October 20, 2007

No room for bigotry

Racism among Indian cricket watchers is alive and well and needs to be acknowledged, and then tackled ruthlessly
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Making monkeys of themselves: the spectators who were ejected from the Wankhede © Getty Images

In Vadodara and Mumbai, 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 Vadodara was defensive. After the Mumbai 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.

It's silly 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

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 historian, novelist and essayist based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • prajayindia on October 23, 2007, 7:34 GMT

    James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, said that he did not think Panesar being called a "stupid Indian" was racist during England's three-day match against New South Wales at the SCG.(Ref. Cricinfo article November 17, 2006) "I don't think there's too much racist about that" and Symonds himself referred Sreesanth to a Goose "His carry-on in this series has been way over the top. We don't mind blokes having a go and standing up for themselves, but he has gone above and beyond what's acceptable. Information in this game travels and people remember when someone is carrying on like a goose." (Ref. Cricinfo article October 14, 2007). When professional people like Sutherland and Symonds who represent their countries do not understand what it is to be ridiculed then how can they expect the general public to act any better. Racisim, discrimination, ridicule exists almost everywhere in different forms. If its not based on race then based its sex, wealth etc.

  • Gauth09 on October 22, 2007, 14:43 GMT

    I think it was all much ado about nothing. I am for a minute not suggesting that racism doesn't exist in india. By god it does. For guys who don't believe, go look at all the african students in various parts of the country. They have been denied accomodation, made fun off and even searched by cops for drugs. Not all people with dark skin are drug peddlars. Indians are no angels but this is case of crowd hysteria (Jerks) and not really racism.

  • Calexico on October 22, 2007, 11:13 GMT

    I find it amusing that some Indian cricket fans continually point at past indiscretions by some Australian players as somehow justifying the taunts directed at Symonds (and just a reminder that Darren Lehman copped it from the press here which is more than one can say for the Indian presses reaction). All this denial just makes it worse. Even more ridiculous are claims that Indians aren't racist - I've spent years working in Fiji, and some the Indians there certainly aren't adverse to refering to the Indigenous Fijians in a racially offensive manner. Racism exists in all societies - accept it. And we'll all enjoy giving you a hiding in the Test series this summer!

  • Logan on October 22, 2007, 9:15 GMT

    Its all the mistake of two cricket teams who failed to show good relationship between them from the beginning of the series. Its started by Andrew when he commented on the welcome given to Indian team. Its their wish to celebrate their own victory in the home. Second it became the word war when ponting expressed his views on our victory (that too in our country) and our players replied them aggressively. These continues to happen in the game infront of 30000 audience. Our indian peoples just supported our team and expressed their emotions. I will promise that if both team were maintained close & good relations the our peoples might encouraged the visitors for their play. We are all human and we need to learn for the happenings (both good and bad)

  • neruda on October 22, 2007, 4:57 GMT

    So far the responses to Mr Kesavan's timely article have either been (a) the moronic 'They are racists so it is ok for us to be racists back'; or (b)the more reasonable 'one should not generalise about all Indian fans from the actions of a few bigots. As an Indian cricketer and a fan who has played and watched the game in India and England, I can assure you that racism and other forms of bigotry are present among significant numbers of Indians whether they are cricket fans or not. Those fans who were caught on camera in Mumbai were performing a racist action. All forms of racism should be legislated against, everywhere. People trying to excuse it, as opposed to analysiong it, are also aiding and abetting racism. No excuses. End of story.

  • Jinesh_Thampi on October 22, 2007, 4:44 GMT

    Mukul.it seems you are party to the rationale that aussies seek respect and dignity from fellow teams when they themselves are averse to part with it. Its travesty of justice at its very best. Australian allrounder Symonds by his churlish comments at the onset of the tour fomented trouble. It was not his domain to comment on Indias celebration upon Twenty twenty triumph or indian players appearance in television commercials.Its nobodys case that indian crowd is a bunch of saints but symonds well and truly played into their hands. The aussies are poor losers and its high time that indian media stop short of singing hosannas for white skin. Glancing through australian media reports during the unsavoury episodes its ludicrous how low levels they stoop to glorify their team and players. We too need to salvage pride for india and an young ,aggressive team promises just that. Kudos india.

  • aripadmanabhan on October 22, 2007, 3:50 GMT

    Indian crowds racist??? We only found a way to categorize entire communities and treat them like crap for 2000 years. We generalize populations and treat individuals like caricatures of that generalization. You don't believe this occurs, see what happens in a hotel or store owned by an indian when a black man enters. So those of you who still feel that these chants were not racist, try that in one of stadiums in America and see how many would make it out alive.

  • Rooboy on October 22, 2007, 3:05 GMT

    It is disturbing to read the numerous responses here that condone and excuse racism when it is perpetrated by Indians. Racist comments are made by Australians at sporting events, but in Australia it is recognised as a problem by the organisers and attempts are made to stop it. Compare this is to the attitude of complete denial by many Indian fans and officials.

    It is also ridiculous that some comments here compare India and Australia by stating that India is a country where many various religions live side by side in peace, with the implication that this is not the case in Australia. We know the history of Hindus and Muslims in India, and there are no race riots in the streets of Australia as some seem to want to believe, so I do not see any validity in such comments.

    People also need to understand that merely being abusive or insulting, without mentioning race, colour or culture, does not equate to racism. It may not be nice but being confrontational does not make one a racist!

  • fibonacci_72 on October 22, 2007, 2:29 GMT

    Wonderful article, Mr. Kesavan. What irks me most about some of the Indian fans is that they cite past racial abuse directed against them as reason to racially abuse another person. They are foolish to ignore that such abuse was directed against them by some ignorant white men (certainly not all), and not by black men! To racially abuse Symonds, whose ancestry appears to be partly black, is simply an act of cowardice of these characterless few. All said and done, Indian players in the past have held up admirably against hostile treatment dished out to them which have ironically spurred them to greater heights. Youngsters like Sreesanth ought to learn from the examples set by the heroic Rahul Dravids, VVS Laxmans and Sachin Tendulkars.

  • Harry on October 22, 2007, 2:25 GMT

    I very much support what all other guys have written above. The media is making a mess of the whole episode. I believe its foolish to think that making faces is racism. If that is the case - then all the people in the world are racists. Remember, all of us at some point of our life might have made faces towards our family member or friends. Was that wrong ? Was it racism? Come on Aussies and Media please grow up! Just dont make some small pranks a big issue. If at all there is racism - then the White people r practising it. Ofcourse we all know how umpire Hair treated asian players (that was a perfect racist behaviour). Yes - The masti at Mumbai could be a little bit under control. I agree with that. Remember, our players also will go abroad to play. Symonds provoked the Indians n he deserved it. I hope Aussies learn something now - They want to do all the talking,bullying,sledging etc- and they dont like it if someone gives it back to them. Pretty Childish! Thank Ven

  • prajayindia on October 23, 2007, 7:34 GMT

    James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, said that he did not think Panesar being called a "stupid Indian" was racist during England's three-day match against New South Wales at the SCG.(Ref. Cricinfo article November 17, 2006) "I don't think there's too much racist about that" and Symonds himself referred Sreesanth to a Goose "His carry-on in this series has been way over the top. We don't mind blokes having a go and standing up for themselves, but he has gone above and beyond what's acceptable. Information in this game travels and people remember when someone is carrying on like a goose." (Ref. Cricinfo article October 14, 2007). When professional people like Sutherland and Symonds who represent their countries do not understand what it is to be ridiculed then how can they expect the general public to act any better. Racisim, discrimination, ridicule exists almost everywhere in different forms. If its not based on race then based its sex, wealth etc.

