India Insight

Justice delayed for Punjab beating victim

Burundi national Yannick Nihangaza was brutally beaten in April by allegedly drunk youngsters, and left for dead in Jalandhar, a city in Punjab. Nearly three months later, the 23-year-old Nihangaza lies in a vegetative state at a hospital.

His father has asked the Punjab government to allow him to bring his son back to Burundi. He also wants the state to prosecute the suspects and pay for his son’s medical expenses.

Until today, he has had to beg. Local media reports say Nihangaza’s father has written to Punjab’s chief minister and expressed his disappointment at the government having done little to set things right.

After the Burundi youth’s story received some attention in the local media, the state government on Friday said it will help the family and has instructed the police to probe the incident. It is unknown why it took the government nearly three months to ask for help.

This is in contrast to Australia, where about two years ago, Indian student Shravan Kumar was a victim of what appeared to be a racially motivated attack. Australia granted him permanent residency status, entitling him to various benefits as a result.

Does Indian literature owe its global success to the Raj?

As close to 50,000 people prepare to celebrate India’s bulging roster of nationally and internationally renowned authors and poets at the seventh annual Jaipur Literary Festival, a public spat between its British organiser and an Indian magazine over allegations of perpetuating “a Raj that still lingers” threatens to ignite a decades-old debate over the role of colonial English in the country’s literary success.

Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan (R) talks with Neville Tuli, founder and chairman of Osian's - Connoisseurs of Art Pvt Ltd, at the annual Jaipur literary festival, one of India's biggest, January 23, 2009. REUTERS/Abhishek Madhukar (INDIA)

As Delhi-based William Dalrymple and his fellow organiser stress the festival’s intent to showcase works from India’s array of states and dialects to thousands of book lovers, an article in India’s Open magazine this month claimed the festival matters “because of the writers from Britain it attracts”.

India’s literary elite has long wrestled with its complicated post-colonial legacy, sharpened by the huge international success of Indian writers such as Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and Kiran Desai, who have put the former British colony on the literary map, but live, sell more books and win more awards in the UK or the U.S.

Kevin Rudd: Re-reassuring Indians?

The Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, currently in India, is expected to address concerns in India over attacks on Indian students.The issue blew up in May this year after a spate of attacks on Indian students amid allegations of racism.The Australian leaders have been defending the safeguards and measures taken since then, but every time there is a fresh attack the media goes to town with the issue.With over 80,000 students enrolling in Australian every year the attacks, whatever their nature, have hardly dampened the outflow of students.Rudd won’t be the first to offer a reassurance and given the regularity with which incidents are reported it doesn’t look like he would be the last.Indian students continue to be interested in Australian education.Is this because they can sense that the issue is has been blown out of proportion?Or are they voting with their feet on the state of Indian education system?Are we still sold out over the lure of a ‘foreign degree’ and willing to run the risks for it?

Attacks on Indians in Australia: racist or recessionist?

A spate of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney has seen the Indian media accuse Australia of being a racist nation.

Newspaper articles warning of a culture of “curry bashings” in Australia have sparked off debate and people around the world have spoken out against the attacks in online forums.

Some insist the majority of attacks may have been purely criminal.

As an Indian studying in the U.S. for the past three years, I am yet to come across any instance of Indians being targeted on the basis of their race.

  •