Recent Racist Attacks on Indian Students in Australia

In the recent times, Australia has become a preferred destination of higher studies for Indian students. Today more than 90,000 Indian students are studying in Australia. People sometimes prefer Australia over the US and UK as it offers quality education at a very competitive rate and further, it’s easy to obtain work permit after completing one’s education. However, there have been reports of over a hundred incidents of Indian students being racially abused in the last one year with over six in the last week itself. So, is it really worth the time, effort and money to study in such a far off place and still feel insecure? Of course, cultural differences exist. The recent Symonds-Harbhajan issue bears a testimony to this fact. Many Australians were okay with Harbhajan Singh insulting Andrew Symonds’ mother, but considered calling him a monkey objectionable.


Surely not all Australians are racist. So, it isn’t right to categorize that country as a racist nation. Even 1% of the population can bring a bad name to the whole country by committing such acts. Risk is universal, there’s no place in this world which can be categorized as a safe place. Even in India, forget the foreigners, the fellow Indians are discriminated against. Didn’t the Shiv Sena target the South Indians? Weren’t the North Indians targeted by the MNS recently?


Nevertheless, the question arises, why are Indian students specifically being targeted? It could be because Indians like to remain secluded and don’t mingle much with the crowd there. Another reason could be that they degrade their dignity by choosing late hours and even agree for a lower wage rate just to support their expenses. Indians try to reduce their expenditure by living in cheaply-rented accommodation in mediocre areas, while their Japanese or Middle Eastern counterparts shell out more money to live in good localities or in the University residence, where such problems usually don’t arise.


I think even the Police is biased as even they are after all, Australians only. Indian students should learn to combat the situation with guts and courage rather than crying out loud that they are being targeted. They should perform dignified jobs, which will maintain their dignity in the society and people won’t think of them as some unwanted aliens.


So, is it really worth to consider Australia as a study destination? I think it depends whether Indian students want to stay back and settle there or return to India. Recent study shows that a degree from a good Indian university fetches a better job than a B grade foreign university. If someone can get education from Harvard or Princeton, then well and good ; otherwise why not consider studying and working in India itself. However, if they still want to migrate, have they considered that India’s GDP growth is growing at 6.7% when the whole world is adversely affected by recession? India is probably one of the few countries which have been sheltered from recession. The recent bankruptcy of the US auto giant General Motors says it all.


To conclude, I think risk lies everywhere. Every place has got its pros and cons. If there’s racism in Australia, it also has a far better infrastructure, a stable and working government and one of the highest standards of living in the world; which obviously one can’t find in India. India is also one of the worst terror hit countries. So, how can one say that he’ll be safe in India and not in Australia? I think it depends on what kind of image you form in your society and how you affect the society. As they say, When in Rome, do as the Romans do!


Suyash Kumar

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