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Kashmir through the eyes of a Kashmiri

May 6, 2009
tags:

A piece of news from the United States administration caught my eye today. It said:

A “substantial” change in the US policy toward India was visible under the Obama Administration which appears to have put China on a higher plane that its southern neighbour, former US Ambassador, Mr Robert Blackwill said on Tuesday. With Obama administration devoting enormous thought to Pakistan, the former diplomat cautioned that India may encounter eventual US pressure on the issue of Kashmir.

I guess in India we know that this is the reality, that this has been the reality for a long time. Kashmir is dragging India down. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if there had been no dispute over Kashmir, if we had it completely without a murmur of protest from Pakistan (an unlikely scenario) or if it had gone to Pakistan in 1947. India would have been a different country, far less violence and more focus on important issues like a decent standard of living for all. We would have been far ahead economically that we are today although I am not sure about what would have happened in Pakistan. If I had to climb into a Time Machine and go back to 1947 I would have liked to fix it so that Kashmir went to Pakistan. No, this is not about justice but simply about what was best for India, on hindsight. But now it’s too late. Kashmir is now an integral part of India although that piece of land has come at a very great price.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe if Kashmir hadn’t been dragging us down it would have been the north-east. It is known that China is meddling in the north-east in a bid to keep India in its place. China would be uncomfortable with a powerful competitor like India, a threat to its dominant position in Asia. Right now Pakistan is doing China’s dirty job. So if it hadn’t been Kashmir, then perhaps the north-east would have exploded…and there is no guarantee even now that it won’t.

I am talking as a citizen, not a political expert, and those were the thoughts going through my head when I had a visitor in the afternoon. He was a Kashmiri.

I had put up an advertisement for the sale of my Kinetic Zing and a young man called Amit came over to take a look at it. He liked it, and wanted to buy it, so we sat down in the drawing room to discuss the final price. He told me he was a Kashmiri although he had lived in Mumbai for many years…and it wasn’t long before the conversation turned to Kashmir…the Zing was forgotten for the next one hour as we sat and talked about Kashmir.

Amit is a young, newly married Kashmiri Hindu whose parents were refugees. They settled in Delhi about 15 years ago when Amit was still a kid and later Amit came over to Mumbai to do his college. This is what he told me:

There is some kind of support for militancy in Kashmir even amongst the ordinary people, but it’s not really always active support. I think they are confused. Every family has someone who has become a militant. So even if they are not in agreement with the views of the militants they do not oppose them as some family member is involved. They don’t know what to do, whether to support or not. I think about 15- 20% of the Kashmiri people are involved in actual militancy, the youth mostly, and the elders often don’t know about it. For the youth it’s become a kind of trade, a profession, a business. A way of making money, an occupation. Go and get training in Pakistan and then come back…

We left Kashmir in the early nineties although my grandparents refused to leave initially. We settled in Delhi. After one year even my grandparents left. It is impossible to stay or live in Kashmir. There is no security, whether you are a Muslim or a Hindu. Kidnappings are common. My grandparents finally left as people would regularly come to their home with guns and demand food and money too.  Life was not normal. I don’t know how it is on the ground there now but I doubt that it’s very much improved. It is not possible to live a normal life there, educate your children, get a decent job. There is always the danger of kidnapping, your house being blown up. My uncle was kidnapped by militants and tortured but we managed to negotiate and get him back. No we did not pay ransom (he did not want to discuss how they got him back)

I have been living in Mumbai for many years now as I did my college education here. And the Mumbai attacks were a shock. I had thought that it was all over, that I had left it all behind in Kashmir. The Kashmir bombs have come to Mumbai.  (he becomes emotionally disturbed here)

I want to see the Kashmir problem solved but I do not see it being solved. The Kashmiri people don’t know what they want, they are confused. Pakistan doesn’t want to solve the problems of the Kashmiris, they simply want the land. India too wants to hold on to the land and things are just going on like this and I don’t see it improving in the near future.

The Kashmiris themselves have no control over Kashmir, they cannot decide the fate of Kashmir and I think this realisation has dawned on them now. They know now that they will never get their state of Kashmir, that no one is going to ask them their opinion. The future of Kashmir is in the hands of India and maybe Pakistan, maybe the world, but not the Kashmiri people. That is the reality today. And they know it.

