“In Congo we are introduced to Mahatma Gandhi from the high school only. However, the image of India which we had in our mind and its reality couldn’t have got starker today,” said Levys, a 25-year-old Congolese national.
Sitting in a mobile shop owned by his fellow countryman in Rajpur Khurd village, a dejected looking Levys said that despite earning a degree of Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Amity University, Indians don’t even accept him as a professional.
“For them I am an African first. And an African can’t be trusted, as they live a flashy life,” levys lamented.
Levys’s two friends were beaten up by locals of the same village where he lives on Thursday night. He, his friend Jason, and other Africans are now planning a peaceful protest in Jantar Mantar against the recent spate of attacks against the Africans.
“Around 300 Africans will join the march on Tuesday,” said Levys. Just 5 kilometres away from Qutub Minar, Rajpur Khurd, is home to more than 100 African nationals.
The presence of a substantial number of Africans at a single place has created a “mini-Africa” in the mind of the locals, who are resentful.
“They misbehave with the landlords, and party till night with loud music blaring from their houses all the day,” said Sachin, a local from the village.
Even the fact that the Africans can afford such a “flashy life” is a cause of envy for the locals which often translates into name calling and sometimes scuffles.
“See the Toyota car parked outside that house. This is of an African. It has alloy wheels. We Indians can’t afford a bike here and they are driving around in such flashy cars. From where did they get such money from? Off course from illegal means like drugs,” he added.
According to the African nationals living in India for a while, a lack of knowledge about Africa as a continent and its different countries among Indians is one of the reasons behind this “Africophobia”.
“I know a lot of India through Bollywood, and its serials which I have seen in the Zee channel which comes in our country. So many Indians live in our country but we don’t have a single cuss word meant exclusively for them. However, here in India, they think all Africans come from the same country and culture,” said Levys.
“If a few Africans are caught up doing some bad thing, it doesn’t mean that the nationals of other African countries are also like them only,” he added.