  • Gauth09 on October 22, 2007, 14:43 GMT

    I think it was all much ado about nothing. I am for a minute not suggesting that racism doesn't exist in india. By god it does. For guys who don't believe, go look at all the african students in various parts of the country. They have been denied accomodation, made fun off and even searched by cops for drugs. Not all people with dark skin are drug peddlars. Indians are no angels but this is case of crowd hysteria (Jerks) and not really racism.

  • Calexico on October 22, 2007, 11:13 GMT

    I find it amusing that some Indian cricket fans continually point at past indiscretions by some Australian players as somehow justifying the taunts directed at Symonds (and just a reminder that Darren Lehman copped it from the press here which is more than one can say for the Indian presses reaction). All this denial just makes it worse. Even more ridiculous are claims that Indians aren't racist - I've spent years working in Fiji, and some the Indians there certainly aren't adverse to refering to the Indigenous Fijians in a racially offensive manner. Racism exists in all societies - accept it. And we'll all enjoy giving you a hiding in the Test series this summer!

  • Logan on October 22, 2007, 9:15 GMT

    Its all the mistake of two cricket teams who failed to show good relationship between them from the beginning of the series. Its started by Andrew when he commented on the welcome given to Indian team. Its their wish to celebrate their own victory in the home. Second it became the word war when ponting expressed his views on our victory (that too in our country) and our players replied them aggressively. These continues to happen in the game infront of 30000 audience. Our indian peoples just supported our team and expressed their emotions. I will promise that if both team were maintained close & good relations the our peoples might encouraged the visitors for their play. We are all human and we need to learn for the happenings (both good and bad)

  • neruda on October 22, 2007, 4:57 GMT

    So far the responses to Mr Kesavan's timely article have either been (a) the moronic 'They are racists so it is ok for us to be racists back'; or (b)the more reasonable 'one should not generalise about all Indian fans from the actions of a few bigots. As an Indian cricketer and a fan who has played and watched the game in India and England, I can assure you that racism and other forms of bigotry are present among significant numbers of Indians whether they are cricket fans or not. Those fans who were caught on camera in Mumbai were performing a racist action. All forms of racism should be legislated against, everywhere. People trying to excuse it, as opposed to analysiong it, are also aiding and abetting racism. No excuses. End of story.

  • Jinesh_Thampi on October 22, 2007, 4:44 GMT

    Mukul.it seems you are party to the rationale that aussies seek respect and dignity from fellow teams when they themselves are averse to part with it. Its travesty of justice at its very best. Australian allrounder Symonds by his churlish comments at the onset of the tour fomented trouble. It was not his domain to comment on Indias celebration upon Twenty twenty triumph or indian players appearance in television commercials.Its nobodys case that indian crowd is a bunch of saints but symonds well and truly played into their hands. The aussies are poor losers and its high time that indian media stop short of singing hosannas for white skin. Glancing through australian media reports during the unsavoury episodes its ludicrous how low levels they stoop to glorify their team and players. We too need to salvage pride for india and an young ,aggressive team promises just that. Kudos india.

  • aripadmanabhan on October 22, 2007, 3:50 GMT

    Indian crowds racist??? We only found a way to categorize entire communities and treat them like crap for 2000 years. We generalize populations and treat individuals like caricatures of that generalization. You don't believe this occurs, see what happens in a hotel or store owned by an indian when a black man enters. So those of you who still feel that these chants were not racist, try that in one of stadiums in America and see how many would make it out alive.

  • Rooboy on October 22, 2007, 3:05 GMT

    It is disturbing to read the numerous responses here that condone and excuse racism when it is perpetrated by Indians. Racist comments are made by Australians at sporting events, but in Australia it is recognised as a problem by the organisers and attempts are made to stop it. Compare this is to the attitude of complete denial by many Indian fans and officials.

    It is also ridiculous that some comments here compare India and Australia by stating that India is a country where many various religions live side by side in peace, with the implication that this is not the case in Australia. We know the history of Hindus and Muslims in India, and there are no race riots in the streets of Australia as some seem to want to believe, so I do not see any validity in such comments.

    People also need to understand that merely being abusive or insulting, without mentioning race, colour or culture, does not equate to racism. It may not be nice but being confrontational does not make one a racist!

  • fibonacci_72 on October 22, 2007, 2:29 GMT

    Wonderful article, Mr. Kesavan. What irks me most about some of the Indian fans is that they cite past racial abuse directed against them as reason to racially abuse another person. They are foolish to ignore that such abuse was directed against them by some ignorant white men (certainly not all), and not by black men! To racially abuse Symonds, whose ancestry appears to be partly black, is simply an act of cowardice of these characterless few. All said and done, Indian players in the past have held up admirably against hostile treatment dished out to them which have ironically spurred them to greater heights. Youngsters like Sreesanth ought to learn from the examples set by the heroic Rahul Dravids, VVS Laxmans and Sachin Tendulkars.

  • Harry on October 22, 2007, 2:25 GMT

    I very much support what all other guys have written above. The media is making a mess of the whole episode. I believe its foolish to think that making faces is racism. If that is the case - then all the people in the world are racists. Remember, all of us at some point of our life might have made faces towards our family member or friends. Was that wrong ? Was it racism? Come on Aussies and Media please grow up! Just dont make some small pranks a big issue. If at all there is racism - then the White people r practising it. Ofcourse we all know how umpire Hair treated asian players (that was a perfect racist behaviour). Yes - The masti at Mumbai could be a little bit under control. I agree with that. Remember, our players also will go abroad to play. Symonds provoked the Indians n he deserved it. I hope Aussies learn something now - They want to do all the talking,bullying,sledging etc- and they dont like it if someone gives it back to them. Pretty Childish! Thank Ven

  • John_2506 on October 21, 2007, 23:27 GMT

    Kesavan is just an Uncle Tom, and I'm sure this will not be published as a result. The point is that Indians don't know racism, they just have a way of enjoying politically incorrect humour. I can remember watching the Hirwani test in 1987 and someone shouting 'White Walsh' at Courtney Walsh who was on the boundary line. Walsh turned around and had a bemused expression as he smiled at a man who was the same shade of colour as he was, who was chanting this line. But when the same Aussies who call Indians 'bus drivers' and Sri Lankans 'black c-nts' have a problem with being addressed as monkeys, that becomes really precious like Mark Waugh said. The bottom line is that if you can't take it, don't give it. Shut up and play cricket or else....

  • V.Aravind on October 21, 2007, 20:38 GMT

    I do believe that the reason for targetting Symonds was not racism. He brought it upon himself when he opened his mouth after the T20 WC. When searching for a way to taunt him, the monkey angle perhaps presented itself. It it not racism, it's just like calling someone out for being fat. It is definitely in bad taste, and inappropriate, but should not be interpreted as racism. Nonetheless, we live in a world where such discriminations can not be made, or else you will give real racists different excuses to get away with what they do. So it is better to be overly strict and clamp down on racism, even if it means that a few seemingly racist remarks get branded wrongly as racism.

  • boredm on October 21, 2007, 20:12 GMT

    Remember "Aalo Aalo"? Is this any different? Or is it different scales for different people? ICC hypocritical or is it that the whole world is hypocritical anyway?

  • S_Sen on October 21, 2007, 16:50 GMT

    It's all very well for Mukul (or the BCCI or CA) to say that there is no place for racism in cricket. Racism has had a place in cricket since the 19th century and will continue to do so; any sport will reflect the social context in which it is played. Quite apart from racism, however, the Symonds monkey incidents represent the ugly chest-thumping, crass self-congratulation, abject inferiority complex, and pathetic "victory obsession" of the "India Shining" classes, in which much of the middle-class has become globalized and lumpenized simultaneously. Sreesanth's on-field behavior and the disproportionate response to the T20 championship are aspects of the same degeneracy. They also represent a modern phenomenon which Mukul has noted before: the desire to be "on camera" constantly, acting out one's insecurities. Nowhere is this more evident than in India, where (in a bizarre reversal of a ritual of tourism) the locals pester the tourists to take their picture.

