Friday, April 29, 2011

A very thin line

I was reading the college prospectus today, and in the list of college societies, I came across "The Sindhi Circle" (or something similar). Now why was I suddenly on the verge of anger? Why did I want to scream, "Blasphemy!"? Then there was the Gujarati Association, the Hindi Parishad, the Marathi Vangmaya Samiti and so on.

I shouldn't have felt like screaming. Is it the world we live in, is it the values inculcated in us, that make most of us crinkle our noses at the slightest suggestion of communalism or linguism? These societies were founded, I can see now, with the best of intents: the preservation of regional languages and development of interest in them. Maybe I can blame the world (Religious factionalism and bigotry, Shiv Sena-MNS-ish linguism and regionalism) for making me paranoid. Or maybe I am right. Identification of communities, when used politically, often leads to loss of lives. I am not exaggerating.

Why, then, did I not object to the French Club or The English Association? These are languages, after all. All these societies receive the same platforms. Then again, there has never been any tension in India regarding the superiority of one of these languages over the other.

But people have always fought over Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati and several other languages; not to mention religions and castes. Are we, then, to lose all identity with regard to communities, make our surnames neutral, and blend into a homogeneous mass of a people with no variety? Or are we to continue to promote our own languages, dialects, religions, castes and risk going overboard like we always have?

Perhaps we should promote the communities of others, not ours. Utopia, I know. There was something someone (I don't remember who, it's very frustrating) said about how to keep discrimination at bay: breed with those outside your community, those outside your religion, country and if and when we come into contact with aliens, breed with them.
It isn't a foolproof method, but it's worked in the past. You can't tell an Aryan from a Dravidian now. Hail forbidden love!
I have a feeling it was APJ Abdul Kalam who suggested the breeding part. 


  1. Well, discrimination exists evrywhr and believe me, in india we are better off simply because we r confused. unlike the caucausian west there is no single sentiment of what traditionally is a superior race.So yes, we use it to collude, but not really to put each other down.

    i hope that is 'supposedly smart...'

  2. That is really smart, not supposedly. Insightful, and I agree.


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