Racial Discrimination


The following piece may be upsetting for some readers. TW// violence, racism, racial discrimination.

On September 20, 2023, a racially-motivated attack in Vijayanagara left a North-Eastern student from Hindu College critically injured on his way to a football match, leading to the team’s match forfeiture. The incident prompted condemnation and calls for unity against discrimination against Northeast students and individuals in Delhi.

On September 20, 2023, a football match was scheduled to occur at the DDA Sports Ground in Vasant Kunj, Delhi, with the combined teams of Hindu College and Ramjas College against Hansraj College. Unfortunately, en route to the match, the football captain, a North-Eastern student from Hindu College, was brutally assaulted in a racially motivated attack by a mob in New Gupta Colony, Vijayanagara.

On the way to the metro station, the student was subjected to derogatory racial slurs. Following a verbal altercation, a group of local individuals arrived on a motorcycle and escalated the situation further. The victim was physically attacked with a knife, sustaining injuries to his neck, forehead, and facial areas. The severity of the attack left him in critical condition, requiring immediate medical attention.

The authorities have identified the four perpetrators and arrested them accordingly. Due to the attack, the football team was forced to forfeit the match as well, resulting in their disqualification from further participation in the tournament. A witness who observed the incident from their balcony, remarked:

Everything unfolded in the blink of an eye… Surprisingly, very few individuals rushed to assist, and by that time, it was nearly over.

In light of the incident, the North-East Cell of Hindu College issued a statement condemning the incident and urging concerned authorities to take strict action. In a post on Instagram dated September 20, 2023, they made the following statement:

We are deeply saddened and outraged by the racially motivated attack against a North-eastern student from Hindu College. Such acts of violence and discrimination have no place in our society as a whole. In the face of hatred, we must unite as a community to fight against racism, discrimination, and violence and hatred.

Several organisations, including SFI Hindu College, WDC Hindu College, and the North East Society of Zakir Hussain Delhi College (M), have issued statements in solidarity with the victim. The North-East Cell of Hindu College has issued a statement requesting everyone to respect the privacy of the survivor.

We kindly urge everyone to refrain from sharing any images or information pertaining to this situation. We acknowledge that certain individuals are disseminating such content, so please remain vigilant in safeguarding the survivor’s privacy and preventing any disrespectful conduct. The relevant authorities are actively addressing this issue, and we are committed to ensuring that the perpetrators face the most severe penalties possible.

This incident is not an isolated one but rather sheds light on the discrimination faced by Northeastern students and individuals in Delhi. Another student from Hindu College urged,

I personally am deeply distressed and agitated by the incident happening today since I have faced the same kind of racism in Delhi. This victim is a warrior, a true hero who fights not just for himself but all NE students who have been racially abused, mocked and ridiculed. What I want to let you all know is that being students of DU, such kind of actions show a person’s lack of respect towards other humans and the intention to hurt their sentiments. I’m not asking for any special care and pampering here but let us all treat each other equally with truth, justice and peace.

Read also: Hill vs Valley: Humanitarian Catastrope through the Eyes of Manipuri Students

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Photo Archive

Sri Sidhvi Dindi
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Kashmiri student was allegedly harassed and discriminated against by an OYO hotel in Delhi. The staff and police claim otherwise and refute his statement. OYO has released an official statement of clarification


Nauman Rafiq, a law student at University of Delhi (DU) alleged that his father and sister were harassed at a Delhi OYO hotel after they identified as belonging from Kashmir. 


The staff of Asha Residency hotel, an OYO registered four-star hotel in Vijay Nagar, near North Campus apparently stated that as per police orders, guests from Jammu and Kashmir “are not allowed to check-in.” Rafiq in conversation with Firstpost, explained, “They asked for proof of identity. After we furnished it, they asked where the ID is from. I said ‘Jammu and Kashmir’. They said they don’t allow people from Afghanistan, Balochistan, Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistan to stay in their hotel. They said it is part of their policy.”


