How the Congress leader’s racist remark stirred controversy in India?

Racism is an accepted joke in India. It is visible in public spaces, offices, and almost everywhere. Indian movies often depict scenes making jokes about black people and glorifying white individuals. It’s a common trend where villains and hooligans are portrayed as black, while heroes and heroines are white. People from the northeast, primarily Mongoloid, were humiliated by being referred to as other nationalities like Chinese. Furthermore, Southern Indian individuals have been called derogatory terms such as “negroes” by Indo-European people in the northern regions. As Southern Indian and northeastern individuals become more educated and attain better financial conditions compared to northern India, and as they ascend to important positions in government bodies, derogatory jokes of this nature have gradually diminished. However, as the General Election season heats up, the racist comment made by the leader of the Indian National Congress (INC) has once again brought racism in India to the forefront as a contentious issue.

Sam Pitroda, a telecom entrepreneur, advisor to former prime ministers, and the former chairman of the Indian National Congress’s overseas wing, made a controversial comment that suddenly became a trending topic in Indian political spheres. He stated that over the past 75 years, Indians had thrived in a harmonious environment where people had coexisted, despite occasional disputes. Indians managed to unite a nation as diverse as India, where individuals in the east resembled those from China, in the west like Arabs, in the north like Europeans, and perhaps in the south like Africans. Furthermore, he added that diversity was not a problem at all as Indians considered themselves as brothers and sisters. However, the comments comparing South Indians, predominantly of Dravidian ethnicity, to Africans, and likening North East Indian people to the enemy country Chinese, were suddenly thrust into India’s political sphere.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), facing a tough fight from the Indian National Congress-led alliance in the ongoing general election, found Sam’s comment to be a boon. They cunningly used the comment made by the 81-year-old when only 3 out of 7 total phases had been completed, with remaining places including some in South India, a stronghold of the Indian National Congress. However, the BJP shrewdly exploited the situation against the Indian National Congress, highlighting their British connection and Rahul Gandhi’s Italian heritage, the current leader and star campaigner of the Indian National Congress. The BJP has consistently accused foreign media of aiding the Congress, and this incident was skillfully directed towards the influence of foreign culture on Indian culture. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself entered the stage, stating that Pitroda’s comment reflects the mindset of the Indian National Congress and their white worship. He added that Indians revere Lord Krishna, who is depicted as black, and do not harbor racist thoughts.

The Indian National Congress, which was gaining momentum in Indian election campaigns, was severely hit by Sam Pitroda’s comment. Prior to this incident, there was another comment by Pitroda that caused trouble for Congress by suggesting an inheritance tax on the new wealth management system. Modi also used this comment against Congress by interpreting it from another perspective. As Pitrodha repeatedly made controversial statements, Congress removed him from his position and stated they do not support his statements. They accused the BJP of using his statements in a manner that he did not mean, and claimed that the BJP is diverting voters’ attention from the real issues in Indian politics. Some leaders suggest that the Indian culture Modi advocates has more racist elements than Western culture. However, the comments celebrated in the Indian political space will likely trouble the Indian National Congress.

India is a multi-ethnic, multilingual country. Many wonder how such a country with so much diversity can exist. However, the country demonstrates unity and economic progress. Many believe that comments like those made by Sam Pitroda will affect India’s diverse culture and integrity, while others believe that Indian society accepts this kind of racism as humor and will overlook it. However, timing was crucial, and the BJP effectively used the situation. It’s time to rethink the leadership of INC, the venerable party, as their own leaders consistently lead them into trouble and their victories handed to the BJP. Regardless of the political aspect, such comments have far reaching consequences.