Monday, January 29, 2007

The Dilemma of being an Indian

It’s tough being an Indian sometimes when you are a minority of a minority, let me illustrate it for you, the races of India are divided into these main sub groups according to the CIA database Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3%, and according to religion Religions: Hindu 80%, Muslim 14%, Christian 2.4%, Sikh 2%, Buddhist 0.7%, Jains 0.5%, other 0.4%

I am an Indian of Mongoloid 3% from one of the smallest states India whose population is just 0.090% of the Indian population and again happen to be a Christian protestant minority from the small state so you can just imagine the dilemma that I have to go through. Let me list some of the unpleasant things that I have to go through:

Where are you from, are you from China, Korea? – These questions pop up everywhere and these questions have been popping out to me as I’m usually the only person with mongoloid feature in my school or workplace. Even when I explain that I’m from Mizoram, they still assume that Mizoram is somewhere in China or Japan.

Do you Know Kung Fu? Most of my Indian brothers assume that anyone with a mongoloid feature is a Kung Fu Master, being a Kung Fu Master is not bad.

Being Harassed by Airport Officials for holding an Indian Passport, extra checking to see that I’m not some terrorist, if denial of entry to Tourist spots in India as we are not paying the foreign entry fee for visiting heritage sites in my own country.

Standing up to sing the National Anthem of my own country with no mention whatever of Northeast ( Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal and Manipur) but you sing to the glory of only the major languages.

Weather a small state like mine would ever have development when it’s represented by only a single Member of Parliament whereas big states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra & Tamil Nadu with their large contingent of MP’s arm twist the government into allocating more development funds for their own state. Even in a democracy like India where we have more than 10 billionaires, some states and some people are less than equal. I sometimes wonder if our Politician and bureaucrats are following into the footpaths of the Imperial British Empire despite the efforts of our freedom fighters. The present political scenario of India reminds me of the “Animal Farm” by George Orwell.

Being labeled a tribal – It’s sad that despite coming from a society where there’s no caste system, we are labeled as tribals. I only got to sense what it means to be a tribal when I left my state, I had no idea that tribals were clubbed together with the lowest caste in the Indian caste system. I had no idea that being a tribal had a negative derogatory label until I mingled with the Indian community outside of my community.

Glass ceiling for tribal people like me in the Corporate world. I was quite surprised that the upper echelon in Corporate India is dominated by Bhramin Indian ( supposedly a superior people according to themselves).. The majority of these bhramin have a perception that tribals are inferior to them in all aspects – sadly enough. When people from the corporate people parrot about the Meritocracy in workplace, it’s all a myth propagated by them to put the glass ceiling in place. It’s true all human beings are equal when given the same training and same opportunity but unfortunately in a country like ours some people are more equal than others.

I can never expect a President, Prime Minister from my state because of our small population, that’s a fact that I will have to live with.

Less Media coverage of the Northeast east and minor communities like us. Recently a Lady Boxer from our State, Jenny won a gold Medal in a world boxing championship which was never covered in the national papers which is not surprising given that the Editors would have correctly assumed that very few of their readers would be interested to know that a boxer from a remote area of northeast had won a boxing championship despite the fact that the same sports page giving full coverage to our hopeless hockey & cricket team.

Being fleeced by people – get out of a train in any major Indian city and try to boards an auto, it’s more likely that you will be surrounded by a pack of drivers or thugs just waiting for any opportunity to rip you of your money, the more ignorant you are, the more advantage they try to take.

Ok, Even if I try to understand their viewpoint- they've all got hungry mouths to feed but I wonder what’s being done to fix the imbalance of supply and demand here, every year there hardly seems to be any change. Too much demand for too scarce supply of goods like water, food, shelter, air to breathe is making Indian cities suffocating. With the poor hungry people starving and some even going to the extent of committing suicide, it’s an irony that some of the richest people on the planet are Indian, Indians on the Forbes billionaire list lionized by the press. With the kind of development that we are having, where environmental concerns are ignored, the kind of development where water tables are getting deeper and water more scarce, trees are being cut down and we’re having people dying of cold or heatstroke & the polluted air unbreatheable, yet we have people being celebrated for being on the top 10 billionaire list while people are dying of hunger, we have cities being cited as the next silicon valley like bangalore, Gurgaon, Hyderabad whereas we have pockets of poverty and backward areas in the country that are way back in the stone age with no literacy or proper Hygiene, no wonder we have seperatist & naxalite movements in the backward areas of the country. It’s sometimes easy to wonder if the Disintegration of India is at hand with this kind of anarchic functionalism.

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