Monday, 8 June 2009

India - a mythical concept.

Our growth is accompanied by a set of beliefs that we nurture with time. One such belief was a universal concept of India as a nation. Imagining India to be a country formulated out of its own birthright. However, with time the building blocks of this belief eroded. What I found was ; India was a country formulated by the vested interests of middle classes of different regions located in topographical vicinity. India was just an incidental country formed out of the will of varied races to live in peace and prosperity.

And in doing so , India was no different from many other countries of the world. Why then did it hurt to realize this truth about India? Reason for that perhaps lies in the nature of freedom struggle that India undertook. India didn't exist , until revolutionaries came together and when they did come together, they provided and envisioned a uniform and single view of the country despite its vast cultural, linguistic, religious and social varieties. Considerable effort was made to drive home the point that "we" are one nation , and we should come together to face this oppressive regime suppressing our liberties. Literature played its part in enforcing this point,just as, "Jana Gana Man",took care of all the regions of the land. This redrawing of Indian political border, and uniting all of them under it , presented an illusion of a uniform India. I wasn't born in history , and thus I can't make objective remarks on the past, but it appears to me that , "India was united in adversity but is divided in prosperity".

Jingoism,parochialism, chauvinism, aren't new phenomenon to be observed. Mirage of human upliftment through education provides a mistaken belief of extinction of these terms. A non parochial India is an elusive dream, and will remain so , until the economical factors of the region balance out the inequities among different regions.

Shashi Tharoor in his masterpiece work on Indian history has aptly pointed out that India is a collection of minorities. Dividing lines are numerous, and yet it somehow manages to stay together. North and South, Hindu and Muslim, Bihari and Punjabi, Tamil and Kannadiga, the list is endless. And the truth is that it is a reality. Hence ,when those guys out there in Australia decry the attacks on Indian students as racism practiced by Australians, I would urge them to look in their own backyard and understand .Racism comes from the very notion of success and failure. Patronizing one person over another based on certain features acts as the roots of racism.

Why do I write such a wanton piece on India? Its because, its considered too sacrilegious a subject to be discussed, because its a sham to shout at the top of your voice to be an Indian , ignoring the hard facts in your backyard. I can recall what one of my friend, frustrated of racism against Northies in South India said, "India as a nation is a bogus concept. Administrative Jobs are popular because it empowers you over and above the fragile structure of Indian democracy. Common man like us will always have to bear this pain of racism." He was exaggerating for sure, but to what extent ?


Radhika said...

yet another guy confused between ethnicity and racism !!!

Siddharth said...


Ethnicity is the cause , but the effect is Racism.

An ethnic quality or affiliation resulting from racial or cultural ties.

Nonetheless, I do agree that that ethnicity is just one of the causes of Racism.

vidya said...

yes it is a reallity,racism indeed exists in India and we all practice racism.but I get confused with the concept of racism ... is it Racism if we call a guy from Bihar a "Bihari",
a Keralite a "Mallu" or Punjabi a "Punju" or we say "halwaai are kanjoos" ? ....

What is wrong in saying so? Why should this account for racism ?

I would call it wrong if they are deprived of their rights, harm they physically or abuse them in any kind . This is where racism comes to play . This is what was happened in Australia on Indians and if we decry , we do not need to look into our backyard , it is obviously wrong!!! .

How many in India would nurture the thought of "harming anyone" for the sake of "racism" ?

But yes , the major truth remains,people never distinct on regions , it only happens when the attitude comes into play and "when we somehow have to manage and stay together" ...

I have lot many examples to quote ..

Recently, there was a article on the newspaper titled ,"Is Bangalore going the Bihar way?"
" what was the Bihar way ? "
I wondered was it not kind of racism that is being praticed in public and no one points a finger at it ,not even the Biharis ?? !!!...

People do not distinguish persons based on regions ,they do so based on actions and I agree this to major extent.

Yet another example ...

I met a "Marwari" friend who asked me to give up convincing another "Marwari"friend because she was damn sure she would not listen cause "it is in their blood" ...

one more ...

One of my "north indian friend " said me not to get in touch with guys from her place because most people there "behave cheaply" ....If this was a statement made from a south-indian would this account for racism ? ... it would be obviously from the numerous examples
and experiences that they have had and that is what has ammended their thought ...

I guess major traits that the people show comes from the race , from the genes and nevertheless they exist , in a few in very minor extent(who get aggressive on the thoughts of racism) and in majority to a major extent(who feel proud of ). But they do exist and it is the truth .

Siddharth said...

Racism: The prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races

Now to answer your questions.

1st para: Racism is anything that ensues prejudicial discrimination.

2nd Para: This isn't racism.

3rd & 4th Para: The very same thing is practiced in India as well, prejudice along the racial is widely prevalent. However, to provide famous examples:
Mumbai mayhem , attacking Biharis and UP populace.
Assam - killing of Biharis and driving them out .
State Quotas:
1983 Sikh riots
Gujarat Massacre.

And these are only evident examples, non new making examples are harassment of outsiders in states like TamilNadu, and partly in Karnatka.

Remaining Paras: You need to be in the shoes of an immigrant to understand and experience "Racism" more closely and it doesn't necessarily means infliction of physical torture only.

The Truth is , Racism has its birth in the very notion of good and bad. When you distinguish and other as bad , you are prejudices against the other one and that is Racism.
Yet, physical violence associated with racism is the extreme form and should be condemned.

Its in accepting the truth that all human populace is unique and not a sum total of its race. Branding people into groups is the feeding stock of racism, the day that's overcome, the specter of racism would vanish.

vidya said...

"Its in accepting the truth that all human populace is unique and not a sum total of its race" ... I guess people very well understand that ...

Can you please elaborate this in simple terms ?

"The Truth is , Racism has its birth in the very notion of good and bad. When you distinguish and other as bad , you are prejudices against the other one and that is Racism."

"you need to be an immigrant to understand and experience", Would you like to share some experience ?

Siddharth said...

Not everyone understands it and that is the prime cause of concern.

Racism is a term for prejudice of one sect/group over another. If I know that x is a "good" man and y is "bad". I will always favor x over y. Thats the point I wanted to make.

There is no relevance in sharing objective events. If I have the sense of affliction It suffices to indicate that I must have had encountered it .

Lets not fight over it. I agree that , not everything is racist within our country, but certainly before decrying any other nation as racist , understand what racism means.