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Racism Against Indians in Goa

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Rudrani Das Gupta:

It did not end with 1947, in case you were wondering. You feel so relieved about not being in Australia after all the horrifying news reports that you have been reading about the attacks on the Indians there. Stop right there and take a look around. In the land of pristine beaches and buffeting waves, there is an ugly side that many fail to see.

If you think that you know all about Goa and it’s notorious reputation for sex, drugs and the occasional rape thrown in, there is more to come. Being a place frequented by truck loads (or, in this case, plane-loads) of foreign tourists, there are certain places there where you will be subjected to subtle racist hostility from the tourist population who, by the way are supposed to be visiting YOUR country! And, worse than that, there are many local Goans who will show a marked reference for “foreigners” when it comes to serving them or offering them rooms. If you want to prove it, try walking down the famous (infamous?) Anjuna beach, looking for rooms.

This narrative obviously stems from a first hand experience of the intensely disturbing instances of racism in one of the most happening tourist regions in the country. There are certain beaches which are mostly frequented by the “middle-class Indian crowd” as many travel guides choose to phrase it. Foreign tourists are rarely seen. On the other hand, in places like Anjuna which was one of THE destinations for the Woodstock generation in the ’60s, Indians are rarely found.

We had the misfortune of choosing Anjuna as one of our travel destinations and for the first few hours we had to scout around for rooms. It was then that many guesthouse owners politely informed us that they did not cater to an Indian clientele. The best part is, these people were Indians themselves. The place which was gracious enough to accommodate us, told us that they did not take in Indians generally, but since we looked like “decent people”, they would be glad to make an exception for once! From what we gathered, Indians are regarded as a noisy and ill-mannered bunch who are known for the wake of litter that they leave behind wherever they go. This ridiculous generalization surely leaves one speechless.

There was still more to come. Most of the times, whenever we happened to enter one of the numerous cafes, the level of conversation in the room would drop by a couple of decibels and the people would turn around and stare.

There was this instance for example, when a lady walked into the cafe where we were sitting and started handing out flyers for a rave party that was going to take place somewhere. The reason why I am unable to mention the name of the place in this article is not because I am trying to save my backside from the drug police but because I don’t know! And why do I not know? Because the tourist deliberately bypassed our table and passed around the flyers to all the “white” people sitting there! No one wants to lose out on foreign revenue.

So, what’s a little “black or white” got to do with that?

Related: Logic of Racism

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  1. Techno Tony

    Sorry to hear about your experience. It is hard to get such a treatment, I am sure.

    But there are Indians in the Goa rave scene: they are Goan youth and some well-off diasporic NRIs from the West. I met several. You need to understand this subculture.

    The discrimination is also against charter tourists from England and Russia who try to attend trance parties. They are all very white!!!

    Another unfortunate fact is that mainstream Indian tourists do not usually know how to behave in these parties. They get drunk, and start to harass white women, unfortunately.

    It is not racism. It is about money and behavior. Most likely, they saw you as an “outsider”… If you were wearing and behaving like a hippie/freak, than it would have been different… That’s all.

    Shanti,
    TT

  2. Rudrani

    Hey, thanks for commenting!
    It is definitely about the money as I had mentioned. The point is, “foreign tourists pay more, so give them the red carpet treatment.” Foreign revenue, as I said.Also, I was talking about Indian tourists being subject to such treatment, not the local Goans themselves.Again, NRIs are not viewed through the same eyes as Indian tourists, per se. Again, like it or not, NRIS have the so-called “Western” imprint on them, in terms of the money they shell out.What I would be interested in knowing is whether you met any Indians (in the rave scene, that is.) who are neither locals,nor non resident Indians from the West.
    Peace.
    🙂

  3. Tanveer

    you chose the wrong beach-Anjuna. Should’ve gone to Calangute or Miramar.
    The guest house people woul have accommodated you if you agreed to pay them in dollars. This cant be called racism. I have lived 10 years in Goa and I can assure you that Goans are the friendliest people ever(I am a Bengali, not a goan).
    You had a one off bad experience, and thats what I would call bad luck.
    Next time do advanced reservation before going and Techno toy^ is right…Indians are not invited to parties because they dont know how to behave. That why you have the’occasional rape’ thrown in..
    Cheers,
    Tanveer

