oppn parties Giriraj Singh Makes a Racist Remark

News Snippets

  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
  • All 6 Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs merge with the Congress in Rajasthan
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee to meet PM Modi on Wednesday, state issues on the agenda
  • Pakistan to open Kartarpur corridor on Nov 9
  • Rajeev Kumar, ex-police commissioner of Kolkata and wanted for questioning in the Sarada scam does not appear before the CBI despite the state administration requesting him to do so
  • Supreme Court asks the Centre to restore normalcy in J&K but keeping national interest in mind
  • As Trump accepts the invitation to attend a programme in Houston with PM Modi, India rushes to settle trade issues with US
  • After drone attack on Aramco's Suadi Arabia facility, oil prices jump 19% in intra-day trading causing worries for India
  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
Giriraj Singh Makes a Racist Remark

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
BJP MP and minister Giriraj Singh has asked whether the Congress would have accepted Rajiv Gandhi’s wife as its president if she was a Nigerian. It has immediately stirred a huge controversy, with the Nigerian High Commissioner in India asking Singh to apologize to the people of Nigeria and the government warning him to refrain from embarrassing it.

Singh is not famous for being particularly intelligent. He has shot off his mouth previously too, when during the 2014 election campaign, he asked Narendra Modi’s critics to go to Pakistan. He had then forgotten that Hindu’s outnumbered Muslims in Modi’s critics and why would they go to Pakistan. He has now forgotten that by alluding to Nigerian women when he meant black women, he has hurt the sensibilities of the people of a friendly nation. Loose cannons like Giriraj need to be mothballed as they go against the inclusive growth agenda Modi has lined up for India.

But the larger question that arises is: are Indians racist? Do they fawn over and consider white skinned people superior? Why do companies selling skin lightening products do roaring business in India? Why are we obsessed with being light skinned or fair?

There is no doubt that ‘goras’ are looked up upon as much as ‘kaalas’ are looked down upon in India. Has it got to do something with the caste system, where it was believed that the colour of the skin progressed from dark to fair with shurdras having the darkest and Brahmins the fairest skin tone? Is it because shudras were considered untouchables that all dark skinned people are looked down upon?

Actress Nandita Das had written a scathing critique on our obsession with fair skinned actors. She had pinned it down to insecurities among men and women. Read Nandita’s full blog here. But the fact remains: Indians are obsessed with fair skinned people and hence wish to be fair themselves too.

Many years ago, I saw a Hindi play Court Martial, performed by Usha Ganguly’s troupe Rangakarmee, where two fair skinned Punjabi officers belittle a dark skinned jawan’s excellent timing in a road race, beating many a Punjabi officer, by saying that his mother must have slept with a Punjabi. It is no secret that fair skinned people from the northern parts of India often display a superiority complex vis-a-vis people of the rest of the country. Within the boundaries of other states too, fair skinned people think they were made to rule the others. Is this kind of thinking a vestige of the caste system or is it something else?

Is Giriraj Singh alone in making racist remarks or do more educated Indians think along these lines?