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Australia attacks: 'Do not react or argue'

Last updated on: June 01, 2009 16:59 IST
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We invited Get Ahead readers to share tips on How not to be attacked in Australia. Here we present another set of responses from readers who have lived in Australia [Images].

Kunal Sahni, Chandigarh

I studied in Sydney, Australia, for three years, and have never been through even a single episode of racial abuse, not even a minor one.

My point is, the students who are being subjected to these kind of slurs/attacks are so because they keep quiet and they are very easy targets for muggers or street robbers.

I would urge Indian students in Australia to be confident of what they are and even be confident when you are walking down the street at odd hours.

Do not be victims to who are just after easy money. If something happens protest and complain to authorities. A lot of Indians especially students don't complain because they think that it might affect their permanent residence procedure. This is the reason Indian students are very easy targets for muggers etc. These cases are then later classified as racist.

Vishal Rawat

I was studying in Melbourne from 2005 till 2008; it's a beautiful country with many beautiful people, but in every country most of the people are good but there are some bad people too and this section of people are unemployed and depressed and they are into alcohol and drugs all day and night and its not just adults but also school going kids and they have a grudge against Indians because that small section of people are jealous of how Indians are growing and ruling the world and how they are doing too good for themselves in every field and you see Indians in every company at all good posts.
So even I experienced these kind of groups of crazy people who are either high or drunk but the best way is to not react at all, as they will pass comments and all kind of comments like 'go back to your country' and all but people specially students should not react at all and rather should behave like they didn't hear anything. They should totally ignore them and try to get away as far as they can from them because at the end Indian students should realise that it's their country and we are just there on a temporary visas.
Another thing I read that Australian government is trying by counselling and helpline but believe me that won't be of any help as these incidents happen in an instant, one will get no time to react or even call. Another problem Australia has is that they have very small number of police force and they can't manage everything.
Best way to escape is not to react and argue because these kind of people you can see on every weekends.

So don't even look at them otherwise they will get a reason to pick a fight by saying what you looking at mate!
So please don't listen to them, don't even look at them and don't argue at all just get away from wherever you find this kind of guys. Because at the end we should remember that we are there to study and make our career and these kind of group of people will try their best to provoke us and pick a fight.
So just stay focussed.
That was my experience and hope it makes a difference.



I am writing about the recent racial attacks in Australia. I am of Indian origin but was born and brought up in Melbourne. I see many root causes for these attacks. Although many people might not agree with my analysis I find that what I write below is accurate and is based on first hand observations. It is all well and good to think of ideal situations where everyone likes each other but reality is different.

1. Recently (over the past few years) tens of thousands of Indian students have been coming to Melbourne. Now most people are accepting and friendly but when you have a flood of students all from the same country its gets a bit overwhelming. Since so many Indian students come together it also means they never have to assimilate into Australian culture and they are happy to just speak Hindi etc and act like they are in India. When you have such a drastic change in society it results in lots of resentment. You have a situation where all of a sudden your city is overrun with foreigners who you can never relate to since they speak different languages and have a different culture etc. Multiculturalism works but only if it is done slowly. What we have in Australia is a situation where too many Indian students came too soon. It just does not and will not work.

2. Most Indian international students don't know basic manners. They shout loudly in public in Hindi or some other language. They pick their nose in public. They play Bollywood songs loudly on their phone speakers while on trains thinking everyone else wants to hear it too etc. They don't realise such behaviour is considered very bad manners here.

3. Most Australians feel international Indian students are only here to get PR/ Residency and don't really care about the country. When every single Indian student you meet keeps talking about immigration/ PR etc it gets a bit annoying and sounds very desperate. Again this causes underlying resentment.

4. What I don't understand is why Indians are so obsessed with sending their children overseas. Why isn't India good enough to educate Indians? It is such a waste of money, which could instead be used to build many fine universities in India itself. With regards to racism, I don't find Australia racist at all. Like I said I am of Indian origin but have never encountered racism in my whole life. Australian universities are desperate to lure Indian students here because of the money. That is it. So because of the money they let in too many international students without any regard to the social consequences. Hopefully the Australian government realises that multiculturalism is something that does not work on a large scale if done all of sudden like it has with Indian students here. Multiracial societies work but not if you are from different cultures. I hope your readers see this is the correct light. India does not need to send people overseas when it can educate everyone at home.


