June 15, 2009

Beer ban

"Due to Attack on Indian Students in Australia We Have Decided to Ban Australia Products [Like] Foster Beer."

These words, on a sign outside Golden Chain, a restaurant in Bombay. (This report, don't miss the extremely enlightening comments).

There have been other attacks on Indian students.

For example, in this case from AP, the student was driven to suicide. In this case in Punjab, two students alleged physical abuse (singeing with cigarettes, sexual assault, being paraded naked) and ran away from their college. In this case in HP, students beat a fresher to death.

AP, Punjab and HP are not in Australia. They are in India.

I presume therefore that there has been a sign outside some restaurant in Bombay that reads like this:

"Due to Attack on Indian Students in India We Have Decided to Ban India Products [Like] Kingfisher Beer."

If any of you has seen it, please let me know. A photograph would be good.


Jai_C said...

Reminded me of calls to boycott Tata products after they decided to move Nano from Singur to some plant in Gujarat.

One guy was esp. critical, he said MH was OK, even KA could be accepted but not GJ. As a KA dweller I suddenly realized merely voting against BJP didnt help. I was borderline guilty of communalism and nearly-acceptable target for economic sanctions.


Anonymous said...

We need to inwards, you are very correct.


Sumedha said...

Same story as the Bachchan one... it's sad that people react to situations outside India that affect Indians, but yet remain remarkably blind to, or accepting of, incidents that happen within our borders.

Anonymous said...


In our more than one billion population, there are bound to be a few idiots. Okay, more than a few. Among the many idiocies (and worse) going on in our beloved country, this one is actually benign as it hurts no one. It warrants no more than a shrug. I would put it on par with the idiocy perpetuated by some US Senators/Congressmen who decided to get back at the French for not supporting George W. Bush's Iraq adventure by renaming "French fries" as "Freedom fries."

Save your outrage for something which deserves it. There's plenty of that going around any way.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Anon 816p: Maybe I'm nitpicking, but this is not about outrage. It's about being puzzled. Why are we content to let so much abuse and violence against Indians go unpunished when it happens in India, but get all ticked off when it happens in Australia?

Rohan said...

First time I'm commenting.
Those comments on Mid-Day were VERY revealing. I've always wondered: are some people plain moronic or is it the Web which makes them stupid?

Anonymous said...

Why are we content to let so much abuse and violence against Indians go unpunished when it happens in India, but get all ticked off when it happens in Australia?

Dilip, such paradoxes abound and are not confined to our country either. In general, we seem to recognize injustice easily when we are the victims but not easily (if at all) when we are the perpetrators.

Even within the same society, why do some recognize injustice and others don't? What is the exact process by which we "learn" to recognize injustice?

There is a anecdote I remember reading about the Soviet leader Nikita Khurushchev illustrating the ultimate mystery of the process of acquiring a "conscience." As we know, Khurushchev was the one who brought the gulags and the horrors of the Stalinist era to light. He was ultimately disgraced and forced to step down. Six years after that, he was summoned to explain why he had allowed his memoirs to be published in the West. He told his accusers as a sick 76 year old man: "I too was infected by Stalin, but I also freed myself from him, whereas you did not."

Why and when did this man, someone not highly educated (he was considered a boor), a loyal communist, one who did not shrink from taking brutal actions, begin to see that something was wrong in the Stalinist system and started taking steps to "free himself" is not something we'll know. We can guess but can never know for certain.

I read this in a review of Khurushchev's biography in the New York Times. It can be found at


Any way --- I don't think there is a good answer to your "puzzle." If there is, I'd be interested to know too. Sorry for the longish comment.

Dilip D'Souza said...

let's keep quiet ( as is our won't) ... [etc]

You mean sort of like we've kept quiet when Indians have been hammered by other Indians, e.g. 1984?

You go ahead. I won't.

Dhimant Parekh said...

I think the problem is that we view the killings/abuses in India as an internal problem and refuse to look at it. We know that we are to blame and hence we can't do much about it.

But on the international scene, we want to continue to portray ourselves as one. An inherent train of human beings to keep their in-house affairs personal and blow the trumpet outside. Besides, if someone else did it, we can point fingers. But we can't point fingers at ourselves, can we?

Anonymous said...

You mean sort of like we've kept quiet when Indians have been hammered by other Indians, e.g. 1984?

You go ahead. I won't.

That's good to know. So do we see you publicly denouncing the Congress Party then?

Anonymous said...

> "So do we see you publicly
> denouncing the Congress Party then?"

Reminds of this comment by Rahul Sidharthan.

Jai_C said...

Surprisingly this column credited to Jug Suraiya (?!!):


is all for bans and boycotts. I couldnt catch the sarc/ irony/ tongue-in-cheekiness if any. It read dead serious.


Dilip D'Souza said...

Jai, who's saying "don't boycott Aussie products"?

I'm just wondering why nobody reacts like that to attacks on Indians in India.

Anonymous said...

Now that elections are over, Cong is silent on Liberhans commission and BJP are silent on 1984...honour among thievies, eh!

ApparentlyILoveTheBJP said...

Hmm, yes I agree - how come attacks on Indians arent reacted on - in fact, in some cases, they are even justified:


Ot said...

aha. Ran out of steam in the other (Ot-her) comment space, so Ot comes here, changes moniker and wants to run out of steam here too.

But wait a second or two. I'm Ot too. Or am I? I certainly love the BJP.

Jai_C said...

1. dont boycott aussie products.
I'm sorry I thought you were driving there.

2. boycotts for attacks on indians in india.

There are quite a few boycotts on already, of products and services, at least informally, based on who is offering them. They derive from perceptions or guilt by association.

we have too many of these, not too few. maybe the open calls are whats new and what is surprising you.