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Indophobia refers to hostility towards Indiansmarker and Indian culture, and sometimes prejudices against South Asian peoples in general. Indophobia is formally defined in the context of anti-Indian prejudice in East Africa as follows: "Indophobia is a tendency to react negatively towards people of Indianextraction against aspects of Indian culture and normative habits"



Indian Americans have the highest educational qualifications of all national origin groups in the United States. According to the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, there are close to 35,000 Indian American doctors. According to the 2000 census, about 64% of Indian Americans have attained a Bachelor's degree or more (compared to 28% nationally, and 44% average for all Asian American groups). Almost 40% of all Indians have a master’s, doctorate or other professional degree, which is five times the national average. (Source: The Indian American Centre for Political Awareness.) These high levels of education have enabled Indian Americans to become a productive segment of the American population, with 72.3% participating in the U.S. work force, of which 57.7% are employed in managerial and professional specialties.


According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Indian American men had "the highest year-round, full-time median earnings ($51,094)", while Indian American women had a medium income of $35,173. This phenomenon has been linked to the "brain drain" of the Indian intelligentsia from India (source: Journal of Political Economy - University of Chicago Press). Recently, however, there has been a drop in immigration of Indians from India to the United States. This is generally attributed to the improving economy of India. A large group of Indian Americans are presently second or third generation.

Indian Americans own 50% of all economy lodges and 35% of all hotels in the United States, which have a combined market value of almost $40 billion. (Source: Little India Magazine). In 2002, there were over 223,000 Asian Indian-owned firms in the U.S., employing more than 610,000 workers, and generating more than $88 billion in revenue.

Historical anti-India sentiment

By the late 19th century, fear had already begun in North America over Chinese immigration supplying cheap labour to lay railroad tracks, mostly in Californiamarker and elsewhere in the West Coast (see also Sinophobia). In xenophobic jargon common in the day, ordinary workers, newspapers, and politicians uniformly opposed this "Yellow Peril". The common cause to eradicate Asians from the workforce gave rise to the Asiatic Exclusion League. When the fledgling Indian community of mostly Punjabmarker Sikhs settled in California, the xenophobia expanded to combat not only the East Asian Yellow Peril, but now the immigrants from British India, the Turban Tide, equally referred to as the Hindoo Invasion.

Among nineteenth-century Indologists

The relation of "Indomania" and "Indophobia" in colonial era British Indology has been discussed by American Indologist Thomas Trautmann (1997). Trautmann finds that Indomania had become a norm in early 19th century Britain as the result of a conscious agenda of Evangelicalism and Utilitarianism, especially by Charles Grant and James Mill. Historians have noted that during the British Empire "evangelical influence drove British policy down a path that tended to minimize and denigrate the accomplishments of Indian civilization and to position itself as the negation of the earlier British Indomania that was nourished by belief in Indian wisdom."

In Charles Grant's highly influential "Observations on the ...Asiatic subjects of Great Britain" (1796), Grant criticized the Orientalists for being too respectful to Indian culture and religion. His work tried to determine the Hindu's "true place in the moral scale", and he alleged that the Hindus are "a people exceedingly depraved".

Lord Macaulay, who introduced English education into India, claimed: "I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia." He wrote that Arabic and Sanskrit works on medicine contain "medical doctrines which would disgrace an English Farrier - Astronomy, which would move laughter in girls at an English boarding school - History, abounding with kings thirty feet high, and reigns thirty thousand years long - and Geographymarker made up of seas of treacle and seas of butter".

One of the most influential historians of India during the British Empire, James Mill was criticised for being prejudiced against Hindus. . The Indologist H.H. Wilson wrote that the tendency of Mill's work is "evil". Mill claimed that both Indians and Chinese people are cowardly, unfeeling and mendacious. Both Mill and Grant attacked Orientalist scholarship that was too respectful of Indian culture: "It was unfortunate that a mind so pure, so warm in the pursuit of truth, and so devoted to oriental learning, as that of Sir William Jones, should have adopted the hypothesis of a high state of civilization in the principal countries of Asia."

However, the Indologists were also often under pressure from missionary and colonial interest groups, and were frequently criticised by them.

Among nineteenth-century colonialists

Stereotypes of Indians intensified during and after the Indian Rebellion of 1857, known as "India's First War of Independence" to the Indians and as the "Sepoy Mutiny" to the Britishmarker, when Indian sepoys rebelled against the British East India Company's rule in India. Allegations of war rape were used as propaganda by British colonialists in order to justify the colonization of India. While incidents of rape committed by Indian rebels against Britishmarker women and girls were generally uncommon during the rebellion, this was exaggerated to great effect by the British media in order to justify continued British colonialism in the Indian subcontinent.

