If you come to think about it, the police chief of the Australian state of Victoria Simon Overland was paying a compliment to Indian students when he suggested they “try to look as poor” as they can. In other words, he must have been referring to the natural look of ‘being rich’ that Indians abroad carry these days. It’s understandable for lager-soaked Australians to be affected by all that talk of the Indian economy surging, with the consequence of all those Indians spending their rupees-converted-into-Australian dollars to study and stay in a much thankful Down Under. Some Indians, however, may have taken offence at Mr Overland’s statement. After all, why should desis with their iPods, watches and other generous gifts from their Papajis, Matajis and Mamajis not be able to flaunt their stuff like all other enthusiastic youngsters just because the Victorian police isn’t capable of doing their job?
But Mr Overland’s logic is similar to that of many Indians here who want foreigners in Goa to not strut their stuff for their own good. Violence against foreign women in the sunshine state can, according to the ‘outlandish’ Overland-argument, be solved if foreign women (Aussies included) stop wearing bikinis that would make them stand out and start wearing
clothes more attuned to keeping a low profile. A burqa, of course, would be best.
Unfortunately, despite Mr Overland’s backhanded compliment about the all-too-visible economic prowess of the Indian student in Australia, it is a rather impractical suggestion. Next, he could ask Indians in Oz to paint themselves pink so that they look ‘white’ enough to avoid genuine racially-motivated attacks, or tell them to not step out of their dorms lest they come under any sort of danger. We suggest that Mr Overland, who we are sure meant well, try to look as dumb as possible. Otherwise his statements may jar with his innate intelligence and send out the wrong signals of his idea being a well-thought-out strategy.