Saturday, September 27, 2008
I had a conversation with a dear friend on the whole Raj Thackeray story and here are some thoughts post that. As a Tamil from Kerala bought up in Mumbai and living in Bangalore, I am all and none of the above. I love the food and language and the culture of all these places. I think each of these states is amazing in their own right. But trouble is, in reality, people like me are nowhere. We are not "localites" in Mumbai or in Kerala or in TN, we are surely not localites despite being in Karnataka. We can speak the languages of all 4 four of these states (and then some) and easily pass off as a localite in any of these places, yet in this petty claims of identity, we lose. Each time there is some altercation on the street, the "local" bogey is raised - as if we are infiltrators in our own land. This has happened in each of these places and each time one side makes the issue into a local versus outsider issue, rather than an issue on who broke a rule.
Yet, it is these sort of people who make India what it is - the people who are exposed to more than one type of Indias culture. And you realize it best in a place like Mumbai - Bangalore to a lesser extent.
In Mumbai, nobody asked what language you spoke at home. Where you were from did not matter. You were a Mumbaikar and thats all that mattered. In Bangalore, I realized that people enquired and slotted you depending on where you came from, what language you spoke etc. That, to me, was my first experience in how it mattered. But being a Mumbaiwalla, I quickly sought and remained with other Mumbaiwallahs while other cities and groups and towns and streets and colleges congregated among themselves.
Sadly, each of these cultures thinks the other culture is inferior. Indeed everybody thinks the other is inferior. In this whole shindig, we lose out on our commonality. The commonality of the nation, perhaps religion, shared history is forgotten. What remains of the commonality is the work that we do, where it does not matter what your background or foreground or forehead is. What you do is what matters and depending on how we do it, we get paid.
Thank god for work...unless of course, you want to bring reservation in the private sector.