Say Yes to ‘Rishtey’, No to ‘Racism’
This could have been like any other day. But in a world divided by borders, colour, creed, nationality, this day is of special significance.
Because 21 March happens to be The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
On this very day in 1960 the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid "pass laws".
Here in India we got a sense of how ugly and vile racism can get in 2014. On a cold January morning that year Nido Tania, a young boy from Arunachal Pradesh, was mocked at in Lajpat Nagar area of Delhi. Seven locals made fun of his coloured hair and looks. When he protested, he was beaten up. He succumbed to his injuries the next day.
People from the Northeast who live in cities in mainland India are at the receiving end of this racism almost every single day. They are taunted, laughed at, called names for their looks, dressing sense and eating habits. They are perceived as outsiders, not Indians.
It is this ‘othering’ that the new Bollywood film ‘Axone’ tackles. Written and directed by Nicholas Kharkongor, the film stars Sayani Gupta, Lin Laishram, Tenzin Dalha, Vinay Pathak and Dolly Ahluwalia.
And they have come together for this video for The Quint which has a simple message, ‘say yes to rishtey (building relationship), no to racism.’