Foreigners

Do I count?

9:02 AM

The other day I was reading my friend’s blog and she had an entry about the Indian 2011 census that you can read here.
I commented on her blog with my experience which pretty much fit her concern. The census people came last May to my old place in Bangalore, though I had to go down to the landlord’s apartment with his wife translating some of my answers for the guys. I started feeling things were weird when the guys started to wonder how on earth he would write down my full name in Kannada, and then wondered how to fit me in his form as I was a foreigner. He didn’t ask much questions to me, but asked a lot about my husband who was at work when they came. And then he asked me “Ma’am if you are married to an Indian, how come you aren’t Indian?” I was a bit taken aback to tell the truth, but I told him I am a PIO card holder that gives me all the rights of an Indian citizen minus the right to vote or buy agricultural land and he said “But ma’am you HAVE TO be Indian”. And why is that I might ask? Why do I HAVE TO? To count as somebody in this country? To face the type of discrimination people living in the North East face because they don’t LOOK the part despite having an Indian passport? In truth I wouldn’t mind Indian citizenship if it didn’t mean having to give up my Swiss one and start having to need visas to visit all the other foreign countries on the planet. But another part of me mind it very much as I can see from miles afar how some will just say I don’t look Indian and therefore cannot be Indian.
Yes as long as this country doesn’t straighten up their act I’m not sure I want to face more discrimination. Because let’s call a spade a spade as things are now I see a very racist tendency going around here, and it starts with the Government making foreigner and Indian separate entree fees to monument. An Indian origin US citizenship holder visiting the Taj Mahal will have no problem paying the Indian fee, but a resident from the North East will have to prove himself, just based on how they look. Me, forget it, I might work for an Indian salary, pay my taxes here, have a PIO card, a Pan card, residential permit, but I’m still a foreigner therefore I pay the overinflated foreigner fee when I visit historical monuments, because apparently my being Swiss gives the impression to people that I have by default a stinking amount of money and that it makes it ok to try to fleece me.
And then you have various silly contests, and for a few of them the term and conditions is that not only you have to be a resident of India (which is fair and logic) but have to be an INDIAN CITIZEN, the last one I saw stating that rule is the Facebook zoo zoo fan page one, guess what the Vodafone zoo zoo world is buzzing about in their new ad campaign, and you can win zoo zoo merchandise…but hey you have to have Indian Citizenship to win…not that I care about that contest or want to enter, but can I just say “Hello Discrimination”?

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