Finding a solution to Australian racism attacks on Indian students!


Today, Australia is one of the hot destinations for the Indian students to pursue their further education. Over the years, the numbers of such students have increased. The main reason being the Liberal Student Visa Policy brought out by the Australian government. Of late, Indian students and the attacks they are facing in Australia seem to be getting lots of media attention. Unless immediate pro-active steps, followed by some long term decisions are not taken, situation may go out of control.

Why sudden incidents of attacks on Indian students?

This visa policy could also be considered as one of the main reasons behind the racist attacks on the Indian students in Australia. To understand this better, let’s take an example. Board a flight going via the ASEAN countries of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. One would find most of the passengers to be Indian boys and girls in their late 20s or early 30s on a transit flight to Australia. But what attracts or shocks one is that most of these youngsters have literally zero English language skills. More importantly, majority of them come from rural backgrounds, never venturing beyond their native state. A few seconds of conversation with them would make one realise the plight that they are about to get into. Starting with the major cultural shock followed by the non – acceptance of the Australian society in general. All they have for support is loads of money. One look at the pictures and videos of the protests in Australia would make one realise that most of the students come from such backgrounds.

Taking the argument forward, it cannot be denied that the Indians are among the largest community of the Skilled Migrants in Australia. The fact that they have not normally faced these or a similar attack questions the profiles of those landing in Australia on Student visa and their ability to adjust to socio-cultural factor in Australia . This is a critical factor in determining their acceptance in the Australian community at large.

It has to be remembered that relocating oneself in a whole new world has its own set of issues. It is faced by everyone who leaves his home country for whatever reason. It is the same for an Australian or an American in India.

Within India itself, there is a different kind of racism prevailing altogether. The country is divided into 4 different parts with each having its own culture. The fact that prevails here is that how well one is accepted in his current place of stay is highly dependent on the part of the country where one belongs to. Indians in India have learnt to live with racism. So why term recent incidents in Australia as a massacre leading to an earthquake?

What was wrong in approach followed by Australian authorities?

Where the Australian Government went wrong in the recent times is its delayed acceptance attacks being racist in nature. Had they done it immediately, the matter would not have gone as far as it has now. They should have permitted processions but not by Indian students alone. These processions should have been joined by both – Australians and Indians. Also, it should have been lead by a prominent Australian Indian and/or popular Australians like some of the cricketers.

It is agreed that immediate redress and proactive measures need to be taken. But to make these few incidents the very basis of the future relationship between the two countries that determine the immigration policies in Australia is too far reaching. This requires a moderate approach and cool heads to think about.

Immediate steps that must be taken to improve the situation

A joint press conference should have been or could be addressed by the Indian and the Australian Government delegates. The message given should have consisted of the following:

  • The Australians should be made to know that the Indian students are legally permitted to study and reside in their country. Hence, they are entitled to the rights of a visa holder.
  • The Indians should be made to realise that they are in Australia for a purpose, which is to study and not to take part in processions. They do not have the right to take the law into their own hands. Also, such demonstrations and protests would only dent the image of the Indians and antagonize the Australians at large.
  • This way, the long term interests and common goals of both the countries would be hampered.

Long term solution

The Australian government needs to implement a student visa policy that is very particular about the profile of students permitted to enter Australia. The government must appreciate that immigration policy permits these students to become residents and the future citizens of the country. The greed of educational institutions and universities to earn from well paying Indians is overlooking the quality aspect. Instead of selecting students as per the courses they have and the standards they wish them to meet, these institutions are doing the opposite. They are creating courses and training programs that admit almost anyone with Basic English skills. The result is there for all to see. Such students, coming from rural backgrounds are mostly not able to relate to the Australian culture and its society and vice versa. Majority of these students do not find a place in any standard educational institution within India. The point is not that these students should not get an opportunity for higher education. Instead, it is important that they are prepared to cope up with it. Perhaps Australian educational institutes should have centres in India that conducts basic orientation (not to be confused with one hour briefings etc.) for such students before they are pushed into Australia.

