The ‘racist’ cartoon published by the German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ depicting India’s demographic change has created a furor in the country. The cartoon, which shows an overloaded train with people sitting atop it holding a tricolour while a Chinese bullet train is seen behind on another track, is seen as a portrayal of India’s outdated infrastructure and China’s technological advancement.
The cartoon has been widely criticized in India, with several prominent leaders calling it ‘outrageously racist’ and ‘disrespectful.’ Kanchan Gupta, a senior adviser at the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, accused Der Spiegel of trying to show India down and suck up to China.
The cartoon is particularly offensive as it perpetuates a negative stereotype about India, suggesting that the country is backward and incapable of keeping up with its more advanced neighbor. It also ignores the progress India has made in recent years in terms of infrastructure, technology, and economic development.
Moreover, the cartoon is reminiscent of the racist depiction of India’s successful Mars mission in a cartoon published by the New York Times in 2014. This indicates that such caricatures are not uncommon and that they reflect a broader bias against India and its people.
Not for the first time
Another Twitter user by the name Shubhangi Sharma said, “Germany honestly needs to get its act straight. It’s embarrassing enough that it’s political establishment along with its media are busy sucking up to China likes it’s a contest. Now Der Spiegel is trying to pretend that India isn’t going to overtake Germany as the 4th largest economy this year while Germany falters around recession alley, licking self-inflicted wounds, serving as a vassal state and having learnt no lesson in the process.”
The publication of this cartoon is a regrettable incident that reinforces stereotypes and undermines India’s image as a modern and dynamic country. The media should exercise greater sensitivity and responsibility in its depiction of other cultures and nations, and avoid such insensitive and harmful caricatures.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to Der Spiegel India vs China population comparison: