No more Nido Taniam’s: Let’s kick racism out ! An event organized by FIIOB in association with Goalden Times.
Nido Taniam is no more.
Who is Nido Taniam?
Nido was a student of Lovely Professional University. On 29th January, 2014, he had gone to Lajpat Nagar along with a friend and was looking to find an address. There Nido and his friend got into a brawl with the local shopkeepers who had mocked him about the colour of his hair and his red trousers. Police had intervened and the two parties reached a mutual understanding at the local police station. The police then dropped them off near the location of the first brawl where another argument broke out and this time Nido was severely beaten. He was taken to the hospital, where he died next day.
And why was Nido mocked?
Because he was from the North East, he was racially inferior to the shop keepers of Lajpat Nagar, or at least that is what they thought. Yes, racism is very common in many parts of India. It is kind of in-built and is probably inside most of us waiting for an opportunity to come out. To put it in simple words, racism is a curse in human minds due to lack of knowledge. Yes, that’s what it is, study the DNA mapping and you will know it. If you believe in science and human evolution, then you will appreciate that – we all are related to each other, we share a number of DNA base pairs, thus we all belong to same race – the human race. Without getting much into the scientific details, it will suffice to say that some individuals who are only interested in proving that only their stay on this earth is worthwhile, while the rest are meaningless, exercise racism. The world will definitely be a better place without these kinds of notions.
But why football against racism?
Football is a global game and it is deep inside the living system of many societies and nations. With various leagues allowing foreign players to play in their clubs, football does not have any boundary. But you cannot expect people or supporters from all continents being perfectly hospitable or perfectly knowledgeable about the human race. Hence this hatred. Some people are not used to seeing people with different skin colour, people with different culture and language in their country playing football. Hence all the monkey chants to the African players, banana skins, and various other remarks to the Asian players, various ways to demean the existence of some human beings. I would just mention some names, like Emile Heskey, El Hadji Diouf, Finidi George, Patrick Viera, Shaun Wright Phillips, Kevin Prince Boateng, Yaya Toure, and most recently, Mario Ballotelli. There were some Italian supporters who even went on to mention that “there cannot be any black Italians”. Time after time we have seen that these players from African origin were subjected to racist chants from the crowd. FIFA and UEFA have taken many stern steps to remove racism from football. To eradicate racism, the knowledge base has to be increased, and moreover, football, more football is needed to be played among people from various “so called” races, so that we can understand them better.
India is also not out of the racism picture. Due to lack of geographical and social knowledge, some of the Indian people forget this. The north eastern states of India are in close proximity to the south East Asian countries, compared to the western part of India. Demographics in that region and expression of genes in human beings of north east region are different from those in west India. But football unites the west and east. Baichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri, Renedy Singh, Shyam Thapa and many more footballers have had played for India and brought glory to Indian football. In many other fields, like science, politics, mountaineering, Indians from the north eastern regions have made the country proud.
Hence, this football event?
Yes. This event was the brainchild of Pushpendu Sarkar, co-founder of ‘Football Is In Our Blood’. When Pushpendu shared his idea with us, we at ‘Goalden Times’ latched on to it immediately. We invited a team constituting of students who have come from the NE states. Tenzing Palyon and his friends from the north east formed a team named ‘Colour Blind’. The event, named “LET’S KICK RACISM OUT” was organised on Sunday, 16th February, 2014 at the Presidency Jail ground, Alipore. A special thanks to Pushpendu Sarkar, Tamas Sinha, Arka Dasgupta, Tenzing Palyon and Debjiban Mukherjee whose strong organizational capabilities made this event possible in spite of the harsh weather. A minute of silence was observed at the beginning in memory of Nido Taniam, and then we celebrated our unity and fight against racism through applause, through football.
Three friendly matches were played. It was difficult to hold the ball, as the ground was slippery, but the ‘FIIOB’ team displayed great passing football, and the young turks from that team ran quite efficiently. The ball was getting stuck sometimes in the water, but nothing could have dampened the spirit on that day. ‘Colour Blind’ had started really well, and had even scored an early goal, but ‘FIIOB’ fought back with a couple of goals to win the match 2-1. In the next match ‘Goalden Times’ lost 1-5 to ‘FIIOB’. In the third and final match, ‘Goalden Times’ drew 2-2 with the ‘Color Blinds’.
Results are, however, not important in these kinds of events. It’s a voice. It’s a voice against racism. It’s a voice by football. The members present on that ground on Sunday, 16th February, had successfully raised their voice. The day ended with the presentation of a memento to Tenzing Palyon and his team “Colour Blind” and with much more promise to unite against racism in future. Tenzing Palyon condemned the loss of Nido. He stressed upon the fact that football can unite us, and this event will ensure more cross culture interaction and understanding among people. Arka Dasgupta and Tamas Sinha mentioned that this is a message of brotherhood, and people across all states came together to play football, and through football, we can eradicate racism.
What can we do join this fight against racism?
Spread the word – uneducated people, unreasonable people, inhuman people, cold freezing weather, incessant rain and mud, and no other worldly condition can deter us from raising our voice against racism. We chose to raise the voice through football, you may choose your own medium, but it is high time we kick this curse out of our society.
Photo Courtesy : Krishanu Chanda