  • conft on October 21, 2007, 16:17 GMT

    hmmmm.... i fail to see the connection b/w monkey chants/gestures and race/color.. its ridiculous terming this racism.. this is just a game being played by ricky ponting and his henchmen to frustrate indian cricket team before india tours australia...

  • vicky9909 on October 21, 2007, 15:38 GMT

    I don't understand what's really racist about that. Iam not justifying their behaviour and I agree that their behaviour was unruly, but there's nothing racist about it. They commented only on his funny looks (sunscreen and hairstyle). I know commenting on his looks was wrong and I agree legal action should be taken against them but there was nothing really racist about that.

  • Gautam_Sonthalia on October 21, 2007, 14:08 GMT

    Mr.Mukul....wake up!!! What you deem as racial slur is essentially a response to Symonds arrogant comments in the media. Where irresponsible people like you did not find it fit to critise his politically incorrect remarks. The media (You???) left this issue to be dealt with by scores of fans who have sunk time, money, sweat & blood in OUR team. What did you expect....garlands?! It seems that you have not yet awoken from your colonial stupor. It is us Asians who have alsways been subjected to racism over the years. But has that eveoked such public outcry from your media....NO!!!

  • R.Nath on October 21, 2007, 11:58 GMT

    Its much ado about nothing.Even in the days of pyjama cricket,there should be some rules about dress and appearence on a cricket field.This is not WWF.Symonds sports a rather strange hairdo and facepaint which steps over the line.He is bound to be ridiculed,especially when his team is perceived to be over aggressive,using bullying tactics,sledging,etc.Just take a look at Matthew Hayden and his insulting of the Indian players.Cricket is a spectator sport.Spectators are entitled to cheer or boo a player.Remember the chap in Toronto who heckled Inzy?It was only heckling and nothing else.Nobody was being racist.All they were doing was making fun of Symonds because of his outrageous appearance.He asked for it.They were not commenting on his colour or race.The Aussies carry a lot of racial baggage because of their own disgraceful treatment of their tribals.Because they do it to others,they want to portray themselves as victims.Aussies are nothing but cry babies and poor losers.

  • Jammy70 on October 21, 2007, 11:35 GMT

    Mukul, you are mixing two issues here. I'm in full agreement with you when you say we Indians are bigots - we are probably one of the most racist people in the world and it's a fact we refuse to accept or acknowledge. There is no doubt we need to grow up on this front. However, the Symmonds incident surely cannot be classified under the same. Clearly, the media and the analysts (like yourself) are trying very hard to read between the lines. As many of the comments to your article have noted, it was pure heckling brought on by Symmo's utterances- verbal & written- since he set foot in India. Frankly, most of it including his take on the T20 celebrations, has been childish and displayed a lack of sensibility. Add to it the talk of how Symmo was getting hassled by 'monkey chants' in Vadodara & Nagpur and you were just leading the crowd on... It's incredible neither the print nor electronic media has tried to put the events in perspective. Now you, too, have added 'color' to the issue!

  • Biso on October 21, 2007, 11:34 GMT

    I find Mukul's article irritating and prejudiced. The cricket world has seen enough of disgusting Aussie behavior on and off the field and their so called mental disintegration. But,that is a moot point.When will ICC and others realise that the on-field behavior of players is easily judged by the viewers and spectators. Their off-field behavior and comments made in the media are also responsible for the image they carry of themselves. Symond's disgraceful on field behavior and acid comments about the T20 celebrations in the media and Sreesanth returning it back in the same coin has got the whole issue as disgusting as it can since the Indian palyers are refusing to accept this rubbish any more.ICC has to realise that Aussies are not holy cows and if this rubbish called sledging is not stopped there is an accident waiting to happen. The palyer's behavior incenses the spectators and viewers who watch the game passionately. Can you find fault with them. "Grow up Mukul!".

  • Rajesh. on October 21, 2007, 10:46 GMT

    Forget about the spectators, ban Sreesanth first ! His anics have shown Indian Cricket in a much more poor light than the spectators.

  • IndusKnight on October 21, 2007, 10:38 GMT

    The fact is that Indian crowds can not take being on the losing side, even though they team india has provided them moments more than other teams to get used to it. I have noticed indian crowds to be very racist not just to combative players but others as well. Remember treatment meated out to west indians when they were here?

  • Vikram on October 21, 2007, 9:56 GMT

    1. Symonds attracted the special attention not by being 'non-white' but by being extremely capable of destroying the Indians with his cricket.

    2. Comments above where people point to instances of racism (or defensive media explanations towards the same) in other countries do not justify our own mistake.

    3. We Indians take offence for a range of things that strike other people as no big deal. If many Indians feel that Symonds and the Aussies must learn to take it cool, then they should practice what they preach.

    4. It is true that only some members of the crowd were behaving indecently but it is fair to use that as evidence to describe our national values. It is not as if Indians are averse to asking other people to stop doing things that they disapprove of - and no one seemed to disapprove of racist behaviour in the crowd.

    The two gentlemen in the picture don't look like they could have intimidated the people around them if they were asked to behave themselves.

  • abhivarma on October 21, 2007, 8:25 GMT

    hi there,yeah i agree the symonds incident certainly was a bit shabby on the part of spectators,but it should be definitely not considered as racist after all what is racism,its actually hating an individual for no reason apart from the one that he's from a different race,and in this case symonds surely has given reason through his comments in media and he shouldnt forget that if you play with fire surely ur hands will get burnt..

  • romilp on October 21, 2007, 5:32 GMT

    I was part of both the crowds in Mumbai and I will just say that while we debate on wther the chants were racist or not the fact remains that Symonds did target himself by his comments in the media and his on field behaviour all series and didnt help himself by saying the Bombay fans celebrated too much after the T20 world cup. Bombay crowds have always been and will remain hostile and aggressive and no visiting team will ever have a day off in either the Brabourne or Wankhede stadiums. Recent people who have made the mistake of aggravating the are Andrew Flintoff (who took off his shirt and showed it to the crowd leading to Gangulys response a year later on the Lords balcony) and Andre Nel (who was brainless enough to stare down Sachin in his backyard). We take our cricket seriously and you cant mess about with this crowd.I agree with everyone that there should be no racist behaviour. The chants at Wankhede were not racialy motivated but if Symonds feel they were - we apologise.

  • Orion_2007 on October 21, 2007, 4:22 GMT

    Few questions to Kesavan. Don't know whether he even bothers to read these...let alone reply

    1. Black man abusing a black man- is that racism?

    2. Watch the footage of 1985 B&H final. It said something like "Match between Bus drivers and trum conductors"- was that racist? Incidentally India and Pak played in that match and it was in Melbourne.

    3. If the incident happened only in 2 places, how can you generalize it for the entire country?

    4. "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 "- Is that your definition of middle class in India?

    5. Does Mukul Kesavan know a country where a small percentage of population is not racist/communal?

  • KamranZahid on October 21, 2007, 4:20 GMT

    It's understandable that Indians are a proud nation and it must be extremely hard for them to accept that racism exists among them as a major problem. Mukul Kesavan's article is, therefore, commendable even if only for highlighting the issue. But he has certainly done more than that. The people of India must realize that they form a major portion of the world's population and if a handful of those people fail to display civilized behavior, it will reflect badly on the rest. Just being proud to be Indian isn't enough. They must actually be able to justify their pride with civilized behavior as individuals as well as a nation.

