Saturday, January 9, 2010
The witty Indian media
A Delhi-based newspaper Mail Today carried a cartoon depicting an Australian police officer in a Ku Klux Klan hood saying "we are yet to determine the nature of the crime". It referred to the murder of an Indian student Nitin Garg in Melbourne a few days ago.
All through last summer (or Australian winter depending on which hemisphere you live in), Australia was rife with protests by Indian students against a spate of attacks on them. The students claimed they were racially motivated - "curry bashing" as it was called. The police and the Australian government were sure they were mere robberies and petty crime. The Indian media went ballistic with outrage over what was happening to Indians in Australia, and has kept up its reporting on the issue since.
Sid from Oz thinks the joke was in bad taste. But as an Indian who will eventually make home in Australia, I was rather tickled by the newspaper's cartoon. I think it is perfectly appropriate to question the Australian police's actions and statements. I was happy that the Indian media and the government are concerned about Indian citizens living elsewhere. Because as I am quickly realising, no matter which government you pay your taxes to, your rights and dignity are critically dependent on which country's passport you hold. Besides, the cartoon itself was funny and punchy (though, ironically, the joke would have been lost on the Indian middle class to which most Australian immigrants belong. I doubt they would have any clue of or interest in the history of the civil rights movement).
That said, I can't help but wonder why such outrage, irony and wit is not displayed with respect to BJP attacking Muslims, MNS terrorising the North Indians in Mumbai or the Indian police which has one of the worst human rights record in the world. I wish the newspaper would save some such sharp digs for them too.