NARENDH GANESH: Diko's use of India to speak about SA Indians is misinformed


Your lengthy but disparagingly untrue account of the South African Indian in your article, Phoenix violence: Indians' dangerous colour complex, reflects the poverty of both your knowledge and your lack of ability to articulate the realities of the truth.

You pontificate on a matter that you seem to be an "expert" about, conjuring up images that have become relics in current day South Africa and sadly use the comparison with India that bears absolutely no relevance to the violence that occurred recently, particularly in the Phoenix area.

In your short stay in KwaZulu-Natal, as you put it, you have acquired an almost irreverent knowledge about the South African Indian, casting racial aspersions that are both dangerous, doleful and, dare I say, distasteful.

You employ incidents that have occurred in India to cast judgement on the South Africa Indian in terms of perceived prejudice, whereby you cite incidents of foreign "blacks" who were killed by Indians, and you equate it to skin colour.

Have you obtained or are in possession of any validated or corroborating evidence to this effect, or is this the narrative you wish to portray to advance what I unashamedly state as your puerile and rather pedantic obfuscation of what the South African Indian is all about?

Have you obtained or are in possession of any validated or corroborating evidence to even suggest that the "Indians" in Phoenix see their "black" compatriots as lesser, only because of the pigmentation of their skin?

If so, then why did you not put forth such validated evidence, instead of proceeding with a diatribe unworthy of cogency and lacking truth?

Your historical lesson about India is meaningless - it is merely a comparison of a time and place that bears no resemblance or relevance to South Africa.

The "Indian" in South Africa is a South African. Whatever ties they might have with their "homeland" of ancestral birth is moot. The stereotyping that you audaciously affirm that the "Indian" in South Africa bears prejudice against his "black" countrymen relates to the caste system, once used in India to command control over people that the rich and powerful had, was a system to deny human rights to people of the "darker and poorer" sector.

It is an antiquated system, diabolical to the extreme and innately inhumane.

Admittedly, there may be parts of India where such a heretical system is practiced, but modern day India has moved leaps and bounds in restoring a fair degree of humanity to all its citizens, albeit still a work in progress.

Despite your alacrity in wanting to show that the South African "Indian" is almost pathologically prone to wanting to use skin pigmentation in his method of "discriminating" against the "black" South African, you fail miserably to show that this is empirically a statement of fact, but rather you use Arundhati Roy as an "expert" to elucidate your suppositions.

Where exactly do you decide the source of "Indians' anti-African sentiments? Are you saying that fair-skinned Indians discriminate against dark-skinned Indians as a fatuous generalisation and that this is their point of departure from which a preconceived opinion is derived against "black" South Africans?

Are you saying that "Indians" who live in Chatsworth and Phoenix are frowned upon by those living in Musgrave and Morningside and that they are "definitely different from those who live in Ballito and Umhlanga"?

You call that the "unspoken divide". Did you even consider that this also applies to "black" South Africans who reside in Sandton or Houghton or Camps Bay against those who live in Langa, Gugulethu or Khayelithsha. There would be an "unspoken divide" there as well, not so?

If I read you correctly, that is exactly what you are saying.

How perceptive of you in the "little time" you spent in Durban!

That would have been a quick-fire research with a conclusion that would probably find a home in some obscure journal unworthy of even a basic perusal.

You are at pains to enunciate the habitude of the "Indians", especially from Phoenix as being this community of people who are at their ready to inflict racial discrimination against those classified as "blacks".

Have you considered, even remotely, that tribalism amongst "black" South Africans, has the same effect in creating a "broken divide", where ethnicity is a prominent feature in how some of our compatriots view each other, although of the same colour?

Prejudices, whatever form they take, occur in every society. But once you castigate a community, as you have clearly done, on the basis of a historical perspective that becomes arguable in the context that you have used and that has no basis in South Africa, then you lay bare a regnant but parochial view that deserves contempt and censure.

However, perhaps what becomes irksome and what I consider as being derogatory, inflammatory and a nefariously peremptory statement by you was when you stated, "Phoenix reflects both the South Indian attitudes towards blacks and their colonial hangover".

This is an abhorrent statement made on the back of conjecture and a generalisation and must be oppugned as it reflects a sense of levity at its height.

It is an illiative and arrogant presumption that simply cannot have any measure of truth, more especially coming from you who claimed to have been in Durban for a "little time" only.

While you conclude with remarks that could very well be considered as universal and that which any reasonable person might infer, the import of your afore-going explanation in your article truly defies the seminal indisposition that your argument makes.

Narendh Ganesh is the chairperson of the Duffs Road Civic Association in north Durban, community activist and former member of the Minorities of South Africa party.