  • Buddy_Buddy on October 21, 2007, 3:34 GMT

    Mukul, it might be worthwhile to check out how Aussie media reacted to the disgraceful behaviour of Michael Slater? Or when McGrath gave Tendulkar a mouthful & that too by dozens. They didn't bother about it. The Indian media needs to grow up and leave its fixation for being a follower of goras.

  • Buddy_Buddy on October 21, 2007, 3:23 GMT

    Mukul, you represent the aggressive Indian media who are always out to get a byte in. No other country has such a media as unfortunately we do. So those two guys who were sitting maybe 90 yards away from where Symonds was, were expecting Symonds to see them. I think when you have fairly unsporting & bullies to boot, nation like Australia, its fair to boo their ultra aggressive players. Just take it easy, Mukul. Check out how Australian media ignored the incidents which happen regularly in their country.

  • kenny_israni on October 21, 2007, 3:13 GMT

    Being a Mumbai'ite, I have always taken pride in the city's lively attitude and hostile receptions at cricket fields. I was there in the North stand in 2003 when the chants "Dillon is a bastard, aye-o, aye-o" went on for 4 consecutive days. I thought that was the toughest test for a cricketer, being in a foreign country, on a field surrounded by ~50,000 fans cheering for their home side, standing alone in the "fine leg" or "long on" region (that's where the North stand is placed) with no team mates in view for around 40 yards and spectators wanting to get every bit of your attention by calling you names or performing hand arts (and if you respond to their chants then congratulations, you are a dead guy), to top it all if your team is losing on that day, then it can go from bad to worse in a blink. Andrew Symonds was part of a similar tactic from the spectators, which is to "harass and agitate at least one member of the touring party till he breaks and succumbs to the pressure".

  • azhar1 on October 21, 2007, 2:56 GMT

    ENOUGH of this racism talk. Lets call a spade a spade! Andrew Symonds looks like a fool - there I said it. It has nothing to do with racism, culture etc. Nowadays with the funky hairstyles and white "lipsticks" a lot of cricketers, instead of looking cool, end up looking weird. Not only does Symonds fall into this category, but others, especially L. Malinga, Ramesh Powar and M. Hafeez also look bad with white "makeup". Laughing at these cricketers is not racism! Please, grow up Aussies. If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!

  • Shashank_Tripathi on October 21, 2007, 1:35 GMT

    Excellent article, Mukul Kesavan. Touche!

    To the ignorant Indians commenting below in denial: please stop making cheap excuses about "no one understands the Indian style of masti". This was not masti. This is not the India to which I belong. Cricket is a gentleman's game, and it absolutely, positively, has to be kept that way.

    All the excuses were put to rest yesterday in the Twenty20 game. Ringing out loud and clear were refrains like, "Inky, pinky, ponky, Symonds is a donkey" and "Aey-o, aey-o, Symonds sucks". Every move Symonds made was booed, and he was welcomed to the bowling crease with chants of "Simon, go back". This was not the first-time the notorious Mumbai crowds have shown their ugly side, and unless action is taken soon, it will not be the last.

    I for one completely side with Australia on this one. Sledging on the field is anyone's right--be it Allan Donald, or Andre Nel, or Symonds--but take it ino the audience and you're asking for it.

  • Vinomani on October 21, 2007, 1:09 GMT

    Apply Newton's third law - For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction! Some of Symonds' action must have been rendering this huge hue and cry. Rightly said by UrFriend, Symonds had no reason to comment on the Indian Celebrations of winning the T20 WC. It was not just team India celebrating, but the nation as a whole and his comments on it have earned him this. By saying this, i dont support or appreciate what had been done.

  • crckt_nut on October 21, 2007, 0:35 GMT

    Hi There,

    Let's all put our rational hats on and then analyse this issue.

    In their previous interviews the Aussies have said "Indian cricketers are treated like rock stars"

    "We are hosting the Indians for long period we need to get on top of them"

    "We want to mentally disintegrate the opposition"

    Whilst aussie cricketers have made these "Sick comments"... why would anyone want to mentally disintegrate the oppostion and want them to walk around like zombies...unless you are apathetic psycho?

    When Sreesanth started giving it back to the aussies these people "have suddenly started to talk like angels"

    Let us not forget one thing... the world learns cricket from Australia (and other antics from these...) When Muttiah Murali bowls in any part of Aus' the crown chants no-ball, The last time SA toured au they were racially taunted.

    So please aussies get your house in order before pointing the fingers at others.

  • joeb on October 21, 2007, 0:21 GMT

    This sort of racism exhibited towards Andrew Symonds by the Indian crowds is quite different from racism you see in "white" countries. White racists typically believe that they are the top of the totem pole and all other races are inferior to them. Indian racists on the other hand not only believe that certainly the darker races such as blacks, dravidans, lower castes ..(pick your favorite label here) are inferior to them but actually do believe that whites are superior to them. A necessary logical conundrum that their brand of racism engenders. Notice these Indian racists did not make any degrading animal references to any of the white players in the team but picked only on Symonds.

    Such as the pathetic mind set of Indian racists, who find themselves caught wallowing between self loathing and the hate of the "lower" peoples! My heart goes out to the victims and my contempt to these Indian racists.

  • Indian-Cric-Fan on October 20, 2007, 22:37 GMT

    I don't agree with the tone of the responses against the Indian crowd. YOu must all remember that it all started with Symonds making disparaging comments about India's celebrations after the T20 world cup. Indian public take cricket very passionately and don't spare their heroes like Sachin or Dhoni when they perform bad. India's T20 triumph gave the Indian cricket fans a LOT to cheer about and celebrate. It sure has hurt the Indian fans. It was anger vented out and NOT racism exactly. To speak ill about Indian cricket in Indian soil means Symonds literally asked for trouble. Which of you can say it doesn't happen in Australia ? Although I do not approve of personal abuses or the 'so-called' monkey chants, the Australian team must be reminded NOT to speak ill of Indian cricket in India. And what they do is sledging, not Mental Disintegration.

  • S_Sen on October 20, 2007, 22:14 GMT

    The incidents in Baroda and Bombay were utterly disgraceful and cowardly. There were certainly apes in the stadium, but none was named Symonds. The crowd's behavior was indeed racist, and fits how Indians often view blacks, east Asians, and even other Indians.

    Having said that, the incidents at Baroda and Bombay were not exactly the same, because the crowd at a provincial venue in India is different from a metro crowd. The monkeys in Bombay were imitating the monkeys in Baroda, but they were also putting their own (post-liberalization, middle-class, jingoistic, chak-de India) spin on being a monkey. Race means different things in different contexts: a black-skinned man with zinc cream around his mouth does not carry the same social and historical baggage in Sydney, Bombay and Baroda. The newly globalized monkey in Bombay is infused with the historical legacy of white racism AND with the naivety of the small-town semi-peasant.

  • sushant1909 on October 20, 2007, 21:50 GMT

    Hats off to Mukul for such a brilliant piece..I come from a small town in India and over years have been witness to the inherent bias in our society,take the colour bias,the religious bias,the poverty bias and offcourse the centuries old caste bias..I believe its inherent in Indian system and we cant change it..A guy in the lower strata will crib about it,but will leave no attempts to dominate someone below him.Thats the way we live. it aint changing...What happened with symonds perfectly exemplifies it..and the denial to the issue is an immediate result of just the way we are...