At the time, British newspapers had printed various apparently eyewitness accounts of British women and girls being raped by Indian rebels, but with little physical evidence to support these accounts. It was later found that some of these accounts were false stories created in order to paint the native people of India as savages who need to be civilized by British colonialists, a mission sometimes known as "The White Man's Burden". One such account published by The Times, regarding an incident where 48 British girls as young as 10-14 had been raped by Indian rebels in Delhimarker, was criticized as a false propaganda story by Karl Marx, who pointed out that the story was written by a clergyman in Bangaloremarker, far from the events of the rebellion.

Despite the questionable authenticity of many colonial accounts regarding the rebellion, the stereotype of the Indian "dark-skinned rapist" occurred frequently in English literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The idea of protecting British "female chastity" from the "lustful Indian male" had a significant influence on the policies of the British Raj in order to prevent racial miscegenation between the British elite and the native Indian population. While some restrictive policies were imposed on British females in order to "protect" them from miscegenation, most of these discriminatory policies were directed against native Indians. For example, the 1883 Ilbert Bill, which would have granted Indian judges the right to judge British offenders, was opposed by many British colonialists on the grounds that Indian judges cannot be trusted in dealing with cases involving the rape of British females.

In the aftermath of the 1919 Amritsar Massacre, the long-held stereotype of Indian males as dark-skinned rapists lusting after white British females was challenged by several novels such as E. M. Forster's A Passage to India (1924) and Paul Scott's The Jewel in the Crown (1966), both of which involve an Indian male being wrongly accused of raping a British female.

Contemporary societal Indophobia

Contemporary Indophobia has risen in the western world, particularly the United Statesmarker, on account of the rise of the Indian American community and the increase in offshoring of white-collar jobs to India by American multinational corporations. Societal prejudices against South Asians in the west manifest through instances of intimidation and harassment, such as the case of the Dotbusters street gang.


Anti-Indian sentiments, coupled with anti-Hindu prejudices have existed in Pakistan since its formation. According to Tufts Universitymarker professor Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, Indophobia in Pakistan increased with the ascendancy of the militant Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami under Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi. According to Nasr, the first victims of Indophobia in Pakistan were not Indian nationals, but the Muhajir Urdu immigrants who were accused of dual loyalty with India by the Jamaat and their cohorts, providing them with ammunition needed to justify discrimination and physical attacks on the Muhajir Urdu minorities.

In addition, racialist ideas such as the Martial Race theory were central to the Pakistan Army which believed that since the Pakistan Army comprised soldiers of the "martial races", they should easily defeat Indiamarker in a war, especially prior to the Second Kashmir War. Based on this belief in the martial supremacy, it was popularly hyped that one Pakistani soldier was equal to four to ten Hindus soldiers. and thus numerical superiority of the foe could be overcome.

According to Sustainable Development Policy Institute since 1970's Pakistani school textbooks have systematically inculcated hatred towards India and Hindus. According to this report 'Associated with the insistence on the Ideology of Pakistan has been an essential component of hate against India and the Hindus. For the upholders of the Ideology of Pakistan, the existence of Pakistan is defined only in relation to Hindus, and hence the Hindus have to be painted as negatively as possible' A 2005 report by the National Commission for Justice and Peace a non profit organization in Pakistan, found that Pakistan Studies textbooks in Pakistan have been used to articulate the hatred that Pakistani policy-makers have attempted to inculcate towards the Hindus. 'Vituperative animosities legitimise military and autocratic rule, nurturing a siege mentality. Pakistan Studies textbooks are an active site to represent India as a hostile neighbour' the report stated. 'The story of Pakistan’s past is intentionally written to be distinct from, and often in direct contrast with, interpretations of history found in India. From the government-issued textbooks, students are taught that Hindus are backward and superstitious.' Further the report stated 'Textbooks reflect intentional obfuscation. Today’s students, citizens of Pakistan and its future leaders are the victims of these partial truths'

An editorial in Pakistan's oldest newspaper Dawn commenting on a report in The Guardian on Pakistani Textbooks noted 'By propagating concepts such as jihad, the inferiority of non-Muslims, India’s ingrained enmity with Pakistan, etc., the textbook board publications used by all government schools promote a mindset that is bigoted and obscurantist. Since there are more children studying in these schools than in madrassahs the damage done is greater. ' According to the historian Professor Mubarak Ali, textbook reform in Pakistan began with the introduction of Pakistan Studies and Islamic studies by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1971 into the national curriculum as compulsory subject. Former military dictator Gen Zia-ul-Haq under a general drive towards Islamization, started the process of historical revisionism in earnest and exploited this initiative. 'The Pakistani establishment taught their children right from the beginning that this state was built on the basis of religion – that's why they don't have tolerance for other religions and want to wipe-out all of them.'

