Dear Dr. Annette G Beck-Sickinger,
I came across your refusal to admit an Indian male student for internship while reading today’s newspaper.
While you have every right to admit the student of your choice, the reason that you have cited for rejecting his application is highly inappropriate and smacks of ignorance.
On behalf of all Indians, I am taking the liberty to write to you. I beg your indulgence.In India, we have the highest respect for our teachers and now as I write this letter to you, I consider you as my own teacher – a teacher whom I didn’t have the fortune to study under. “Mata Pita Guru Deivam”. Our mother shows us our father. Our father takes us to the teacher. And it is the teacher who shows us God. In that sense, the role of a teacher is very high in any Indian’s life.I do not wish to paint this letter with figures and data, as I agree with Benjamin Disraeli in that “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”. However, just to make my point that India is not the rape capital of the world, I would like to bring to your attention the following figures.
United States of America accounts for the largest incidence of rape in the world. So, will you turn down an American male student too for the same reason? And Germany too isn’t far behind in the incidence of rape, being ranked sixth.
Yes, I do agree that all is not well with India. But that is the case almost anywhere in the world.
Let me come to the point of collective moral dilemma. I am sure the Germans would have confronted this at the end of the Second World War. Unimaginable horrors and incalculable loss of life were caused by the activities of a group of people. Is the entire nation responsible for this? No. Those horrific acts were perpetrated by only a group of people.
How is it right to blame an entire nation for the fault of a few? I’m drawing a parallel between the two cases. Now, imagine how would a present day German feel if someone calls them a Nazi and blames them for the Holocaust?
This is exactly the same way we feel when you label all Indian males as rapists. And for your information, Indian males are not male chauvinists. For every rapist you may point out, I can show you hundred males who respect women and give them their due place. It’s entirely your choice as to which one you choose to see.
You say India is the land of rapists. I say, India is the land of Mahatma Gandhi. Again, it’s entirely up to you to decide which one you want to focus. I am really disappointed to see how an educated, cultured and refined intellectual like you can allow yourself to be influenced by bias and prejudice.
Do you honestly think you can stereotype an entire nation based on the actions of a few individuals?
India and Germany are both wonderful countries. We love your beer, cars, pretzel, bratwurst, sauerbraten among many other things. We admire and respect Max Müller, Hermann Gundert and countless other scholars. When we look closer at each other, we realize our similarities.
We find that India and Germany are in many ways closer than we think. And it’s the duty of each and every citizen of India and Germany to ensure that both the nations become closer.
While we welcome the statement made by Mr. Michael Steiner, German Ambassador to India, we strongly register our displeasure at your sweeping generalization.
I would like to end this letter with a beautiful quote: “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam“(The whole world is one family)
This open letter has been written by Sridhar Puthillath, a mind-provoking blogger from The Vital Times