The hotel staff reiterated that they had orders from the police to not allow Kashmiri residents to check-in. Nauman emphasised on the hotel’s rejection before checking for his father’s ID. He said, “They did not even ask for my father’s ID, they just said that you are from Kashmir, and we have orders from the police to not allow people from Jammu and Kashmir, we are just complying with the orders.”


Rafiq pressed the staff to show him written proof of the policy but they claimed the OYO app has all the literature but due to “weak internet it might not show right now’. “It’s very humiliating. When I called the OYO helpline, I was told the policy is that nationals from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan are barred from checking into the hotel,” he said. They later apologised for the inconvenience and offered to shift his booking to another hotel. 


The issue gained momentum as social media tagged OYO and demanded an answer for the discrimination. Thereafter, OYO apologised to Nauman and ensured that they would dig deeper into the situation. OYO customer care and the Escalation Executive Manager, Pradeep Kumar  interacted with Indiatoday and stated that no such policy states that Kashmiri residents cannot be allowed to check-in. 


The Station House Officer (SHO), Karan Singh Rana of the Mukherjee Nagar Police Station completely refuted the claim and stated that the guests were unable to provide the original required documents and had no relation to them being from Kashmir. However, Nauman stated that his father carried four original documents with him but were not even asked for by the staff. 


OYO’s senior guest experience manager, Hari Harpande refuted any such discriminatory policy surrounding residents of Jammu and Kashmir. “The property had denied entry on the basis of some restrictions by local authorities. The feedback of the concerned person has already been submitted and our ground team is working on it,”


The hotel manager Rahul Gautam quoted to The Print stating, “During one of the checks, a beat police officer verbally told us that while the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests are going on and the Shaheen Bagh issue remains, we should not allow customers from Kashmir and Ladakh.” Several media houses are in possession of Gautam’s audio clips emphasising on the “verbal orders” and continuing, “Dekhiye, humara jo hotel hai na, wo police ground ke saath me hai” (Our Hotel is adjacent to the police ground)


Gautam further added that they have orders from the Delhi Police. Talking of their policies he said, “We don’t even accept couples, be it married or unmarried. We don’t have any personal animosity against you, sir. You are also Indian, we are also Indians.”


Hotel receptionist, Balvinder Rana denied any charges of discrimination, he stated how Rafiq had a Delhi Identity Card however the other two guests failed to show a valid ID card. Upon asking the boundaries of an ID card, he informed that the cards and photographs did not match with the guests. Refuting the hotel’s policy of discriminating against people from certain countries he adds, “I can show you the proof, I have many photocopies of people’s ID cards from Jammu and Kashmir. This is a small issue, let’s not blow it out of proportion,” The hotel’s official page mentions the policy rule of ‘No unmarried couples allowed’ and ‘only Indian Nationals allowed’. “The only requirement to stay at a hotel is original documents,” Rana said, continuing, “ It is the habit of some guests to get aggressive at every little thing. They immediately accused us of discrimination when we asked for a valid ID card.” 


Rafiq has decided to seek legal action. Talking of such discriminatory actions in Delhi University and PG’s against those belonging from Jammu and Kashmir, he says, “ I’ll go to court. People who undergo all this humiliation don’t have redressal. OYO shifts blame to hotel, hotel shifts blame to local authorities, local authorities deny involvement. There is no proper redressal mechanism. OYO just apologises every time and that’s about it.”


“I want the courts to issue guidelines for states to frame redressal mechanisms in such cases, And because not everyone can approach courts or even know their rights fully, I want to create a forum of lawyers who will be available to help victims of such discrimination,” Rafiq added.


OYO released an official statement stating the act to be a violation of basic principles of OYO’s ethics. The statement read: “OYO Hotels & Homes is committed to bringing quality living experiences to all our guests from around the world, irrespective of their religion, race, caste and gender. Any such action that tantamounts to discrimination is a serious violation of the basic principles of OYO’s ethos of doing business. As immediate steps, we have temporarily suspended operations with the asset partner.”