The Army made things worse in Kashmir. Some things happened and I don’t want to go into it as I have not seen it myself. Maybe it is because the soldier was away from home, and had his own tensions, I don’t know. The ordinary people suffered.

I would not like to go back to Kashmir. Life there is not safe, but not just that, there is a Hindu Muslim divide there. In the olden days it wasn’t there but about 50-60 years ago it was so. This was because the Hindu Kashmiri community was richer and often they exploited the poor, in this case the poor happened to be mostly Muslims. So the Hindus were in all important positions and this is the main reason why militancy took root in Kashmir. The poor were being exploited and this happens all over India doesn’t it. But in this case the rich were the Hindus and the poor were the Muslims. This created a lot of resentment amongst the Muslims and that is why they allowed the foreigners to come and sow the seeds of hate and terrorism. Even today this type of feeling is there amongst the Kashmiri Muslims, this kind of resentment towards the Kashmiri Hindus.I cannot visualise myself there. I cannot go back. I don’t want to go back ever.  I speak Kashmiri, I have feelings for Kashmir, who will not love Kashmir, its so beautiful. But I love India more. I want to see India prosper.

Related Reading: Kashmir – where are you heading?
How many in Pakistan are sympathetic to the extremists?
Are all India’s 8 north-eastern states disturbed areas?
How does India treat the north-easterners?

373 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2009 9:39 pm

    Hi Nita,

    This may seem uncomfortable, but I think India should not only give away Kashmir but also let go of North Eastern states if they want independence. Who are we to impose our rule on them?

    Actually I don’t even know why India is even one country. Our states have less in common with each other than the countries in EU do. What’s with this artificial sense of national identity, forced language (Hindi) and fashionable talk of secularism (asking Hindus to be secular is a mockery).

    To begin with, the BIMARU states should be let to go. These states can go screw themselves as they have been doing all this time. Enough of taking money from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, TN and other states.

    thanks,
    Priyank

    • May 6, 2009 11:05 pm

      The words of Bjork come to my mind “Declare Independence!” He he he he.

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 6, 2009 11:20 pm

      @ Priyank:

      Nice to read someone other than me express such sentiments. Of course at the time of my commenting this post has been up for less than three hours, but Mr. Thatte, I think you have stirred a hornet’s nest. Let’s wait and watch🙂

      • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
        May 6, 2009 11:22 pm

        I spoke too soon. The venom had already begun to be spewn at 10.14 p.m.

    • May 7, 2009 12:25 am

      “What’s with this artificial sense of national identity”

      As harsh as it sounds, there is still some truth in Priyank’s comment.

    • May 7, 2009 1:44 am

      @Priyank

      “asking Hindus to be secular is a mockery” . And pray tell me , why just Hindus ? Secularism is mocked by each and every one , in this country .

    • Prax permalink
      May 7, 2009 3:30 am

      priyank
      did u know bimaru included maharashtra?
      bi for bihar mar for mah and u for up
      ur too idealistic and good u have ur own opinion.

      • May 7, 2009 6:36 am

        BIMARU doesnt include Maharashtra

      • May 7, 2009 11:02 am

        Prax:

        Bimaru stands for Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Ashish Bose says he coined the term. Indian media have few interviews with him but if you are interested to read more, I’d recommend Daniel Lak’s book “India Express” which documents several extensive conversations with him. Daniel lives in Delhi now, having been a BBC correspondent in SE Asia for many years. His book stands out because his stories aren’t the same-old-same-old.

        • May 7, 2009 11:58 am

          Sorry ,
          Priyank and Shefaly
          my mistake
          i mixed up mp and mah

        • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
          May 7, 2009 1:06 pm

          Shefaly:

          This goes back to my early teens. I think the term originally attributed to Ashish Bose (though I am not aware of his having claimed it) was BIMAR-DHUP — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, UP. It was then culturally loaded.

          Later, an economist (I now forget who) took it over and converted it to BIMARU — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and UP. This was something that more people — academics and others — could relate to and found more useful. So it stuck.

          Today, of course, the acronym is not restricted to the states whose initials make it up. The term now encompasses Orissa, and perhaps also Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

      • May 7, 2009 11:12 am

        Prax

        While my other comment comes out of moderation, I should add I have connections – of birth and family – with 3 out of the 4 of those states. Statistically I should be dead, or if at all alive, I should be generally unwell with chronic cough etc, illiterate, working low-paid day jobs, tending to a few children having lost some to early death and rolling chapatis for a drunkard who beats me every day. But hey! Guess what? None of this applies to me. Or to a few million others.

