less understanding people put up a wall or seem bigotted from what I’ve learned from seeing the communication barrier first hand:

    1 – Voice inflection and improper usage of words. This is not to say that the words themselves are wrong but many times I have seen a confrontation that came from not understanding the cultural differences and how Americans react to our ‘pride’ being diminished.

    For example in a professional enviroment it is never ok to come to one of your Business Analysts and say ‘When I tell you something I expect to get it the way I meant it to first time why do you not understand me?’ Especially when what you mean to say is ‘This is still not how we discussed it so lets sit down together and find where we are misunderstanding each other.’

    2 – Americans generally DESPISE groups of people, especially in the office or workplace, speaking another language amongst themselves. To them it feels like you are saying something they aren’t allowed to hear or that you are putting them down or in fact that you are just hear for a pay check.

    3 – As the economy deteriotes in America, American born citizens will look at immigrants with distrust and a bit of disdain. America is one of the easiest countries in the world to come work for even when we are at a very high unemployment rate. You are perceived as taking lower wages to take the job from someone who has no choice but to live here.

    4 – American Bigotry – It just is here as it is all over the world. When I traveled to Hawaii I was called names more than once when I wondered into the land of the locals. It exists the world over.

    5 – Posts like this. Americans feel like they have built this country and that other countries are now coming to take advantage of it while their own countries do nothing to better itself.

    Please don’t misunderstand me, as somone who has worked with Indian developers and project managers I have alot of respect for you as a people and as individuals. This should be read as simply an answer to your question as to how most Americans feel. Although alot can be said for respecting the culture of the people around you while you ask for the same respect yourself.

  14. farzana says:

    an apt post for this quote by Chinua Achebe:
    “We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own.”

    and I often think it’s less of a why do they hate us question, but why do they hate themselves that much.

  15. Willis Shanter says:

    It is strange that the writer says this: “Am I to cower because of my Dravidian frizzy hair and brown skin, as I stand before your Aryan greatness?” — the writer might like to check what the word “Aryan” really means and where it comes from (Sanskrit).

  16. Willis Shanter says:

    I am sorry to say that when I visited India my middle-class Indian friend had her teenage children served popcorn while sitting on the sofa and watching an American tv show by the old housekeeper who lived in a very poor village across the road and who could not even speak the English required to understand the program these teenagers were watching (it was The Simpsons). I have not been waited on or cooked for or cleaned up after by anyone since I was about six years old and I would never let my children be waited on by anyone inside their own home where I do in an old-fashioned way expect them to take responsibility for themsleves. I was a bit shocked by my friend’s attitude of allowing her children to see anyone else at all, including other Indians, as domestic labor, doing something for them which in normal Western households the teenagers know how to do for themselves and would be expected to do for themselves without complaint. Then my friend’s brother called me an evil Western exploiter although I have never even had a job in my home Western country but in Asia and I had to laugh out loud as it was not me who was a lazy Indian teenager sitting on the sofa watching tv with mum’s permission and expecting a fellow-Indian citizen to bring me junk food while I watched junk tv, he was a terrible hypocrite who also had two servants to clean up after him and cook for him as while a Western man knows how to clean his apartment and cook his food apparently this morally righteous Indian man did not know how to do that for himself and thought it was fine to use another Indian person as a servant. I was kind of shocked that it was apparently only me in that lazy and entitled Indian family who thought it was shocking and morally wrong to be waited on by someone so desperately poor within a private home. I don’t blame the poor lady doing the serving, she needed the money, but I do blame parents (and a culture) who let their children think it is ok to be waited on like Queen Elizabeth.

  17. Willis Shanter says:

    I love India and I hope things get better but I think the attitude of rich Indians towards poor Indians really has to change. That is a homegrown problem of inequality and nothing to do with any external Imperialism or Imperialist hangover.

  18. Willis Shanter says:

    farzana said:

    March 24, 2013 at 15:16

    an apt post for this quote by Chinua Achebe:
    “We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own.”

    and I often think it’s less of a why do they hate us question, but why do they hate themselves that much.

    I think it relates well to how some Indian people hate other Indians and think it is fine to treat them like slaves and servants with no regard to their welfare it is indeed very shocking I have never seen so much mistreatment of other human beings as by Indians toward other Indians especially if their caste is the wrong caste or the wrong religion then they really despise them a lot. Also bad is all the corruption in government for example people join the police force and expect an income from wages and an income from bribes. I am afraid that is not an import from the West that is homegrown corruption. Even an Indian friend working in Asia was forced to pay a bribe to an Indian airpiort official in order to be let through immigration without waiting for seven hours as the Indian airport official decided that he deserved a bribe paid from a fellow Indian they treat their own countrypeople in such an appalling way I am not surprized so many Indians want to leave that country.

  19. Huong says:

    I love India and Indian culture and people except the Indian accent in mere nursery rhymes. They were just so harsh that I had to cut them out to replace with others. Then I searched the net to see if people hate Indian English.

  20. SophieM says:

    India and it’s men are disgusting. I met an Indian man who is a Hindu who already had a girlfriend in America. I am in Germany. His name is “Anmol Chandon” or “Nikka Anmol”. He cheats lies and is a lying piece of shite. He took photos of our visit to show his friends and used me. He uses online dating sites to find women all over the world and con them. He uses them to stay with or have sex usually until they see him in person……. He is disgusting with bad hygiene and clogged pores all over, very short, and dirty. He is doesn’t deserve any woman and all need to beware. He preys on innocent white women, filipinos, and anything with fair skin…. spreading herpes and worse. He is a coward and swine.

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