One of Germany’s most venerated weeklies, Der Spiegel, is mired in a row over racism with its former South Asia correspondent Padma Rao. The only foreign name on the magazine’s editorial imprint during her stint with the publication from 1998 to 2012, Rao says she was denied a permanent contract and never given the same pay and added benefits that German correspondents with profiles identical to hers received. All because she happened to be non-German.
She was told explicitly in an official letter that the only thing that stood between her and a permanent position was “the beautifully-written story, as can only be expected from a native German speaker”. Although fluent in German, Rao says she always wrote her stories in English—as agreed with the editors who hired her in 1998. This had never been a problem. “My predecessor, Tiziano Terzani, an Italian, did the same thing. And he got the same pay and benefits as the German employees, but that, as it turns out now, was because he was European,” she says. “And my stories (the ones she filed in German because of tight deadlines) were edited not any more, nor any less than those written by native German speakers,” she adds.
Her suit at the Hamburg court was dismissed, “arbitrarily”, in October 2012 and she was offered Rs 6.9 lakh as compensation. Rao refused. She now plans to file a case with Delhi’s labour department if the magazine does not respond to her legal notice by February 21. In it, she has asked them for Rs 1.25 crore in lieu of non-payment of benefits for 14 years. An email sent by Outlook to Der Spiegel went unanswered. Rao may yet have hope. In 2008, an American journalist working in India for AP was awarded a sizeable compensation by a labour court in Delhi after her lawyer successfully argued that she had been sacked without reason.
When Rao worked for other German media outlets, such as ard TV in New York and New Delhi, she says, she was given the same benefits as others. Why then, one might ask, did she decide to stick with Der Spiegel despite the unfavourable conditions? To which she replies, “Who says no to a name like Der Spiegel? Also, please appreciate that I am a single mother and needed the money to support my son. Above all, my earlier bosses there never humiliated or degraded me, like the present ones have.’’
I can’t believe it, a liberal newspaper like Der Spiegel that talks of Islamophobia every day exhibiting such prejudice against an Indian (The Coloured Text, Mar 4). It’s like a comment about Germans I once heard: "Germans will never forgive Jews for the Holocaust!"
That doesn't prove anything Pasha. Even in countries without "Brahmins" and "Chamars", there is little or no social interaction, only some platitudes. India is a poor, overpopulated, semi-feudal country that is recovering from centuries of ravaging by European and Islamic invaders and colonists. India at least has an excuse, if not a reason.
Why blame Germans?
We, Indians are the most XENOPHOBIC in all forms, ethnic,sex, regional,linguistic, religious and caste and many other forms.
Did any one ever found a Brhamin sharing food with a 'dom or chamar'?
Nothing new ,Germans are (in)famous from being the most racist in westen europe.
All immigrants face discrimination, it just varies in degrees.They just tolerate you , not accept you.
The whole of Western Europe (whites mostly) do consider themselves to be superior to Asians at least in Asia. The same "different pay" rules apply to us as well. Whether it can be labelled as racism is another story.
Northern America maybe another story in terms of talent recognition.
Der Spiegel is hypocritical and arrogant. From both this incident, which looks like a clear case of ethno-racial bias, as well as its stance against so called Islamo-phobia. Let Germany experience 20 serial bomb blasts( or even 5) on its soil, then see the result. Der Spiegel will sing a different tune, or will be forced to. It's easy to speak out against Islamophobia, when you haven't even had one single Islamic terrorist attack on your soil. It's easier to send pompous, gassing scholars to India to investigate Islamophobia in India. Utter creeps.
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