An Indian student in Australia refocuses recent issues

I find this an interesting approach; Tejaswini V. Patil is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of South Australia on racism and nationalism in Indian and Australian contexts. Source: ABC Unleashed.

The recent death of young Indian migrant Nitin Garg in Melbourne elicited the unsurprisingly familiar response from the Indian and Australian governments.

The Indian government raised the spectre of growing violence against Indian students as harming bilateral relations. Whereas Julia Gillard, the deputy PM, condemned the attacks and added significantly, ‘we are a nation that overwhelmingly is a open tolerant multicultural welcoming society …that is the image of Australia and that is the reality of Australia…’

… I have been astonished watching how the discursive boundaries of racism are being constructed particularly by the Indian media to analyse these attacks. Despite, the existence of racism and discrimination of minorities in both Indian and Australian contexts, the deeply troubling part of the debate in the immediate aftermath of the recent attacks shows:

Firstly, the lack of cultural incommensurability of the contexts by the so-called interlocutors has meant the debate is purely produced in dichotomies of racism or anti-racism. This has led to hysteria, jingoism and irrational debate and imposition of national will by some participants.

Arguments which appeal to extreme forms of nationalism, as articulated by Mr. Vijay, are offensive to the need to have a civil and rational debate about the measures needed to protect Indian students in foreign contexts.

Despite cautious reporting within the Australian media, invoking multiculturalism as a way of life in Australia to analyse the attacks on Indian students poses its own dangers…

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That Yale course: Ian Shapiro punctures the hype

Ian Shapiro, Ph.D., Yale University, 1983, J.D., Yale Law School, 1987, is Sterling professor of political science and Henry R. Luce director of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, regards both globalisation and the significance of faith and religion in politics as having become mired in hype and hyperbole.

Religion, for example, whether Muslim, Christian or whatever, only becomes “incompatible” with democracy when it is “the only game in town”. The UK, for example, has an established church (unlike the USA or Australia) but this doesn’t matter as it cannot exclude you from participation at any level.

See also The State of Democratic Theory (2003) by Ian Shapiro.