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A senior industrialist had a major “anti-Muslim Indian” moment in Thailand

Sangeeta Tanwar

Kishore V Mariwala, a former board member of Indian consumer goods giant Marico, has used his Facebook wall to express his anguish over rising anti-Muslim sentiments in India—especially how it is tarnishing the country’s image abroad.

In a post dated Jan. 5, Mariwala recounted a conversation he had with a manager at a sailing company while holidaying in Phuket, Thailand.

I was ashamed!

I have come to Phuket, Thailand for a sailing holiday. I have chartered a yacht with a skipper for sailing for a week.

On arrival here yesterday, I went to the chartering company’s office to finalise the arrangements. At the office, the receptionist took down all the necessary details & then asked me: Sir, you are from India. Are you a Hindu”? I said “yes, why are you asking this”?

She just called her boss, the manager. He came out & they both talked something in Thai language.

The manager turned to me and said “Sir, all our skippers except one have gone with our other yachts. The only one left is a Muslim. I hope you don’t mind that”.

I was shocked and asked “why are you asking this? Why should I mind?”

“Sir”, he said, “we read in the newspapers that Hindus don’t want Muslims near them so we were worried about it”!

I was ashamed beyond words. I explained to him that not only I, but most of the cultured Hindus don’t behave like what you must’ve read!

IS THIS IS OUR REPUTATION ABROAD- AMONGST COMMON PEOPLE?

I was really ashamed.

A billionaire with a net worth of $1.7 billion, Mariwala currently sits on the board of the non-profit Marico Innovation Foundation. The chemical engineer is also the founder-board member of the Indian Institute of Human Settlements.

His experience suggests Indians are being increasingly viewed as anti-Muslim abroad, especially since protests against the Narendra Modi government’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have grabbed global headlines. The law grants an easier path to Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—but pointedly excludes Muslims.

Mariwala’s nephew and Marico chairman, Harsh Mariwala, too, has expressed similar concerns over the ongoing developments in India on social media.

The industrialist’s tweet came in the wake of the violence at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) late on Sunday. The students at the central university are part of a growing tribe of protesters against the Narendra Modi government’s policies.

 

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