Racial Pride vs Racial Blindness

“Garve se kaho hum Hindu hain”, Say with pride I’m a Hindu – was a slogan that was given currency by RSS in 2006. I can’t recall if it really worked their way and attracted some more votes for BJP in past. All the same, it was a slogan I really liked. It still resonates well in my memory. I respect my Hindu friends who are proud to be Hindu. And with a nuance, with a subtle difference, I’m also proud to be a ‘Hindi’. When I asked some of my well-informed and well-meaning Muslim, Christian and Parsi friends about this RSS slogan GSKHHH, they affected ignorance; they were neutral and some rather enjoyed the tone of call.
For the new reader of my pen, I’m a practicing, middle class Muslim who has rarely faced any personal discrimination of sorts ever at any station of my life. Wherever, I failed, it happened on merit and didn’t afford much chance to complain about my position in life. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for many of my brothers with the same confidence and conviction. In fact, since the formative years of Independent India, my community as a cohesive whole, is facing discrimination and it is the festering wound on Indian democracy. We have faced genocide; our language and culture was decimated. We are facing hate that is written not on paper but in every act that takes away our due rights in the progress of country. Today, with the exception of 3 or 4 private companies, 14 per cent of Indian population with a Muslim tag can’t claim a national presence. We are at the bottom of all government services. The only saving grace are Khans of film industry. List of grievances is long and not relevant to support this article. The pertinent questions here are – Are we a racial society and racism is rampant here? As minority do we feel oppressed? Is racism that bad?
The history of the dominant world civilizations reveals that they reached the pinnacle of glories when they were practicing RACISM, often negative racism. It didn’t stop them from shaping the course of history. Their warriors were proud of their kings, regions, races and traditions. Their farmers were producing most, their artisans were at their creative best and their scientist and technologists were churning out monumental researches and inventions. For them life was smooth rather cozy. It was roses roses all the way. I also cannot help but feel with some understanding of their grim pride of their accomplishments. So, when a German pot valiant food technologist on Dutch courage, at Dachau – the biggest Nazi Camp city in Bavaria, thumping the table near the beer-fountain declared to me – “We’re the best; we were the best and would remain so even though we still have a large number of ..you know,, among us. My people had accomplished a great deal.” He smiled and concluded with,”……..Good and ill”. I knew what he meant.
Honestly, whenever any man of any race claims proud at the achievement for his people, I support him. However, I always go for a rider – let us move past the age when a race accomplished something, add a new dimension of nation instead of ethnicity. I am looking forward to the day when even those tricky provocative lines have been erased, when the entire human race has brought all the world’s nations into one power – the power of sanity, the spirit of Universal Brotherhood. We begin to care for humanity as one race.
But so long as these divisions exist, we carry that grim pride of race and religion with us both as a comfort and a warning. Till the realization of dream, I can’t detach myself from my past. I do feel proud about the accomplishments of your ancestors and mine.
All races attribute a lot of what they are to their unique culture, religion, traditions and style of living. A recent study undertaken by ‘AFRICANGLOBE’ revealed that African American teenagers performed better academically when their parents instilled in them a sense of racial pride. ‘Racial Pride’ is a positive inspiration while ‘Race Blindness’ instigated shunning, promotes hate, mistrust and discrimination. Race blindness encourages negative peer treatment that results in getting into fights, being bullied and affliction of lasting psychic wounds.
The study is concluded with the empirical evidence that the longstanding practice in the African American community of cultivating racial pride and preparing children to face racial bias in society should be considered among appropriate and beneficial practices in parenting Black children.
The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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