Sunday, June 14, 2009

whose land is it, anyway?

Some Maharashtrians are totally cross with the bhaiyas. "So what if you too contributed to making the place what it is? Now that all's well, and Mumbai's become the land of opportunities, we'd like to thank you for your services, and ask you to vacate the premises ASAP. Oh yeah, we know to push and shove too, if need be."

Someplace else, a bunch (very small -thankfully!) of Kannadigas feel they've been shortchanged too."We need to reclaim our Bengaluru", they say.
A young educated lady, who's come back from Pune to Bengaluru, and works for an US based MNC (notice the irony) spits fire at a meek Malayalee salesman at a grocery store in Madiwala. "How could you work in a shop in Karnataka, and say that you don't speak Kannada? If you want to talk in Malayalam, go to Kerala and do business, okay?". And she triumphantly describes her valiance to her Mallu colleague who smirks, scheming in her little evil mind, about posting this interesting piece of acidic office banter at her blog. ;) (*)

Meanwhile, there's this bunch of woeful men in Mangalore, busy deciding and designing the new spring summer collection of women's wear for the Indian Woman of 2010. They kick started their ad campaign, rather fashionably at a local pub. And if media reports are to be believed, women all over India are so ecstatic about it, that they've been showering the team with their choicest pink under wears, and lending a lot of support with their handpicked caustic words. Latest on that was that they are busy recruiting designers from the best Fashion schools across India. The company somehow is untraceable after the Elections though (not-so-surprisingly).

At the other end of the spectrum, some enlightened people have made up their silly li'l minds, that fighting over religion is so passe. It's so 20th century-ish, you know. Welcome to the 21st century, we fight in the name of castes. Its so much more fun. For starters, we have more number of castes in the country, as against religions. And then, to add more fun to it, we also have divisions on the basis of languages, states, political parties, and sometimes, for the heck of it, we even do subdivisions in all these, just for the sake of variety. We're a very colorful bunch of people, you see.

In separate events across the country, religious leaders have started noticing a new worry line on their foreheads (God save their foreheads!). They are just realising that they've overlooked something while they were busy fighting with other religions and sorting out those petty caste fights within. This, now, has led to the outbreak of new hybrid sects like 'Hindu-Christian', 'Muslim-Brahmin', 'Parsi-Sikh', 'Bengali-Punjabi', 'Bihari-Maharashtrian', and some other more innovative combinations.
This implies that there will be new interesting sects to fight with.. which of course, is exciting them to bits. However, the low side is that these combo names are all so confusing (and tasteless too. -they maintain), and secondly, the followers of these sects are such dimwits, they don't even like fighting!
"I mean.. what's the fun!! What if all the pure breds convert to these hideous combo religions! What will that bring us to? The whole country will become so boring without religious and caste feuds, which incidentally happens to be our main source of entertainment besides cricket and politics, of course."

But hey, in case you are wondering whether we do feel like a country, like ONE, ever, then yeah!! what were you thinking of us? We feel proud when our national anthem rings, when we witness the Wagah border parade, while we do those candle light vigilance acts and... uhmm.. and.. err.. etc, etc. you know..

Remember our show of strength irrespective of political standings, region or religion, while we displayed our majority disgust against possibility of a woman of Italian descent's ascent to the Prime Ministryship of India?

No No. Don't you take us for some narrow minded, prejudiced bunch of people. We do get selectively broadminded too, like when someone of Indian descent becomes the Prime Minister of Fiji or the Governor of a US state. See?

So you see, we don't always discriminate in terms of caste and creed and region. Especially when someone from here, wins an Oscar award, he's no longer a Muslim or Tamilian or Malayalee. He's an Indian. You follow?

Now, we don't understand why the new US president is so rest-of-the-world unfriendly when it comes to letting us, smart outsiders work in their country(**). And now there's Australia which bashes up our people. We dont understand what's happening to the world! Why are they so intolerant? Why isn't their government doing anything? I mean, why are the people so unfriendly afterall?

And that too, to us, Indians of all the lot. We, the most tolerant people of all (specifically when we are outside our country). Rather, you should be thankful, we are gracing your country with our esteemed presence. You understand? We, who have actually invented and practiced the art of Racism, since time immemorial. You might find it amusing to know that our country's whole social structure was based solely on Racism. Now you know! We think it's high time we get "Racism" patented, before you guys get it also done like that infamous Basmati rice patent. Huff!

(*)Mostly, the original inhabitants of these cities are refreshingly cosmopolitan, which really helped the cities grow into what they are now. The people who have issues now, are mostly people from within the State, but outside the city, who are desperately putting up an effort to reclaim it, without realising that the city has long outgrown it's status of being just another State constituency.

(**) I wish he had better insight to realise that in a world which is truly globalised now, it is not practical wisdom to try and implement such a short-sighted approach.


  1. i think nobody likes getting beaten at their own backyard :( i mean, how come outsiders come here and take away their jobs. its another thing that the jobs may well be created by some other outsider!

    btw .. dont u think almost 90% of grocery stores (outside big chains like foodworld) are owned by mallus :) infact, am yet to se a grocery shop owned by a kannadiga :) how can the locals not get offended!

    and yeah ... i guess mallus are the most intolerent in their own state. they dont like people from other states, hindi wallahs, pandis, gultis ... whatever and oppose express highways, super markets, IT companys, fashion shows, america ... and almost everything seemingly alien! isnt that a gr8 ploy? the best way to prevent outsiders from taking control of our cities is to not give any job / business opporunities to anyone, including our own people

  2. @sandeep: you said it!
    that's exactly why I say it's high time we learn to look at things in a broader perspective.

    we can no longer think of getting away with playing this trick of booing / intimidating the competitors from outside anymore. Let that be someone who doesnt belong to the city, state or country.

