Controversy October 20, 2007

No room for bigotry

Our virtue as a nation is that we committed ourselves to an inclusive pluralism
62

In Baroda and Bombay, Andrew Symonds, the only non-white, Afro-Caribbean member of the Australian side, was heckled by spectators who called him a monkey, and made ape-like motions in case he hadn't got their point. The Sydney Morning Herald published a photograph of two middle-class, middle-aged Indian men making like monkeys. Symonds, his captain, his team mates, and Australian newspapers thought this was as patent a form of racism as you were likely to witness on a cricket field and said so. The ICC wrote to the BCCI expressing concern.

Sharad Pawar said he hadn't received the ICC's letter. He borrowed the theme of cultural difference that Ricky Ponting had used earlier in the series in another context - that of sledging - to make his point. In the days that followed, this became something of an Indian theme: the Australians had misunderstood the crowd's gestures. There was no racism intended. The police commissioner in Baroda even supplied an alternative explanation: the monkey chants were no more than the spectators invoking the simian god, Hanuman.

The non-official reaction was similar. The newspapers were slow off the mark. Some suggested that Indian crowds had always jeered combative cricketers like Symonds; the monkey business was volatility, not racism. Indian crowds had been known to call West Indians "kaliyas" or "hubshi" and English cricketers "goras" because they were, respectively, black and white. The implication was that Symonds with his dreadlocks and face paint, more or less invited the heckling by turning out in a contemporary version of blackface. Looked at reasonably, it was possible, the argument ran, to see it as no more than a kind of empirical teasing where unsophisticated spectators named what they saw: gora, kaliya, bandar.

Some opinion pieces struggled with the large question: are Indians racist? And if they are, are they racist in the same way as white people who are racist? Critics referred to the Indian obsession with being light-skinned, a preference happily specified in classified matrimonial ads and further borne out by the sale of fairness creams. One writer described this preference as a form of "soft racism", an attitude similar to notions of white superiority in western societies, but different in two ways: a) there was no republican history of state sanction for racist prejudice, unlike in white settler colonies like Australia and South Africa in the past b) the variation in skin colour within networks of caste and kinship in India made "hard" bigotry, genetic racism, difficult. Others made the point that caste discrimination, specially the practice of "untouchability" was as vicious a form of discrimination as apartheid or segregation.

As the days passed, a pattern emerged in the public response to the taunting of Symonds. The reaction after Baroda was defensive. After the Bombay match, where Symonds was booed at the prize-giving, and where the monkey taunts were repeated, the Indian response changed: the police evicted the worst offenders and charged them in court, Pawar denounced racist behaviour as unacceptable, and newspapers carried editorial mea culpas. It was Hamish Blair's brilliant photograph of two middle-class Indian men in the Wankhede stands, trying to look like apes and succeeding, that swung Indian public opinion away from denial towards an acknowledgment that there was a problem that needed to be named.

And its name is racism. It's silly and deluded to look for anthropological explanations that will turn racist behaviour by Indians into something subtly different. Cricket writing by Indians in English sometimes makes the mistake of thinking of the "average" Indian fan as non-English speaking and therefore naïve and unsophisticated. This assumption makes it possible for "us" to explain "their" behaviour away as a kind of unschooled brutishness that is unfortunate but not wicked. This is why Blair's photograph is so important: it shows you upwardly mobile men - who probably discuss the virtues of one malt whisky over the other, who possibly holiday abroad, whose children certainly go to private schools that teach in English - using one of the many international codes they've learnt in their cosmopolitan lives, the Esperanto of bigotry. The mudras they're making aren't derived from Kathakali : they're straight out of the international style guide to insulting black men.

It's hard for Indian fans to cede moral advantage to an Australian team. They are so much better at the cricket that outrage is often the only consolation we have. It's hard to fault the Australians' behaviour on the Symonds affair: they've made their point, done the BCCI the favour of not lodging an official complaint, been appreciative of the board's belated denunciation of racism, and have signalled their willingness to move on. The Indians, after a slow start, have redeemed themselves by booking the bad guys. To keep up the good work, we need to do the same again. And it doesn't have to be a racial insult the next time round: it could be, given our versatility in the matter of prejudice, a religious slur.

To say this isn't to concede some civilisational defect but merely to point out that we can't enjoy the glow of self-righteousness without the rigours of self-examination. Our virtue as a nation is that we committed ourselves to an inclusive pluralism. Our aim as a cricket-playing nation ought to be to live up to that ideal.

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Parithi on February 15, 2008, 4:22 GMT

    I have been watching cricket for a few years now. I know that there is a very good player called Symonds in the Australian team, but till this issue came up I never know what race he belongs to. I think not many fans will go into the intricate details of the players.

    Next,in India, we abuse others by calling them dogs, pigs, monkeys etc. So what the crowd did was essentially a form of abuse.

    Then, why abusing a player is not considered as bad as a racist comment? If the australians (or the rest of the world) is hurt by racist comments, I am hurt by abusive language.

  • chittahri on December 6, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    it is not fair what happend to symonds (b, cause he is also belong?1/2 ly to a nation severly illtreated by whities) but there are must be a time australians and other so called whiteies should feel how they had treated asians africans and native ammericans not only in cricket but through out the world history. indians may be impulsive but are not 1/2 racist as them. and im not a indian

  • Surender Visvanathan on November 15, 2007, 19:55 GMT

    Such an emotive subject. However, there is no doubt that Symonds was targeted, there is no doubt that it is totally unacceptable behaviour, and there is no doubt that this is deep in the Indian psyche - we love lightskinned people, there's no denyng it. I enjoyed reading Mukul's column; the good thing in the end is that we do have right thinking people in our country, and hopefully, the Authorities will come down hard on this sort of behaviour, and put the fear of God into potential offenders!

  • Saaj on November 15, 2007, 18:06 GMT

    Hey all Indians out there! We have two issues being discussed here. One is sledging and two is racism. Both involves using derogatory terms to the individual. (Some of the sledging is actually witty) Racism is condemned becuase you are basically using a person's race against him. This is not acceptable anywhere in the world. People like Javed are confusing the two issues. You can call me stupid to offend me. Or you can call me a black/brown/white stupid. In the second instance you are implying that I am stupid because of my race. If used repeatedly to offend, a word or jesture, which is initially benign can acquire derogatory connotations. The word Madrasi is an example. Initialy a word for a person from Madras, now it means a less than equal south indian. The ape gesture is an unacceptable derogatory behaviour towards any African or Afrocarribean person. I want Indians to be more exposed to the rest of the world. I expect no racism against me and I expect myself not to be a racist. I can take a personal taunt but not a racial taunt. And I want everyone to know the line between a personal and a racial taunt.

  • srikanthan on November 15, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    Mukul Kesavan has a very valid point on the myth of show of racism by uneducated people. The photographs do tell a tale and a big one at that Real shame that the so called educated middle class is the one which is indulging in this when we are at thereceing end , we make a big fuss about racism.It is deeply embedded in India Psyche. We are color/caste conscious. we are hypocrites. we will not put up with racism when we are the recipienst and will happily insult others

  • Paka Paki on November 11, 2007, 8:30 GMT

    Beating India in India on a Diwali Night after scoring 321, was our Sweet Revenge for defeating us in T20 Final in Ramadan ;)

  • simon on November 9, 2007, 22:34 GMT

    My understanding is that these poor spectators merely have arm peculiar action when applauding caused by a deformity from birth. The associated speech impediment cause a flexion of between 10 and 15 degrees of the tongue which causes the cheering to sound remarkably like monkey noises. There you have it ... a simple answer for what would otherwise be unthinkable ..... a racist who is not white. This form of applause should immediately be declared acceptable and any rules, regulations etc should be amended to accommodate this position.

  • ramgopal on November 5, 2007, 22:40 GMT

    anoop, don't embarrass yourself. everybody knows that we (Indians) are the most racist people in the world.

