Wednesday, December 17, 2014

                                    Thinking beyond boundaries.....

              As I see this prize winning Google Doodle image, I feel proud that a young girl has risen above animosity and chauvinism on the basis of those fictitious boorish lines that demarcates the boundaries of the various states of India .Full credit to the girl Vaidehi Reddy, who with her awesome painting has united the country by crossing the barriers and borders of Andhra/Telengana and Maharashtra(I understand she’s domiciled in the city of Pune) to reach one of the seven sisters, showcasing the rich flora and fauna of Assam aptly titled as ‘natural and cultural paradise.’
                      The preconceived attitude and notions that exist in our minds to discriminate people based on their birth or habitat in a particular geographical territory is prejudice of the worst kind. Starting from the subtle dirty stares to gross condemnation of people and their cities prevail and flourish in our country despite the modern outlook and exposure to alien lands and foreigners. People despise one another for their nationality or statehood, religion, language, caste, gender, culture, colour...and this list is endless. Be it at work or at college or in a club or a pub or while in a public place or transport, the obvious tendency is to get attracted to one of a ‘kind’, a chikni Dillite chootiya, a jhakkas and bindaas amchi Mumbaiker, a Punjabi kudi, a lollufying machhi, adipoli mallu, a kaam sarsey Bongo or a kaaaho Bihari babu! Our relationships are therefore defined strongly by figmental contours of expanses, neither familiarity breeds contempt nor there is unity in diversity.
                 Racism of this kind lurks in every nook and cranny, from the mighty politicians, who never believe in sharing the God given resources with neighbouring states and hasten to “dam(n)” it and annexation of lands, a la Moghul style even when they cannot rule their own existing state or further dividing the country into more states, to the bollywood actors who, in order to hard sell their movies wear lungis to impress the ‘down south’ and vice versa.
                 Zooming in further let me narrate couple of experiences and I apologize sincerely to my readers for using nativity prefixes in these cases – this was done only to emphasize the gravity of discrimination. My fellow residents are akin to an India with unfriendly neighbours and with whom the maxim ‘love thy neighbour as thy yourself’ hardly works. There is this recluse Punjabi who has never said hello but easily copies whatever I do, right from drawing kolams to decorating the house on festive occasions – a typical made in China stamp! Then there is the Telugu speaking clan who look the other way whenever we cross each others’ paths – like Sri Lanka do with Tamils! Of course, how can I forget to mention the Talwade family, so very annoying similar to pesky Pakistan!  Friendly neighbourhood....bah...who said so...only state prejudices!!!
                 I was a witness to a conversation taking place between a Gujarati mother and her five year old son, who was pestering her to let him swim. The mother could have refused by saying “No beta you will catch a cold or the water is dirty” but she said “beta, look at the boy in the pool, see how Kaala he is, you will also become black if you get in.”- Wonder how Dhoklas give fairer complexion than idlis! The seeds of discrimination are sown then and there and the boy will decide who his friend is going to be, ONLY by the colour! I am saddened to add that my own kith and kin owe their allegiance to the domiciled city and swear by the alien language to “belong” or to “adapt” and conveniently forget their mother tongue. Adding insult to injury is the utmost contempt for other cities and its folks – is it because they do not eat vada pav or gol gappas or bisi bele bath! Truly agonizing to say the least! Hoisting of the state flags are celebrated with more fervour than even our tricolour!
                        Can we rise above this narrow minded sectarian and parochial mindset of intolerance on which our society rests and lay a foundation to think beyond state provinces and prejudices and feel ‘Indian’? No doubt, it is an uphill and daunting task, but I am sure my intellectual friends and family will start thinking of the nation as a whole and not in piece and parcel, ruled by crude lines! There are indeed do-gooders too who respect and regard you for what you are and not for where you are from and may their tribe increase – “Abou Ben Adhem!”
 Janagaamana-adhināaka jaa hē bhāratabhāgyabidhātā!
āba sindhu gujarāa marāhā drābia ukala baga
bindhya him
ācala yamunā gagā ucchalajaladhitaraga
taba śubha nāmē jāgē, taba śubha āśia māgē,
āhē taba jaagāthā.
amagaladāaka jaa hē bhāratabhāgyabidhātā!
a hē, jaa hē, jaa hē, jaa jaa jaa jaa hē..
        Each time I sing our National anthem, an unique and indescribable sense of patriotism swells my heart and I dream of Jambudweepa Bharatavarsha that is one single mass of land devoid of confines that rule and divide the nation- no lines, no zones and no states to distinguish the lands and their settlers and the associated discrimination, prejudices and xenophobia!
          Let us add this noble dimension to our personality and think beyond boundaries.                        


  1. Couldnt agree more! Diversity is a double edged sword. Great read.

  2. Wonderful! I totally agree with you.

    I loved Google's theme of the contest- kids had to draw- the place in India they wish to visit.
    Nice that the NE got focus.
    People from East India lose out as they are thought to be "backward". I have faced such discrimination when I studied outside my state...
    Wish people will rise above & recognize themselves as Indians...

  3. Thankyou Shaun and Anita for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this one!

  4. Yes, we must think beyond our prejudices. It's a beautiful doodle by her.

  5. It's ironic, more people from all parts are flocking to the cities, but they still find it so difficult to let go of their (irrelevant and unfounded) prejudices!


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