Thirty five years ago, my uncle and aunt, both doctoral scholars from Montreal University and both teaching there itself, decided to leave Canada and go back to India to live a life of dignity and respect, which they felt they could never get in Canada due to the prevalent racism of the times.
Three years and five months of my stay in Canada and many of the experiences accumulated as yet, make me wonder many a times, as to why I am not able to gather courage to take the same course, even though I still have some self respect left.
Racism and Discrimination due to colour, race and religion is alive and kicking in Canada. Period.
No doubt the levels would have changed. No doubt it may not be so brazen and is noticeable only when the surfaces are scratched or when the lights diminish, darkness rules and it is easier to hide true faces. As the reflected rays come out of a moon which tries to become the real light in the darkness, the shadows rise and show the hidden face. Many seem like volcanoes full of lava, waiting to erupt anytime.
I do not even need to write instances as the readers on both ends are aware of what I am talking about. But still I write a few, since the lava is full here too.
Of not even being called for any job interview in any reputed company for any decent job due to my name and race despite having the best of University education and rich international work experience.
Of being denied rental accommodation because I was South Asian with one of the property managers clearly saying that in no uncertain words.
Of a truck company and its drivers hired to carry my belongings from Guelph to Niagara Falls refusing to load them, even though they were sealed and packed since, as per them, the place was dangerous, disturbing and smelly for them to work from. And yet the same place at the same time, was rated as an ALL STAR, GRAND SLAM WINNER and the Best Gas Bar of Ontario for the year 2012 by the Number One magazine of the trade in Canada. One of the reasons being assigned for its success were the ‘smelly’ objects called Indian food, sold from there which were dangerous as per these drivers even though they were extremely popular in the entire all White neighborhood.
Of people throwing the choicest of racial adjectives and directing us to go back to our land, whenever even a minor dispute over rates or services arises in the motels that we are running.
Of reading hundreds and thousands of disturbing, racial, inward looking comments on any media internet postings when ever any article comes out discussing about immigration, citizenship or even integration of immigrants.
Of a University of Guelph employee complaining, after visiting our motel at Niagara Falls of meeting staff who could not understand English when the only staff which existed was my wife, a doctorate in Economics and myself.
I am vitriolic and angry. The wounds are raw and almost every week, fresh salt is added to them.
Why are we still here and have not gone back as perhaps we should have?
Perhaps our ties are stronger with this land due to our children’s age group.
Perhaps we realize that every land cannot be perfect and there are weaknesses that we have left behind in our mother land and weaknesses that we have to accept of our adapted land.
Perhaps because in the darkness, I also see many shining lights which give me hope that all is not lost- Of Police Officers, government officials, suppliers and customers helping you at many a stages, of teachers loving our children and sharing tears of joy at their accomplishments, of this news paper and its editors giving me an opportunity to express my views, how so ever different they may have been from the main stream.
No there is no going back, only a step forward into a world of future where we will walk together hand in hand and make my adapted country, a truly homogenous melting pot, accepting all and enriching with all that every new child brings along.