One of my classmates had brought his America born children to show his motherland Bharat, show them some scenic sites, some traditional celebrations like Deepavali, introduce them to some of the famous places like Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Keral back waters, Goa beach and also take them to ancient spiritual places like Gangaji in Kashi and Pushkar in Rajasthan. I was glad to see his enthusiasm to get his children introduced to our culture. He was to stay in Bharat for one month. But within 15 days I got a call from him telling me that he and his family were going back to America. I asked him the reason to go early. As a reply, he sent a long email, with which I was aghast! He went to one of the above tourist places after booking themselves in a star hotel as he could afford it. From reception of the hotel to restaurant and from the beach to shack of breakfast they were ill-treated, shunned and humiliated. Not because they did something but because they looked ‘Indian’. Surprised? So was I. Surprised. But he was ill-treated in India being an Indian and because he was not firang (foreigner) or so to say – he did not have white or yellow skin or golden or curly hair… He thought that it could be because it was a popular tourist spot that it happened. Then he went to one of the ancient pious places. He faced the same situation there. He and his family observed that the foreign tourists, especially Whites are being given special treatment and Indian travellers / visitors were not only being ignored but also being ill-treated. He was saddened and went back saying, “I get second citizen treatment in America because I look different but even in my motherland, I get such a treatment – because I am not a White! It is too much to tolerate.”
This is a common experience of many. This firang puja in our attitude has not yet vanished even after so many decades of British / French / Portuguese / Dutch departure. Such disgusting attitude is seen at many places and in many fields. And this is more dangerous. Recently the German Government has given its intelligence report that jehadis are training German, French, Belgian, British etc, nationals to carry out attacks in many countries. Why? Because these nationals are not easily doubted by either their own country or the countries like Bharat. They get special treatment and their entry at many places is easier. Even in Bharat at many important places, monuments and buildings foreigners are welcomed with folded hands, there are even fancy ads, ‘these are our guests’. Ok ok. Genuine tourists are always welcome – they generate hefty revenue for Bharat and they carry some image of Bharat abroad.
But is their any specific strict mechanism to check there genuinnity? We all know that there are Indian High Commissions and consulates in many nations issuing visas to such visitors after verifying their papers. But we also know that many of such tourists visitors overstay. They come on tourist visa and actually work displacing Indians. Many of them are involved in crimes related to drugs, murders, swindling local money, credit card frauds etc. It is easy to say that such crimes are done even by locals. There are systems and laws to punish them.
What about such errant firangs? There is Tourist Police; but what it is trained to do? To protect these firangs from locals! If a firang woman is raped by Indians then she gets immediate media coverage and fast track justice. But there are so many rape cases related to Indian women which are pending for such a long time that those girls may have by now become old women! This is an attitude. It has to change.
Not that I mean to say that we should doubt all foreigners who visit Bharat. Genuine tourists, researchers, professors, delegations, industries and their CEOs are always welcome. But there has to be a stringent mechanism to ensure that tourist visa visitors surely go back in stipulated time. Cricket match viewers from Pakistan have not yet gone back for many years! Many metro cities people and people in Kashi, Prayag, Pushkar, Mathura, Vrindavan, Gaya, Goa, Kerala, etc, surely must be knowing a so many firangs who have been living there for many years. Is there anybody checking on them? Aren’t their crimes related to drugs etc, really not known to local police? What is being done about it?
More serious threat is to our security. Not only German intelligence report said so but also an American warning was flashed a year ago. It warned that jehadis have changed their tactics and they no more look different, they look like any American. We have recently watched the news in horror that two jehadis not only had entered the French experiment site of Big Bang, but they actually worked there as scientists for two years!
In Bharat, off late we all have been noticing a crop of firang researchers and those so called ‘Social Workers’. They seem to be very fond of tribals, slum children and border areas of Bharat! Some of them claim to be doing some social help in Naxal prone areas too! Past five years many of us observed that suddenly there was a gush of researchers in Indian Agriculture who looked simple, old and docile. They came to India projecting themselves as researching on ancient Indian ways of alternative sources of energy, traditional organic farming, bio-gas and what not. Suddenly they vanished and there came BT Cotton and now BT Brinjal (Baingan) as if our farmers are idiots.
Do we even know, who these firangs really are? Are they truly interested in Bharat’s way of life? Aren’t some of them spying? Aren’t some of them planning major jehadi attacks in Bharat? Sounds too harsh or paranoid? But when it comes to the safety and security of the nation, it is better to be safe than sorry. Those Indians who travelled to Europe, America, China etc, know very well how strictly they and their papers are verified by the respective nations’ visa authorities. Even at foreign airports, Indians are searched as if they mean to blast that country. For China, Indians have to specify even the places they will be visiting in China and the provincial Police there keeps watch on each tourist openly and secretly.
Do we have any mechanism to trace down such firangs? No. If we had such mechanism, then cricket watching Pakistanis could not have been able to overstay that too without being traced, Goa residents would not have been irritated with drug crimes and land grabbing by overstaying firangs, Gaya residents would not have lost their tea selling stalls to Japanese (and perhaps Chinese who claim to be Tibetans or Nepalis) who have been living there for years. And when they realise that some local residents are alert, they marry local girls or boys. Without going deep into the facts, our media flashes such marriages with euphoria – ‘A beautiful French girl marries her poor tourist guide in Jaisalmer’ or ‘A Japanese tourist girl marries a taxi driver in Gaya’! Has anyone verified what are some of these firangs up to? Not that there are no true Bharat loving foreigners, but it is a duty of the Central government, all State governments, local Police, Intelligence agencies and even of the common citizens of Bharat to observe all foreigners entering Bharat until they go back and for some, observe even after they go back.
There is a craze to get firang certificate of approval even to the things apparently Indian! ‘Kumbh mela is being attended by even the foreigners, Mathura Holi is enjoyed even by foreigners, my research on Yog, Ayurved is used even by foreigners, US archeologists say that Bharat has the oldest civilization…’ Why do we crave for such firang certificates? Foreign tie-ups, contribution of various nations in Bharat’s growth is not denied here, but it is time to be alert about any FDI (Not Foreign Direct Investment; but I mean foreign direct-even indirect-interference)
Right now I am not mentioning surreptitious evangelic conversions being done by many of such errant/ sponsored firangs here. I am not even mentioning very serious army or corporate espionages been done by such scrupulous firangs here. I am not even mentioning sustained and systematic arms and ammunition supplies to Jehadis and Naxals by the similar firangs (Bharat still remembers that Purulia weapons and pamphlets shower was done by firangs from a helicopter!). But these are topics of complex discussion and action. All I am saying here is that any foreign visitor who comes here either on tourist visa, student visa, business visa or as a researcher on an exchange programme visa-must be watched carefully by various governmental agencies and also by social groups and citizens. This will, to certain extent help prevent risk to Bharat’s security-be it national safety or socio-economic security.
Some day we will discuss another serious aspect of how firang puja has been hurting our economy and social growth. Until then, even if we all together can keep watch on firangs who overstay or are over inquisitive or try to do extra sweet talk (with due respect to genuine Bharat loving foreign visitors), it would be a great national service.
(The author is a renowned cancer surgeon and VHP Secretary General. He can be contacted on [email protected])