Saturday, January 19, 2013

Two Indias beneath the Rising and Shining Superpower

For the RSS chief Mohanrao Bhagwat to say that rapes don't happen in Bharat but in India would have been, I think, putting things too mildly. (Sorry for harping on this issue for too long but some basics need to be understood.)

I have suspected for long that there are two Indias beneath the surface. On the surface we are a rising, shining, superpower. And beneath it is the spectre of casteism, poverty and divisiveness. It is a division that exists in the mind, of course. Though we claim to be one we take the first opportunity available to express our displeasure for a certain community. We all do that with utmost ease. We even deride our own communities to express solidarity with our friends. 

Why this schizophrenia, why this utter lack of confidence in ourselves as a nation, a people, a country? I have wondered about this for long and arrived at a few generalisations.

Though a syncretic people, we are xenophobic, we don't acknowledge anything beyond our immediate family, which is what our people have encouraged us to do. When we are in a group, any other group seems alien, forbidding and fearsome. Why hasn't the government encouraged this syncretism by helping cross-cultural marriages with free accommodation and jobs?

We have a fear of cultural pollution which is why in a foreign city we establish our own Malayali Samajam and Bengal Culture Club. The concept of secular hasn't taken root into our minds the way it has in the U.S.A. There the Irish, Italian, German, British, and Africans, all have integrated many years ago into what they call communities based on the place they live. Here we live in alien communities to make an exodus every summer to our community in our native place, usually a village in the back of beyond.

So the question of why these two Indias (or many Indias) exist may be partially explained. As friend and futureologist pointed out India may divide within itself till the urban areas become something like city states. That's because migration to cities are taking place at an alarming rate and it might seem inevitable that cities may explode and take steps to preserve themselves in future. Outside these city states would be vast swathes of land owned by corporate companies, townships and gated communities. If you are not part of these pockets of affluence, tough luck, you will have to live with poverty, atrocity, rape, and mayhem. 

John is @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. He blogs here. His Youtube Channel Page. His novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

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