Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Sunday, January 12, 2003  

Speaking of Express women writers, Joannah Bharose, who has a column in the weekly women's magazine, comes under fire in a letter from a group calling itself ARDIA - The Association for Research and Documentation of the Indian Diaspora, for her four-part feature on mixed relationships called "Colourless Love":

"THE EDITOR: The Association for Research and Documentation of the Indian Diaspora (ARDIA) is startled and deeply disturbed by Ms Joanna Bharose’s careless approach to the delicate issue of mixed marriages, as outlined in her feature entitled “Colourless Love” in Woman magazine, Sunday Express, December 28, 2002.

"Indeed, we note the surreal fixation of Ms Bharose which led her to treat with the same subject some two years ago while working for a failed Express venture called the Independent. As has become Ms Bharose’s signature, this four-part feature was equally opportunistic, baseless, near nonsensical and quite inflammatory.

"However, it would appear that Ms Bharose has now become more assertive in some of her perverse fantasies about crossbreeding. In the interest of promoting the aberration of mixed couples, Ms Bharose has ignored critical factors of religion, compatibility, culture and, most importantly, love (for the right reasons).


"We should remind Ms Bharose that whereas there may be evidence of successful mixed marriages, we have however found overwhelming evidence to conclude that these unions are ill-fated in the majority. In this regard, we are reminded of the cases of Indrani Ramjattan, Tara George and most recently Chandroutie London (nee Sookoo).


"[T]here is no basis to say that any particular ethnic type of man is less disposed to abuse. It just leads back to the confirmed belief that a proper union begins in healthy circumstances of equality, compatibility based on religion, lifestyles and social culture. The sacred institution of marriage as ordained by God is intended to strengthen the family, not put a strain on it. Love can only grow and be sustained in an atmosphere of trust, harmony self-fulfilment, personal and parental development.

"Through our work in the community we have documented an enormous amount of friction derived from social, racial and cultural clashes within the home in interracial affairs. We have found that most times, it is the Indian woman who gives up her identity and way of life, risking ostracism in order to make the marriage 'successful'. Usually this entails a dominance of the African husband who imposes his will on her and all offspring which may arise. The result is therefore a split in the home and the children are the ones who pay the ultimate penalty. The whole question about longevity based on intrigue and adventure is really nonsense and silly trite."

I have not read Bharose's columns, but I'm pretty sure that whatever I might happen to find objectionable in what Bharose may have to say could in no way compare to the repugnant claptrap in this letter. To deem the coming together of two persons of different races as "crossbreeding" and an "aberration" exposes thinking that is regressive and racist, not to mention downright absurd, and shows that ARDIA is not simply against persons of different religions and cultural backgrounds forming partnerships, but also persons of different races.

Certainly compatability is key in any relationship or marriage, and factors such as religion, culture, economic status, and yes, even race need to be considered. But in the final analysis, why should any of these factors prevent a couple from having a relationship or getting married? ARDIA cites evidence of Indian women suffering abuse at the hands of their non-Indian mates; they also for good measure add that Indian men are no less or more likely to abuse Indian women. So what is their point? And why do they not say anything about Indian men marrying non-Indian women, or is that acceptable to them? (I won't even bother to raise the issue of gay Indians.)

They go on to claim that "friction" occurs in communities where there are interracial relationships. This may very well be so, but why should that be the couple's problem? It is for anyone else who has a problem with the relationship to come to terms with it. And the more mixed-race couplings we have, the more people will be forced to simply "deal with it".

As for the claims of "dominance" by the African man who seeks to impose his will, this is sheer racist nonsense. Such traits, if they exist, are attributable to men as a whole, not just men of African descent.

"Love can only grow and be sustained in an atmosphere of trust, harmony self-fulfilment, personal and parental development." I agree with this, though the last point is debatable. But why can't such an atmosphere exist between two people of different religions, races and cultures? I make a personal interjection here: my sister is married to a white American. Is their marriage doomed to end with my brother-in-law, as fine a gentleman as one could hope to meet, enacting some horrible form of violence upon my sister? Will they be ostracised, their half-breed children pariahs who will suffer because mummy and daddy broke the rules and married outside their tribes?

ARDIA doesn't have a leg to stand on with the bigoted, racist nonsense they spew with such miasmic self-righteousness and superiority. Aradhana Govia (isn't that Portugese?) who wrote on the group's behalf did so from New York and as far as I am concerned, she and her cohorts can stay there. T&T can well do without their kind.

posted by Jonathan | 3:02 AM 0 comments


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