        It is not that people in these states are not aware of the broader sentiment towards themselves, but they are a microcosm of India – whatever people in these states achieve, it is despite all odds.🙂

        • May 7, 2009 12:09 pm

          Agree
          but overall it is the politicians of the place that decide the fate of their minions and vice versa.
          Not denying the hardships, on despite all odds – isn’t it the same for any progressive person, regardless of which state he came form?

          The way Maharashtra has slid in the growth statistics it would soon join the bimaru list and without mumbai it would have long been in that list

          • May 7, 2009 12:19 pm

            Shhh… don’t say that about Maharashtra and Mumbai. Don’t you like your life?😉

            • May 7, 2009 5:53 pm

              Sad but true. Maharashtra is almost there (maybe in another 10 years).

            • Prax permalink
              May 10, 2009 12:55 pm

              🙂
              not particularly ,
              i remember my childhood, and see what has become of mumbai now 😦 and how these incompetent politicians from hinterlands like latur and baramati have done to it
              ps one of them is our president now

            • Prax permalink
              May 11, 2009 12:16 am

              One more thing Shefaly
              Mumbai is a lot, lot better than bimaru states or even delhi for that matter and is no different from any other cosmopolitan city in the world

              even with the odd Raj and his rhetoric, the fact is he does have some support, and even if they champion marathi they also say Age badho rajasaab ham tumare saat hai !

              • May 11, 2009 9:22 am

                Prax I agree that Mumbai is a great city to live in although it has a lot of faults. It really burns me up when I hear migrants from northern states who have settled here for over 10 years curse and complain about the law and order situation in Mumbai knowing fully well that it is worse back at their home state. If I try and counter their argument (not by cursing their home state) but by saying that Mumbai is fairly safe and I have traveled home at midnight they argue and argue! It’s almost as if they see nothing good in Mumbai! Although they do not mention their home state (and nor do I) I can sense that at one level they are competing, and are conscious that I am from MH and are in a way trying to tell me how bad my state is. Some kind of inferiority complex I think. I am sure when they are together without a Maharashtrian in their midst they must be thanking their stars that they are settled in a beautiful city like Mumbai and not Patna or Lucknow! But their ego won’t let them admit it to a Maharashtrian! I think that’s sad. Anyway, facts will always remain facts however many lies are told.

                • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
                  May 11, 2009 11:57 am

                  Nita,

                  Despite my well-known prejudices, I must protest! Lucknow is in fact not such a bad place. It has a kind of cosmopolitanism that is rare in North India (although I always felt that Varanasi — which you do not mention — is much more so, in an entirely different way). The important thing is that this quality in both cities dates from a period long before the advent of the Europeans in India.

                  • May 11, 2009 12:05 pm

                    Vivek, I am afraid you have misunderstood me. I am not saying that Lucknow is a bad place! I am saying that I can walk at midnight in many areas of Mumbai and I feel safe and I would not feel equally safe in Lucknow. Maybe I am wrong though as I have never been to Lucknow. But from what I hear about the city from a relative it is not a place where women can walk alone at night or return home from work at night. Ofcourse there are those who will immediately pull out crime stats and give links to violent incidents but as I said facts are facts and they are there to see for anyone who has lived in Mumbai.
                    Lucknow is also a traditional city while Mumbai is modern where girls in short skirts are common enough and there is a large population of working women in Mumbai as a percentage of workers. Yes I do think that many of those who are from lucknow feel this about Mumbai too, particularly women. I have a very good friend (native of Lucknow) and she told me that she does not want her daughter to grow up in Lucknow, but a modern city like Mumbai. Again I am not trying to put down Lucknow which I am sure has many good points which Mumbai does not have. But if you ask me, I prefer Mumbai and you can call me biased if you wish. Every city has its own charm and I am sure that Lucknow has it too.