  • Anoop on November 4, 2007, 2:33 GMT

    Mukul, We respect your writings alot. We know who always do the racism. What about umpire darell hair. What about people in australia noballing murali. What about ponting pushing Powar. What about australian PM calling murali a chuker. Man define racism. mike denness charging 6 Indian players in India-South Africa match. Racism is always done againt a race. Indian crowd booed against 1 player not against entire australian race or team. You cant ask the crowd to just shut up and watch the game. It is done every where. Being an Indian cricket fan, I never like Pakistani cricketers and Inzamam, but what Inzamam did by standing up against hair "the ra****" is simply great. Pakistan might have to forfeit the match and Inzamam might have to serve match ban but he set a great example for all Indians/Pakistanis/Srilankans/Bangladeshis what we can do. Mukul you have a great power of writing. Please please support us Mr. Mukul. Show the true picture. Get up Stand up Write for the right. Please Mukul.

  • Sitanshu Shekhar on October 31, 2007, 9:25 GMT

    @ Dilip - The monkey chanting incidents happened in Baroda and Mumbai, hardly 'North' enough.

    So, stop this north - south bashing among Indians and go and dig a hole somewhere and bury yourself.

  • Parithi on February 15, 2008, 4:22 GMT

    I have been watching cricket for a few years now. I know that there is a very good player called Symonds in the Australian team, but till this issue came up I never know what race he belongs to. I think not many fans will go into the intricate details of the players.

    Next,in India, we abuse others by calling them dogs, pigs, monkeys etc. So what the crowd did was essentially a form of abuse.

    Then, why abusing a player is not considered as bad as a racist comment? If the australians (or the rest of the world) is hurt by racist comments, I am hurt by abusive language.

  • chittahri on December 6, 2007, 16:49 GMT

    it is not fair what happend to symonds (b, cause he is also belong?1/2 ly to a nation severly illtreated by whities) but there are must be a time australians and other so called whiteies should feel how they had treated asians africans and native ammericans not only in cricket but through out the world history. indians may be impulsive but are not 1/2 racist as them. and im not a indian

  • Surender Visvanathan on November 15, 2007, 19:55 GMT

    Such an emotive subject. However, there is no doubt that Symonds was targeted, there is no doubt that it is totally unacceptable behaviour, and there is no doubt that this is deep in the Indian psyche - we love lightskinned people, there's no denyng it. I enjoyed reading Mukul's column; the good thing in the end is that we do have right thinking people in our country, and hopefully, the Authorities will come down hard on this sort of behaviour, and put the fear of God into potential offenders!

  • Saaj on November 15, 2007, 18:06 GMT

    Hey all Indians out there! We have two issues being discussed here. One is sledging and two is racism. Both involves using derogatory terms to the individual. (Some of the sledging is actually witty) Racism is condemned becuase you are basically using a person's race against him. This is not acceptable anywhere in the world. People like Javed are confusing the two issues. You can call me stupid to offend me. Or you can call me a black/brown/white stupid. In the second instance you are implying that I am stupid because of my race. If used repeatedly to offend, a word or jesture, which is initially benign can acquire derogatory connotations. The word Madrasi is an example. Initialy a word for a person from Madras, now it means a less than equal south indian. The ape gesture is an unacceptable derogatory behaviour towards any African or Afrocarribean person. I want Indians to be more exposed to the rest of the world. I expect no racism against me and I expect myself not to be a racist. I can take a personal taunt but not a racial taunt. And I want everyone to know the line between a personal and a racial taunt.

  • srikanthan on November 15, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    Mukul Kesavan has a very valid point on the myth of show of racism by uneducated people. The photographs do tell a tale and a big one at that Real shame that the so called educated middle class is the one which is indulging in this when we are at thereceing end , we make a big fuss about racism.It is deeply embedded in India Psyche. We are color/caste conscious. we are hypocrites. we will not put up with racism when we are the recipienst and will happily insult others

  • Paka Paki on November 11, 2007, 8:30 GMT

    Beating India in India on a Diwali Night after scoring 321, was our Sweet Revenge for defeating us in T20 Final in Ramadan ;)

  • simon on November 9, 2007, 22:34 GMT

    My understanding is that these poor spectators merely have arm peculiar action when applauding caused by a deformity from birth. The associated speech impediment cause a flexion of between 10 and 15 degrees of the tongue which causes the cheering to sound remarkably like monkey noises. There you have it ... a simple answer for what would otherwise be unthinkable ..... a racist who is not white. This form of applause should immediately be declared acceptable and any rules, regulations etc should be amended to accommodate this position.

  • ramgopal on November 5, 2007, 22:40 GMT

    anoop, don't embarrass yourself. everybody knows that we (Indians) are the most racist people in the world.

  • Anoop on November 4, 2007, 2:33 GMT

    Mukul, We respect your writings alot. We know who always do the racism. What about umpire darell hair. What about people in australia noballing murali. What about ponting pushing Powar. What about australian PM calling murali a chuker. Man define racism. mike denness charging 6 Indian players in India-South Africa match. Racism is always done againt a race. Indian crowd booed against 1 player not against entire australian race or team. You cant ask the crowd to just shut up and watch the game. It is done every where. Being an Indian cricket fan, I never like Pakistani cricketers and Inzamam, but what Inzamam did by standing up against hair "the ra****" is simply great. Pakistan might have to forfeit the match and Inzamam might have to serve match ban but he set a great example for all Indians/Pakistanis/Srilankans/Bangladeshis what we can do. Mukul you have a great power of writing. Please please support us Mr. Mukul. Show the true picture. Get up Stand up Write for the right. Please Mukul.

  • Sitanshu Shekhar on October 31, 2007, 9:25 GMT

    @ Dilip - The monkey chanting incidents happened in Baroda and Mumbai, hardly 'North' enough.

    So, stop this north - south bashing among Indians and go and dig a hole somewhere and bury yourself.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 31, 2007, 7:39 GMT

    I would like to digress a little bit and take this subject on a slightly different tangent, still related to the game of cricket, rather to the basic ethics of the game and the moral issues related to it. If we can discuss racism and bigotry, why not ethics and moral issues related to cricket? At least, I feel it this way and I am compelled to write something on this subject and I would ask Mukul and others to dedicate an exclusive thread on this subject. I am referring to Duncan Fletcher's cheap antics in his forthcoming autobiography, "Behind the Shades," which is being serialized in the Daily Mail.

    Fletcher has shamelessly attacked Andrew Flintoff at personal level and the worst thing is he is talking now i.e., after he has been "Done, Dunked in Dung" by England. He is out there trying to seek the moral high ground to mobilize supporters, readers and dollars by way of achieving a pseudo ethical parlance without any morality and decency in it. The only objective that he has in his mind is to get cheap popularity and make some quick money. Shouldn't he be ashamed of himself for being such a hypocrite?

    He was there for almost eight years with the England team, when England beat Australia in England, Kevin Peitersen and Andrew Flintoff emerged as heroes after winning the Ashes series. But Fletcher being the coach took most of the credit for building an excellent team for England. We all know about Flintoff's "drunk, skunk, sunk" case in the Caribbean during the World Cup, it was highlighted by the local media and the British Tabloid took full advantage,exploited it to the maximum. I don't deny or support Freddie for that, what is wrong is wrong and there must be some truth in it. But, Flintoff has already paid a price for that. But, to accuse him now and drag it all over again and expand it from Australia to the Caribbean and to target him in his book by adding spice, only proves one point that is, Fletcher is a hypocrite, also a very petty and trivial person. He wants to make money by hook or by crook. He is even supporting Darrel Hair to create more controversies and gain some Australian dollars.

  • vjohnsonm on October 30, 2007, 2:47 GMT

    Hi Ball and Chain,

    Please be civil and write on the topic that is being discussed. Javed has written sensible stuff and there is no need to tell him to go to pak spin. He has as much right to be here as you have.

    If you are a Indian, then shame on you. Dont act like a mad dog.

    I am a cricket fan from India and I enjoy civil debate. I dont agree with Javed's view especially on Tendulkar. But I respect his viewpoint.

    Peace and waiting for the india-pak series.

    Hope India wins

  • raj krishnan on October 30, 2007, 0:26 GMT

    I really enjoy Javed Khan's prose. Mr.Javed ,pl continue to do so and more frequently . I also enjoy your duel with A.A.KHAN.