According to Pervez Hoodbhoy, a physics professor at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabadmarker, the "Islamizing" of Pakistan's schools began in 1976 when an act of parliament required all government and private schools (except those teaching the British O-levels from Grade 9) to follow a curriculum that includes learning outcomes for the federally approved Grade 5 social studies class such as: 'Acknowledge and identify forces that may be working against Pakistan,' 'Make speeches on Jihad,' 'Collect pictures of policemen, soldiers, and national guards,' and 'India's evil designs against Pakistan.'


Historically, anti-India sentiments were expressed during the liberation of Bangladesh from foreign domination by Pakistanimarker pan-Islamist groups sympathetic to the Pakistani regime, such as the Razakars, al-Shams and al-Badr Islamist militias, who were, in part, responsible for the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. These attitudes were vigorously encouraged by the East Pakistan administration. Often, racism and prejudice directed at Bengalis (Hindus, Muslims, Indians or Bangladeshi Bengalis) incorporated Indophobic attitudes, given that Pakistani occupiers viewed the Bengalis as "inferior Hindus" or "inferior Indians" regardless of their actual religion or nationality. The term "Indophobia" is first applicable to denote these prejudices when they began to morph from traditional anti-Hinduism in the Muslim communities to political accusations against Bengali Hindus specifically pertaining to dual loyalty with India. Such prejudices have been compared by many outside observers to the anti-Semitic propaganda of Nazi Germany..

The Muslim identity of present-day Bangladeshmarker was sought to be established way back in 1901 and 1947 during the partition of India, and although a sizeable Hindu minority remained in East Pakistan (which later became Bangladesh), growing anti-Hinduism caused steady migration into India. The phobia that had grown from anti-Hinduism into Indophobia is also a part of ethnic Bengali Nationalism in the country, which continues to mark an average Bangladeshi’s perception of Indians. The ruling Bangladeshi class had realized this soon after the formation of Bangladesh and consequently made successive attempts to project not only the anti-India stance of the country, but also Islamic extremism which came to be basis of anti-India propaganda.

Political disputes like the Farakka Barragemarker, Indo-Bangladesh enclaves and Indo-Bangladeshi barrier have created rift between the two. Persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh by the rising tide of militant Islamists and cross-border infiltration into India by illegal Bangladeshi immigrants has created likewise anti-Bangladeshi sentiment in India. Indophobia in Bangladesh is coupled with anti-Hinduism in Bangladesh, whereby Bengali Hindus are persecuted and accused of dual loyalty with India by militant Islamist parties such as the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Former British colonies in Sub-Saharan Africa have many citizens of South Asian descent. They were brought there by the British Empire from British India to do clerical work in Imperial service. In academic discourse, racial prejudices directed against these people from their host countries fall under the rubric of Indophobia. The most prominent case being the ethnic cleansing of Indian (sometimes simply called "Asian") minority in Uganda by the dictator Idi Amin.

According to H.H. Patel, many Indians in East Africa and Uganda were in the sartorial and banking businesses, where they were kept forcibly by the Britishmarker colonialists. Since the representation of Indians in these professions was high, stereotyping of Indians in Uganda as tailors or Bankers was common.

Also, some Indians perceived themselves as coming from a more advanced culture than Uganda, a view not appreciated by Ugandans. However, such thinking was cultivated by the British, who held similar views, to cultivate racial divisions as part of a divide and rule campaign. Indophobia in Uganda thus predated Amin, and also existed under Milton Obote. The 1968 Committee on "Africanization in Commerce and Industry" in Uganda made far-reaching Indophobic proposals.

A system of work permits and trade licenses was introduced in 1969 in order to restrict the role of Indians in economic and professional activities. Indians were segregated and discriminated against in all walks of life. After Amin came to power, he exploited these divisions to spread propaganda against Indians involving stereotyping and scapegoating the Indian minority.

Indians were stereotyped as "only traders" and so "inbred" to their profession. Indians were attacked as "dukawallas" (an occupational term that degenerated into an anti-Indian slur during Amin's time). Indians were stereotyped as "greedy, conniving", without any racial identity or loyalty but "always cheating, conspiring and plotting" to subvert Uganda.

