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‘Get Out Of India, Go To China’: Threatened In Delhi Metro For Speaking My Native Tongue

It was just another regular Sunday. I took an auto from my hostel to the Hauz Khas metro station where I met my friends who had boarded the metro at the Chattarpur metro station. As I boarded the metro, I was telling my friends how I couldn’t get an auto for some time, and how I had to find another auto and share it with someone.

A lady (she must be in her mid-thirties) who was in the same compartment, asked us if we were talking about ‘Indian’ and told us to translate whatever we were saying about being ‘Indian’ in either English or Hindi. She wanted to know why we were using the term. I had heard her, but since we weren’t talking about anything ‘Indian’, I ignored her, assuming that she must be talking about something else.

My friends and I resumed chatting among ourselves, and this time, the same lady, shouted at us, asking us to translate whatever we were saying. I turned to her and told her that we were not saying anything thing offensive to her, and even if we were, that it was none of her business.

She started shouting and hurling abuses at us. In the most disgusting way, she told us to get out of the train and out of the country, again repeating that we were talking about ‘something Indian’ in a foreign language. I lost it this time. I told her that I am an Indian and that she has no right to talk to me like this. My friend also responded to her and told her that we were talking about normal things only. She shouted and screamed at the top of her voice, and told us that we should go back to our country. True to the nature of people in Delhi, no one else spoke in our favour.

My friend and I got back to talking, trying our best to ignore her. We told ourselves, somewhat sarcastically, that we shouldn’t get angry as we were going to church and thought that we shall go and pray for her too. Then, we started discussing some issues that were going on in the student union, wherein we used the terms ‘Nagaland Nagas’ and ‘Nagas from Manipur’. The lady started screaming again, demanding that we tell her which state we belonged to. I later realized that if she was able to identify that we were from north-east India by the terms ‘Nagaland Nagas’ and ‘Nagas from Manipur’,  she must be an educated woman.

Still, we refused to answer her questions and ignored her. However, she continued screaming, saying that she would send the CBI to find us and kick us out of the country. She also asked us if we wanted to go to China or Japan. I kept quiet because by then, I had given up. My friend was also too shocked to argue back and froze. She didn’t say a word.

I was shaking with anger and humiliation. I tried my best to compose myself. Soon enough, she de-boarded the train. After that, my friends and I  tried to take stock of what had just happened. What is with the term ‘Indian’? We wondered – what was it about the term, that could be so bad or fragile that it made the other person feel so insecure or threatened that we might be talking about it.

Sadly, our ordeal didn’t end here. Two young girls then told us again to not use the term ‘Indian’, as hearing the term from us, made them feel bad. I told them that we are trying to make sense of what had just happened to us, even as they looked on. I told them that they should understand and be empathetic towards us, but instead, they were telling us to not have a conversation between ourselves!

They looked like college students to me, so I tried to reason with them. I told them that they looked like educated people and that we expect educated people to be reasonable. But they too, behaved like the previous lady. However, they did tell us that they knew that the lady was wrong, and that was the reason they didn’t support her.

I tried explaining that there was no fight, that the other lady was abusing us and that everyone including us, can talk about whatever we want to and no one has the right to stop us. Then came the threat. One of the girls threatened us saying that there were only three of us, while the rest of the compartment was filled with ‘Indians’ and that everyone would support them.

I shuddered with shame and disbelief, not because I felt threatened. But because people could stoop so low to abuse someone and take pride in it. Again, the whole compartment looked on, and not a single person tried to reason or intervene. I sat there for some time clueless about what to do.

It took me some time to get back to my senses. I told my friend that we needed to file a complaint. She said that the cameras installed in the train should have the recordings. I went towards the front side of the compartment to check for the train number. I found the compartment number, but not the train number.

Someone who was behind me suggested that I ask the train driver for the details. I thanked her. She came forward and told me that I should just ignore such people. She apologized for not intervening as she did not see the event from the beginning.

I came back to where my friends were sitting, and one of my friends told me that the two girls who threatened us were saying that they were lawyers. I told my friends that we need to calm down and not pay attention to them. We got down at Civil Lines. I asked the driver for the details, which he happily provided. He even asked me if anything was wrong, and I told him our ordeal.