  • frednork on October 29, 2007, 23:06 GMT

    there has been no misunderstanding of racism. The question was asked of teh Herscell Gibbs episode as to whether his tirade against the spectators was racially (read nationally or ethnically if you will)based. The upshot of that episode was that HG was being racist, he used a derogatory comment in relation to anothers race. Darren Lehmann did the same against the Sri Lankans (although there was a fair upcry from teh feminists about the use of the word c*** and the aceptance that went with that). Andrew Symonds was quite likeley subjected to quite a few taunts as he fielded in the outer. Many of them he probably didnt understand, many he probably did, and Im sure as any opposing fielder has realised, a hostile crowd is unpleasant. but he was not concerned with any of that, and rightly so - he was giving as good as he got. However he did draw the line at monkey chants. Why? Because he perceived these to be a derogartory reference to his skin colour. To try to pass this off as a cultural misunderstanding is to actually condone the actions of HG and DL. HG is from a country where racial segregation was legall for quite some time, so of course its OK for him to make a racial slur against some spectators that are annoying him. DL lives in a country where we call our best mates bloody c***s. SO according to that logic, DL and HG were unfairly treated! Like hell they were - both got off lightly. What seems to be misunderstood is that there is a line in the sand as to what is offensive and what is racism. Mcgrath vs Sarwan was offensive and really, he set himself up with his own sledging (obviously he didnt realise that Sarwan has a fas mind!), but it was not racially motivated or based. HG and DL and the crowds in australia going at the south africans and the crowds in India going at AS, thats racisim. simple - nothing complicated. acknowledge that and move on and deal with it. In australia (yes Im an Australian), we are far from perfect, but we are starting to put in place a famework that can not only deal with perpetrators, but also tackle the problem at a ociety level (which is where Ian Chappell is comming from Javed!)

  • Subramani on October 29, 2007, 7:59 GMT

    This whole business of racism has been misunderstood in the context of the monkey chants and gestures that a couple of spectators were photographed doing during the Mumbai game. In India, it is not uncommon to find people actually indulging in such things to get back at someone. But it has absolutely no allusion to the colour of the skin.It is just done to cause laughter amongst a group of people, possibly friends. It is not offensive in the manner Macgrath's abuseing of Sarwan was or for that matter, the language that one sees so many Australians indulge in in the name of mental degradation and playing aggressively. The point that emerges is that it is OK for Ponting and his team to push the Chief guest off the podium in India and yet too much to stomach this form of retaliation. The Australian media like their umpires are known for their Nationalism, their Prime Minister not excluded. So it is not really worth it getting into a debate over this non issue.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 28, 2007, 17:26 GMT

    Ball and Chain (what an agonizing name, you must be in great pain)

    Like you and a few others, if I want to, I can always use a different nick or a name. But, I use one name because this is my real name and, I am not afraid of receiving any flak. In fact, you should display some courage here by using a real a name... You better stick to the subject of the thread, or restrict your views to the game of cricket rather than dedicating your whole post in my name with pointless criticism. It only goes to prove that you are an attention seeker. Anyways, take my retort and be happy now because the ball has been released from the chain.

    By the way have you stamped this blog with some kind of ownership rights? I am asking you because you are so rudely and forcefully suggesting me that I should go back to "Pak Spin." Instead of asking me, you should suggest Mukul to ban me from this blog, because, in your opinion this is a very secular blog and those bloggers who write regularly for "Pak Spin" should not write for "Men in White?"

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 28, 2007, 8:55 GMT

    I am quoting Ian Chappell's latest article "Tackling racism at grounds" ref. cricinfo dated October 28, 2007. Following is the link:

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/extracover/content/current/story/317342.html

    And here is a quote:

    "Anti-social behaviour is not just a cricket problem, it's a crisis in society, and it can only be solved by the proper education and good-example leadership on a global basis."

    Shouldn't it be appropriate to set the house in order before pointing fingers at others? I mean if the leadership at home had demonstrated some civility and set a "good-example" then, you can talk about preaching it on a global basis. People living in glass houses should not ........ change when the lights are on. ;-)

  • Ball and Chain on October 28, 2007, 7:48 GMT

    Javed, please take your virus like, overblown, boring rants back to pakspin. I don't think anyone here needs your special brand of mindless lecturing.

  • Damodar on October 27, 2007, 18:14 GMT

    Kiran, that's rather a crude way of putting it, but I have to agree, tennis and football debate forums seem to be more mature.

  • Kiran on October 27, 2007, 8:52 GMT

    Mukul's earlier attempt at poetry and the postings of most bloggers on this forum shows that followers of cricket (including Mukul himself)seem to have less IQ than bloggers on forums of other sports. See the BBC football debates for example.

  • Convict on October 27, 2007, 2:30 GMT

    My dear Javed, thank you for your explanation. It is very clear now. For those that had difficulty understanding his ramblings, I summarise below:

    A non white can never be racist to anyone else because of the the burden of past crimes against them.

    A white man if he opens his mouth is always racist by definition.

  • Asoke on October 26, 2007, 13:05 GMT

    It is really funny that Aussies have been bitching about so called racist taunts in India, they themselves are the biggest racists and have been after Murli forever and not to forget their prime minister calling murli a chucker. If it was a white baller if would have ok but since it was a brown guy it was open season on him.

    Not to forget aussie continuous agressive behavior and their rude shoving of pawar

  • Omer Admani on October 26, 2007, 6:34 GMT

    This is a bit tricky to get around. I would personally say that what the Indian fans did wasn't 'racist'. The other day I was going through some literature online and a white person was arguing with a black person that blacks have facial structures like apes, had no culture before Europeans arrived in Africa, and cannot be considered 'humans'. Now racism resonates within that background, the European thought that blacks weren't humans but apes. It wasn't simply a set of words, but a way of thought. Two things I would note about the above that I think makes it racist: 1) 'Generalizing' all blacks to have no culture and covilization 2)'Believing' as opposed to 'saying' that blacks are not humans. Not alluding to it as a 'metaphor', but perpetuating it as an 'idea'. In other words, what I am trying to say is that racism emerges within such a setting or a background: Not the fact that so-and-so looks like a 'monkey', but the perpetuation of him as an 'idea' of a race that is not human but a race of monkeys (literally!).

    Now as far as the matter of Symonds is concerned, I'd like to introduce another example. A friend compares another friend to an alligator because he looks like one. He has alligator skin and the face takes a similar shape. He might call him an alligator as a friend without being offensive, while a 'stranger' might call him an alligator while being offensive. But neither would be racist, as either of them are exempt from (2) above. Symonds' case is pretty analagous to the above, except it is exempt from (1) as well, as I don't think those indians would have generalized the gestures to any afro-carribean cricketer. In other words, the gesture of 'symonds being a monkey' doesn't recall the idea of an afro-carribean community being a 'lesser being' or an 'ape'. The gestururs were being offensive to Symonds by comparing him to a monkey, but, firstly, they were clearly being relevant only to the person of Symonds, not generalizing the whole afro-carribean community, and, secondly, certainly not implying that Symonds is a lesser human being. The confusion here springs from the fact that the European settlers identified blacks as monkeys in 'heart and soul' and 'looks' whereas coincidentally the spectators in this case identified 'Symonds' as a monkey in 'looks' (and he could might as well have been compared to an alligator!). The bottomline is that a conception of 'inferiority in heart and soul' (because of a cultural aspect, religious aspect, and so on) of the 'other' is racist, not comparisions of people in looks with with animals. Writers do that all the time, define facial features of some of their characters by comparing them to animals or pointing the resemblance of a certain character with a certain animal. Are they racist as well?

    An easier way to go about is a thought expermiment-- really think of a desi person who looks a bit like a monkey. And, suppose, we say 'bandar ki tarah lagta hai' (you look like a monkey), would that be racist? I'd say clearly not, although it is 'offensive'. And if it is racist, then it only undermines a history of racism, where people were actually treated (as in idea, and in heart and soul) as animals and not humans.

  • WhatABunchOfRacists on October 26, 2007, 5:18 GMT

    What a pack of narrow-minded apologists. You don't even have the ... to admit the behaviour of a FEW Indians was inappropriate with another back-handed swipe at the Australians.

