Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Regional Divide

(Before you start reading, a standing instruction/request – replace all occurrences of XYZ with a regional sect of your dislike; eg : Punjabi, Marwari, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Sindhi, Southie, Bihari, Orriya, and the list is end less – but I am sure you understood)

Some cliched phrases :

1) “India is a land of diversities”

2) “Unity in diversity”

3) “Hum sab ek hain”

4) Some “expert” comment on the pro-regional movements in India.

Well, few things are more irritating than any of the four listed above. We just love to harp on the fact that as a common man, we have no issues being secular and united. All Indians are our brothers and sisters and we love them all. We are so good – the perfect citizens any country could wish for. We literally walk around with an invisible halo on our heads!

But hey, hang on a second. I have a few quick questions. Your close friend/sibling/child is friends (or a little something more) with a person from some other region. Now honestly tell me, dont you jump to a conclusion based on the fact that the person is XYZ. Did you just look away? Ok, dont answer, I’ll still ask the next question. A subordinate of yours is XYZ. How often do you blame his/her incompetency on his/her XYZness ? Similarly, how often do you curse your boss for his/her XYZness ? Some more questions … When you relate your experience with someone, dont you mention his/her regional origins? Aaah ! The halo is suddenly dimming a bit… One last question, promise …. When you have to rent out a house/property to someone, dont you generally consider the XYZness of the prospective tenant?

Lets take stock of a few things. All of us, at some point or the other are guilty of at least one of the above. The regional factor does matter to us. Its not just the politicians who try to capitalize on this. Its high time we start judging individuals for who they are rather than solely basing our judgment on the gene pool of the person (another question I have here is “must we really judge people?” and “are we really the correct ones to judge others?” – but this is for another time). Studies have shown over and over again, that the environment in which a person is raised also makes a difference to the character. Till we are going to be so narrow minded in our approach, the bigger goons of the society will continue to restrict our thinking. Its for us to throw open those doors we have made for ourselves. Its time we challenged, respectfully, the evils of society and just made the crossing point of the good and the bad more bright so that people can choose wisely. And finally, its time we stopped criticizing those hooligans – atleast they are vocal about their true feelings and not like us – two faced beasts.


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