TODAY -

Reachout Anti-Discrimination Project : Delhi-NCR Discrimination Survey 2014 - Full Report -

Kishalay Bhattacharjee *

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August, 2014. A couple from Delhi with their only child decide to visit the Taj Mahal over a weekend. They are both business school graduates working in corporate houses. Ethnically they belong to the eastern Indian state of Assam. While the man and the child find their way into the monument, the lady is struggling to explain to the guards that she is an Indian citizen.

In India foreigners have higher entry charges to national monuments and the guards at the Taj Mahal are convinced that the lady is a foreigner because she doesn't look 'Indian' to them. Not just the guards, even the visitors in the queue join the chorus insisting that she indeed looks like a foreigner. She shows the guards her government identification cards like the PAN card and AADHAR card but they want her to produce a passport that most Indians do not carry around with them in their own country. Humiliated and embarrassed at this experience, the family decides to first walk away but due to the rush of visitors the guards eventually allow them in.

Nothing describes so pithily the feeling of discrimination based on physical appearance and ethnicity.

Reachout Anti-Discrimination Project was launched to address the need to recognize ethnic and racial discrimination that is so prevalent in India.

To take effective measures to prevent and combat discrimination needs deepening the understanding of discrimination, its causes and extent - as well as the impact of policies and practices designed to tackle it. With frequent reports of alleged racist attacks in Delhi and the National Capital Region, Reachout Foundation perceived a lack of comprehensive data on the nature of alleged discrimination against people from Northeastern India in cities like Delhi. Our emphasis thus has been to generate comprehensive and defensible empirical data on the extent and variation of racist attitudes and experiences, in order that they could inspire or guide anti-discrimination policies.

We tend to make negative generalisations about the 'other' and discrimination is not just an attitude in Delhi-NCR, it is experienced everywhere. Even in India's Northeast it is a daily emotion but the scope of this report is contained to Delhi-NCR. If stereotypical perceptions are to change and the inclusive idea of India has to become a reality rather than a concept there is an urgent need for policymakers, academia, the media, civil society and public and corporate stakeholders to come together and strengthen people to people relationship. The way forward is to look for more partnerships and alliances so that we can retain the diversity of this country .

Howard Winant the well-known race theorist says, “Will race ever be "transcended"? Will the world ever "get beyond" race? Probably not. But the entire world still has a chance of overcoming the stratification, the hierarchy, the taken-for-granted injustice and inhumanity that so often accompanies the "race concept."

Like religion or language, race can be accepted as part of the spectrum of the human condition, while it is simultaneously and categorically resisted as a means of stratifying national or global societies. Nothing is more essential in the effort to reinforce democratic commitments, not to mention global survival and prosperity, as we enter a new millennium.”

Download the full report here - PDF - 1.9 MB




* Kishalay Bhattacharjee sent this information to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at kishalayb(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on December 06 , 2014.


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