Amin used this propaganda to justify a campaign of "de-Indianization", eventually resulting in the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Uganda's Indian minority. About 25,000 British passport holding Asians out of an estimated 80,000 expelled Asians (Indian-origin) settled in Britainmarker.

North America

Hate crime statistics against Indians in North American countries are unavailable. However, it is believed that sporadic bouts of communal and institutional hatred against Indians have occurred, though their frequency may have decreased in recent years. In the late 1980s a Jersey Citymarker, New Jerseymarker street gang calling themselves the "Dotbusters" targeted, threatened and attacked South Asians, specifically Indians.


In May and June 2009, allegedly racially motivated attacks against Indian international students and a perceived poor response by the police sparked protests in Australia. Rallies were held in both Melbourne and Sydney. Impromptu street protests were held in Harris Park, a suburb of western Sydney with a large Indian population.Representatives of the Indian government met the Australian government to express concern and request that Indians be protected. The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, expressed regret and called for the attackers to be brought to justice.

Racial abuse received by Indian call center workers from Australian customers has been shown to increase mental problems in many Indian workers[305029]



In 2008, the BBC was criticised by some for referring to the terrorists who carried out the November 2008 Mumbai attacks as mere "gunmen", This follows a steady stream of complaints from India that the BBC has an Indophobic bias that stems from its culturally ingrained racism against Indians, stemming from the British Raj. Rediff reporter, Arindam Banerji, has chronicled numerous cases of Indophobic bias from the BBC regarding reportage, selection bias, misrepresentation, and fabrications. Hindu groups in the United Kingdom have accused the BBC of anti-Hindu bigotry and whitewashing Islamist hate groups that demonize the British Indian minority

In protest of the biased coverage of the BBC, renown journalist Mobashar Jawed "M.J." Akbar has elected to boycott the BBC to speak about the Mumbai terror attacks. British parliamentarian Stephen Pound has supported these claims, referring to the BBC's whitewashing of the terror attacks as "the worst sort of mealy mouthed posturing. It is desperation to avoid causing offence which ultimately causes more offence to everyone."

Writing for The Hindu Business Line, reporter Premen Addy criticizes the BBC's reportage on South Asia as consistently anti-India and pro-Islamist, and that they underreport India's economic and social achievements, as well as political and diplomatic efforts, and disproportionately highlight and exaggerate problems in the country. In addition, Addy alludes to discrimination against Indian anchors and reporters in favor of Pakistanimarker and Bangladeshi ones who are hostile to India.

Writing for the 2008 edition of the peer-reviewed Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Alasdair Pinkerton analyzes the coverage of India by the BBC since India's independence from British rule in 1947 until 2008. Pinkerton observes a tumultuous history involving allegations of anti-India bias in the BBC's reportage, particularly during the cold war, and concludes that the BBC's coverage of South Asian geopolitics and economics shows a pervasive and hostile anti-India bias due to the BBC's alleged imperialist and neo-colonialist stance.

Writing on western media bias regarding South Asia in the journal of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, media analyst Ajai K. Rai strongly criticizes the BBC for anti-India bias. He writes that there is a total lack of depth or fairness in the BBC's reportage on conflict zones in South Asia, and that the BBC has, on one occasion, fabricated photographs while reporting on the Kashmir conflict in order to make India look bad. He also writes that the BBC made false allegations that the Indian Army stormed a sacred Muslim shrine, the tomb of Hazrat Sheikh Noor-u-din Noorani in Charari Shariefmarker, and only retracted the claim after strong criticism from the media in India for several weeks.


Terrorism in India is both internally and externally financed and supported. Due to the large size and diversity of India, there are various forms of anti-India actives all over the country. Terrorism in India is primarily attributable to Islamic, Hindu, Sikh, Christian and Naxalite radical movements. The regions with long term terrorist activities today are Jammu and Kashmirmarker, Mumbaimarker, Central India (Naxalism) and Seven Sister States (independence and autonomy movements). In the past, the Punjab insurgency led to militant activities in the Indian state of Punjabmarker as well as the national capital Delhimarker. As of 2006, at least 232 of the country’s 608 districts were afflicted, at differing intensities, by various insurgent and terrorist movements. In August 2008, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan has said that there are as many as 800 terrorist cells operating in the country.

See also


External links

  • Thomas R. Trautmann, Aryans and British India, University of California Press (1997), ISBN 0-520-20546-4, chapter 4: British Indophobia
  • Idi Amin & Indophobia:

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