  • Mahdi_E-Dra_Gujranwali on October 20, 2007, 21:23 GMT

    Racism in all its forms should be condemned, what happened in Mumbai and vadodara is despicable and the perpetrators should be punished,it is not funny to laugh off monkey chants and gestures as "Someones idea of fun and not racist". Having said all this,one can only hope that the notoriously racist Aussie crowds take a cue and behave. One cannot but feel for Symonds, he has to endure racist behaviour here and at the same time be a part of a team that had players who have been caught on tape making racist comments.

  • telemarkskier on October 20, 2007, 20:54 GMT

    Dear Mr Kesavan,

    Excellent article. Thank you for posting. Yes, this behaviour is racist and boorish and must be condemned. It is a thing of shame that some of my own countrymen have behaved this way. Let us call a spade a spade. There is no reason for moral relativism here (at some point in the past they did something so we are doing it too...). I am sorry that this happened to ypu Mr Symonds and thank you for responding with dignity. Everywhere, skin colour independent, there are racists or at least ignorant people or boors who indulge in this. A percent of these abusers may actually not be racist but they still have to think before doing all this and temper their high spirits with behaviour that must not cross the line, ever.

  • itsmerock on October 20, 2007, 20:41 GMT

    I agree with you Mukul, the authorities must be transperent in accepting this as racism. It is always a problem in India where the authorities try to cover things up. BUT, about racisim issue, this is definetly been blown out of proportion. Indians did not start it first, If Australians show us fake aggression, we can do it better, The whites were the ones who thought racism to the world, what goes out comes back, isnt it. They are tasting their yield now. Aussies should grow up and be a man enough to face it. Stop making a big fuss for nothing.

  • sdhadwal on October 20, 2007, 20:27 GMT

    I don't agree with this allegation that Indian fans are racist. Their monkey chants were more directed towards Andrew Symond's appearance i.e. the way his dredlocks tucked under the cap and his lips always are painted (cream he applies) white, is an unusual appearence for an Indian in India.It is very common in middle class and lower middle class Indian families to call somebody "KHOTA" (donkey) or "BANDER" (monkey), if they are downplaying somebody.Most of time they call some body "KHOTA" if he does something silly and "BANDER" if somebody is hyper active or some thing strange about that person. Monkey chants Symonds heard were "fun making" of his appearance(dreds and white cream) rather than comments on his skin colour or him being Afro-White. Again I think authorities in India have not played their part by keeping quiet in this matter.

  • Souvik_Mukherjee on October 20, 2007, 20:13 GMT

    Monkey chants directed at Symonds certainly are in poor taste. However, if "monkey" is to be "elevated" to the status of the famed "n" word, we need clarifications: it has been reported in several sections of the media that several Australian cricketers have promised one thing: that the career of the "monkey pacer" (Sreesanth) will be over after the upcoming tour of Australia. Why has that not created a similar uproar given how sensitive we Indians are to even the slightest hint of racism especially from the light - skinned ones? Is one man's monkey another's Australian? It does not appear to me that the "m" word when used for describing Sreesanth's antics has racist overtones anymore than it has in describing Symonds. However, I do think it is bad form to heckle Symonds and let "Punter" and others off the hook just because they appear "well-heeled" and "pukka". That is where the inherent racism of the Mumbai crowd lies .... not in what they said and did but what they didn't.

  • kumars on October 20, 2007, 19:37 GMT

    1999 world cup semifinal in calcutta we all know what happened. 2002 windies team were pelted with bottles etc., called names - that time people were not that aware of racism etc., 2007 symonds was abused

    Intelligent thought provoking chants is always welcome. But racist bigotry should not be.

    We all know Ozzie players and crowd were the starters and NOW it is totally out of control.

    Yes ofcourse indians practice racism in their day to day life and it comes in various forms. I would go to the extent of telling that the linguistic division of states added more dimension to people labelling/abusing each other.

    A open discussion about this is very much needed.

    Even now in lot of states there is ghettoization based on religion, caste, etc., Many of them can turn quickly into anarchy given a small friction.

  • simpsons2170 on October 20, 2007, 18:38 GMT

    as someone who is from an indian descent i think indians are just as bigoted as any other country. it is true that in indian culture light skin is preffered over dark and india has a long history of divided people based on class. and i don't think any reasonable person will disagree with me. i think the behavior of the indian crowds is atrocious, and the blatent disregard by the authorities is an absoulute disgrace. it is true that the australian crowds have racially taunted south africa and sri lanka in particular, but at least those induviduals were ejected from the game. i just wish that the authorities would reprimand these people who disgrace the game with their ignorance.

  • Chakravadhanula on October 20, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    These issues happen all over the world. It is admirable of Mukul to point out the obvious, because we are so often in denial. But it's not that the Australians are free of guilt. Why stop at racism, why not couple it with the sledging element. The fact that you can say that it's right to sledge if you can back it up with performance, means you are cultivating the right to arrogant when you are "better". Whether it is being "better" at a sport, or being of a "better" colour. These are manifestations of us trying to be superior. We are all guilt of this at some level. What Mukul has pointed out is that we should look in the mirror first. Our perceived flaws are exaggerated when we show our own arrogance, whether in the form of racism or in the form of sledging. It all boils down to our 'false' pride of being "better", or worse, just being "different". We have to remember that being "better" could be extremely short-lived. Thank you, Mukul, for pointing out a deeper problem.

  • thenkabail on October 20, 2007, 18:02 GMT

    Mukul mentions "two middle-class.....men". This can be racist too!. Wake up everyone. What the Indian crowd is protesting, heckling is mainly the comments and aggresion of Symonds who said he can not digest the way Indians celebrated the T20 world cup victorya nd made real noises on that. So, it was simply a response to that some crowds have heckled him. By all means ensure there is no iota of racism in sports. But to blow things out of proportion and even to mis-represnt things, is unacceptable.

  • thenkabail on October 20, 2007, 17:50 GMT

    Racism is plain wrong and should never be tolerated. But, as so rightly put forth by Mark Waugh and Allen Border, Symonds is acting precious. There are always an odd member of the crowd who misbehaves. Often most are having fun. When India and Pakistan played the world series final way back in 1985, there were playcards in the crowd holding "bus conductors versus tram drivers". No one ever raised a question of racism them. In recent trip of South Africans to Australia, everyone knows how racist Australian crowd really was. Australians have called Indians names and Sreeshanth was a special target. It is plain silly to blow things out of proportion and jump around. Mukul, Like so many else, have just blown this out of proportion. In Bombay, police arrested few and they will be fined and for repeat offender, it is good to ban them from stadiums. Australians abuse others before they step onto cricket field and when they get back something, they simply can not digest. Prasad.

  • Supratik on October 20, 2007, 17:34 GMT

    Excellent piece deftly put together, Mukul. Till now I (and am sure quite a few) was ambivalent to the issue. Some sections of the media have portrayed the aussie outrage as "pot calling the kettle black". But two wrongs never make a right and further it is one thing to boo or shout 'hai hai' and quite another to do what the picture has captured the two gentle(??)men doing and its painful to say the least. Indian (and other asian) players have been at the receiving end for many years now from racist acts in cricket, sometimes overtly. sometimes otherwise. Maybe these guys are seeing it as an opportunity to give it back in a manner that is crude at best. It also talks volumes about what on-the-ground cricket viewership is all about in India. Most of these guys wouldn't know their googlies from chinamen but are in it for the adrenalin perhaps. And lastly (and i can't help it) to mr.indianindian here - if they were not middle-class they must been "the rich and the famous". Stop kidding

  • Krishna_Hariharan on October 20, 2007, 15:41 GMT

    It is very common in American sports for the supporters to boo the opposing teams best player. Is that a form of racism? And Symonds is in no way the best player in the Aussie team. The monkey chants directed toward him are just a fall out of his disparaging remarks about India's Twenty-20 victory. If he has the freedom of speech to make those remarks, then so do the Indian supporters to make monkey faces at him when he gets onto the field. The crowds would have done the same to any Australian player if they had made disparaging remarks about the Indian victory. Remember a couple of years back when the Aussie crowds targeted the black South African players when they toured Australia, now that is racism.

