June 2016 \ News \ DIPLOMATIC COLUMN
Being African

Africa has always been a troubled continent, intensely exploited and savagely colonized, leaving behind an ignominious trace in the racist appellation of ‘apartheid’,

By Malay Mishra

In India an innate loathing for the dark skin has surreptitiously crept into our national psyche. One has to just turn the pages of matrimonial advertisements to understand what I mean, the obsession for fair complexion in the arranged marriage market. It is rather worthwhile to go into the root cause of such attacks and address them strongly. 

Remember, our Africa policy, a post-colonial drum-beating of Gandhiji’s 21-year long association with South Africa and the INC’s championing the cause of decolonization, even bringing apartheid on the UN agenda, has been activated in recent times, hardly a decade back, and the recent Africa Summit with over 40 Heads of States and Governments taking part in Delhi could have been its fruition. India has developed a lot of stakes in Africa today, over US$ 40 bln in investments alone, besides assistance in HR, medicare, housing, IT and education, soft portfolios in which India can maximise its core competencies. 

On the flip side, however, is a serious dichotomy between public pronouncements emanating from government policy, and private action. The man in the street, any street of Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad or Goa for that matter, can get easily provoked by an African’s behaviour, seemingly in bad taste, and easily stands disposed to take law into his own hands. Who can forget, in this context, the obnoxious behaviour of the then Law Minister of the Delhi government in March last year, when he rounded up an African nationals’ habitat and went ecstatic assaulting males and females alike, all in the pretext of their vitiating the locality!

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