    As a polyglot nation of peoples who have suffered under the yoke of the colonials, this strikes me as beyond disgraceful.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 25, 2007, 23:36 GMT

    Steven

    Although I have already explained it in detail, but I will make an attempt to explain it to you once again, in a little more detail:

    Using a derogatory comment by way of showing dissent and discrimination and profiling someone is the actual discrimination resulting directly or indirectly from racism. And this is according to the definitions of racism in the English dictionary. I haven't invented it. And, racism has many faces, broadly speaking there are two attitudes towards the concept of racism: one says that "racism" is usefully applied only where it is derived from a perception of race and the ensuing fixation on "typical" racial traits.

    The second one is that racism consists in "intentional practices" and unintended processes or consequences of attitudes towards the ethnic "other." Its a known fact that, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans are labeled and profiled as ethnic other. Hence, according to this line of thought, it is not necessary to possess a concept of "race" to entertain prejudices towards other peoples. And the one I am referring to the Prime Minister's intentional comment is this second one. If you are not satisfied with my argument, you may do your own homework and find out. But, I still want you to think about this:

    Do you agree with me that the Prime Minister did not pass that comment to praise Murali? I am sure you also agree with me that, he used it to humiliate, degrade and insult Murali. And he knew that by calling Murali a chucker would seriously affect his performance. So it was an intentional and deliberate act which is called profiling with discrimination and "entertaining and airing prejudices," which is racism.

    Is the Prime Minister above the law? Or, do you think he is just like any other person in the crowd who is there to make fun of the opposition players by calling them with names, insulting and entertaining prejudices and it is OK? The Prime Minister has to show some respect to the visitors, they are his guests. If a captain of the team shows slightest dissent in his behaviour and that too not in words but, through his body language, he is penalized.

    Example: Inzamam ul haq, a couple of years ago in Bangalore test, clenched his fists and shrugged his shoulders against a caught behind appeal of Sehwag, turned down by the umpire. Inzi didn't say a word, but he was fined and banned for 2 matches on the pretext that a captain should not set a bad example, as he leads the team and must set a good example. There was absolutely nothing wrong in his gesture except airing his frustration in dismay and disbelief. But, they kept showing it several times on the TV and the match referee decided to penalize Inzamam whereas, the umpire did not even report it to the match referee. According to the ICC Gospel the umpire must report an incident, but he did not, yet he was fined and banned for 2 test matches.

    Another example: Last year in Malaysia, Tendulkar was given out by Marc Benson, whereas he was not out, the ball had hit him on his body and not his bat, the umpire gave him out, but called him back. Ricky Ponting went up to the umpire and said, "you are a disgrace to umpiring," everyone heard that as the microphone near the stumps picked up that nasty comment from Ricky Ponting. I thought he is gone, banned for at least 4 matches. But, Marc Benson did not report it as an incident to the match referee and nothing happened. This is a case of brotherhood, poor umpiring and bad "referee-ing" Anyways, this is something to do with the players for their "on-field" behaviour and we are talking about people and crowd behaviour at the stands.

    If Inzamam was fined for shrugging his shoulders because he leads the team from the front and must set a good example for his team. Then, don't you think that, "The Prime Minister" leads the country from the front and setting a bad example by creating discrimination and by calling his guest player with insulting and derogatory remarks to humiliate him, ridicule him then, what do you expect from the crowd?

    I think I have made myself very clear to you this time, but I am not sure if you have understood it better.

  • amarjeet on October 25, 2007, 17:19 GMT

    sorry i meant "no bigger hypocrites than Indians"

  • rod on October 25, 2007, 2:13 GMT

    every country has insecure idiots who need to abuse difference to feel good about their own pathetic lives.

    every country has strong solid people who enjoy life.

    All this demonizing millions of people based on the actions of a group of idiots (which every country always has had, always will have) is most absurd... I know damn well I can go to any country and find a nice person, and every country to find an arsehole.

  • Steven on October 25, 2007, 1:30 GMT

    @JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA "Or their Prime Minister calling Murali "A chucker" " You've lost me. How is calling someone a chucker racist ?

  • amarjeet on October 24, 2007, 22:47 GMT

    Mr. Praveen, as a pure indian , i can say with complete confidence that there are bigger hypocrites in the world than Indians.

  • Praveen on October 24, 2007, 17:09 GMT

    "There have been instances over the years," Gillespie said, "and I don't think it's going to be any different this summer." Well this is what an Australian has to say about racism......what a bunch of hypocrites you guys are (read Cricket Australia and ppl supporting that). I hope Australia is banned for this!!!

  • doremi on October 24, 2007, 11:08 GMT

    You've really written well this time Mukul. And I agree. We as a country have to accept these facts. They won't make us small if we try and rectify the problem.

  • wearelikethisonly on October 24, 2007, 10:44 GMT

    Our history and problems notwithstanding this incident was not racism.

    Symonds made himself a target of crowd ire. His origins came in handy to convert crowd behavior into racism. What if it had been Ricky or Adam or any one else? The taunts would have been different and so would the allegations.

    However, this is unfolding on-cue now. The Australian players are asking the public to behave and making sure it stays top-of-mind recall for everyone. The moment Hayden left India he discovered that he gets a high beating India in India. Get him some endorsements guys. (BTW Clarke has got some endorsements and he has praised Dhoni and his leadership.. wow!) McGrath wants Sree to start performing. Ponting is giving a quote a day. The rest of the worthies can't be far behind

    For any incident that happens in Australia can now be passed off as retribution. We are not supposed to protest as suggested in a comment by the BIG D some time back.

    Well, we used to get beaten in Australia by a combination of players, pitches and media. This time the war has already started and they have smartly turned us against each other. Everyone is debating to death a racist complaint that never was.

  • saif zia(DELHI) on October 24, 2007, 10:27 GMT

    When the monkey chant incident occured it therefore proved that cricket is still dominated by the whites.When an Australian player was slighly abused the ICC &ACB turned the cricket world upside -down but when the indian skipper M.S DHONI was given abuses which cannot be repeted in public by PUNTER everyone kept mum as if they had lost their tounges.GLENN McCGRATH was a legendery bowler but a legendery sledger too. An australian captain always welcomes a non-white player with the words"you bloody black beast".But now the australians should be thrown out of the cricketing world @ should be taught a lesson first on how behave to themselves.

  • rext on October 24, 2007, 8:51 GMT

    Sorry Gaurav but this is not a discussion about racism in Australia but in India! Attempting to deflect the conversation can't alter that fact. So own it and deal with it. And incidentally, Andrew Symonds is not an Australian Aborigine, he is West Indian born, adopted by English parents who migrated to Australia when he was a child. He qualified to play for England but chose Australia instead.

  • Convict descendant on October 24, 2007, 1:08 GMT

    Really good article.

    I am an Aussie, and would like to say I do agree that Symonds did put himself up as a target with the press statements he made. I think he was a fair target for Indian fans to have a go at. But, let it be said that if any "dark" coloured player from another country was sledged for being a monkey, (say at the Gabba or MCG), the racism & ugly Australian chant would be heard all over the world.

    Javed Khan thinks that it is all right for the monkey actors, (my term for the persons who did the monkey chants), should not be punished. Hmmm says a bit about his morality. In Australia people found guilty of racist behavior at sporting events get large fines and lifetime bans from sports venues.

    I think all countries have inherant social flaws like racism, prejudism & many other "isms". It is how you deal with them is what is important.

    I defy anyone from any country anywhere who can take the moral highground on racism in sport. Fact is a few idiots have embarrassed a country, (India), I have no doubts some Beer fueled fools will do the same in Australia this season.

    Symonds took the whole thing in a typical Australian manner, scored a century, made note of what happened and moved on. Yet we have people like Ranatunga who is still bemoaning Murali be called a chucker by Australian crowds. The same crowds that donated Millions of hard earned dollars for Tsunami relief in Sri Lanka amongst other places.

    We have flaws that can be criticised but we also have a hell of a lot more admirable traits, same goes for our cricketors.