                    • May 11, 2009 12:37 pm

                      Nita,

                      I’m afraid not too many cities in India would be comparable to Mumbai when it comes to such cosmopolitan issues. Why single out Lucknow or Varanasi? Probably a city, say, like Surat or Nashik will make for a better comparison.
                      How can a poor Lucknow offer as many opportunities as Mumbai, which is a metropoli? (1. Hence the migration problem. 2. Hence your friend’s wish to have her daughter growing up in Mumbai! It is a dynamic mix. People run to Mumbai for one reason and criticize it for another reason🙂

                      My personal observation is that Mumbai is reasonably safe, despite its size and eclectic populace.

                      @ Prax: Varanasi is an ancient, holy town. It has an aura of its own, but no cosmopolitan air. In fact it looks rather dated : ) There is something good about that too, if it suits. Again, unfair to compare it to even Lucknow.

                    • May 11, 2009 12:41 pm

                      vaibhav, my initial comment was taken out of context by Vivek K and it started to mean something else. I was talking in context of an argument I had with some people I know who have settled in Mumbai who were insisting that Mumbai was unsafe! And the only reason Lucknow was brought up by me was because the people I was discussing the same with were from Lucknow! I am sure that if a Gujarati from Surat had started to attack my Mumbai despite living in this city for 10 years plus, it would have been Surat I would have mentioned.

                    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
                      May 11, 2009 3:17 pm

                      @ Nita (11/05, 12:41 pm):

                      I can’t locate Vaibhav’s comment to which you have responded. Am curious because you mention my comment. Please help with directions🙂

                    • May 11, 2009 8:43 pm

                      Vivek K, the comment is here:
                      https://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/kashmir-through-the-eyes-of-a-kashmiri/comment-page-1/#comment-118725
                      I think there seems to be something wrong with the nesting. Even my comment went in the wrong place. I can fix mine, but can’t fix yours.
                      p.s. no nothing is wrong! I realised that after a certain number of comments the nesting doesn’t work, it’s a blog feature to keep the nesting down.

                    • May 15, 2009 1:11 pm

                      Nita,
                      I must say one thing. I have been following your blog for quite a while. Maybe a couple of years.
                      While the quality of posts has improved by many times over the period. I have started getting somewhat disturbed at comments by you and most comments on the blog in general. I don’t comment generally as the last thing I would want to do with my time is to get on a futile flamewar on the internet.
                      But just wanted you to know.

                      With Regards,
                      – Shubhendu

                      PS: Keep the good work up with your posts, they really have improved over this period of time, and it is now noticeable.

                    • May 15, 2009 3:15 pm

                      Shubendu, thanks for your kind words. But I do not allow flame wars. I try and nip them in the bud before they get into a real war. I think I am pretty good at doing that. I too get disturbed by some comments. So much so that I think of them at night wondering whether to delete them!
                      When it comes to my own comments I wonder why you feel so. However it is not possible for you to agree with my views on everything. However I don’t know which comment of mine disturbed you. My guess is that you don’t like my idea that Marathi should be made compulsory for all settlers in MH. If there is anything else do write to me and tell me about it. I am not ashamed of anything I have written. About other people’s views, well, everyone is welcome to air their views and generally people who feel strongly about things do so. As I said I try and edit and delete whenever necessary.

                    • May 17, 2009 5:46 am

                      Dear Nita,
                      I have noticed that you do try to cut down on flame wars and that’s a good thing, And besides if you worry about them in the night then that affirms your dedication to your blog! So congratulations!

                      No it is not about your comment on making Marathi compulsory at all. Infact no comment in particular, but I sometimes get a feeling that you try to put in all (or most) migrants as “they don’t respect marathi culture after staying here for so long” a little too frequently, I know you are not generalizing, and probably you are only writing what you have experienced. But I would say, while that is right to an extent, it is a little unfair on people who have become “Marathi” (truly imbibed the culture and the language) after being from other state/culture. There are many such people/families.
                      Infact I support that (your comment on making Marathi compulsory). Though it is not practical to implement, say for people from the defence services who keep moving around every three years to have it as a compulsary subject at school is difficult to imagine, that way you’d have to keep the Central Boards out of such a subject structure.. I’d agree with you for the practical utility of the suggestion and also the fact that when you learn a language you come to appreciate a culture more.
                      And I have one more reason, though I know Marathi myself, I am always willing to learn (and would want others to) as I am a perpetual student. And if I would have my way I would make Sanskrit compulsory just for people to know what beauty in a language is!🙂
                      – Shubhendu

                    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
                      May 17, 2009 7:40 am

                      Shubhendu Tiwari,

                      I realise that your comment is addressed to Nita, and it would be wrong of me to presume to respond on her behalf. What follows is entirely my own take on the point you have raised

                      //I sometimes get a feeling that you try to put in all (or most) migrants as “they don’t respect marathi culture after staying here for so long” a little too frequently//

                      I don’t know how Nita meant it, but my own observation is that her statement applies more to Hindi speakers than to speakers of other languages migrating to Mumbai, as well as to other cities in non-North India (and now even in the interior).

