Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: Are We Being Left Behind?

Alpesh Patel Wednesday 21st July 2021 13:34 EDT

I write best when angry and this week I am angry. I received two messages on whatsapp in particular which made me furious.

One was about the targeting of Indians specifically in the looting in South Africa. And secondly the other from Rashmi that she effectively has won her case regarding bullying and harassment by an Oxford University employee.

On the Oxford issue, what makes me angry is why it took the University so damn long? Justice delayed is denied. And when it is not transparent then it is also not justice either. Oxford’s finding is confidential. How convenient.

The University is of course frightened of protests and is run the way anyone working the civil service would be proud – ie stifle criticism is the goal.

So, is it that their employee’s contract is up and by dragging it till end of July, when students are away, there is no danger of protests and the employee can’t sue for dismissal as his contract is over? This is the speculation you get when you make things secret.

Rashmi was bullied for being Hindu. There are people who hate Hindus. Those people who hate Hindus not only have no place as Oxford University employees, they have no place on planet Earth.

That Oxford chose to defend its reputation by taking the delay tactic and ‘make the problem go away’ route, rather than debate, openness, speed, transparency, means they have chosen the worst of all worlds.

It’s a common tactical error in an age when many cannot understand how social media may react and are in fear of it. Fearful of making their case, the only case to be made is one of silence it is thought.

The University is wrong on this. They should have dismissed the hate filled employee. Oxford’s students have a tradition of boldness and fearlessness. Rashmi exemplified that more than the University did.

Let’s turn to South Africa. Indian success has never sat easy in Africa. It’s tolerated often. That some academics in South Africa also decided to portray Gandhi as racist, also reveals the mire the country is in intellectually and economically.

Indians must not make the mistake of complacency. There are many who hate their success and their religion(s). We must ensure we both stand up for ourselves and each other.

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