    Cheers

  • Gaurav on October 23, 2007, 21:18 GMT

    ‘Indian Subcontinent’ has been a racist place for centuries. Before looking into Andrew Symonds episode lets try looking into our cultural, regional and lingual psyche. One would agree that almost everybody suffers from this disease in one form or other. When I see cricket playing ‘Indian Subcontinent’ , which covers India , Pakistan, Sri–Lanka and Bangladesh and looking in any of these countries I see the division . We may not call it ‘racist’ as a perspective but on converging the cultural and regional biases, it has the same tone as being racist. What else terms ‘madrasi’ , ‘bihari’ , ‘sindhi’, ‘punjabi’ ‘chinki’ ‘bhaiya’ etc etc would indicate? Cutting joke on a ‘Sikh’ is so easy and accepted .Is it not one form of racism? There are many more derogatory ones which I would abstain to mention in this forum. But the point is that deep rooted psychology of ‘big-low’ and one being ‘better’ than another comes automatically to us. Infact these racist tones in undercurrent has become so much accepted in our society and flowing in our blood that sometimes we start taking these terms as ‘so what’ and more or less acceptable. And when these mistakes surfaces in a cricket match between a country of different cultural tone, it takes voluminous proportions. Symonds case is one such example. The crowd might not have even understood the intricacy of those ‘mudras’ when they were making it. For them it would have been ‘innocent’ fun making gestures which they do quite frequently. They would argue –‘Cummon Man , we have grown with it ‘ in gali –mohhalas when we played , in fun making antics when the other team lost , we always did that . So whets wrong now?

    The answer is – An acceptable ‘Sin’ to you or in your world (or any world) would still be ‘Sin’. So first things first .There was a mistake and lets accept it. Giving examples of the Botham`s, Grieg’s and many more culprits of the same disease is not going to settle an argument. No second thoughts that Australia as a country is not a place to attain your sainthood. After this episode the Australian Media have themselves accepted the existence to cultural biases existing in their sports structure. Having said this, this still does not settle the argument. Its like a electronic gate of ‘TRUE’ or ‘FALSE’ and only one answer between the two. How-so-ever, complicated (read cultural difference) the case may look in eyes of Sharad Pawar , the truth still remains the same. There was a mistake and it needs to be corrected as soon as possible. The same crowd needs to be taught and made knowledgeable of the delicate relation that we need to maintain when presenting ourselves to other countries. Of course, the teaching should also include a long term ‘cleansing’ of our corrupted mindset.

    On doing further analysis of the case, why this case gathered importance only when it had to be one Australian as the sufferer? As pointed by many fellow bloggers,there were many instances in past when other teams coming to India or playing with India faced such episodes. Why not then and why only now? Was the media sleeping at that time? Were those episodes buried with better diplomacy at that time ? Did those teams didn’t care much ? Was the jealously and hatred with world champions too much too digest and it could only have been countered with ‘Monkey Chants’ ? Honestly , I don’t have the answers.

    Was Symonds the selected one because of his aggressive behavior and not because he is an aborigine? I am pretty sure 90% of the crowd might not have been knowing about Symonds being the only player having Australian aborigine origins. They may not have made fun of Symonds because of his origins but simply because ‘he was the selected one’ because of some earlier episodes. It happens quite often when only one certain player is booed and made fun of . He becomes ‘the selected one’ for many reasons’ .Arrogance, Great performance against home team, Players personal behavior. The reasons can be numerous. Was ‘Racism’ the reason in this episode? As said earlier, I agree the tones and gestures were definitely wrong ,the method adopted to poke fun of was horrendous but the mindset against this player was that of ‘Racism’ is something that baffles me. Having said this , In no way I am defending what was done , but trying to put forth a point that we may have missed.

    Lets also humbly accept the fact that our crowd are more passionate cricket lovers than being intellectuals in cricket behavior or knowledge. I am sure if one Merv Hudges, Andre Nel ,Kevin Pieterson (Or Harbhajan in Pakistan or Shoiab Akhtar in India) would have for any reason acquired the ‘villain’ status among crowd in this part of the world they too would have received the same treatment. So would that have been a racist behavior or a poor display a rude crowd to a player standing at the boundary? Many times ‘white’ players standing at boundary have carried objects to umpires showing the unruly behavior of the crowd. Why it was not termed ‘Racist’ at that time? They would have passed numerous comments of ugly nature to the guy at boundary .Why was it not racist at that time?

    Was it an unfortunate case of the player being of a selected origin and hence the case attaining proportions of Media attention and cricket board’s intervention? When Ricky Ponting said ‘Andre is hurt’ was he not being giving wind to fire in a sophisticated manner? The intelligent approach could have been handling it tightly and at the same time making sure that it is closed as soon as possible in the most diplomatic manner.

    Lets see what happens when Sri-Lanka or India goes Down-Under……

  • vishwa pratap on October 23, 2007, 18:30 GMT

    rext, youre absolutely right. indians are the most racist and arrogant ppl in the world. & we will never win anything in a real sport.

  • laxman on October 23, 2007, 18:27 GMT

    @poor old bowler,

    yes we indians take cricket too seriously. a pathetic game deified by ppl like mukul, because that's the only sport they can follow.

  • rext on October 23, 2007, 8:30 GMT

    I really don't know why I can be bothered responding to the pig ignorant self righteous apologists in this blog who wear their inferiority complexes like some perverted badge of honour but ultimately only behave like the lowlife racists they are in trying to justify the personal attacks on Andrew Symonds. Get this straight: Australia is a bloody sight more multicultural and a bloody sight more peaceful than India. Okay? Got it? That doesn't mean we haven't got our share of racist idiots but if it's one percent that's 200,000. If India has got the same percentage it's 10,000,000 so which Country has more racist idiots??? You will probably never know what it's like to be the World Champions in anything other than children's cricket, but if you ever do be prepared for attacks on every front. You will be accused of racism, sledging, cheating, intimidation, arrogance and anything else that comes to the tiny minds of the hysterical wannabees. Just ask yourselves "Is this the sort of human being I want my children to be?".

  • poor old bowler on October 23, 2007, 2:21 GMT

    i think india take cricket far too seriously.

    they are fanatical,

    in australia we dont burn effigies of coaches or players, we dont worship the players or dont get outrage when certain players are dropped.

    we enjoy the game.

    crowd trouble in australia comes from drunk yobbo's having a laugh at the oppositions countries exspence, not from fanatical emotions.

    i think monkey chants were personally directed at andrew symonds because of the colour of his skin,it wasnt directed at australia or australians.

    most aussies would laugh at ian botham's eskimo's or convict comments with no offence taken.

    cricket australia is over reacting and should learn to lighting up and have a laugh at crowd behaviour,the way thier going soon you wont be able to sneeze at the cricket without getting throw out. have one section for yobbos and another stand for the cry babies with thier families so the yobbos dont upset them.

    both cricket australia and indian cricket fans need to lighten up and grow up.

  • Convict on October 22, 2007, 22:58 GMT

    The indignant screams of denial and purveyors of apologist theories regarding this issue would be hilarious if they weren't so contemptible.

    The argument that this is not racist and then the provision of excuses: he started it, they do it and no one punishes them or makes an issue over there is a common theme to these types.

    Now for all of you in denial imagine that this issue had involved Sreesanth in Melbourne and the Aussie crowd. Take a minute and think about it.

  • Dilip on October 22, 2007, 22:35 GMT

    @wearelikethisonly,

    It's now called Chennai, you don't even recognize an insult, so a lecture from you would indeed be ridiculous. When India returns to Australia for the tri-series, the bullseye is going to be right on top of sreesanth's head, that is if he is going or to be disciplined. Please don't cry foul to that either. Everyone in India can say what they want, Indians happen to be a complex, sarcastic people that refuse to accept and respect someone who is a bit different than them, even within the Indian borders.

    Jai Hind.

  • DigitalEye on October 22, 2007, 21:37 GMT

    @whoresarelikethisonly

    It is hardly Dilip's upbringing's fault for him to have the courage to apologize to Symonds on his country's behalf.

    On the other hand, the qualities of somebody's upbringing is all too apparent as its those insensitive and reproachable qualities that gives a person the gall to turn a serious discussion into a shameful orgy of bigotry. Attack the fallacy in the argument if you can for attacking the man is the first weapon of the brain dead.

    What kind of a deplorable world view you have... you see a name and you see that he contradicts your argument and you don't need a second invitation to mock his ethnicity. Seriously, you don't have the moral high ground to condemn racist behavior for your argument with Dilip does not put you on any higher pedestal than those Mumbai monkeys.

