"What's the first picture that comes to your mind when you talk about India"? was our professor's question. While my classmates gave answers like "I picture India as the land of Terrorists" "Our motherland" etc. my turn came and I answered "I see people with different traditional dresses" and he bluntly told me that I was lying. I tried to explain my answer but he turned adamant. Later on, he asked me "You mean the traditional dress of Tibet"? and I felt the hot blood rushing to my head.
This wasn't the first time that I experienced such an attitude from the teachers. Since I'm the only non-Kannadigan in our class, they would often carry on the lectures in Kannada and the teacher along with my classmates would laugh sometimes. And whenever I question them, they would tell me that they weren't talking about something serious or something which is related to the class lecture.
Another experience was that a teacher once asked me about the meanings of some Sanskrit terms which I couldn't answer. With a cold voice, he told me to learn it along with Kannada. For God's sake, why should I learn it when there are many mainstream people who doesn't even know that the North-eastern part exists in India.
In another class, our lecturer mentioned that she hated the Iranians and the Chinese and further went on to insult their English. I was shocked to hear such words from the teacher and I went home very disappointed with the teacher's prejudice.
Another teacher during his lecture said that the North eastern people have lost their identity after borrowing so much from the western culture which I don't agree with.
These are a few things which came to my mind after experiencing these incidents:
1) How do you deal with racism when the most influential people like the teachers are practicing it inside the classrooms? I am quite sure that these people are the ones who discuss Racism and who reacts back with anger when the Indians were facing racism in other countries like Australia, England etc..
2) Relating it to our Mizo community,is it always a good thing to use our own mother tongue when we have non- Mizo friends by our side?
3) Is it the best thing to talk about a particular group without having much knowledge about their values and beliefs?
4) Is it a good idea to impose a language on someone when he/she is not willing to learn?