                      I would endorse you desire to make Sanskrit compulsory, but for a slightly different reason: it does not bestow an unfair advantage on anyone. However, I would also make a number of other conditions to go with that:

                      1. The immediate abolition of Hindi from the school system and from public communication in all non-Hindi states.

                      2. The immediate introduction of a Modern Indian Language of the non-North (preferably of the South) in the school systems of all the Hindi-speaking North Indian states, from grade 1 to 12, and the marks scored in this MUST be included in the overall score that determines the division in which the child passes.

                    • June 14, 2009 4:11 am

                      why are you against hindi?
                      It was a language that was used since and during Indian Freedom struggle.

                      Sansrkit has its own special place in India, but Hindi is our national language and it will remain so.

                      And you do not need to specify , who needs to learn what, because Hindi is our national language and you should learn to respect it, without ego problems (I hope you understand it)

                      MT, Your views are welcome, but I need to correct a fact. Hindi is not India’s national language and you can read this post here:
                      https://nitawriter.wordpress.com/2006/11/02/the-language-problem/
                      Any other comments about language I would appreciate if you make on that post as the discussion is now going off-topic and I do not want this post which is on the Kashmir problem and perhaps also the unity of India to become a discussion on languages. Thank you. – Nita.

                    • May 17, 2009 8:50 am

                      Shubhendu, it’s good that you have admitted that you get the feeling and that I am talking from my own personal experiences. You are absolutely right about that. I have no idea about the general trend but I have talked to other people and they have the same experiences. I do not think all those who settle in MH are reluctant to learn Marathi. But yes I am saying the majority are like that. Rather, the majority I know and the majority of those whom my friends and relatives know. The state is the same in my daughter’s south mumbai college. The majority of non-maharashtrians have no inclination to learn marathi and I don’t want to go into the reasons for that here! But I assure you that more non-hindi speakers are keen to learn marathi, even if it is broken marathi. This is from what I know and not from any surveys.
                      And by the way I have clearly said “settlers” should learn marathi and in an earlier comment I have said that those who are on transferable jobs can get an exemption. Even now there is a way to apply to boards to get an exemption from certain subjects. So from this remark of yours I gather that you have not read all my comments and have entirely misunderstood what I am saying.

                    • May 17, 2009 9:03 am

                      Dear Nita,
                      I agree with the first paragraph, sadly. North Indians have a greater tendency to avoid or snub learning marathi then say people from Karnataka and Andhra. I have noticed that too.
                      But then that builds up a prejudice against even those north Indians who learn and are willing to embrace with open arms their new culture. That’s the sad part as well in my opinion.

                      And apologies, I do admit I have not read all your comments. Those were my own thoughts on it and not a comment on yours. Since I have been from a services background, that came to my mind first. Your blog is hard to follow sometimes, purely because of the number of comments it gets, I also miss posts sometimes.🙂 I check the “general” section of the reader just once a day.

                    • May 17, 2009 9:10 am

                      Shubhendu, thanks! I sure was glad to receive this comment of yours. I thought you were in denial and mentioned the same to Bombay wadapav eater, but now have deleted that line from my comment. I think you are a reasonable person, but when it comes to the minority being faulted for the fault of the majority I think it’s more natural than the majority being faulted for the sins of the minority!🙂 And I am talking of Maharashtrians being blamed for being chauvinistic about language when only a tiny minority are so!

                    • Sanjay permalink
                      May 17, 2009 5:28 pm

                      I see myself as a throughbred Goan. I am not bothered if the rest of India
                      goes
                      up in flames due to misplaced priorities of a few to reap rich benefits for
                      themselves. But if that affects my Goa, then I
                      don’t want anything to do with the rest of India (Migrant issue, communalism, High Command dictat etc) In short, what I am saying
                      is that I will not support India as my country if it helps to put fire to my
                      own
                      house and burn it down. My patriotism is for my Goa first and maybe, just
                      maybe it will spill over for my country as a whole if Goa is not sought to
                      be run-over to help India gain high economic status. It will certainly not
                      be at the cost of making a pig-sty out of Goa and pigs out of Goans. In that
                      case, I say take your India and stuff it, for all I care. Or else, you
                      listen to what Goa is saying and what Goans, not the indoctrinated zombies
                      say.