  • Krishna_Hariharan on October 20, 2007, 15:20 GMT

    I am surprised and totally amazed that Indian crowds are being accused of racism. We are accusing a country which probably has the largest mix of religions co-existing peacefully outside of the US. The reaction of the Australian media is a typical reaction you would expect from most Western or pro white countries who do not understand the passion and enthusiasm with which Indians support their cricket team. The Symonds issue is just an overreaction from the Indian crowds to his comments about India's Twenty-20 celebrations being way overboard and others. For a cricket crazy country which has been starved of victory on the big stage for a couple of decades now, this is a major achievement though admittedly the celebrations were a bit overblown. But it is none of Symond's, or for that matter, any foreign players concern about the way India celebrates its winners. His comments were irksome to many Indian supporters and his on field tangles with the Indian players exacerbated things.

  • Springsam on October 20, 2007, 15:18 GMT

    In Vadodara, a few indivuals gesticulated monkey like actions to disturb Symonds; true, it did hurt Symonds, personally; but, to give a colour of racism is far fetched. Public figures are constantly rediculed in cartoons and satirical pantomimes to the point of being outrageous and these are defended as the freedom of expression.

    Racism has many definitions, the most common and widely accepted being the belief that members of one race are intrinsically superior or inferior to members of other races. (Wikipedia). This definition includes the adverse connotaion that the term racism is associated with in the present context.

    In the preaent case the action appears to be spontaneous inoccuous light hearted fun with no intention of racism in mind. Rracism in any form has no place in the society of this world and it should be abhorred and individuals punished when trnasgressed; but one should be careful not to mistake hamless ropes as snakes.

  • ravcol on October 20, 2007, 14:04 GMT

    I have lived in Australia and the kinds of comments and jeers the Australian spectator has for any visiting team ( especially the English and the Sri Lankans) is also as deplorable as what happened at the Wankhede and the IPCL stadium. Tell me,did the Australian board do anything about the Murali and the Ranatunga fiasco when they were there a decade or so back? And when is it fair for the players to use four letter and the most deplorable words on the field and then to be affected by the actions of a paying visitor. Frankly, we have seen worse. The justification may not make it right, but make everyone accountable. The racial fact here is the subcontinent is targeted and the others are let go scot free. Ravcol in the US.

  • Roykots on October 20, 2007, 13:39 GMT

    Mukul, thanks for this piece. I had always prided on the cosmopolitan character of mumbai, where I grew up. But this one incident has shattered my belief. I am appalled by the lack of outrage against this behaviour from mumbaikar. And then we have apologist amongst ourselves who blame the aussie media for highlighting this issue. However, what disturbs me most is that there are posters on this site who would rather find excuses for the "monkey" act. Grow up guys! before this problem of racism in indian society grow too large to grapple with. My unreserved apologies to Andrew Symonds from this disappointed ex-mumbaikar.

  • pavan_prp on October 20, 2007, 13:24 GMT

    This article is plain mirror showing material and I really acknowledge the straight talking by Mukul.

    As an Indian I was embarrassed to see these gestures by fellow countrymen. Probably these very people might have supported and applauded the entertaining cricket played by Symonds if it were Australia vs Some other country match. But then why should you lose your sense if the team you support lets you down in cricket?? Hope the crowd doesn't cross the line yet again, bringing more embarrassment.

    Also some of the comments below are really appalling. Some people love to remain in a mode of denial forever. Face it people! Most Indians are plain racist without realising it or the seriousness of it. How do you explain people addressing each others as madrasi/mallu/sardar/chinky/bhaiya/kaalia/bandar?? All these are forms of discrimination on the basis of region/religion/colour...News to you??

    As the article says, lets try to live up to our ideal of inclusive pluralism!

  • Rajesh_Sydney on October 20, 2007, 13:14 GMT

    I think this whole issue of racism is rubbish.You walk into sydney ground and you will find Aussies swearing in the most unaceppatable manner about indian's and indian team members .As far as symonds is concerned if he feels he being teased ?what about his behaviour of calling Sreesanth a "GOOSE".He has been the trouble maker through out the series and whole crowd reaction was their way of showing displeasure to his remarks on sreesanth and also on field sledging to pathan & Even a great player tendulkar.The aussies have playes their cards smartly.

    Rajesh

  • yenjvoy1 on October 20, 2007, 13:10 GMT

    Ok, first of all this sanctimonious breastbeating about so called racist behavior has to placed in perspective. The Australians started it, and particularly Symonds. He said he thought the Indian celebrations after the T20 win were excessive - in effect he called the Indian public idiots for celebrating wildly over something that in his opinion was inconsequential. Symonds should have known what he was getting into. This is nothing new from the Aussies. They talk a lot of rot but if it is given back they start whining like little boys. I don't understand why a group of grown men, professionals, need this kind of trash talk to motivate themselves. This talk thing started on the field but now they do it in the media, before suring and after. Symonds went too far and got the crowd involved. Now he's crying. He deserves to be called a monkey - not for his color, but his stupid behavior. He should keep his mouth shut and just play.

  • sabby_boy on October 20, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    Well I completely agree with zapper22 in that we Indians need to come out from our rigidly held belief of moral righteousness. Mukul Kesavan sums it up perfectly by saying it is hypocrisy to defend ourselves by assuming the avg Indian fan as naive and brutish.And in our desperation to get back at the Aussies,who've shown us where we stand, we resort to these things and justify it as cultural diff among a host of ludicrous explanations.And as far as showing aggression on the field is concerned that is just not the way Indian teams have done it traditionally. And taking a cue out of the cultural differences thing,the Aussie team represent their own culture and we should operate in the realms of our own rather than aping them and making an ass of ourselves.Rahul Dravid being a prime example of how Indians need to be aggressive in their own way which I think is the most effective.

  • energy on October 20, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    I am shamed in the actions of my countrymen "monkeying" around with Symonds. However, I have been ashamed about the actions and body language of australian cricketers on field and australian crowds for many years now. Yes the system needs to change but I hope we realize that just as I do not like being called a "black c..." by a bunch of australian spectators, I do not like being called a "f.... wimp" by a representative bunch of cricketers. Aggression is good but keep it to cricket. When you get cricket and words mixed, its gets a little stupid all around. Grace earns grace, and boorishness deserves fire.

  • concerned_cricketer on October 20, 2007, 12:47 GMT

    Well said, Mr Kesavan. I have been shouting myself hoarse on the BBC 606 forums to make some of these points. However much we try to pretend it is a non-issue, it will not become one. Let us Indians do some introspection and find where we are going wrong and take care to join the world in adopting an acceptable code of behaviour, while at the same time taking care not to compromise our aggression or competitiveness on the field.

  • jesusthe1 on October 20, 2007, 11:50 GMT

    Firstly, hats off to Mukul Kesavan for peeling off the false superficial mask of Indian tolerance and secularism and revealing the hidden ugly core of "racism"! Racism in India has a gloriously impoverished paradoxical history! India has been in denial for ages! Thus Mukul's unique summation of the Indian condition is not just bold and accurate but brutally honest! As a 25 year old, I can say that discrimination-be it gender, caste, color, religion, regional-has been practiced and imparted down the ages...According to a recent report by UNICEF up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India' s population as a result of systematic gender discrimination-due to the practice of female infanticide in India, prompted by the existence of a dowry system. Diagnostic teams with ultrasound scanners which detect the sex of a child advertise with catchlines such as spend 600 rupees now and save 50,000 rupees later. However this anti-female bias is by no means limited to poor families.

