Recently, there was an incident with a YouTuber, Paras Singh. He made some really racist comments on the people of Arunachal and degraded our former member of Lok Sabha, Ninong Ering. Multiple FIRs have been filled against him since then by various organizations and renowned individuals. He is a YouTuber with almost 37k subscribers. As the super hero saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.” His videos may have influenced numerous of his subscribers/viewers and for that he is accountable.
I wonder if anyone requested him first to take down the video; if anyone tried to contact him and explain to him as to why his video was offensive. Did we try any other approach before filling those FIRs? Does being racist warrant being jailed? I honestly do not know the answer to this.
Intolerance has reached new heights in India. Journalists’, protesters’, critics’, opposition’s, even comedians’ voices are being muffled by slapping sedition laws against them by the government. Kashmir did not have internet connection (4G) for over a year, as their dissent was being muted. It is quintessential to be tolerant, especially in such a diverse nation as India.
A lot of my friends and family members complain about the racism they face outside Northeast India. I keep my mouth shut in these issues because I have seen the atrocities committed by our own people in our state on outsiders, especially towards ‘non-tribals’.
I have been fortunate to study my 8th, 9th and 10th standards in Assam and complete my BTech from an eminent institute in the Northeast.
In my school times, we were teased because of our broken Hindi and our chinki eyes (I really do have small eyes). Here’s the thing: everyone from all parts of India were teased. Bengalis were teased over their obsession for fish and their overemphasis on the ‘ssh’ sound while speaking. Marwaris were teased for their ancestry of business. Every state had something unique to make fun of.
Then came college. Forget the people who were from outside the campus, even my college mates would threaten the non-tribals who were studying in our college. One of my best friends was threatened with a dao once, that too by some of the college seniors. Even the professors would share these kinds of experiences.
There is a quote by Martin Luther King: “The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
I am not saying that we should tolerate racism. I am asking, can we try a calmer, better approach first, instead of fighting fire with fire?