Research Paper: Discrimination Between UAE Nationals and Indians

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Discrimination and the Indian Population of the United Arab Emirates

Introduction:

The United Arab Emirates was formed in 1971 under conditions which

would separate it from the rest of the Arab sphere, achieving a unified

'trucial' status with the British colonialist force in the Middle East.

This would allow it to make the transition into independence without the

revolution and upheaval which had been necessary in so many other Middle

Eastern theatres. No doubt, its oil wealth and its receptiveness to

western intervention in the form of Foreign Direct Investment would help to

expedite and ease this process. Indeed, today, it is without competitor

the fastest growing economy in the Middle East. A variety of indicators

rank it amongst the largest economies in the world, and its major two

emirates of the seven (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) are top destinations for

multinational corporations, businessmen and unskilled laborers, all of whom

have tended to flock to the UAE for an opportunity index which appears as

exponentially better than most of its neighbors. In spite of this, the

Emirates continues to reflect a culture rife with inequalities and

prejudices, with the conditions faces by its Indian labor class chief among

examples of discriminatory housing, religious hostility, labor abuse and

repressive legal mistreatment.

Research Questions:

As we enter into a discussion of the social and economic

disenfranchisment of the Indian population of the UAE, the research will be

guided by broader questions concerning the private, professional and public

spheres of the nation as they relate to ethnicity, religion and

geopolitical orientation. Guided by the overarching research question,

which asks to what extent Indian Nationals face Discrimination and

inequality in the United Arab Emirates, the literature review will attempt

to engage a discourse on the complex array of intervening conditions both

within and without the Emirates that makes this so.

Literature Review:

A nation that is at once seen as progressive in relativity to others

in its region and which is yet given over to distinct imbalances in

ethnicity and gender-due in no small part to its religious uniformity-its

economic system proceeds in a difficult and somewhat contradictory mode.

(SR, 1) In a nation markedly composed, more than any other country in the

world, of immigrant citizens, and yet oriented toward an internal

development that might keep its citizenry apace with the progress courted

by its oil economy. (UNICEF, 1)

Indeed, the treatment which is given to many of the Indian expatriates

who have made their home in the Emirates is nothing less than explicit in

the terms by which it willfully seeks to isolate and disadvantage them. An

article from 2007 notes that, "an Indian National who has lived all his

life in UAE expressed his shock when the Giant Real Estate agents mentioned

that Indian customers would not be leased the apartment, and that they were

under 'strict instructions' from landlords to consider only Europeans as

tenants for the apartment." (DREM, 1) This is one of the many areas in

which there appears to be a cultural tendency to marginalize the

significant Indian population both economically and socially. In a region

where Islamic faith and capitalism run into each other with uncommonly

seamless interdependence, many of the global conflicts that impact this

relationship are evident in the cultural discomfort still evident

throughout the region and the Emirates in particular.

Among them, the tendency in the broader culture toward explicit gender

inequality and the tendency which denotes a sympathy for the conflicts

facing Muslims abroad both mark the UAE as being less culturally

progressive than its economic status seems to imply. The treatment which

Indians face in the UAE is both a racial prejudice and one with roots in

the highly charged conflict between India and its neighbor in Pakistan. A

concise reflection on the ongoing tension between the Hindu state of India

and its territorial adversary in the world's most predominantly Muslim

nation of Pakistan helps to underscore the cultural rift that manifests

throughout the eastern sphere of the world, with the Emirates demonstrating

the impact of a more highly integrated setting there within.

Pakistan's relationship with India has long been a defining element of

its modern existence as well as a high priority issue for the global Muslim

population. Particularly, the disputed zone of Kashmir has, throughout the

state's life been a cause for hostilities. "Three full-scale wars-in 1947-

48, 1965 and 1971-and a constant state of military preparedness on both

sides of their mutual border have marked the half-century of bitter rivalry

between India and Pakistan." (Kronstadt, 3) This rivalry would even

provoke the acquisition of nuclear weapons for both sides, with Pakistan

and India becoming the first two nations of the developing world to orient

successful nuclear programs. Beginning in 1972, Pakistan became an active

producer of nuclear power.

