GU: Eqops and Indians and Eqcons

5 December, 2004 at 04:32 Leave a comment

I was at the library the other day and a Chinese girl was asking for something and could not express it properly to the staff member. It is always amusing to see “lost in translation” incidents for obvious reasons of the humour they generate and also to ponder of how lucky we humans are to have the gift of language but yet somehow managed to screw it all up by diversifying/specializing/localizing it – each tribe/country to its own. Colonization has remedied the situation somewhat! Yet, somehow I believe deep inside that there should be a “common” language but what is uncommon (to me) is that I think it will somehow not be speech dependant but on some other modality (semiotics?) that we are not yet aware of. Have to explore. Anyway, after the Chinese girl went away, the staff member turned to the other ones at the desk and gave a look which explained it all. They were clearly mocking and frowning with “stupid international students” grins at the whole episode but when the Chinese person called for attention again, the face of this staff member immediately turned to that of friendliness and helpfulness.

I really did not know if I should be amazed at the speed at which our face muscles can be changed or if I should admire the professionalism of the staff member or be apalled at the superficiality of it all. So, what did I do? I posed this incident to a fellow PG student who is Great British. She happened to carry some leaflet/prospectus of the University in her bag (probably using it as a dirt wipe or cup holder as most people do with such things here) and showed me the ‘eqops’ manifesto. It reads like this –

The University of Glasgow is committed to a working and learning environment that is free of all forms of discrimination. All members of the University are responsible for helping to ensure that you do not suffer any form of sexual or racial harrassment, and that you are encouraged and supported in any legitimate complaint.
In response to the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000, the University has produced a Race Equality Policy which demonstrates our commitment to race equality. It is supported by an action plan which details how the policy will be put into practice ensuring that race equality is integrated into all our planning and decision making relating to staff and student matters. This Policy is available on the website at:
The University will comply with any current and future legislation and aims to promote equality of opportunity in all aspects of the University.

She also said that all staff undergo necessary training and adhere to strict guidelines in such matters. Nice. It was very impressive. The commitment to race equality and all that I said. I wonder who writes up all these stuff I asked. She did not know and with tongue in her cheek asked me if my University back home (RECW and IITM) had such a document and policy and training. I said –
“No. We dont have such a thing. We do not have to because we do not acknowledge that there are races and that there is inequality in races to start with. So, we do not have to ‘train’ staff to treat everyone as equal even if they do not feel it within themselves that everyone else is just as much a human being as they are no matter which color of the rainbow their skin is owing to the degree of the presence of melanin or the absence of it”
You know, there are times when you feel quite smart about yourself for having uttered an outsmarting line. Well, many dont but I felt that. It is quite a punch line. No? All the same, it took her by surprise and she was pretty impressed. She was thinking of a repartee but I parted with her off at the QMU. My theorizing is that such statements and policies exist because there is still racism and inequality. And these things (to a great extent) constantly remind us of this intolerable incomprehensible cruelty in some way or the other. Look at the employment pages or even adverts of companies and we can see “we are an eqops company”. The question is if not eqops, what else does the company hope to be, eh?

But in hindsight, I think what I said was very untrue. We Indians are explicitly racists – “dulha kaala bhoot kyon na ho, dulhan tho gori honee chaahiye” is the line that probably explains our attitude. And the increasing white presence in our films and the ballooning sales of the many many fairness creams (even among guys) is a proof for our obsession, nay, fetish with fair skin. We are also male chauvinistic pigs. We respect women and then burn them for dowry. I hope this sets the record straight that I as an Indian do not feel superior just because I abstain from sex, drugs and alcohol. Every culture has its good and bad points (if good/bad can be defined at a fundamental level). Many people here said that it was a wise choice. Or thought I was a Muslim. Or a Buddhist. And even asked me if I think that all students are uncultured snobs because they do the s-d-a thing. Well, all I can say is that is the impression they have of themselves in their own minds. I for one hate everyone equally. No discrimination. Now that I have read the eqops manifesto. Probably this is easier because I cannot love everybody but only a select few apart from my family. 2 people, thats it. Maybe 3. Make that 4. Ummm… definitely in single figures as there is much beauty in this world and it is joy. Scrap this, I hate everybody because it is quite a pressure to be nice… Too time consuming in my opinion. Since this is how nature essentially works – taking the easier route (like say, most celestial bodies are spheres because it is the shape with the least surface area for a given volume capacity) – this could be a theory of why there is so much hatred in our world and why we need to have eqops documents.

But again, I wonder (I never can stop I suppose) about the rather careful choice of words. It is equal opportunity that is being talked here i.e. I can apply for a job. No one can stop me (as if they could earlier) from doing that but is there equal consideration? It is not too obvious to me. I think ‘eqcons’ is the policy that should really be implemented and followed. Don’t you think?


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GU: No Comments – 4 The GU’d Life – 14 – Oddservations

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