  4. Rudrani

    Thanks for dropping by!
    When you say “wrong beach”, what are you referring to? I know Calangute is a beach which is more of an Indian tourist spot than the others and I have been there. Why should certain sections of the place be “wrong” for a few, is my bone of contention. Again, when you mention the thing about paying in dollars, I did say that foreign revenue is one of the deciding factors of approval. The racism is money oriented then. Also, I have not generalised the fact that ALL Goans are racist. I have spoken about the one-off experiences and while researching I have come across other numerous articles which have highlighted experiences of racism against Indians in Goa and these have been by journalists who are of repute. Ans lastly, I feel that it is a little unfair to generalise and say that ALL Indians are ill-behaved. It is not the party invitations (or the lack thereof, ) that I am griping about, by the way. It was used as a mere example. No race/community of people are all good or bad. There are bad apples everywhere.
    Thanks for reading, though.
    Peace.
    🙂

  5. Tanveer

    you are welcome.
    peace 🙂

  6. Ankur Kumar

    I think Rudrani has highlighted a very genuine issue which is flaring up
    in Goa these days. I have been living in Goa for almost 4 years now….have come across various instances of such differentiation made on the basis of being an Indian or non-Indian…i won’t call it racism though….i wonder who has given Goans the authorities to decide which beach is exclusively for foreigners and which is not. This is our country….we are free to go wherever we want to….there should be stricter laws to combat such kind of ill-treatments of Indians in their own country…and as far as decency is concerned….I agree that Indians do have the mob mentality of staring and ogling at foreigners….but not all are like that…i was in a Goan shack the other day, in a group of 9 people….firstly, no one came to attend us for long…the waiters were busy serving the foreigners…and the owner of shack refused to join another table… with a big one for adjusting all the people comfortably….even though we requested him to do so…he asked us to adjust with one table only which was not sufficient enough for all the 9 people…even though there were various empty tables available…he had deliberately done so to make sure more tables can be kept free for foreigners who were poring in large numbers in that shack…there are various such instances of differentiation…i have quoted just one…

  7. Rudrani

    Thanks, Ankur!
    The entire scene is dominated by money, I feel.

  8. Tanveer

    Hey rudrani,
    Why dont you do a article on the shiv sena, who are indulging in a more vociferous form of racism in Mumbai when compared to the goan shack owners?
    I am sire you will do justice 🙂
    Cheers,
    tanveer

  9. Rudrani

    I would love to!
    But unfortunately or fortunately I haven’t locked horns with the Shiv Sena yet.
    This article was written based on a first hand experience.

  10. Ibby

    There’s a saying that we reap what we sow. So look around man, there’s so much racism even within ourselves. The North-South divide, the plight of the North-eastern people (that’s even more severe) etc. I know that generalization is wrong but that’s natural. And the only way this can be altered is for a proportionately larger portion of the population behaving otherwise which would be slow and gradual.

  11. WASAQ

    i was having a beer when an aus asked me to join aand said he buy me one, they left without paying their bill i have to pay and am barred. A white lady said f off or i bottle u 4 no reason twice this happened. A goan threaten to call police and lie unless i pay bribe ect ect a hells angel lookin one threaten t put in hospital unless i f off when i merely ask direction another aus take my beer from my table wtf? i was dumped by taxi miles from airport when i pay upfront, i was told i allready fly home at airport and im not really there hahaha, goa is like heaven and hell i think world is so also, but in city like vasco margao mapsa chaudi all is well just beach are funny for lone indiananglo pio so………

