All of you who are currently reading this post, might be very much into the happenings in the Financial Capital of India over the last few months as well as happenings in some of the states. Last few months I have made me rethink on lot of issues and perspectives and I thought why not write a post on them. And so here I have collated my thoughts over that last 3 days and trying to put them into logical sentences.
The media - print and visual has been agog with news about how one regional political leader in his bid to gain popularity is stoking fires of regionalism and sons of the soil issues and damaging the basic ethos of our pledge in school - "I am an Indian, India is my country; All Indians are my brothers and sisters ......... " I dont know if they take that pledge in school these days and if they do, does it have any importance at all. How can one gentleman say that if one has to stay in a particular state, he/she has to learn and live by that language, job preference is to be given to the localites and local customs are paramount. That is what rankles my conscience, my thoughts. Are we living in a dictatorship / Autocracy? What happened to India's plurality? The last few months has seen mindless violence and brutality towards the poor north Indian migrants (taxi drivers, roadside snacksellers and rickshaw drivers). One needs to look at this issue in the right perspective. Why and how did members of a particular community occupy certain professions (at the bottom of the social pyramid) in such a widespread manner. What were the local leaders and their cronies doing all this while? It would not be difficult to see it from the concepts of demand and supply and a vibrant democracy.
I have also observed a strange analogy between Bengal and Maharashtra. In Bengal, one would find the migrant labourers as Taxi Drivers, manual rickshaw pullers, civil construction labourers and porters at the railway station. Maharashtrians as with most Bengalis, like to earn their two pence, live a peaceful life, enjoy their fish curry & rice, and indulge in cultural pursuits (read theatre, music and art). Both the communities (the city dwellers) are not much attuned to hard manual labour. And probably thats where the so called "migrant" workforce filled up the gap. One would however need to consult a historian and anthropologist to find out the real reason.
Its important that the common educated man realises that we are being stupid by being conned and its not the leaders. They are a smart bunch of people who knows that we have stopped thinking collectively, ethically and straight. The Marxists in Bengal stopped the teaching of English Language in school till Standard 6. The common refrain was again "cultural degradation". But surprisingly, the children of these leadres were all going to reputed convents across Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta). I was agahst at seeing the Govt textbooks of Standard 6 teaching the student the basic alphabets of English(see google u will find it). That was the mid 1980s. Cut across to 2008. Another state, another leader has raised the issue of regional identity. The children of such regional leaders though vouch by the international schools with astronomical fees. Some of them are also high profile real estate business men. A pertinent question that one should look into is how many of these real estate tycoons have actually contributed to something as socially relevant as "affordable housing" or any other socially relevant issues? Our infrastructure is not at all comparable to other countries of the BRIC nations, our healthcare system is relegated only to the cities and we have an education system which has almost nil practical utility. We are still harping and aiming at 8-9% GDP growth. How much of this growth really touches the 70 % of population which constitutes the have nots?
It leaves me all afraid. No regional identity as such and no political support existent. What do we give little ones as legacy? Where does they stand in this divide of caste, regional identity, and religion identity?
Are we paying a price being an educated, hardworking and nationalist Indian and not regional in mentality? India is not about religion, caste and region. India is about Oneness - the oneness of spirit and oneness of being together. I will hang on to the hope that things will change. We will be the change. If everyone of us starts thinking of being the change, we can bring in a revolution - a la KAIZEN (the Japanese concept of individual incremental change bringing in revolutionary change). Lets all ask for it.
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