Ignorance has been and may remain the fulcrum of all woes. We simply can’t write it off with pretentious defence.
This brings to us a pricking issue wailing for attention – half-hearted knowledge Indians have about fellow Indians andIndiaitself.
Like a curious jerk I tried to open as many windows as possible to spot the origin of this 21st-century indifference. And I think I have spotted some reasons taking me closer to origin.
The man in his traditional attire in south is hardly aware of mekhla; the young vendor in Majuli island may not know how Kannada is different from Karnataka. I have heard people confusing Shillong with Sri Lanka and mistaking Sikkim as foreign soil. Even if I mellow down the intensity of divide, it is difficult to cite something less painful.
Reality is even bleaker. Indians refuse to revere differences. On top of it, they learn (to nation’s dismay) to become jingoistic at a very local level. When you cannot look beyond Rajputana courage,Patiala lassi, Bengali cultural showiness and Goanese snug, you are not fitting yourself into the fabric of Indianness. It is we who are creating tiny islands and sailing away from the mainland.
What can then hold us together and convert this nuclear mindset?
Encourage people to travel beyond their towns, their districts, their states and embark on a reformatory trip to neighborhood. But. With a receptive mind. Don’t let judgments muddle their thinking and the process of forming opinion. A non-partisan view of the places and people can make every new place their second home.
Regional media come cloaked with region-centric issues. You would hardly see highly popular dailies promoting events and highlighting exclusivity and drabness of regions other than theirs. Assam Sentinel should proudly talk of Munnar’s idyllic setting and Kashmir Observer should dare to carryGujarat’s USP as an Indian state. This mutual admiration and recognition of each other is a crucial stepping stone.
I am not asking you to balloon the idea of unitedIndia. That will be too naïve. The little you can do and you should do is to feel proud of the country in its entirety.
You may find cesspools in the country, you may see gross happiness being mowed down, and these warrant a sensible criticism. Every Indian needs gumption to raise voice against things unacceptable and that in turn should bring people closer. Don’t keep a fellow Indian at arm’s length since you never cared to peep inside his Indian being.
Use less of epiphany and stop singing selective eulogies. It’s a national ballad that should be sung in chorus.