As I walked into a departmental store in Kolkata’s City Centre, a poster of Kingfisher Beer informs that to be a proud Indian, one must forget the Ugly Aussie. Obviously a take “below the belt” at Fosters, the South African competitor, which to most is perceived as an Aussie brand.
This advert is to use the much-hyped incidents that took place in Australia in 2009-2010 to give an impression that Australians are racists. Gross generalization for sure and one that needs to be objected upon by all sane minds. Now there is clear evidence that while some of the attacks may have had racistic undertone, the bulk of the incidents were pure acts of “mugging” by “druggies and other such loonies”. Australia continues to be a multicultural society and Indian students at Universities continue to feel as safe and secure as they will feel in any part of the world including their home country.
The dictionary gives the meaning of “racism” as:
racism |ˈrāˌsizəm| noun
the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
• prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief : a program to combat
If this definition can be applied, the Kingfisher Beer advert is clearly racistic too. Mr Mallaya’s company has “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”
Can someone tell the company that it should stop making lndians look and feel ugly. I commit that I will not be touching the advertised product. By doing that, I will be forgetting “this Ugly Indian to remain a Proud Indian”.
However, a question remains: Why does Kingfisher choose to shoot its calendars in Australia at all. I understand that it exports its beer too to Australia and has Aussie cricketers playing for its various IPL teams.