    It is precisely people like you about whom this article is all about. Refer to Untouchable Convict's post above, he talks exactly about you and similar small minded folks when he said "I took the name Untouchable Convict as a pointed reminder to Indians that your country has massive issue with prejudice as hardly a poster here mentions Aussies without the word racist attached, without considering their backyard. It always seemed hypocritical. After your post I think it has reached its use by date.".

    @Untouchable Convict. Amen! brother.

  • A Citizen of Republic of India on October 22, 2007, 20:41 GMT

    After all this drama and mud-slinging I have decided to sue my neighbor's dog for racial discrimination. Why? Because (1)It tries to act like humans and (2)It barks at people.

    In the context of this melodrama that has been the talk of the town for a few days now, I think those actions of the dog are sufficient enough to sue.

    I am also planning to sue the owners. The old lady likes the white one more than the colored dog and the old man does the opposite.

    I am not trying to prove anything here. I am only trying to put views and perceptions of people into the context of a normal day in a common-man's life.

  • ram on October 22, 2007, 18:32 GMT

    someone made a statement about british soccer hooligans. I live in the UK and watch the premiership and the coca cola championship every week - live - and I must say that the crowds have been surprisingly wonderful. The atmosphere is terrific, the crowds are well-behaved and polite - a far cry from the view that we Indians have of the British soccer fans from so far off. They are respectful to their teams even if they lose - unlike our crowds. remember Calcutta , 1995 World Cup semifinal?

  • wearelikethisonly on October 22, 2007, 14:17 GMT

    @Dilip This is not meant to be a one-on-one but promise I will resist next time.

    Madrasi - may be a derogatory term, may not be - don't know. Apoligies if I have hurt someone.

    Madras happens to be my favorite city. A place where my only child was born. So, nothing personal in this.

    But by blindly accusing anyone who is from north you are doing exactly what the monkey imitators did. It is easy to tell others to mind mouth and manners but difficult to mind yourself.

    So no lectures from me. It is not my job to make up for the deficiencies in your upbringing.

    The point remains: a) what happened was not acceptable - whoever did it b) symonds painted a bulls-eye all over himself. there were bigger targets in the australian team that he eclipsed. c) the black and white debate - though otherwise relevant in the Indian context - does not hold much value here.

  • Arif on October 22, 2007, 3:06 GMT

    Mukul, I agree that this type of abuse should stop but I don't agree with is that Australians or ICC deem it as Racism. I would just give a small example..my 2 yr old kid watches cricket on TV with a lot of enthusiasm. For him all players are batsmen or bowlers, but the only player who he recognises with a name is Symonds. As soon as he sees Symonds he dances with joy chanting his name. The reason that he recognises Symonds by his name is because he looks ODD when compared to other players with his Long hairlocks and white creamy lips. Also, it was he himself who invited trouble by criticising the Indian 20-20 celebrations. If Indians wanted to abuse him they would have done it long before, it is not the first time that Symonds has come to India. Racism does exist in India not only in Villages but Metros too, just that this was not Racism.

  • JAVED A. KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on October 22, 2007, 2:15 GMT

    The caption of this thread, "No room for bigotry" by itself is very insignificant and inappropriate to discuss this issue at a forum like this to give so much attention and importance to this Australian outcry it will only end up as a failed attempt to validate the point raised by the Indian authorities.... There is no need to soften up this issue to show to the Australians or to the western media that a couple of middle-aged, middle-class Indian supporters were involved in a act of bigotry and racism. And what is the need for the authorities in India who are seriously condemning this act as a hideous act of racism and they shall be punishing the culprits because there is zero tolerance for racism in India. And what is the need to say that all the civilized Indians are also condemning this act. Because, they are not!

    First of all this is not bigotry or racism. A bigot, is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of opinions, views, lifestyles other than his own and bigotry is the act in refuting or accepting that lifestyle. Now, where does racism comes in here? What makes one say that they are bigots or racists? If you go by the dictionary, racism carries references to race based bigotry, prejudice, violence, oppression, stereotyping or discrimination, the term has varying and often hotly contested definitions. None of it exists here. And, calling the Australian player Andrew Symonds a monkey or, making ape like motions only to distract him and irritate him does not mean racism or racist like comments! How about if they had called him a Kangaroo and hopped like one?

    If that is racism then, calling Inzamam ul haq ALOO is also racism. Referring the black race as "blacks" is racism. Calling the white Caucasian race as whites or just Caucasians, is racism. Calling the Chinese, a yellow race is racism. Labeling someone as "middle-class" is also racism and Mukul should not use this word middle-class, middle aged people, they may be, but why are they being labeled in a stereotype manner? Stereotyping and profiling a certain segment or members of the society is also racism. In fact it is more serious in nature than aping like monkeys for fun.

    I don't think there is any need to punish those people who have done that act to irritate and distract Andrew Symonds. I believe it was just an act that happened on the spot, an act that takes place at the spur of the moment at any sports arena and it is a very common crowd behaviour i.e., to ridicule, distract and irritate a player just for fun without any malicious intent or element of racism. Once the game is over, its all over and finished. Besides, it was Symonds who started a row with Shreesanth or vice versa and, the spectators reaction was to defend and support Shreesanth. Is there any justification to support the racial profiling that is being done by the west? Is it OK to do that? Then why is this big hue and cry here?

    The British soccer hooligans are famous for abusing the opponents with more racist and vulgar remarks, and none of them are punished. So, why are the authorities trying to prove to the rest of the world that India is a very fair, secular democratic country and the miscreants will not go unpunished? Has the Australians ever punished those spectators who called the West Indian players as "niggers" or the Pakistani players as "Pakis" ? Or their Prime Minister calling Murali "A chucker" ? Can anyone for sure say that Australians never hurled any racial abuse over players from other countries? What about the English players?

    Here is something which Ian Botham oooops sorry Sir Ian Botham said about Australians, check out the link below and see if it is not racism, and he said this in front of the media:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2005/03/09/1319830.htm

    His second racial comment was on the radio, when he said: "Pakistan is the kind of place to send your mother-in-law for a month, all expenses paid." Then why was he so upset when Amir Sohail asked him to send his mother-in-law to bat? (i.e., after he was dismissed cheaply in the final of 1992 WC)

  • iblogger on October 21, 2007, 20:49 GMT

    Racism is most definitely prevalent in indian society. Mukul is right in saying that these taunts were part of an international code; they are exactly the same as the ones used by european football fans, and that is the sinister element - these fans could not be excused due to lack of education or exposure to other races- they new full well their actions.

    Why is that west indians are subject to chants but not the english? It is clear - because as all people naturally are, Indians are racist; we only live in a pluralist society because we have learnt to do so - it did not come naturally.

    The reason that these taunts came to the fore is that they were internationally recognisible; the fact that they were carried out my middle class men who would have had exposure to differnet races through the media, is worrying. I believe that the reason that Indians are racist, and do not exercise this pluralism is SO vital in the India of today, that people need a figure to demonise, to vent their natural discriminations.

  • Dilip on October 21, 2007, 19:05 GMT

    @ wearelikethisonly

    No I am not from the south and which u use the word madrasi, which u still in this day and age is used is considered a derogatory comment. Please mind ur mouth and ur manners... Heck, everyone making chants all over the venues must have been probably of Northern origin, u have heard of traveling haven't you? You probably also use fair and handsome. Stick to cricket and leave the garbage out. Once again I am sorry for Andrew Symonds, I appreciate a tough nosed cricketer and the only way to combat him is on the field not useless monkeys in the stands who would dare not cross him in the street. You can bet your bottom dollar Andrew Symonds probably wouldn't let them get away with it.

    (couldn't resist either)

  • wearelikethisonly on October 21, 2007, 15:00 GMT

    @Dilip you only have to live in south india to realise the extent of xenophobia most people display against outsiders. the less said about caste divide in south india the better.

    however, the 'monkey chants' happened in mumbai and vadodara... hardly the 'uncouth north', I would say...

    you must be a true blue 'madrasi'

    (sorry, couldn't resist this).