Feature Image Credits: The Tribune

Anandi Sen

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Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye explores why in a pluralistic society, under the pretense of being tolerant, we still prefer “whiteness” in our magazines and on our TV screens.

Toni Morrison, a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist, wrote and published her first book, The Bluest Eye, in the year 1970. In Morrison’s novel, she investigates what happens to a young, black girl living under the “white gaze” of 1940s America. The novel tells the story of an 11-year-old girl, Pecola Breedlove, who wants to have blue eyes because she views herself as ugly. It’s a female Bildungsroman, telling her story as she grows up, black and female, in a racially discriminatory America. In the novel, Morrison unabashedly challenges western standards of beauty and demonstrates that the concept is socially constructed. Morrison’s novel was inspired by one of her black classmates who wished for blue eyes, much like Pecola. She thus wrote the novel to explore the roots and effects of racial self-loathing, wondering, “Who told her [classmate]? Who made her feel that it was better to be a freak than what she was? Who looked at her and found her so wanting, so small a weight on the beauty scale?” Thus, Morrison’s novel is an attempt to “peck away at the gaze that condemned her”.

Morrison goes on to offer a decisive critique on the homogenising effect of the white aesthetic so prevalent in most of our cultures in the world. She rejects the beauty of the white consumer culture because it separates women “from reality”. Women of colour start internalising the crippling notions of beauty that this white culture propagates. This perpetuation of the dominant culture’s aesthetics and tastes, their standards of beauty and fairness, have always and still continue to contribute to racial tensions. The novel, in its endeavour to question the yardsticks of socially constructed notions of beauty, makes the reader confront his or her own reality.

Not only is the novel beautifully written, Morrison’s prose being so vivid, she is also able to implicate the reader in the destruction of this little girl and her dream to be “beautiful”. Morrison’s contempt for the racial bias in popular American culture, and her rejection of a white-defined form of female beauty are reflected well in her first novel. Pecola’s mother, Pauline, also internalises the damaging racial self-loathing because such has been the coloniser’s influence over the “weaker” masses. The coloniser goes on to “invisibalise” the “other”.

One’s visibility thus gets knotted with one’s beauty. In The Bluest Eye, Pecola’s self, her presence as a subject, remains unrecognised by those who have absorbed the white standards of visual attractiveness. In the tragic swamp of alienation, Pecola’s only saviour, her blue eyes, are ironically also symbolic of the colonial instrument of oppression. What strikes one as being crucial here is the homogenising effect that white culture creates. Much of it is interestingly manufactured as a product of western capitalism. Rampant consumerism, movies’ and media’s role are to be blamed for the skewed notions of reality which people of all colours embrace. Thomas Fick argues in his essay, entitled “Toni Morrison’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’: Movies, Consumption, and Platonic Realism in The Bluest Eye” (2000), that, “Movies are the centrally destructive force in [The Bluest Eye] not only because of the values they present but because of the way they present them: as flawless archetypes above and outside the shadowy world of everyday life.”

Despite the increasing presence of black celebrities, the white aesthetic still strongly defines beauty and worth in today’s racist culture. Many of the contemporary black celebrities, such as Halle Berry, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Vanessa Williams, and others, are whitewashed to appeal to white audiences, thereby denying the black body. Famous black women are often anglicised on the covers of magazines: their hair and skin lightened and curls straightened. “Just as English has become the lingua franca of the world, so the white, blondified, small-nosed, pert-breasted, long-legged body is coming to stand in for the great variety of human bodies that there are,” comments Susie Orbach, a British psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, writer, and social critic.

Media conglomerates thus fabricate lies. Advertisers clutch on to insecurity as a selling tool, instead of embracing empowerment. The many fairness cream advertisements and products, advertisements for silkier and shinier hair, hairless bodies, skinny bodies, and many other campaigns hold testimony to this. It is the coloniser’s body which echoes on our television screens, which we consciously choose to watch.