Hi everyone. I am Yatin Sony, an Indian student studying in Melbourne for close to two years now. The recent attacks on Indian students have resulted in Australia being labelled as a racist nation. It is not like that. I haven't experienced any such thing personally and neither do I know anyone personally who has been through any kind of racial abuse.

The recent attacks have been unfortunate but they are more situational and opportunistic in nature rather than racial. Indian media doesn't know that earlier this week an Australian was stabbed to death because he tried saving one guy from getting beaten up by two Asian guys. So things like this happen in every city in India everyday. And to be honest, if mobbing someone is racism, then I really do not think anyone can beat India in that.

When one comes to a foreign land as students, s/he should leave her/his Indian way of life behind and be ready to adopt the lifestyle of the country s/he goes to. If you have come to Australia, adjust to the Australian way of life instead of hoping that Australians will adjust to your Indian lifestyle. Also the basic minimum is to know how to speak English properly.

You are going to stay in a country where the spoken language is English and you should know how to speak that. Talking over the phone or with your friends in public spaces in your local language just irritates the people here. Do not get into a fight. All you have to do is say "Sorry mate, my bad" and see how it goes. In short,"Just drop the Taxi Driver mentality and attitude".


I came to Australia as a student in 1999, got my permanent residency and stayed on. I came at a time (in Brisbane) when there were hardly any other Indians around.
I now work at a place where I'm the only Indian, and yet we provide a service that is mostly taken up by an Indian clientele, specifically, Punjabi clientele.
And I have a different side of the story to tell you.
I tolerate all kinds of comments from my workplace colleagues everyday. Not about me, since I've been here long enough to assimilate but about the newer, Punjabi clientele who seem to be 'taking over' all the services provided.
Now, seeing some of the comments on this space makes me worried: it seems the tips seem more to be for self-protection and avoidance but it also amounts to censoring your actual self, just because you're in the presence of Aussies.
If you're out in public with your friends why can't you talk in Hindi or Punjabi or Gujarati or any other Indian language you're comfortable with? Why do you have to switch to English just because you're in the presence of other Aussies? If they think you're 'odd' or 'weird', that's a sign of their ignorance. You shouldn't have to alter the way you communicate for the sake of strangers, just because of some odd assumption that English is an 'okay' language to speak in, and others not.

The Chinese speak Mandarin, Cantonese and other dialects in public, Koreans speak Korean, Japanese speak the Japanese. They do not express any kind of embarrassment in speaking their own tongue in public. I do not see why Indians need to tailor their language then.
Please remember: You're high-fee paying international students with a valid visa. You have the right to be here. You have the right to work, study, and spend money for services and commodities as much as any other. Yes, you may have to learn certain ways of the host country, and understand the particular courtesies of communication, but the lack of it is no justification for any kind of prejudice against you, or acts of prejudice against you.
Believe in yourself, and your right to be here, and to achieve what you've set out to achieve. Jai Hind.

Nooney Vivek

I have been in Australia for more than six years in Adelaide and also in rural areas. I have never come across the sort of violence reported on Indian students as the ones reported now. I feel sorry for what happened to the students and would like to see justice done. To make the assumption that the whole of Australia is racist is taking it very far and holds no merit.

I have lived with Australians and there are fundamental differences between our cultures. We have to accept these differences and cant expect them to behave like we do and we can't expect them to behave like us. It's a painful transition for most new Indian students initially. I know of many Indians who have retained their core values without ending up in a fight.

It takes a bit of courage to stand up without compromising your values. If there is anything to be concerned of it is the misuse of drugs in Australia especially teenagers. Probably some of these teenagers who attacked the students might have poor parenting to blame for and also drug/alcohol abuse. 

I feel that the media is overreacting and making a sensational issue while there are more pressing issues that concern the broader good of people living in India and Australia. It's a fact that some students have been attacked. I would let the judicial system of Australia, which is very effective to take the necessary course of action.

