I am in Byrathi, a Bangalore neighbourhood that's home to a large community of African students. Over 200 Tanzanians live in Bangalore, making them the largest group of African nationals. Prosper is their leader.
Prosper is no stranger to politics. Back home, his father is a governor of a province (equivalent to Chief Minister) and mother is a minister. He could have led the easy life. But it was decided that he’d study in India to escape the limelight.
For a country so obsessed with fairness, how ironical is it that we’re such champions of unfairness? That is the thought that comes to mind when I engage him in a free and frank conversation about racism and listen to his unending woes about college, classmates, landlord, police, and The System. He’s seen it all. Prosper came to Bangalore as a young pre-university student. He will finish his MBA this year. “I thought it was tough in the beginning but it has only gotten worse.”
Just days after the world infamous incident with the Tanzanian girl in Bangalore, there was another incident a stone’s throw away from where this picture was shot. A Tanzanian student allegedly crashed into an electric pole in broad daylight. His skull split open and brains splattered out.
He was riding a Scooty.
Already under pressure to investigate the previous racial crime, the police hushed this case under the carpet of attention that the other one was getting. Prosper organised a prayer meeting and ensured that the body was quickly repatriated to Africa after the police got a signed declaration from friends that it was an accident. Another story never made it to our news feeds.
There are only two things you need to fear in India. Corruption and Racism.
That's not Kelvin speaking. It is, in fact, the advice of his father who came to Bangalore all those years ago for his B.Sc. His very first experience in India, as soon as he landed, was that the immigrations officer confiscated his passport and demanded a bribe to release it. As Kelvin now follows in his father's footsteps, we see how some things never change.