Is Canada supporting racism in India?

It can happen. In our eagerness to support democracy, we sometimes get put in a position where we appear to be supporting causes that we would never support back in Canada. This is obvious in the enthusiasm and support Barrie’s Conservative Member of Parliament Patrick Brown has displayed for India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr. Modi has been strongly criticized for his support for Hindu extremism.

Possibly it is a nuance of Mr. Modi’s character that Mr. Brown would not recognize. He would certainly be aware of Mr. Modi’s strong support for business interests and smaller government. Those are political positions close to Mr. Brown’s heart. He might not be as well aware of Mr. Modi’s less than stellar record in human rights and his possible ignorance of the unimproved living conditions of most of the 60 million people in the State of Gujarat where he was chief minister for the past 13 years.

But these are not things Canadians can debate without first-hand knowledge. We have to restrict ourselves to the areas we do understand and in which we have direct information. It has always served this writer well to remember a friend who was an industrialist from Bombay. He was always a very friendly and easy-going chap except when the then Prime Minister of India Indira Ghandi was mentioned. His visceral hatred for his country’s leader always muted further discussion of the subject. It only made it a bit easier to understand when the lady was so brutally assassinated in 1984.

Talking to friends in Canada from India, we get mixed messages about Mr. Modi. With some expatriates it is only the perceived need for the country to move on from an old and entrenched Congress Party. There are also those of mixed marriages (widely frowned upon back in India) who came to Canada for the opportunities offered for them and their children and to live in peace.

What we do not need from Mr. Brown is his obvious pandering to the wider Hindi community that has immigrated to Canada and now call it home. You expect that first generation immigrants will always pay close attention to happenings in the old country but we also expect them to learn about their new country. It is by his obviously biased view of the conditions in India that Mr. Brown does them a disservice.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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