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Africans In India adopt ‘The Indian Way of Life’ to protect themselves from Public Violence

Nigerians in Delhi appear to have adopted self-disciplining as the only form of protection from public violence

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Kabeya (right) share details about the protest against locals after four African nationals were attacked in Rajpkhurd village of Chhatarpur, South Delhi . Image Source:The Indian Express (by Cheena Kapoor)
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  • Nigerians in Delhi appear to have adopted self-disciplining as the only form of protection from public violence
  • The general attitude of the public towards people from various African countries has shifted from tolerance to assimilation
  • It is unlikely that the Africans who come to India are here by choice

A crammed urban village in South Delhi, Rajpur Khurda, has become the home for about a thousand men and women from African countries. A week after Congolese national, Masonda Ketada Olivier was beaten to death in neighboring Vasant Kunj, four cases of attacks on African nationals were reported from the twin villages of Rajpur Khurd and Maidan Garhi.

In response to these attacks, the members of an association of Nigerians in Delhi discussed ways to “understand and assimilate into what they call ‘the Indian way of life’ so that they can live harmoniously with the locals”. As part of this, the association has decided to impose fines of Rs 1,000 on people from the community found to be wearing “inappropriate” clothes that includes shorts and singlets.

Rights Group Condemns Racist Attacks On Nigerians In India. Image source: informationng.com
Rights Group Condemns Racist Attacks On Nigerians In India. Image source: informationng.com

Nigerians in Delhi appear to have adopted self-disciplining as the only form of protection from public violence. They have even come to an understanding that if they are beaten up by the locals for being Nigerian, Indian law is not likely to favour them. The perception that Indian law, or, rather, its administrators, harbour anti-African sentiments is a damning statement about its impartiality which we hold dear. It appears as if we are administering different rules for Africans and Indians.

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The general attitude of the public towards people from various African countries has shifted from tolerance to assimilation.

We tolerate those who have discarded their cultural identity and tend to be as far away from anything Indian. Yet we criticize and abuse foreigners asking them to be more like us. Hypocrisy is at play here. To prove our cultural superiority, we seek to run the citizens of other countries down to the ground. We tend to discriminate on the basis of nationality, culture, sex and even color. A Nigerian resident of Delhi said to an online news portal, “People need to understand, that I have not chosen my skin color, God has made me what I am.”

Talking about “the lack of English-speaking people in the village”, Mariamo , a Cameroon national points to her pink tights and a fitted tank top, and adds, “People here are extremely racist. Look how I am dressed now, is there a problem? I don’t understand what the men say about me, but I am not a fool, their expression says it all.”

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It is unlikely that the Africans who come to India are here by choice or that if given the choice; they would not prefer to be settled in the West.

Ethnic and religious minorities are frequently left with no choice but to make entirely unreasonable concessions for their safety and survival. Yet, as far as we are concerned, for Africans in India, this appears to be a good enough solution. It is an opinion so frequently expressed – and by so many – that their despair has, unsurprisingly, turned into self-policing.

We need to be accepting and tolerant not because of India’s geo-political interests or how it would affect India’s chances of a seat on the United Nations Security Council but because it is the right thing to do. (source: Scroll.In)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)