  • Aussiegators on October 20, 2007, 11:34 GMT

    It is sad that in all of the controversy that has transpired in this series that people mix in a whole lot of separate issues and half truths. Firstly if you read what Symonds has actually said he has tried to play down the racism issue and has not lodged a complaint. He was more upset however when the Indian authorities tried to explain it away as being something it was not and almost implying he had made it up. Lets face it racism is racism and it happens in all countries: it is usually perpetrated by a small minority. It certainly happens here in Australia and the authorities in recent years have tried to take action although it is actually hard to police. All of this is an entirely separate issue from sledging and aggression.If Sreenath wants to match it with the Aussies thats fine as long as with both teams they do not cross the line. It seems to me however that it has not worked for India as it is not really helped their performance.You cannot manufacture this type of aggression.

  • Justin on October 20, 2007, 11:29 GMT

    I'm fairly disgusted by some of the comments here. Still people are making excuses, making blame for Symonds, passing the buck to Australian crowds, blaming the Australian media for making a point of it, trying to pretend it wasn't racism.

    Grow up. Really. Hiding behind excuses is just embarrassing, as Mukul's article -should- have made plain.

  • rusty on October 20, 2007, 11:27 GMT

    This conitual denial from many Indians about the monkey chants being racist is interestiing from the nation that gave West Indian blwler Mervyn Dillon the same treatment five years ago at Wankhede Stadium, and whose favoured son Sunil Gavaskar famously said in the 80's that the West Indian cricket team were barely out of the jungle.

    No doubt many Indians would say that those incidents weren't racist either. I have news for you - it is not for the instigators to decide if abuse in meant racially, but for the victims. these absurd calls for "proof" that monkey gestures are racist are irrelevant. I could just as easily refer to Indians as "darkies", and say it is only a statement of fact, since I have an extremely fair skin ( and most of the human race has a darker skin than me, I burn the moment I go outside). Yet Indians will cry "racist" at me, since they find this term offensive. But where is the proof that I mean it that way? Noone can "prove" abuse is racist.

  • KZaveri on October 20, 2007, 11:21 GMT

    I think pulling this kind of event into big earthly racial problem is nothing but killing the fun of Cricket as game. Cricket fans are coming to see the game for the fun and support the team. Sometime fans get bored and do some gestures, doesnot mean racial. During the world cup matches Irish team do the Chicken dances is it considered insulting to others? Next time Mr. Symonds bring your Binoculer on the field and watch fans what they are doing instead playing cricket. I am living in North America, you got to see how fans are enjoying the sporting events.By ristricting fans for such gesture, I consider as offending to my freedom of speech and expressions. Finally, is it Mr.Symonds fears that soon Australian winning era is going to end?

  • sirhc8 on October 20, 2007, 11:15 GMT

    It always amazes me how so many people fail to understand how these incidents amount to racism. Crowds all over the world single out players and taunt them based on their performance; for example if a player had dropped a simple catch. The clear distinction here is that Symonds was singled out based on his appearance. That's unequivocal racism. I firmly believe that racists exist in similar proportions in all countries of any ethnicity. During the last Ashes in Australia, there were a few who made Monty Panesar out to be 'not-english'. Now, the fact is, he's as English as anyone else who's been there for a similar amount of time. He was singled out because he 'didn't look english' which is to say in this instance, white skinned (so goes the misguided stereotype). That's racism. Pakistan, India, Australia, West Indies, England, and all the other cricket playing nations (and all other nations), unfortunately, have an element of racism ingrained in a minority within their societies.

  • indian_indian on October 20, 2007, 10:43 GMT

    Mr. Mukul has indicated "middle-class" twice in this article.I would like to ask him how did he figure out that the person in the photos are from "middle-class"? Is it written on their face? What does he mean by that? Can we call this behaviour as another version of racism from Mr. Mukul?...Hummmmmmmm....

  • UrFriend on October 20, 2007, 9:39 GMT

    I think it has to do with the comments that Symonds made regarding the celebrations of INDIAN team after winning 20-20 tournament.

    In his comments he hinted that he could not digest the way in which Indians celebrated the victory!

    This possibly is the reason behind singling out Symonds.

  • Otto_Fister on October 20, 2007, 9:30 GMT

    One of the best articles I have read on this site. Congratulations Mukul on articulating some common sense on the issue. As an Australian I was embarrassed by what occurred here towards the South African team last tour here - the one redeeming thing of that issue was that decisive action was taken to stamp out this blight on our country and on cricket generally. What happened to Symonds is an example of how the collective security and feeling of immunity when individuals become part of 'mob mentality' serves also to bring out the worst in humanity. The apologists who think that they are somehow immune from the standards of common decency and human rights are even worst offenders as they have had time to rationally consider the issue but still choose to ignore it. Racism is generally complex, derived from sociological, anthropological and political influence. The denial of racism is far more simplistic (derived mainly from the expediency of those in power) yet to me is just as worryin

  • maheshdutia on October 20, 2007, 8:59 GMT

    Just to add a point to my earlier comment. Thanks to the australian media who has made this is into an issue,if it werent for them the incident in Mumbai would not have happened. A one off incident has now been promoted by the Australian Media as to how Symonds can be teased.

  • JaySarkar on October 20, 2007, 8:45 GMT

    For long Indians have hidden behind a facade of moral righteousness, invoking a paranoid mindset and labelling players, umpires and match referees 'racist' whenever decisions have gone against them, including most notably against Steve Bucknor, a couple of years ago!! Racism isnt merely White caucasians mocking coloured individuals - it works in the other direction too. The obsession of Indians with fair skin amounts to racism, if it were carried out in any White country. We can be racist, we certainly can be 'regionalists'- the jokes agains the 'Madrasis', 'sardarjis', 'Parsis', Babumoshai- bangalis, and more recently 'biharis' are rife. We can be religiously intolerant too, when it suits us.Racism is the result of power differential between two groups, one of which is in the majority. Historically, too,foreigners and Indians going abroad were called 'mlechhas' - a term of derogation. This incident is blatantly racist and denying it will show Indians to be more racist than they ar

  • ernieBob on October 20, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    "WHY SHOULD WE STAY BEHIND? " Right..The taunting of Symonds and Sreesanth's behaviour are two separate incidents - one has been given the title of racism whereas the other is an example of over-enthusiasm shown by a cricketer who has huge potential. I totally back Sreesanth's behaviour. Sure he can loose the plot sometimes but that is no reason to completely kill his aggression (hmm..I wonder if Andre Nel has had the same problems). Secondly, what happened between the Indian and Australian players should not be misjudged as prejudice - Australia have a habit of getting under the opposition's skin with sledging and I for one am not at all upset that Indians have responded, ON FIELD, with their own version of backtalk. What happens on the field should stay on the field.The very different issue of racism is serious and needs to be treated - if it exists. Can anyone prove to me that the chants made by the crowd was made as a racist gesture?

