Being Indian

A friend of mine who lives abroad recently posted something about a business establishment being racist. I was not particularly horrified or bothered. But my friend was. She continued to talk to me about how this was increasing and that some action must be taken. She talked about her other friends who thought they faces racism too. I wondered if she was not aware of the words she was using. Perhaps she wasn’t. It is in our psyche to use identification words of caste, religion and region.

As Indians, we are notoriously racist. We are also corrupt, sly, and selfish. And we are in denial. And a little delusional. And apathetic.

When any of these points are mentioned in polite company, statistics are often pulled out to show why we are like ‘this’. In a nation of over a billion people and many of them starving, how is it possible to be fair minded and pure and honest? How often can someone care about the state of things because they’ve been bad and they will continue to be bad? Hence, the apathy as a form of self protectionism.

I’ve perhaps used these arguments myself sometimes.

Of course, we all try to argue that we care when we can. We care by sharing that photo of a poor boy on Facebook, in some delusional hope that it will get him money. We share photos of people gone missing, or molestations, abuses, various view points, more satirical photographs and trendy motivational quotes. We are asked to sign petitions, join a candle light vigil and ‘like’ a photo if we care.

Do these work? Is it just my cynicism that makes me think this is a big pile of bullshit?

Our basics haven’t been right for a long time. When we argue about politicians, we argue about who is the lesser evil, not who is better. We have never outgrown the mindset, or bothered to try to outgrow, of classifying people.

True, we often classify people geographically, but in India we have  South Indian, North Indian, Punjabi, Delhi-ite, Mumbaikar, Bangalorean, AP guy, Hyderabadi, Bihari etc… and then we have further classifications of Baniya, Marwari, Chinki (forgive the use of the word, Mr. Government) and plenty more.

You are who your ancestors were even if you are working in the same cubicle and all working on your computers for the same thing. And there are attitudes associated with each of them.

It is increasingly frustrating to see the regionism take hold stronger every day. That we are pushing people harder into the slots that we have created for them.

The little freedom that existed for a little while seems to be fast disappearing. The government doesn’t want you to talk anything it doesn’t want to hear, nobody really wants to do anything but make money… and we complain that the whole world is racist and against us.


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