Hinduphobia: Hindus face racist outbursts for celebrating Diwali in South Africa

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From being called the ‘community of the worst thoughtless people’ and wishing them a ‘horrible death’ the Diwali celebrating Hindus in South Africa saw it all. Again.

Several racial and Hinduphobic slurs against the Hindus surfaced on social media in South Africa with many calling Hindus ‘cooly vaalie’ refering to their humble beginnings in the country.

In Greytown, Regesh Govender had to face racist abuses from his neighbor Johan Oliver who called him and other Hindus Coolie Valie in an epic abuse filled rant. This is when there are prescribed times for bursting firecrackers.

In another case, one Melanie Freeman replied to a comment on the Facebook group Pinetown Pet Rescue and wrote:

“Joy, I couldn’t agree with you more. Izinga, which is mostly Indian, is like a war zone. Wish they would go back to India.”

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Melanie Freeman made another comment saying ‘IZINGA has to be the worst. Never heard such horrific bangs in my life. What a community of the worst, thoughtless people on this planet. I wish them all a horrible death.’

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This Diwali firecrackers bursting happened with time limits of 7pm to 10 pm.

One may be wondering that if noise and pollution from bursting the firecrackers and animal suffering is the main concern for these outbursts then why not also curb the bursting of firecrackers during New Year or Guy Fawkes?

This is not the first time that Hindus have been targeted. From being called idol worshippers and devil disciples to being harassed for religious beliefs, Hindus have been at the receiving end for long.

In another case a Hare Krishna woman devotee  was forced to remove incense stick, Pratima/murti of Hindu God Murugan and picture of Sai Baba from her locker at the Pietermaritzburg hospital, and bring them to the hospital’s CEO Buhle Maphanga and seven other members of the hospital’s executive committee, after being accused of practicing witchcraft.

In Durban, a pastor was forced to apologize to the Hindus after he converted a family to Christianity and posted insensitive comments in his Facebook account leading to communal tensions in the country.

However, clearly, a lot more needs to be done and empowering the Hindu community to take legal recourse is one step.

Namta Gupta