  12. Clement dsouza

    Racism or whatever you call it . It happens all the time especially in the beach side in goa . I guess white skin attracts indians more than indians themself . Here im refering to indians and not only goans exclusively . What the hell most of the waiters or service staff are non goans who come to work during the tourist season ( assam , orissa . Rural maharastra etc…) . I had gone for dinner at st.anthony’s shack baga and the waiter did not attend to us for nearly a hour . Where as foreigners we getting V.I.P treatment . When i spoke to the manager he said they were short of staff . WTF …… Very good excuse ! Please note we were goans here and felt like second class citizens . We just walked out and hence forth decided not to go to St.Anthony shack ever again . Reminds me of yet another incident when i went with my family and friends for a picnic at baga and rented a room overlooking the beach , next to brittos bar and restaurant . Well this lady who was the owner of the place just gave up the keys and never turned up to ask if we needed anything . She had a very grumpy face . But the treatment was far more better for the foreigner who was occupying the next room . Here in Goa money and skin play a very important role if you want to have a good holiday . You would be suprised to know that domestic tourist spend more than these foreigners . In my view GOANS who are blessed and own restaurant , hotels , shops etc…. Dont realise the value of domestic tourist . Wonder what will happen when foreign tourist dont come to goa anymore . Then their attitude will definantly change ! Come on you cant say that all indians misbehave , no doubt some do but then where is the spirit of hospitality ? Goans are way too fated and blinded by the money that is flows in .

    1. john fernandes

      I agree with you totally . Goa has lost its charm . Its all about drugs , alcohol and money . Thnx 2 Local politicans N cops

    2. laino

      true…

  13. viper

    As much as I can agree with much of this article, there are a few points that need to be considered. In my 8 years of living in Goa to date, plus the fact that I’h half Goan, I’ve seen and experienced all that Goa is famous for. Pretty much includes everything mentioned about drugs, police involvement, murder, rape etc. You name it.

    But be cautious when you come here, Goa is just not for some people, and I’ve witnessed innocent domestic tourists almost get thrashed to the point of no return. Back about 10 years ago, at Paradiso, our crew watched a foreigner get his life almost zapped when gang banged by locals. The beating was intense, he was unconscious and thrown into the sea. The same with Palolem, these days, many of the spots there are “brawler’s den”, tough white guys high with locals looking for intense combat. You never want to fight a local whose high on cocaine. At that point, there’s no reasoning, it’s just the fact that your going to get fukked up real bad. Trust me.

    Got an uncle who has a place there, and his Goan staff have whooped more Indian tourists that I can count, primarily because they get drunk, harass foreigners especially women, sometimes extremely physically, act tough as if India and Goa belong to them, disturb the peace, litter everywhere, smash beer bottles out in shallow water with cricket bats, come asking around for women as if there’s some service, drive and ride like crazy. I’ve seen, particularly Mumbai and Bangalore girls, some loud mouthed, who put their boyfriends and guys their travelling with in real danger, being arrogant and bossy, looking down on the locals who they think can’t speak or understand Hindi. Their so mistaken.

    I’ve grown up with foreigners, all my life, and I can say this about them. Their way different from us, in mind sets and thinking, and no matter how long you’ve been pals with them, the one time you mess up, they’ll never look at you again. In most cases that too. A few are bit more accommodating, but even they get wired up after many years coming to Goa, some just don’t give a damn.

    Goa has seen it all for the last 50 years, times most cannot imagine, save for the older generations. Locals today have accepted the fact that a large amount of revenue comes from domestic tourism. But make no mistake, the wrong place, at the wrong time, even the most innocent of gestures has gotten heads cracked, and arms broken. Some of the North side locals get offended real easily, especially in December when the Baga Calangute stretch becomes a perpetual nightmare.

    I live in the South, just got back from road trippin’ in the North.

    All in all, this place is great, no different than living anywhere else in this world. But you seriously need to be careful when holidaying and partying here.

    1. KC

      Goans mostly in the beach belt have again become slaves, mostly they seem to to be angry that they were slaves longer than other Indians. Well sad for them, but surely with the Police around these days, the days of Mafia are over in Goa for good. Know about the loud mouthed and the other types, but still with the beach police coming in, such games will be gone forever. It is great that BJP is finally in power here and days of CONgi are over.

  14. Peter dsouza

    Goans are racist. They always party and boose and drink. In the house, woman is the head. She rules. They have all kinds of things going on. Even if you are holidaying or partying in goa or not be careful of goans.

  15. rudy

    goan people are sick.the hotel help are fucking retards.They are ready to lick the feet of foreigners.I have seen all their double standard treatment towards their own Indian people.

