While the Indian Constitution proudly proclaims that no citizen of the country will be discriminated against on grounds of race, religion or gender, reality is a far cry from ideal, as we hear of more and more cases of verbal and physical attacks on people on the grounds of racism.
The latest racist attack incident in the country happened in Kolkata’s famous restaurant Blue Poppy — a favourite hangout among Kolkata’s young crowd. The restaurant’s owner took to Facebook to write about her experience with a customer who, she said, harassed and racially abused her after they were asked to make less noise. Doma Wang, the owner, wrote in the wee hours of October 1 morning that one of the guys were probably under the influence of more than just alcohol and called her and her staff Nepalis. he also abused Wang saying that he and his ancestors have been living in Kolkata and that they were outsiders. Along with the post, she attached the photo of what seems like one of the guys who she says had ill-treated her and her employees.
Wang further wrote that her belief that she was a part of the city was shattered by this incident.
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Read the entire text of her post here.
I NEVER considered myself an outsider , a non Bengali … After living in this city for thirty years . Kolkata has been home to me , married a Bengali , speak fluent Bengali , can make the perfect Chingri Mach malai curry , love my Ilish bhaja with tel and longka … Never in these thirty years have I ever considered my self different . .. An outsider. Wat happened today has made me feel terrible .. I never ever imagined I would feel like this in the city I call my home. This evening at around nine I got a call from my manager at The blue poppy , salt lake saying that some boys had come to the restaurant and were making a lot of noise. Some of them were drunk. On being requested to please make less noise as they were disturbing the other diners as well as the in house guests , they behaved very badly and called them “f******g Nepalis”. They also pushed my boys around after which my manager escorted them out. One of these boys were very drunk and probably under the influence of something else … He kept screaming from the gate and abusing them. When I reached the venue the boy started calling us Nepali and telling me that he and his ancestors have been living in Kolkata and we were outsiders. He also said that it’s good these things r happening to your people in delhi and other cities. He said we would never get gorkha land. I don’t know why this boy was so communal . It hurts me that even after spending thirty years in this city I am still considered an outsider. Blue poppy has been serving its patrons for over ten years .. Never had any conflict with any customers , in fact most customers become friends for life … Is the customer always right ? Even if u get drunk , misbehave and abuse ? Have filed a complaint in the police station. Sad today.. Cause my belief that I was a part of this city , which I call my home .. Has been shattered. This is the picture of the boy who made me feel that perhaps it is right that the people of the Darjeeling hills want a Gorkhaland. It’s people like this who give the good people of Kolkata a bad name.
Her post was widely shared online and many came out to support her. Some even identified the guy from Wang’s post.
People identified the guy in Wang’s post as Nabarun Dasgupta. A photographer by profession, Dasgupta soon took to Facebook himself to state his version of the event. Although he apologized, he wrote how he was cornered and beaten up by 30 boys.
Wang spotted Dasgupta’s apology on Facebook and replied there. This was her reply to his post.
In separate conversations with Indianexpress.com, Wang and Dasgupta said that they stuck to their side of the stories. While Wang had nothing more to add to her Facebook post, Dasgupta said that he agrees he abused them, but it is true that about 30 men came and started beating him up.
Indianexpress.com could not independently verify what actually transpired at the restaurant.
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But this incident need not be seen in isolation. Just a couple of weeks back, another incident of intolerance at a Kolkata restaurant shook the social media circles. Though not a case of racial attack, another popular restaurant Mocambo in Kolkata was under the scanner recently for refusing to allow a woman have dinner with her driver because he was apparently not properly dressed. The Mocambo incident led to a huge uproar online, with many campaigning for a boycott of the restaurant. (Read: Kolkata restaurant Mocambo refused to serve woman and her driver; gets slammed on social media)
Though more and more people are condemning such acts, the rise in the number of such incidents brought to light mostly by the social media, shows the growing intolerance many are showing other communities.