    If it irks you to see that an outsider is taking advantage of what your land has to offer, then be a good sport, wonder why you never made use of that opportunity, and give him some good competition!!

    forget about just mallus. it's the same state everywhere.. be it Kerala, Bangalore, Mumbai, West Bengal, North India, Australia or the US.

    Everywhere, there are these bunch of cowards who have made up their minds that they are upto no good. Why else would one feel insecure about someone else's success? Its only when you feel you cant beat him ever, that's when you think of playing a racist angle like this.

    in a globalised world, no one is taking away anyone else's job anymore. you have it in you, then you prove it sooner or later. if you retort to cowardly tactics like bullying, then it'll help you only for a while, before it backfires. History has always proved it. Though we never quite make up our minds to learn from it.

    and on the grocery stores: i never quite understand why do people get offended by mallu chayakada/stores or international food/retail chains. For heaven's sake, they are just providing you their services. Dont like them? then dont go there. Go to your favorite store. But why crib about someone making some good bucks and whine about it like a loser? Fair, no? :)

  3. Earlier I was short-knowledged to believe that just ensuring people get 100% education would simply ward off such issues like a magic wand.

    Actually education has nothing to do with people's behaviour. In fact uneducated people would be more generous I think...

    Political leaders pour fuel to the fire often...

  4. AMEN to this post Usha! It's a brave and very genuine post. I share the exact sentiments with ya!

    **We, who have actually invented and practiced the art of Racism, since time immemorial. You might find it amusing to know that our country's whole social structure was based solely on Racism.

    Spot on!


  5. Oh dear god! are we so bloody insecure about our place in our own town, city or country? we need to grow up and learn to welcome outsiders into our home, not wake up and realise the true potential of our homeland after new people realise it. :)

  6. @sundar: yeah, right.. education and wisdom are not necessarily directly proportional.

    @keshi: thanks, Keshi!
    I made this post 'coz this issue's been really bugging me everytime I read or heard pretty prejudiced opinions on it.

    @ki: we say 'live and let live'.
    but we generally like to follow 'don't live well.. and don't let anyone else live better, either'.

  7. came here from Ki's blog and couldn't agree more.

    maybe I'm too puny minded but i never realize what problem could people of one sect could have with the other one , after all if they believe that one sect is 'taking over' their jobs , then they too are doing the same thing someplace else.

    The last paragraph was too true, a proof of which are the Amir Khan tourism ads.

  8. It totally made me rethink it in a different perspective..
    Though we keep accusing US of new age colonization, India subconsciously does her own subliminal colonization.We want everybody else in the world to be behaving according to the way we want!!
    How convenient and how prudent at finding blames...when we dont really notice or we choose to ignore the truth

  9. well written...its good once in a while to look into the underlying racism along with classism back home...people often dont bother to look into their own backyard before shooting blame at someone else...neverthless what happened in australia is reason for the same time its important that we clean our own mess too.

  10. @it2bt: welcome! :)
    yeah true, what goes around, comes around.
    amir khan tourism ads? need to check them out.. have been totally off the telly of late. thanks for the pointer!

    @jina: yes.. u're right. we conviniently ignore. we're so used to it. just like we are used to pointing fingers at others.

    @mathew: true. any act of racism/discrimination is equally condemnable. we just need to realise it applies to our own home grounds too.

  11. while i agree with you that india practises/practised the worst type of racisam, i cannot agree that this takes away our right to protest when our citizens abroad are subject to racist crimes

  12. @KPJ: Every human being has the right to defend his/her own right to live with dignity and self respect.

    My point is: The act is equally heinious if inflicted by fellow countrymen in one's own country, as much as it is for our countrymen in a foreign land.

    Now that we have our sentiments charged up against the act, why not do some much needed introspection and learn to be sensitive towards the racial discrimination we have been/ are practising in our home turf, subtly or otherwise?

  13. Simple economics at work yaar ! The force of a rapidly growing population against a limited amount of land, jobs, resources etc ; This stress is bound to happen.

    Sharing things happily is not aquality everyone has in the same measure right :)

    So if a Bhaiiya is snatching jobs in mumbai for a marathi manoos ; the Marathi Manoos is doing the same for someone else in USA maybe ! WIsh people could undersand this thing and be more tolerant !

  14. @sandeep,
    yeah you are true. Even I dont see kannadigas running grocery store in bangalore. But they are busy in running flagship ventures like coffee day, VRL, vijay bank,syndicate bank, karnata, canara banks and even infosys,tejas networks. So no time for grocery shops n all it seems.

  15. lol me too. Im so like u. I see ppl who r damn racist accusing others of racism, and I just wanna puke. Im glad u wrote this post. Cos I believe that looking ourselves in the mirror, before checking others out will solve alot of probs in this world.


  16. Exactly the same thoughts in my mind - about our opportunism and hypocrisy.

  17. high time we patent our racism theory and practice!!Actually I don't mind somebody else patenting it either, that way we would stop doing it:P

    well expressed Usha


  18. @shail: thanks!

    @PNA: I was reading an article someone wrote on the topic. Loosely translated, it meant that "internal" racism should not be confused with "external" racism. yeah right! the bunch of hypocrites!

    thanks for stopping by, PNA!