Across the world, Bangalore has managed to build an image that portrays it as India's answer to America's Silicon Valley. The city is seen an Information and Technology (IT) hub and a melting pot of sorts: a modern and metropolitan Indian city. Of course when a city claims to be the IT hub of India, one also assumes that its culture and ethos reflects is modern and progressive.
But a recent attack on an African national in the city tears this image of a cosmopolitan city into pieces. According to a Bangalore Mirror report, Wandoh Timothi, 44, a techie at ITPB and a native of Ivory Coast, faced the city's ugly racist side when we was attacked by a group of men.
What exactly happened? The report states that Wandoh was riding his bike, when another man began heckling him and driving his own bike in Wandoh's path. What unfolded next was a nightmare. “When he came for the third time, I asked him to slow down and allow me to pass. He got off his bike and stood right in front of my bike,” says Wandoh, who says he realised the man was drunk. The drunk man then punched Wandoh and before he could figure out what happened some dozen men appeared and attacked him.
Before you think this was an incident of road rage gone wild, hold on. The men distinctly referred to Wandoh as 'negro', and pushed a huge stone on his back leaving him gasping for breath. What hurt more for Wandoh was that none of the onlookers came to his rescue despite knowing him well.
Wandoh has a PIO (Person of Indian Origin) card and is married to a woman from Kerala.
Racism and road rage seem to go hand-in-hand in Bangalore.
Previously a woman from Manipur who was driving her car in the city, faced road rage and racists comments from the crowd. What made the incident worse was that when she turned to a local traffic policeman for help, he shouted at her, saying “You don’t know Kannada. You don’t belong to this place.”
While Bangalore may claim to be an IT hub, those who are seen as distinct others, such as a Manipuri woman or an African person, face discrimination and very often violence.
You can read the full Mirror report here.