  • anil on October 21, 2007, 11:30 GMT

    the racism displayed by the monkeys in vadodara and bombay isn't much different from mukul's "history of transportation" piece. So no holier than thou attitude please

  • lux on October 21, 2007, 10:27 GMT

    This whole episode can be analysed along the India-Australia faultline. Dsingh provides an articulate counter-argument in this sense.

    More difficult is the white-black faultline. Symonds, the lone dark-skinned Australian cricketer, by definition stands alone on this issue. When Mark Waugh says he is being 'precious', we have a white Australian telling a coloured Australian to shut up. Or at least this is one possible interpretation. Ponting has plenty to say on the field and in the media. He apparently is not a monkey.

    The danger of taking DSingh's militant stance is that it isolates a coloured man as victim. I can only guess from the poster's name that he too has some colour in his skin.

    I am a coloured Australian. I have spent time working in India. I am well aware of the sentiments of class, caste and colour ingrained in both countries. Ultimately I think this issue is bigger than India v Australia.

  • ruchit on October 21, 2007, 8:11 GMT

    Hi Anand,

    While I agree that Symonds should have been ready to receive flak from the Indian public after some of his outrageous comments but was it necessary that the response should have been racist looking. Rest assured we should be ready for some worst treatment ever meted out to our cricketers when they tour down under. Imagine Sreesanth being called a black monkey just for all the agression he has shown. And regarding the respect we have shown to West Indian cricketers well a few years back they were racially abused in Gujrat as well. Ask Merv Dillon abt it. I think Gujrat, Mumbai and Calcutta should banned for 5 years or so as cricket venues. Time to learn some lesson from the famous Chennai crowd.

    Regards. Ruchit Khushu

  • Aditya on October 21, 2007, 0:33 GMT

    @Dilip I was in Bangalore recently watching an Afro-Asian cup game at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and one of the fans was racially abusing some of the black-skinned players from the African team...I felt absolutely disgusted. You cannot distance yourself from saying that this happens only in Northern India, it happens everywhere and it must be stopped.

  • Anand on October 20, 2007, 20:05 GMT

    I am sorry..There are a lot of past and present West Indian and South African black players who are respected as much as Indian players are. Symonds' white lipstick is to blame rather than his ancestry..

    Also, he also needs to control what he speaks..If he is ready to throw offensive stuff, let him also be ready to get some in return love.

  • Aditya on October 20, 2007, 17:21 GMT

    Congrats, Mukul, finally you've written something that makes sense. Yes, racism does exist in Indian society, only it's not so much of a social stigma because it has been around since time immemorial. The idiots who were making monkey chants in Mumbai are only the latest example. And it has nothing to do with the economic rise or whatever of India...making racist chants and heckling players has been around for decades.

  • Dilip on October 20, 2007, 16:40 GMT

    This monkey chanting happened in a Northern part of India. We all know as desis that Northerners are particularly harsh to people with darker skin. Not just other ethnicities but to fellow Indians as well. This is absolutely pathetic by any standard and ashamed that Indian fans in the stands in this day and age, especially a chance of appearing on T.V. would continue too indeed make themselves look like monkeys because they have no class, and yes the ones that make gestures are truly apes that have no class. I as an Indian am sorry for Andrew Symonds. Please accept my apologies from on behalf the classier Indians who accept and cricketer that brings the passion on to the field.

  • Untouchable Convict on October 20, 2007, 13:32 GMT

    Congratulations Mukul, that was the best analysis and conclusion I have seen in all articles written about this subject.

    I and I'm sure many others have been waiting for your response to see if you took your standard anti Aussie line (hardly a post of yours goes by without some jibe).

    When the mirror is held up for self analysis it is often unpleasant. The mirror was held up for Australia after the South African tour in 05/06.

    The following quote from Mahatma seems to describe this racism situation perfectly.

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

    I took the name Untouchable Convict as a pointed reminder to Indians that your country has massive issue with prejudice as hardly a poster here mentions Aussies without the word racist attached, without considering their backyard. It always seemed hypocritical. After your post I think it has reached its use by date.

    I know you would have struggled with this subject and spent a lot of time writing and amending the post. Rest assured it is spot on. Well done.

  • dsingh on October 20, 2007, 12:42 GMT

    A correction in my earlier post: "On principle, I would let a guest insult me in my own house in front of my audience." was meant to be "On principle, I would NOT let a guest insult me in my own house in front of my audience."

  • dsingh on October 20, 2007, 12:11 GMT

    I agree that Racism in any form is bad. What I do not agree is that Andrew Symonds was subjected to racist remarks. One headline summarized it well: "it is offensive, but not an offence". As such, one may derive all kinds of cultural, social, and anthropological notions about India in the aftermath of the recent cricketing events, but to pretend that this Australian team has no part instigating or even inciting the issue would be a classic case of genuflecting before the all-marauding Australian media. I feel sorry for Andrew, but I do feel that he has called it upon himself. Mark Waugh is right when he says Symonds is being “Precious”. Ever since Symonds has landed on the shores of India, he has been upping the ante for revenge with his loud verbal attacks, often forgetting that he is a guest in the country. One time he is unhappy with the Indian circus (gosh! don’t they have “Bandars” and “Madaaris – the chief architect of the game”?) after the T20 victory, other time he is lecturing how Sreesanth and Harbhajan should behave. Public memory is short. On principle, I would let a guest insult me in my own house in front of my audience. Why would India public do anything different? After all, the Aussies have hardly been a model of humility and good behavior.

    It is interesting to me that Australian team has successfully used this opportunity to walk the moral high road, despite the fact that every member in this Aussie team, as great players as you will find on a cricketing field, is working with a plan to put pressure on Indian players though the effective use of the media. And it is clear that the Australian media, handful they may be, as an extension of the traveling Australian team and Cricket Australia, is far more effective in making a mountain out of a mole hill than an army of India media personnel who can barely articulate a proper defense. It is also clear, besides receiving training on how to use a bat and a ball, the India players need coaching in how to manipulate the media circus.

    Another pattern that I find emerging every time there is an issue linked to India is that the cricket writers from Australia and England use this as an opportunity to beat up India on its ability to generate revenue and therefore the stranglehold over ICC. All this is why – because the English and the Aussies just do not like how Indians have changed the money game in he last 25 years. Many Australian writers have argued the “racism” case to illogical levels. One writer is asking Cricket Australia to cancel all the future tours based on this issue. If that were true then no team would ever play Australia, because far worse things have been said by the Australian community than the four idiots in Wankhede Stadium. Just ask the South Africans and the Sri Lankans. And wasn’t there some racial bias when one of the India doctors was framed recently for some terrorism charges….May be I am taking it too far. But the point is we ignore the systematic attack the foreign cricket media is making to break the India’s super power status on cricketing matters.

    Lastly, how conveniently the Australian team seems to push the cultural differences between the two countries whenever they seem to be on the wrong side of moral boundary: Example….drum rolls please… defense of sledging - the Aussie way. I guess the Aussies want to have their cake and eat it too. But the sooner the Indian media, especially, “cricket writing by Indians in English” gets a spine the better the Indian team will be prepared to handle the trip abroad

  • wearelikethisonly on October 20, 2007, 9:46 GMT

    Point taken.

    Having said that, I am not sure how much weight should an given to the instigation theory. Symonds SHOULD NOT have been the target of anyone. But it was he who was the motor-mouth before the series started and talked total nonsense.

    What is his problem if the government of India rewards its players? What is his problem if the people of India treat them like kings or whatever else? When Australia lost the T20 semis was his house vandalized? Was his contract under threat? Were people burning his effigy? We give everything disproportionately. Happy?

    He started the fire and now he is acting like the perfect victim - face glum, detached look, lofty quotes, et al.

    ‘Pigeon’ had the on-field manners worse than that of a pig (no disrespect to pigs) but it did not matter, because Australia was winning.

    There is a lesson for the Indian team in this incident. Keep your foul mouth, but make sure you win. Everything else is acceptable as long as you win.

    So far as the favor cricket Australia has done by not lodging a complaint… there is something I read about those living in glass houses…..