  • zapper22 on October 20, 2007, 8:37 GMT

    well, if anyone fails to understand how monkey chants or actions from the crowd amount to racism, then thats very surprising. Monkey chants or action from the crowd directed at people of negroid origin means to say that they are still considered apes and not human beings. The monkey chants have been an racial issue in soccer and have been directed at players from Africa. If we Indians can take it to mean racism, then its very surprising that when Indians do it, we cant understand how it amounts to racism. Also, authorities in Australia banned the spectators who had made racial comments from entering the grounds during the SA tour of Aus. However, Indian authorities were highlighting cultural differences, which sounds as an absurd excuse. Also, SA are no less when it comes to abusing visiting teams and making racial comments. However, if making racist comments by the crowd is going to win matches and they desreve support for that, then mr. swing trader its high time for you to geta life

  • SwingTrader on October 20, 2007, 7:53 GMT

    Although I agree thatr racisms should be banned in any form but I fail to understand how monkey chants or actions from the crowd amount to racism.So are you trying to say that Australian crowds dont give the visiting team a hard time? Remember when south africa visited them? Why havent you written anything about the australian sledging....and when sreesanth gives them back everybody has a problem.Is it wrong to fight fire with fire? Moreover Ricky Ponting says it is not his definition of aggression.Well I want to ask him something ,Who defines it?Cant we have our own version of aggression? Is it necessary we will have the same version as australians.Franlky speaking this article and sreesant debate is a whole load of rubbish.I support sreesant and the crowds.When I go out to watch a match ,I want to support my team in any way.If australians can play all sorts of mind games just to win a cricket match...WHY SHOULD WE STAY BEHIND? Geat a life dude.

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  • SwingTrader on October 20, 2007, 7:53 GMT

    Although I agree thatr racisms should be banned in any form but I fail to understand how monkey chants or actions from the crowd amount to racism.So are you trying to say that Australian crowds dont give the visiting team a hard time? Remember when south africa visited them? Why havent you written anything about the australian sledging....and when sreesanth gives them back everybody has a problem.Is it wrong to fight fire with fire? Moreover Ricky Ponting says it is not his definition of aggression.Well I want to ask him something ,Who defines it?Cant we have our own version of aggression? Is it necessary we will have the same version as australians.Franlky speaking this article and sreesant debate is a whole load of rubbish.I support sreesant and the crowds.When I go out to watch a match ,I want to support my team in any way.If australians can play all sorts of mind games just to win a cricket match...WHY SHOULD WE STAY BEHIND? Geat a life dude.

  • zapper22 on October 20, 2007, 8:37 GMT

    well, if anyone fails to understand how monkey chants or actions from the crowd amount to racism, then thats very surprising. Monkey chants or action from the crowd directed at people of negroid origin means to say that they are still considered apes and not human beings. The monkey chants have been an racial issue in soccer and have been directed at players from Africa. If we Indians can take it to mean racism, then its very surprising that when Indians do it, we cant understand how it amounts to racism. Also, authorities in Australia banned the spectators who had made racial comments from entering the grounds during the SA tour of Aus. However, Indian authorities were highlighting cultural differences, which sounds as an absurd excuse. Also, SA are no less when it comes to abusing visiting teams and making racial comments. However, if making racist comments by the crowd is going to win matches and they desreve support for that, then mr. swing trader its high time for you to geta life

  • ernieBob on October 20, 2007, 8:42 GMT

    "WHY SHOULD WE STAY BEHIND? " Right..The taunting of Symonds and Sreesanth's behaviour are two separate incidents - one has been given the title of racism whereas the other is an example of over-enthusiasm shown by a cricketer who has huge potential. I totally back Sreesanth's behaviour. Sure he can loose the plot sometimes but that is no reason to completely kill his aggression (hmm..I wonder if Andre Nel has had the same problems). Secondly, what happened between the Indian and Australian players should not be misjudged as prejudice - Australia have a habit of getting under the opposition's skin with sledging and I for one am not at all upset that Indians have responded, ON FIELD, with their own version of backtalk. What happens on the field should stay on the field.The very different issue of racism is serious and needs to be treated - if it exists. Can anyone prove to me that the chants made by the crowd was made as a racist gesture?

  • JaySarkar on October 20, 2007, 8:45 GMT

    For long Indians have hidden behind a facade of moral righteousness, invoking a paranoid mindset and labelling players, umpires and match referees 'racist' whenever decisions have gone against them, including most notably against Steve Bucknor, a couple of years ago!! Racism isnt merely White caucasians mocking coloured individuals - it works in the other direction too. The obsession of Indians with fair skin amounts to racism, if it were carried out in any White country. We can be racist, we certainly can be 'regionalists'- the jokes agains the 'Madrasis', 'sardarjis', 'Parsis', Babumoshai- bangalis, and more recently 'biharis' are rife. We can be religiously intolerant too, when it suits us.Racism is the result of power differential between two groups, one of which is in the majority. Historically, too,foreigners and Indians going abroad were called 'mlechhas' - a term of derogation. This incident is blatantly racist and denying it will show Indians to be more racist than they ar

  • maheshdutia on October 20, 2007, 8:59 GMT

    Just to add a point to my earlier comment. Thanks to the australian media who has made this is into an issue,if it werent for them the incident in Mumbai would not have happened. A one off incident has now been promoted by the Australian Media as to how Symonds can be teased.

  • Otto_Fister on October 20, 2007, 9:30 GMT

    One of the best articles I have read on this site. Congratulations Mukul on articulating some common sense on the issue. As an Australian I was embarrassed by what occurred here towards the South African team last tour here - the one redeeming thing of that issue was that decisive action was taken to stamp out this blight on our country and on cricket generally. What happened to Symonds is an example of how the collective security and feeling of immunity when individuals become part of 'mob mentality' serves also to bring out the worst in humanity. The apologists who think that they are somehow immune from the standards of common decency and human rights are even worst offenders as they have had time to rationally consider the issue but still choose to ignore it. Racism is generally complex, derived from sociological, anthropological and political influence. The denial of racism is far more simplistic (derived mainly from the expediency of those in power) yet to me is just as worryin

  • UrFriend on October 20, 2007, 9:39 GMT

    I think it has to do with the comments that Symonds made regarding the celebrations of INDIAN team after winning 20-20 tournament.

    In his comments he hinted that he could not digest the way in which Indians celebrated the victory!

    This possibly is the reason behind singling out Symonds.

  • indian_indian on October 20, 2007, 10:43 GMT

    Mr. Mukul has indicated "middle-class" twice in this article.I would like to ask him how did he figure out that the person in the photos are from "middle-class"? Is it written on their face? What does he mean by that? Can we call this behaviour as another version of racism from Mr. Mukul?...Hummmmmmmm....

  • sirhc8 on October 20, 2007, 11:15 GMT

    It always amazes me how so many people fail to understand how these incidents amount to racism. Crowds all over the world single out players and taunt them based on their performance; for example if a player had dropped a simple catch. The clear distinction here is that Symonds was singled out based on his appearance. That's unequivocal racism. I firmly believe that racists exist in similar proportions in all countries of any ethnicity. During the last Ashes in Australia, there were a few who made Monty Panesar out to be 'not-english'. Now, the fact is, he's as English as anyone else who's been there for a similar amount of time. He was singled out because he 'didn't look english' which is to say in this instance, white skinned (so goes the misguided stereotype). That's racism. Pakistan, India, Australia, West Indies, England, and all the other cricket playing nations (and all other nations), unfortunately, have an element of racism ingrained in a minority within their societies.

  • KZaveri on October 20, 2007, 11:21 GMT

    I think pulling this kind of event into big earthly racial problem is nothing but killing the fun of Cricket as game. Cricket fans are coming to see the game for the fun and support the team. Sometime fans get bored and do some gestures, doesnot mean racial. During the world cup matches Irish team do the Chicken dances is it considered insulting to others? Next time Mr. Symonds bring your Binoculer on the field and watch fans what they are doing instead playing cricket. I am living in North America, you got to see how fans are enjoying the sporting events.By ristricting fans for such gesture, I consider as offending to my freedom of speech and expressions. Finally, is it Mr.Symonds fears that soon Australian winning era is going to end?