Friday, August 5, 2016

The Great Indian dilemma – The feeling of being alienated

When all of India was sifting through the news of insurgencies at Kashmir and some of the soccer aficionados were celebrating Portugal’s win in Euro cup, somewhere in the capital city of New Delhi an incident happened which really put us all in a shameful position. It definitely forces us to introspect that either we are way too ignorant or way too condescending in our general demeanor.

The incident unravels...

A very senior Indian aviation officer posted in I.G.I airport questioned an Indian-Manipuri girl to prove her nationality to be Indian. Despite showing her Indian passport the officer remained in a state of disbelief. He persisted with his relentless interrogation by asking her to name all the Indian states and all other kinds of irrelevant questions.

We are flabbergasted and what makes us sad is that these kind of misdemeanours are being increasingly attributed to people who are in the top layer of the Indian government, ironically whose primary work is to assist the citizens & to serve the civilians of this country. And what further angered us was that the lady was enroute Seoul in South Korea to attend a global women conference. We can’t even fathom the horror of it all for the lady and the trauma she was suffering at the time of questioning. I mean, why the hell she has to prove her Indianess to any ignorant person let alone an immigration officer who can’t spot the difference between different races. His job entails him to be aware. That’s what he’s paid for.

A racial problem that’s rooted way too deep...

This is not the first time these things are happening in our country, now and then we hear news of racial behavior, racial slurs even racial attacks by all the bigots towards their Indian counterparts. The irony is if we face any kind of apartheid like situation in foreign countries where our people are targeted just because of their race, their accent &/or their appearance, we make a terrible hue and cry about it. Apart from social media backlash have we as a nation done anything about this deep rooted malaise? 

That official has slapped our “unity in diversity” claims, which has been our mantra for the longest time. This will surely be very harmful for our country and it will further alienate the northeast people. They who have to prove their patriotism just because of their slightly different physical features than mainland Indians will someday display their angst, and we don’t want that ever. These stereotypes need to go soon.

I believe India is big not just by its geography but because of its tolerant attitude towards every community irrespective of race, caste, creed and religion.

Let’s not malign its glory ever.

Prateek Bhatt
Student, INLEAD
INBM, April 2016

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