The issue at large is the long term demographics and the character of the country (Australia). It should not be forgotten in short term view of increased foreign exchange earnings from overseas students industry. Unfortunately, that is what is happening right now. Hence, there is urgency for this to stop before it is too late.

At times, these attacks are also fuelled by the job insecurities of the Australians. Public Relations campaigns need to be carried out in Australia to provide the correct picture to the Australians at large. They need to be told that Indians and other international students contribute billions of dollars to the Australian economy every year. They must be made aware that these students work part time as permitted by their visa rules and are not doing anything illegal. They are to be informed that these students bring in millions of dollars through revenues when their parents, friends and relatives visit Australia. They should be made to realise that India is a country that Australians need to be friendly with. This friendship will have long terms gains that would go much beyond some part time jobs.

Thus, the Australian and the Indian governments, the Indian students and its community in Australia and within India and finally Australians; must work together towards changing these perceptions. For in that lies good for all.



  • Not really. Majority of Indian Students who off late have been going to Canada have not been – academically very bright. So this is not really the main reason. There has been wrong choices of courses and lots of “show-off” by Indian Students. That need to stop as well. All in all,it requires a combined effort from both sides

  • actually the main reason is prejudice and jelousness of Australians upon the indian students. they couldn’t bear the development of the indian students because they are very concious in their study. as they are spending lot of money and missing their parents many a time. this type of hard work inspirated them to get a good job. after getting a job they became very prosperous and it tempts to the australians towards angry. but there is a solution be a good unversal person.

  • sangram

    this is a wonderful writting for solution of this issue.but i did not undestand this

  • Hi Navjot. I fully agree with sentiments expresses by you and wish your son the very best in Australia

  • Navjot Singh

    We indians are the most peace loving and gentleman people yaar. We love australia and australians and we should not stop coming here. I hope my son has a beautiful in australia that I could not have in india. we all people are the same,

  • What needs to be appreciated is the world is one and we are all global citizens. Hate – either ways- hurts. Acceptance of each others’ identity is very important. What needs to be appreciated is that the Indian students went to Australia because they were invited to study in Australia and they paid to study in Australia. The culture and society is new for them and initially, the Australians need to make an effort to make them feel at home. I fully agree with that Indian students or for that matter anybody who goes to another country has a right to take law into their own hands. Those who break the law should be charged for the offense they commit. The matter should be investigated as suggested and the root cause addressed by both Australians and Indian students. Governments – Australian and Indian- should do their part of job as well.

  • wolfe

    I have been bitten, spat on and have been told stories of rape committed by the Indian students of Melbourne. I am disgusted that they behave this way in our country and get upset when they become the victims of prejudice. I was not a racist, before moving to Melbourne, now I am. I have never cared if any person in this country adheres to Australia’s culture or lifestyle, I am not a white Australian, I am just an Australian as are all other born and naturalized citizens are, but how can I reconcile with a group of people who do not even want to be an Australian citizen and obey our social laws of good manners and conduct? I recognized the Indian students all on the news broadcasts after their attacks, and I am outraged that there was no further investigation as to what sparked the confrontations.

  • aamir

    Very well written, Hope Australian Govt thinks alike and take some pragmatic steps to solve the situation. However, they should be little careful while bringing anything new; A little Patient. Every solution has a process; patience and determination will certainly find us a WAY!

  • Anuraag Mehrotra

    It’s important that we all accept that, understand and start to develop the framework to address it into the future and not be reactive but be proactive. That is really what I think we are lacking at this stage.

    The article clearly states the most important causes of the racist attacks, the rural and remote area students who are not acquainted with the culture and not language proficient should be requested to prepare themselves before they set aboard, as the picture created by them in the foreign land demands a heavy price which is often hatred and cruelty towards the mass.

  • Raj Guleria

    Its a wonderfull artical on current issue un Australia.I wish that it should be published in most leading news paper of each & every part of India so that every one can understand the real problem areas and issues involved as addressed by the writer.

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