United We Stand, Divided…

mumbai_mns2.jpg We are moving towards “homogenization” of cultures and heading towards a coherent identity as a nation. Or so is claimed. The Great Indian Dream is to emerge as one of the world powers, powerful in its own right way, being the ideal for the globalized world, yet retaining the essence of its cultural ethos. As an Indian, I see the uniqueness of India; in its being a secular, multicultural nation, which aims and hopes to harbor, harness and welcome multiple religions, cultures and ethnic diversities in all their fullness. This dream sets India apart from other nations, in the race of developing nations and yet-to- be developed nations.

But, aren’t these only lofty words in the Preamble to the Constitution, or ubiquitous concepts reserved for the never ending speeches to be delivered at national and International forums ? They seem to have become an unfortunate mixture of hypocrisy and dual-standards , because the ground reality and the present situation actually spell out two different stories. Recurrent ludicrous incidents in Maharashtra, wherein the migrants have been brutally and barbarously, tortured for practicing their own cultures and accused of not showing respect for the local culture, prove this. What fanned these divisive fires was the fact that a few people from Uttar Pradesh celebrated the ‘UP Din’ in Mumbai. A state political party took the stand that migrants can show their respect for the local culture, only if they stop celebrating or even perhaps despise their own culture. And here we talk of Globalisation when we can’t even make peace with our own people and their different cultures!

The new realities are such that they allow individuals to dream but don’t give them the means to fulfil them in a practically feasible way. People from states with comparatively lesser opportunities and conducive environment to fulfil their dreams are helplessly drawn to these metropolitans; which they believe will sustain them. It’s true that everything has a price tag attached to it, but placing such high costs is surely inglorious, and leaves the proud Indian disillusioned at the end of it all. What is more hurting and insulting to the migrants from the targeted states is the unmindful generalizations that are used to justify the heinous deeds.

Recently, during an interview, an important political figure, issued a statement that migrants from UP or Bihar specifically are the people who love to or have the habit of breaking the rules. It was an audacious statement, almost akin to calling some states ‘hopeless’, due to their being inability to fulfil the dreams of their people or instill the right virtues.

Such incidents are infuriating, disturbing and disheartening to come across, but at a certain level thought-provoking too. We must place ourselves in the shoes of the immigrant populace ; it must be a harrowing life where a father leaving home early in the morning to earn a living for the family has no assurance of returning back safely. It’s true that there might be some amount of resentment among the Mumbaikars who claim that they have been denied work because of dominance by the ‘outside’ people, but there must be some more mindful, ‘cultured’ and peaceful ways to sort out these differences .

In fact, it is not only Mumbai, which is bursting with immigrant population. Recent, the Lieutenant General of Delhi also made a provocative statement based on generalizations of primordial origins and geographical roots. Even the plight of Taslima Nazreen is an exemplary case of secularism; the freedom of expression and democracy being misspelled and deliberately distorted just to achieve personal and political ends.

Certain opinionated individuals assume the responsibility of being the face of an entire people, and displace their perception with powerful oratory skills and utilize the prowess to elicit the mob mentality. The end result is that people who are loathe to think for themselves on issues get easily swayed , and end up doing things for which defy rationality and cripple human dignity.

Arpita Chakraborty

[Image Courtesy: www.zeenews.com/images/Mumbai_MNS2.jpg ]