What The Bluest Eye as a piece of literature does is to subvert the “white gaze”. What we, as self-aware citizens in this world of majoritarianism, must do is to resist and disrupt the gaze. Morrison, time and again, does it with her words. As Adrienne Rich once said, “This is the oppressor’s language, yet I need to talk to you.”


Feature Image Credits: Teen Ink

Ankita Dhar Karmakar
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I remember the time when I was drawing the map of India in class. I was little then, and as a good boy would I attentively listened to the teacher to learn how to draw my country. “Check the map”, I remember her say, “and don’t forget to draw the international borders in dark, bold outlines.” So I drew the boldest outline for the international borders. “Now draw the 25 states of India and colour them differently”, the teacher added. Now, my counting was limited to just the number of fingers in each of my tiny hands and toes in each of my tiny foot.

So drawing the 25 states (as the 28 had not formed yet) was really troublesome. I never understood why I had to draw more borders than I already had, in great bold outlines. Naturally I approached the teacher with my perfectly valid complaint. I was told that I would understand it when I grew older and understood the working of the human mind…

We humans are the most intellectual being on earth and we take great pride in that knowledge. Our intellect has helped us claw our way from cold, hard caves to plush, furnished hotel rooms, from cattle drawn carts to the sweet melody of a roaring V-8. But there is one talent, from our endless repertoire, that is my topic of interest: our capability to see and recognize patterns.Have you never looked at the floating clouds and giggled as you noticed a peculiar shape in them, maybe that of a cricket bat, a face of a famous person, a face of a not-so-famous person, an aeroplane or a loved one perhaps? Recognizing patterns is not just another one of our talents mind you, but an almost vehement compulsion. Look at your wallet, most people like to keep their money in a fashioned order – 10 rupee notes followed by 20 rupee notes which are in turn followed by 50 rupee notes, and so on and so forth.

This compulsion of forming patterns is not limited to the inanimate alone. We tend to classify people as well, so consequently we have the Indians, the Americans, The Chinese, Marathis, Punjabis, Bengalis etc. In your everyday greeting with any stranger, your first instinct is to ask him their name (out of courtesy) and then their place of origin (out of curiosity). Once you have known the latter it becomes easier for you to compartmentalize him into a specific category that already exists in your head. Now you know which ‘category’ of ‘people’ he comes from, your initial tension subsides and your conversation becomes more fluid. You are safe in the knowledge of what to expect.

Our brains are always, actively, trying to make out patterns. You hate noise because you can find in it no rhythm to tap your foot to. You hate the crowded metro because your mind just cannot find any pattern of behavior. In fact, if our brains are to be subjected to a long stretch of unpredictable patterns we are under the threat of losing our sanity. The ingenious Chinese water torture makes use of the very same fact. The victim is strapped down to a chair or a table while water is trickled, drop by drop, in their forehead. Does not sound like a torture does it? Remember the time you had a leaky roof during the monsoon, or a time when the bathroom tap was loose? Remember the annoying sound it made when drops of water fell to the floor, waking you at just that moment when you had started to doze off? Maddening wasn’t it? So you can only imagine the agony the victims had undergone as drops of water hit their forehead, erratically, before their minds collapsed into insanity as it exhaustively tried to find some sort of pattern.

Similarly, most people are irritated when their nosy friends borrow something and not keep it back in its original place. People are more likely to hang out with others from the same ‘group’ and usually avoid people who are not part of the ‘group’. Because in a ‘group’ the pattern is defined to almost the smallest of detail like – favorite hang outs, food and most importantly faces of people you know. Nobody likes a fly in their chicken soup, do they?

So the question is… was Nido Taniam the fly?  A ‘something’ that did not fit the urban pattern of Delhi? An anomaly so detestable that he was beaten to death?  Was he not part of the same pattern that I had outlined in great dark, bold outlines as a child? Now when I think about it, I am still that kid holding a map drawn in crayons…