He expressed regret and said that we should have used the emergency speaker to complain, and there would have been assistance at the next station. I asked him if the camera installed in the train was working, and if so, would the recording be enough proof. He told us that the camera would have the footage, but no sound. He told us that we could file a case but it was very likely that the case would not be taken seriously, as the audio was not available.

I gave up the idea of filing a case after this. But I am writing this for two reasons:

1) For the people who believe that no one should be targeted or discriminated on the basis of their look, language or anything – It is not alright to just look on. It’s important that you stand up against such incidents. Use your rights to protect the rights of others. I know many people in the compartment would have felt that something wrong was being done to us but still chose to stay away. I know it’s easy to stay away (I have done so myself many times) but it is not right. It could happen to anyone. The sooner we start addressing this issue, the better it is for all.

2) To people who face/have faced discrimination: Be alert and familiarize yourself with the remedial measures/provisions available. I was so shocked that it didn’t occur to me to use the emergency speaker installed in every compartment of the train.

I am also sharing the details of the incident in-case anyone wants to verify it or do something about it:

Train No. 1505

Compartment No. D2A21

Between 10:20-10:35 AM

Huda City Centre-Samaypur Badli Line

15th April, 2018.

You must be to comment.
  1. Munawar

    The problem with Delhites is their bizarre assumption that the whole India is Delhi itself. That they matter only, they consider themselves as ‘ Hum’ . This radical idea has led to the forced nationalization of Hindi Language-which is spoken by few powerful Brahmanical demagogues, their definition of a true patriot, that India is Delhi only etc. I have myself witnessed these events and I can truly relate to it. The most shocking thing is that in Delhi, rarely does anyone come forward to help you or at least identify with your logic.

  2. R Daniel Davei

    This seems to be insane…we are Indians too..

  3. Sontse

    Hello Miss, I don’t know where you from but while going through your post, I could make a rough speculation about the place you are from, North east has always been a part of India and there is not denying the fact that people from these area looks different from the mainland India, Its not just in Delhi, Its everywhere, there was a time i tried to learn how to get use to it, but that was wrong, on the one hand they always encourage us being an inseparable part of India and on the other they try to outcast us by branding us with a different name such as chinki or chinese, Now a day its even worse, even in a college you will find the same people, they learn India as a unity in diversity in the class and they try to separate us when the class is over, I wish you could have turn on your phone camera silently and record the scene live discreetly, it will be a powerful evidence, even if she is a lawyer, so what, those are the people much worse than terrorist, terrorist they come and we know, but these type of people comes very quitely among the commoner and then start dividing.

    1. James Letjakai Haokip

      They got education in a wrong way…not in a Good way…that’s why they behave like an uneducated person.which make them bose infront of other’s…that’s all

  4. Masroor Alam

    Environment is getting more n more sensitive now a day as news channel and politician are getting worse..

  5. James Letjakai Haokip

    U should record the audio by ur phone itself

  6. Raghav Bakshi

    Well as you know very well, this is India, that too Delhi. If a man would’ve stepped up to help you people, that woman would’ve accused them for eve-teasing or harrassment and as far as I know nobody will be willing to go to jail and ruin their image in public for someone else..

  7. Vinay Reddy

    Did u tell them that u are an Indian too? Once they are in a belief that u r not an Indian and talking something bad about India, nothing will go into their heads. I know it is a bad feeling that people assumed you aren’t Indian by your looks, but I believe at least some of them could have supported you if you told them that you were Indians because all others in the train assume you people to be foreigners once the first lady accuses you of speaking something bad about India.

  8. Vinay Reddy

    The title of the article is highly misleading. It indicates that people forced you to talk only in hindi or english, but clearly that’s not the case. The first lady mistook you as being a foreigner and started shouting at you believing that you spoke ill of India. Of course I understand we have self respect and you didn’t want to prove to her that you are Indian, but at least when other passengers were talking to you after she left, you could have told them that you are an Indian because they were not with you from the beginning and are likely to assume you are a foreigner based on the show created by the first lady. So please don’t generalize this as there is even your fault in not clearly telling them what you were up to since they had good reason to believe that you don’t belong to India as they believe from the argument of the first lady. Instead ignoring someone, just pleasantly clearing their doubt is much better. You have clearly showed your arrogance in posting such a misleading article. Try to think from the others’ point of view.