    Goans clean your mouth with toilet brush,it is much more cleaner.

  16. Jonh

    Goan ladies dress up half naked. Then you wonder why men stares at them and touches them. Let me expose the truth. Goans are really racial. There men are like women. Women is in control of everything unlike in other cultures of India. Please keep away from this people. They are not English or Americans. Goans try to act that way. But you are goans, goons.

  17. Jordan Gill

    I’m an Indian born in England but I visited Goa around three years ago. I noticed a lot of White people on holiday there mostly from England and Russia. But I didn’t experience any of this. The Goan people were a very friendly bunch and most of the tourists seemed okay enough as well.

    If there are any arrogant tourists there who think they can go there just for the lifestyle but then hate Indians all the while, well they can do us all a favour and get the hell out of there. Indians already get enough maltreatment outside of India, there’s absolutely no way they should accept tourists treating them like that in their own country.

  18. vikram diaz

    well I’m a goan . on those north side ull hardly find any local real goan people. and these domestic tourist drink n create prob to evry1

    1. Digvijay

      Listen… The whole country knows that most of the drugged men live in goa… OK… And alcohol is cheapest in coast in goa so most of the drunked men live in goa, and don’t blame northner’s all the time, you goans should learn to give respect to other nation or else we will teach you nicely.

    2. Manu

      Very well said my friend.

  19. Digvijay

    I think you are correct rudrani, even I hate goa for language and state racism against our maharastrians kannadas etc… I been to goa on an occasion when I speak pure Marathi in goa , the peoples looks at me like a racist and different manner, well I am an born Indian and I have a right to travel in any part of my country, and goa got independence after India got, then I think goa should be named a different country and should be thrown out of our country by our government, and by the way there is nothing special about goa, just some useless beaches with drunked and drugged men. Forget about those black nigerians, these goans even hate our own country people.

  20. Hmmmm

    Now it’s good Indians being treated like a outsider in india. Please feel it and learn something. Indian man do not treat women from any place with respect except their family and indian women.

  21. Mohsin can

    See the ghaatis behave so different and DnT knw how to behave. They drink and try to act over smart. We goans are the best people. We DnT have problems but wen outside state people and make our Goa dirty..,wen we goans go to other state we behave in good manner

  22. kj

    hi
    We do face racism in Maharashtra
    Marathi don’t respect others. they tend to get jealous and angry and start hitting others… isn’t it insecurity

  23. Singh

    I saw subtle racism against Indians by Goans.I went there once in my youth ans saw the difference with which Goans treat Indians and westerners.My friend wanted to buy something and asked for a discount they said they don’t want to sell.Went to a PG house,they said they don’t want to give us the room…my friend joked that even the dogs in Goa are treated better than Indians.Now to make this fair i did see people from Uttar Pradesh ogling topless women.There are many places one can visit in western ghats without racism.

    1. Thony baptista

      we goans dont create nuisance wen we travel to other states of our india buh m sorry to say most people cumin to goa drink n create nuisance to locals as well as other indian tourist n foreigners and after they go an complain aganist v r peaceful ppl not lik some ppl from other states who fights in d name of religion..

  24. Stev

    I agree with some of the comments on here and I could write a very long list of instances of marginalisation discrimination and xenophobia I have witnessed in Goa and other parts of India, but don’t think for one minute the same doesn’t happen in other countries because it does. I have been marginalised in my own country (uk) by foreign owners/management of restaurants/bars/shops who give preferential treatment to their own, but I am not obligated to patronise them and once it happens it never happens again. I admit that this sort of incidence is becoming less and less due to bad online reviews which are of detriment to those who discriminate in one way or another, the result of which India is now facing with harassment and rape of foreigners and nationals, I’m afraid the heyday of disrespecting foreigners and nationals in any country are over, comply or suffer the consequences. Goa as gotten most of it’s revenue from tourists…or should I say “did”, now unfortunately most foreigners and nationals apart from the odd few package tourists have fled to more safe and welcoming countries where value for money isn’t in monetary but more in overall enjoyment, where locals welcome you instead of staring at you with fear and pent up hostility.

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