    Intolerance is a much larger problem in India but not limited to its people. It is a problem that is pretty much global now - taking different forms everywhere. It has only now reached the sports pages. But honestly I would not loose too much sleep over this incident – especially against Australia.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • wearelikethisonly on October 20, 2007, 9:46 GMT

    Point taken.

    Having said that, I am not sure how much weight should an given to the instigation theory. Symonds SHOULD NOT have been the target of anyone. But it was he who was the motor-mouth before the series started and talked total nonsense.

    What is his problem if the government of India rewards its players? What is his problem if the people of India treat them like kings or whatever else? When Australia lost the T20 semis was his house vandalized? Was his contract under threat? Were people burning his effigy? We give everything disproportionately. Happy?

    He started the fire and now he is acting like the perfect victim - face glum, detached look, lofty quotes, et al.

    ‘Pigeon’ had the on-field manners worse than that of a pig (no disrespect to pigs) but it did not matter, because Australia was winning.

    There is a lesson for the Indian team in this incident. Keep your foul mouth, but make sure you win. Everything else is acceptable as long as you win.

    So far as the favor cricket Australia has done by not lodging a complaint… there is something I read about those living in glass houses…..

    Intolerance is a much larger problem in India but not limited to its people. It is a problem that is pretty much global now - taking different forms everywhere. It has only now reached the sports pages. But honestly I would not loose too much sleep over this incident – especially against Australia.

  • dsingh on October 20, 2007, 12:11 GMT

    I agree that Racism in any form is bad. What I do not agree is that Andrew Symonds was subjected to racist remarks. One headline summarized it well: "it is offensive, but not an offence". As such, one may derive all kinds of cultural, social, and anthropological notions about India in the aftermath of the recent cricketing events, but to pretend that this Australian team has no part instigating or even inciting the issue would be a classic case of genuflecting before the all-marauding Australian media. I feel sorry for Andrew, but I do feel that he has called it upon himself. Mark Waugh is right when he says Symonds is being “Precious”. Ever since Symonds has landed on the shores of India, he has been upping the ante for revenge with his loud verbal attacks, often forgetting that he is a guest in the country. One time he is unhappy with the Indian circus (gosh! don’t they have “Bandars” and “Madaaris – the chief architect of the game”?) after the T20 victory, other time he is lecturing how Sreesanth and Harbhajan should behave. Public memory is short. On principle, I would let a guest insult me in my own house in front of my audience. Why would India public do anything different? After all, the Aussies have hardly been a model of humility and good behavior.

    It is interesting to me that Australian team has successfully used this opportunity to walk the moral high road, despite the fact that every member in this Aussie team, as great players as you will find on a cricketing field, is working with a plan to put pressure on Indian players though the effective use of the media. And it is clear that the Australian media, handful they may be, as an extension of the traveling Australian team and Cricket Australia, is far more effective in making a mountain out of a mole hill than an army of India media personnel who can barely articulate a proper defense. It is also clear, besides receiving training on how to use a bat and a ball, the India players need coaching in how to manipulate the media circus.

    Another pattern that I find emerging every time there is an issue linked to India is that the cricket writers from Australia and England use this as an opportunity to beat up India on its ability to generate revenue and therefore the stranglehold over ICC. All this is why – because the English and the Aussies just do not like how Indians have changed the money game in he last 25 years. Many Australian writers have argued the “racism” case to illogical levels. One writer is asking Cricket Australia to cancel all the future tours based on this issue. If that were true then no team would ever play Australia, because far worse things have been said by the Australian community than the four idiots in Wankhede Stadium. Just ask the South Africans and the Sri Lankans. And wasn’t there some racial bias when one of the India doctors was framed recently for some terrorism charges….May be I am taking it too far. But the point is we ignore the systematic attack the foreign cricket media is making to break the India’s super power status on cricketing matters.

    Lastly, how conveniently the Australian team seems to push the cultural differences between the two countries whenever they seem to be on the wrong side of moral boundary: Example….drum rolls please… defense of sledging - the Aussie way. I guess the Aussies want to have their cake and eat it too. But the sooner the Indian media, especially, “cricket writing by Indians in English” gets a spine the better the Indian team will be prepared to handle the trip abroad

  • dsingh on October 20, 2007, 12:42 GMT

    A correction in my earlier post: "On principle, I would let a guest insult me in my own house in front of my audience." was meant to be "On principle, I would NOT let a guest insult me in my own house in front of my audience."

  • Untouchable Convict on October 20, 2007, 13:32 GMT

    Congratulations Mukul, that was the best analysis and conclusion I have seen in all articles written about this subject.

    I and I'm sure many others have been waiting for your response to see if you took your standard anti Aussie line (hardly a post of yours goes by without some jibe).

    When the mirror is held up for self analysis it is often unpleasant. The mirror was held up for Australia after the South African tour in 05/06.

    The following quote from Mahatma seems to describe this racism situation perfectly.

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win."

    I took the name Untouchable Convict as a pointed reminder to Indians that your country has massive issue with prejudice as hardly a poster here mentions Aussies without the word racist attached, without considering their backyard. It always seemed hypocritical. After your post I think it has reached its use by date.

    I know you would have struggled with this subject and spent a lot of time writing and amending the post. Rest assured it is spot on. Well done.

  • Dilip on October 20, 2007, 16:40 GMT

    This monkey chanting happened in a Northern part of India. We all know as desis that Northerners are particularly harsh to people with darker skin. Not just other ethnicities but to fellow Indians as well. This is absolutely pathetic by any standard and ashamed that Indian fans in the stands in this day and age, especially a chance of appearing on T.V. would continue too indeed make themselves look like monkeys because they have no class, and yes the ones that make gestures are truly apes that have no class. I as an Indian am sorry for Andrew Symonds. Please accept my apologies from on behalf the classier Indians who accept and cricketer that brings the passion on to the field.

  • Aditya on October 20, 2007, 17:21 GMT

    Congrats, Mukul, finally you've written something that makes sense. Yes, racism does exist in Indian society, only it's not so much of a social stigma because it has been around since time immemorial. The idiots who were making monkey chants in Mumbai are only the latest example. And it has nothing to do with the economic rise or whatever of India...making racist chants and heckling players has been around for decades.

  • Anand on October 20, 2007, 20:05 GMT

    I am sorry..There are a lot of past and present West Indian and South African black players who are respected as much as Indian players are. Symonds' white lipstick is to blame rather than his ancestry..

    Also, he also needs to control what he speaks..If he is ready to throw offensive stuff, let him also be ready to get some in return love.

  • Aditya on October 21, 2007, 0:33 GMT

    @Dilip I was in Bangalore recently watching an Afro-Asian cup game at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and one of the fans was racially abusing some of the black-skinned players from the African team...I felt absolutely disgusted. You cannot distance yourself from saying that this happens only in Northern India, it happens everywhere and it must be stopped.

  • ruchit on October 21, 2007, 8:11 GMT

    Hi Anand,

    While I agree that Symonds should have been ready to receive flak from the Indian public after some of his outrageous comments but was it necessary that the response should have been racist looking. Rest assured we should be ready for some worst treatment ever meted out to our cricketers when they tour down under. Imagine Sreesanth being called a black monkey just for all the agression he has shown. And regarding the respect we have shown to West Indian cricketers well a few years back they were racially abused in Gujrat as well. Ask Merv Dillon abt it. I think Gujrat, Mumbai and Calcutta should banned for 5 years or so as cricket venues. Time to learn some lesson from the famous Chennai crowd.

    Regards. Ruchit Khushu

  • lux on October 21, 2007, 10:27 GMT

    This whole episode can be analysed along the India-Australia faultline. Dsingh provides an articulate counter-argument in this sense.

    More difficult is the white-black faultline. Symonds, the lone dark-skinned Australian cricketer, by definition stands alone on this issue. When Mark Waugh says he is being 'precious', we have a white Australian telling a coloured Australian to shut up. Or at least this is one possible interpretation. Ponting has plenty to say on the field and in the media. He apparently is not a monkey.

    The danger of taking DSingh's militant stance is that it isolates a coloured man as victim. I can only guess from the poster's name that he too has some colour in his skin.

    I am a coloured Australian. I have spent time working in India. I am well aware of the sentiments of class, caste and colour ingrained in both countries. Ultimately I think this issue is bigger than India v Australia.