Saturday, February 21, 2009

I am Just a ‘Keling’…

…and I am anjing. I am a low-life and not worthy of respect and decency. This is the kind of attitude we have seen expressed by certain teachers directed no less at our children! As if such vile racism was not abhorrent enough in itself, we have to come to terms with the fact that our children are being subjected to such uncouth and repulsive violence.    

A verbal assault such as the kind endured by A Kuganeshwaran cannot be simply brushed aside as an aberration. This despicable assault on Kuganeshwaran is of course an assault on all those other students in the class – who witness and endure such violence against their fellow students. And if they too, like Kuganeshwaran, are violated, feel threatened, and intimidated by such conduct, imagine the damage we continue to allow these so-called teachers to inflict on our children.   

How are we to undo this kind of damage? How are we to also prevent other students from appreciating that such despicable behaviour is not to be emulated? When will our teachers, principals and others responsible for our children’s well-being and development address this kind of violence against students in our schools?

Some politicians seem to be worried that such bad publicity damages the image of the government. How sad. Even when politicians try to address such behaviour, they fail miserably because they seem more concerned with the political consequences of such bad publicity for the government than redressing the inherent injustice.

Do you suppose these politicians, who by the way, don’t seem to think that we so-called ‘anjings’ are discriminated against, might start getting worried that there might a backlash against the government? Well, would it surprise you to see that politicians would trying to make a meal out of this episode and the teacher concerned because there are some high-profile by-elections in the horizon? Don’t be the least surprised.

Sure, the so-called teacher concerned in this situation has no business being in a classroom. I think we can all agree on that. But why do you suppose it is that such episodes tend to repeat themselves in our schools ever so often? Why do you suppose it is that people in positions of power and authority, such as the police and teachers, seem to have the audacity to indulge in repeated violence against us so-called ‘kelings.’?

Is it that because we are seen as lesser? Is it because we are devalued and therefore it becomes possible to unleash such violence against us and our young? Why does such behaviour not shock me anymore? Why?

Well, if our leaders can be in denial of our state of affairs, should I really be shocked that they’re also in denial that their complacency and stubbornness to address our plight should have such vile consequences?  

Why is it that we repeatedly find such episodes of blatant racist assaults unleashed against us?

I am left with only one plausible explanation – whether it is spoken or implied, to them, I am just a ‘keling.’

G. Krishnan