Tag Archives: India & Sri Lanka

India Feature | African Students

Racism and Anti-African Sentiment in India

As Indo-African economic relations have expanded in recent years, so too have social and cultural relations between India and African nations, particularly via the growth of international student populations across the Indian Ocean. For African communities in India, this cultural exchange has come with a price: incidents of anti-African violence in recent years have both threatened the security of India’s largely university-based black communities and strained relations between India and African countries. Beyond targeted persecution, students also recount instances of everyday ignorance and racism, including references to all black Africans as “Nigerians” regardless of national origin, derogatory name-calling by strangers, and accusations of cannibalism, prostitution, and drug trafficking. Over the last few years, several media outlets have featured the experiences of African immigrants in the country, chronicling instances of discrimination, violence, and disruptions in their education.

Read

African victims of racism in India share their stories” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)

African students hospitalized in roving mob attacks in India” (CNN | March 2017)

The photographer giving Africans in India a voice” (CNN | March 2017)

Being African in India: ‘We are seen as demons’” (Al Jazeera | June 2016)

Their Indian horror: Africans recount everyday racism” (The Hindustan Times | October 2014)

Africans decry ‘discrimination’ in India” (Al Jazeera | December 2013)

Connect

Association of African Students in India (AASI)

India Feature | Colorism

Darkening Beauty in India


Source: Dark is Beautiful Campaign/YouTube (October 2013)

In India, a cultural movement to tackle colorism has taken root, from challenging the pervasive preference for fair skin in romantic partners to reconstructing depictions of Hindu gods and goddesses using dark-skinned models. Skin-whitening practices are pervasive throughout the country and drive a multimillion-dollar industry, but activists and other community members are seeking to reaffirm beauty and value in darker-skinned people.

Read

Dark is divine: What colour are Indian gods and goddesses?” (BBC News | January 2018)

Bleached girls: India and its love for light skin” (The Conversation | July 2017)

India’s unfair obsession with lighter skin” (The Guardian | August 2013)

Watch

A Brown Girl’s Guide to Beauty (UnErase Poetry/YouTube | July 2017)

Connect

Dark Is Beautiful

India News | Dalit

Dalit community protests following violence in Indian state of Maharashtra
  • The violence arose during celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, where low-caste Dalits sided with the British colonial army to defeat the upper-caste rulers of the region.
  • The rally was allegedly attacked by a right-wing Hindu nationalists, leading to the death of a 28-year-old man and protests throughout Maharashtra calling for justice for Dalits.
  • Demonstrations in Mumbai blocked highways and train stations, leading to mass arrests and violent clashes with police.
Read

Dalit protests: How Mumbai was shut down” (Al Jazeera | January 2018)

Bhima-Koregaon violence: 3,000 Dalit youths detained, no action against right-wing leaders, alleges Ambedkar” (Hindustan Times | January 2018)

Caste violence erupts in India over 200-year-old faultline” (CNN | January 2018)

Perspectives

Indian Dalit recalls protest that paralysed Mumbai” (BBC News | January 2018)

India News | HIV+

India passes nondiscrimination law securing rights for people with HIV
  • The first of its kind in South Asia, the law prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, education, healthcare, and public accommodations such as restaurants and calls for the establishment of an ombudsman to monitor violations.
  • An estimated 2.1 million people live with HIV in India, with some 1 million currently receiving treatment.
  • Some advocates for the positive community argued that the law does not go far enough to guarantee free treatment for the afflicted.
Read

Parliament clears landmark HIV Bill” (The Hindu | April 2017)

What is HIV/AIDS Bill? All your questions answered” (The Indian Express | April 2017)

India takes flawed first step towards ending HIV and Aids prejudice” (The Guardian | April 2017)

(Image Credit: Jayanta Dey/Reuters, via The Guardian)

India News | Women

Female students locked in hostels to avoid harassment during Holi festival in Delhi
  • Two women’s hostels at the University of Delhi were put on lockdown over the Holi holiday out of safety fears.
  • India’s minister for women argued the restrictions were necessary to defend against consequences of “hormonal outbursts.”
  • Women have long reported being sexually assaulted during the festival, but some activists expressed outrage at women’s rather than men’s mobility being targeted as a response.
Read

Holi festival: Delhi women forced into lockdown amid sexual harassment fears” (The Guardian | March 2017)

Delhi University hostels ‘lock up’ girls on Holi” (The Asian Age | March 2017)

Delhi University hostels prohibit women students from playing Holi outside the premises” (International Business Times | March 2017)

(Image Credit: Reuters, via International Business Times)

India News | Women

Pro-choice advocates push to expand abortion window in India
  • Indian women can currently obtain an abortion up to 20 weeks into a pregnancy, after which termination procedures are legally permissible only on a case-by-case basis in cases of danger to maternal health.
  • Advocates argue that many victims of sex crimes do not report pregnancies until late, leaving a very small window of time to abort the pregnancy.
  • Advocates are now pushing to extend the window to 24 weeks and to equip doctors with the legal power to grant abortions rather than forcing women to pursue permission through law enforcement and the courts.
Read

Victims of sex crime race strict Indian abortion deadline” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation | February 2017)

Related Reading

India’s population surges as men remain reluctant to use contraceptive measures” (The Hindustan Times | February 2017)
US abortion funding cuts hit Indian NGOs” (The Economic Times | January 2017)

India Feature | Bengali Muslims

The Poetics of Protest for Bengali Muslims in India

Named for the pejorative term used to describe Muslims presumed to be undocumented immigrants, Miyah poetry has emerged as a cultural protest against the marginalization and scapegoating faced by the Bengali Muslim community in the northeastern state of Assam. Its dissemination through social media channels has made it distinctly public and communal as opposed to more academic forms of cultural protest, bringing together the voices of the trained and untrained alike. Al Jazeera highlights the origins of the form and the social and political conditions that have shaped its evolution.

Read:
Protest poetry: Assam’s Bengali Muslims take a stand” (Al Jazeera | December 2016)

Related reads:
For better or verse: Miyah poetry is now a symbol of empowerment for Muslims in Assam” (Firstpost | September 2016)
A state on edge” (India Today | October 2016)

Additional:
Itamugur (Facebook)
#MiyahPoetry (The Sunflower Collective)

(Image Credit: Kazi Neel/Al Jazeera)