I am in a new country and I have to adopt their language and culture without compromising an ounce of my culture. It's easily said than done but it's a very interesting journey. 

Anindya Sankar Chattopadhyay

I studied in Australia for two years starting from 2005 and I graduated in 2007.  Truly speaking, I never faced any violent racist attack ever. Also my experience in Australia has been truly great and wonderful.

Few suggestions for students coming to Australia:

1. Try to mix with local people as much as possible. Don't hang out only with people from your own country. You should mix with both

2. Avoid speaking in your own language loudly in public places and also in front of other Aussies you know. That's regarded as a bad manner

3. Always travel in a group at night and don't travel in public transport late night alone.

4. I think Indian government has got a big role to play in forcing Aussie government take care of the students and provide all sorts of help and security.

5. Always maintain a friendly attitude with other people.

6. The educated mass of Australia is one of the best I have come across. It's really the drug and alcohol fuelled teenagers who create all these problems mostly.

7. Racism exists in every country. But I believe if you are good then they would also be good.

8. Never ever just give up if some one says something bad about your country. You should definitely raise your voice and explain why they are wrong.

Sushim Mukul Roy

I have been a student in Australia for the last four years and I am studying in Monash University, Melbourne. Suddenly in the last few months, things changed drastically where some Indian students were brutally bashed and also killed. This is very unfortunate and any justification to this is a wrong. Maybe some of them
were opportunistic while others may be racially motivated. However, none of them can be justified.

Now, the perpetrators of these are teenagers who are given special immunity by the law. So, one has to be careful and protect him/her self. There is a difference between an Indian student and an Indian who has obtained residency here. The former is more vulnerable. Hence, the Indian students should try to keep themselves away from troubles as much as possible like avoiding lonely roads in unsafe suburbs, lonely train stations etc.

They should try to keep away from troubles like those on the weekend nights at the city streets and stuff like that. Keeping away from trouble and not letting yourself fall into provocation like abstaining from answering some wrong remarks is the best way. Try to avoid trouble as best as possible.

However, if these don't work and if you have to go through some lonely station at night or travel in lonely night trains due to some compulsion then keep in mind the following:


The Australian government also understands that.

If someone attacks you without provocation in spite of your trying to avoid the situation, in that case, face it immediately in the strongest possible way. Offense is the best defense. If the guy/guys gives you a punch, do hit him back in such a way that it temporarily immobilises him. At least one in a group. The group members are
really 'no hoper' kind of people. They do not come to attack you with lots of confidence and a straight spine. They do it under substance abuse like alcohol, drugs and peer pressure. Just hit one back quite hard to temporarily immobilise them.

Definitely don't aim to hit in a way that they might die. Then immediately inform the police by dialing 000. The police, the law of the land in Australia will understand. They give you the right to defend yourself. None will throw you away for trying to save your own life. From the past track/police records everyone will understand who is the criminal and who is innocent.

Finally, don't panic. The worst thing is panic. It is very good that the Indian newspapers reported the incidents and that made the wheels turn. However, panicking leads to loss of reason can gives rise to much bigger problems. Don't unnecessarily panic.

One last thing: stuff like talking among fellow countrymen in native language or over the mobile phone in native language is perfectly fine as long as you maintain the decorum of raising your voice above normal limits. Definitely in your group if there is a non-native speaker you should speak in English. However if all of you are from the same place, just speak your own language. It never matters what language you are speaking among your own group.

Others are not interested in the subject matter. Just be yourself. But in a moderate way. Talking over the mobile in mother tongue should not be that loud so that your voice would almost reach the other person's ear. That's normal decorum.

Just have a good time and don't have to be afraid. Australia is a civilised country and sensible people live here. The teenagers/ thugs who did these assaults are just wrong elements of the society. They are not the face of the general society. These will just go away with time once the proper authorities are notified. The speech of Consulate General of India was meaningful enough and her arrival in Melbourne made a lot of wheels turn. Things will be fine soon.

If you have studied in Australia and have tips to share with other readers on how to avoid being attacked, please do e-mail us at with the subject line Avoiding racial attacks. Your name and identity will not be disclosed unless you want it to be revealed.'

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