This would result in the 1988 India-Pakistan nuclear agreement, which

placed regulatory control over the production and demonstration of further

nuclear power. That breakthrough in relations would be followed by a range

of agreements between the two states intended to gradually scale down

military tensions. (Pojer, 1) Nonetheless, religious tensions continue to

dominate affairs in the Kashmiri region, coalescing in the 1998 nuclear

tests by both Pakistan and India. These alarmed the world community,

bringing about a greater recognition of the need for international

oversight of nuclear practices and invoking U.N. sanctions against both.

Still, this would set off yet another period of hot hostility between the

two nations, with localized skirmishes producing widespread violence and a

sense of lasting global hostility between Muslim populations and Indian

nationals abroad. At present, "India blames Pakistan for supporting a

violent separatist rebellion in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley that

has taken between 40,000 and 90,000 lives since 1989." (Kronstadt, 3)

Though the region is currently in a state of ceasefire, this is nonetheless

an uneasy and temporary peace with no defined resolution on the immediate

horizon. The result is that, even with hostilities at a temporary

cessation in the region, Indians must face open social exclusion or tension

in many parts of the Arab world. With the UAE being one of the chief

economic destinations in the region, it has become one of the likeliest

points of intercession for this type of interaction.

Thus, as we return to a discussion of the housing issue, we find that

like the ceasefire in the Kashmiri region, the official policy in the UAE

is one of intended compatibility but that behaviors still reflect the deep-

seeded and pronounced feeling of hostility between the demographics. (Bener

et al, 1) This is to say that legal policy does explicitly prohibit the

kind of discrimination which has locked many Indian citizens out of

housing. "But, the problem with such cases is that they are difficult to be

proven. After-all, the Landlord can always defend himself by claiming that

he refused the tenant for personal reasons. Nevertheless, in case racism is

proven, the trade license of the Landlord can be revoked by the authorities

concerned." (DREM, 1) This points to an imbalance that is not legal but is

truly ingrained.

But as the literature here encountered goes on to demonstrate, there

is a clear pattern of ethnic discrimination in the UAE on a wholesale

level. Tensions between Indian and Arab populations are certainly present,

but the modern capitalist integration of the Emirates belies a continued

sense of cultural and ethnic isolation betwixt groups that is most

certainly precipitated by economic interests. Where housing and employment

both are concerned, evidence abounds of a diverse but segregated society,

with a view of its most populated cities revealing "many signs . . .

demonstrating discrimination based on not only nationality but also by

which area of a country people come from, and by religion." (Seabee, 1)

Perhaps more than anything else, the conditions of segregation are

indicative of nation which has been integrated not organically but by the

call of capitalism, producing a widely transplanted and uncomfortably

diversified land in a region more often than not characterized by sharp and

sometimes violent forms of cultural isolation or division.

The socioeconomic motives hinted at here above do also have a strong

bearing on the nature of the discrimination, which assumes a distinct

economic hierarchy based on wage patterns derived from different national

backgrounds. Countless anecdotal cases have emerged in the literature

review to demonstrate that the correlation between wage and ethnicity is

based on views of the expectations that one's nationality will have bred in

terms of income. Such a case derived from an article in 2004 illustrates

this pattern. Here, "S.M. Kumar, an IT engineer, was offered a monthly

wage of Dh4,000 while working in his home state of Goa, on the west coast

of India. He thought his dream had come true. Dh4,000 meant Rs52,000. Only

when he arrived in the UAE did he realise he had been hoodwinked. His Arab

counterpart with the same qualifications, skills and experience was being

paid Dh7,000, and his Western colleague still more - Dh10,000." (Salama,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Discrimination Between UAE Nationals and Indians.  (2009, March 28).  Retrieved December 6, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/discrimination-uae-nationals-indians/961889

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"Discrimination Between UAE Nationals and Indians."  Essaytown.com.  March 28, 2009.  Accessed December 6, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/discrimination-uae-nationals-indians/961889.