  9. Noël A. Kanaparthi

    Hi, I’m so sorry about what had happened. I feel terrible, I’m Indian and to be more specific South Indian. I would’ve surely stood up for you both had I been there. Unfortunately, there is this racist mentality prevalent more in Delhi, not just towards Northeasterners but also South Indians and now, even on the lines of religions, not to mention crimes against women. There is always that scum in society. But there are good people too. God bless!

  10. Tuhin Ghosh

    Let me explain you the truth. When we from any part of the mainland of India go to Nagaland or other far north east states, the localites tell us “Indians”. This have created an image that people of North East do not consider themselves as Indians. They consider themselves as a separate nation free from Indian jurisdiction.
    Secondly China is our threat and you must be looking similar like Chinese. So, when you say “Indians/India” then people feel that you want to say that you are not an Indian and you are creating a division. Same in case of Kashmir. But this is not the scenario everywhere in India. We are all united but both of us need to help each other to spread this unity and harmony. You are not a Naga and I am not a Bengali, we are just Indians by faith and nationality.

  11. Jian Andrew Kamei

    Indian’s society talks only about sectorialism regionalism creed colour etc…barbaric educated people

  12. Akã Chïshï

    Just wait and see one fine day our time of destruction to that senseless bloody people will come in any way …. I swear

    1. Akã Chïshï

      Very true …..salute

  13. Kishan Sharma

    Hey being a Delhi guy I am extremely sorry for whatever happened to you. One thing that I can say is we people are very ignorant and such people like the lady u will find on different part of this country who takes pride on their culture and language.i live in Banglore and I have faced the same thing at public places for using hindi. So this should be stopped but the fact that other people don’t respond is the biggest problem. Until they face this issue they won’t realize what it’s really mean . One more time sorry don’t worry just ignore these morons and live happily in such a lovely place Delhi. If u give attention to these issue than forget Delhi u can’t live in any other city in India. Because u will find these people everywhere

  14. Oneng Libang

    I can fathom what you have gone through,but we cannot also ignore the fact that there are people who will always take pleasure in hurting others sentiments.I understand equally that such elements will test your patience when they do so .I have been through similar incident at New Delhi Railway station few months earlier while traveling back home.but choosing to ignore these people was the best I could do and walk away without losing my cool.In our lives we do not always get to encounter well-behaved individuals there are some who dislike us as well.So it was really brave of you to pen down the incident and that you chose to stand up against them even in writing down about it .

  15. Gaithaingam ML

    Wat a lady

  16. Shashank Samrat

    I don’t know where you are from but it happens all over the world. In development countries like USA UK Europe australia sometimes not whites but people of other races, religions or immigrants themselves target someone who is new to the culture. One of my friend was targeted by asylum seeking Srilankans in London. Chinese and filipinos and some religious people tartget other asians or religions in sydney and melbourne. I am not supporting any kind of racism or those who abuse, troll people who don’t look ,talk,eat ,wear clothes like they do. But we have to be careful when we are in a new place. before closing up i might want to add,my cousin (a professor) who was settled in USA for last 30 years was told by a recent russian immigrant ( a truck driver) to go back to the s.,.tho..e where he came from. When we see same attitude among our friends, family, relatives we should try to educate them. that is the only way such incidents can be reduced.

    1. Divya Padmanabhan

      Shashank, sorry to hear that some of your friends and family members have experienced racism themselves and that you agree that racism isn’t acceptable. But racism at this level doesn’t happen everywhere. I have been living in Hong Kong (SAR) for years now and its a very tolerant society. not to say that people are not biased, but law and order ensures that even if there is such racism it doesn’t come out openly. I think we should also learn from places that are open and welcoming.

  17. Shadi Katyal

    How and why India has reached to such low level thqt they are unable to even recognise and respect her own
    citizens? First of all why should anyone listen and intefear in other talking and demand and command such language to young students. Why ws the rest of com[partment quite and tell the lady to not intefear in others life.It is evident that not only hate but fear is now become a part of daily life.
    Where is the nation which was free to live and talk.
    All we can apolgise from our countrymen for such atrocious behavior to our own citizens

  18. arshad shaik

    Don’t know what’s happening to people. No humanity.

    Deep apologies from her our side.

    India is only place on earth with love for all and equality and unity in diversity.

    But sad to hear about our lady behaviour.

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