                      I know I am double posting but this sums up my philosophy totally. It’s from Floriana Lobo and not written by me. Credit to him.

                    • June 15, 2009 1:47 am

                      “I will not support India as my country if it helps to put fire to my own house and burn it down. ”

                      It is illogical to think , that India will burn goa. Goa can at max be burnt by its won elected representatives. I do not think, India as a whole demands patriotism from you for internal issues, but if you can that is great. India expects patriotism, when its a case of external invasion or anything that might break our nation as a whole. Hence there a national and state subjects.

                    • June 14, 2009 4:34 am

                      I am a non hindi ( if you ask if hindi is my mother tongue) Indian, but yet I respect hindi as national language. I yet have many Marathi friends, who are very close. And they are friends, because we both are Indians. I cannot be as close friend of a chinese or an American or a British or an OZ, as I could be with a Marathi or a Tamil or a Kannad or a Bihari or someone from MP or UP or Delhi or any other state in India.

                      From my experiences, let me tell you why non Marathi’s have little inclination towards marathi language, its because of peoples experiences. Its because of a sense that it is being forced to learn. That is what generally is happening. I do not mean by force, that lathis or guns are being used. If instead people are asked to try learn, so that it will help them, advertise its benefits, people will surely learn. And then how often is the word Maharastrian used to include others into the system? Only marathi is used. In a sense, maharastrians are excluded by marathis, as if both parties are there due to business or some other benefits of each other. If you go anywhere, someone will ask, are you marathi? If you are caught by police, saying those license checks etc, if you are marathi, chances are, you escape 90%, then not. And the list goes on. Add to it political parties, that are polarizing the society for personal gains.

                      It is quite simple and agreeable that learning local language is a boon. But why are people reluctant? Is there some grievance or something else that is hampering? I think, 80% is due to political parties, that are polarizing the society for personal gains. And one could have a fractional doubt about introducing Marathi in schools as an attempt to prevent substantial demographic changes in language speakers, all again for political gains.

                      Overall politics is polarizing things. Common people be he Marathi or non Marathi are often ( 90% or more) friendly, and if political factor is taken our or can be rooted out, it could go higher.

                      MT, I do not agree that Marathi has been forced on anyone. MH is one state where non maharashtrians speak Hindi freely and so do maharashtrians. But let me assure you that if there is any “forcing” I do not think it is wrong. The MH govt. is thinking of making Marathi compulsory in primary school. This you may think of force and well, so be it. If people who come and settle in other states think that learning the local language is “forcing” then I have nothing to say. Sure, people are doing it for political gains. But I am not affiliated to any political party and I know what is right and what is wrong. To not even try and learn the local language after staying in a state for 10+ years is wrong. As I said, Hindi is not the national language of our country and it would be nice if you could research this topic before making such statements. – Nita.

                      P.S. If you want to carry on this discussion further, please go to the appropriate langauge post, the link to which I have given in a reply to another comment you made on this subject. Thanks.

                    • June 14, 2009 7:32 pm

                      I think you misquoted me here. I did not say people should not learn Marathi. I did say, it is quite simple and agreeable that learning local language is a boon, probably politicizing it instead of attracting all people culturally, be it by inviting to festivals, seminars, even now that it is added to schools in primary, is the best way.

                      I will get further details on the language and will update you here. You might be right about it.

                    • vasudev permalink
                      June 14, 2009 9:49 pm

                      MT…have you considered the possibility of an indian perestroika? maybe you should consider chinese as better friends than say tamilians or mallus (and expand that philosophy to encompasse the whole india)

              • May 11, 2009 11:12 am

                Prax:

                You said: “the way Maharashtra has slid in the growth statistics it would soon join the bimaru list and without mumbai it would have long been in that list.”

                My comment was specifically about your saying that Mumbai props Maharashtra up (which was one of the things your comment can be seen as implying).

              • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
                May 11, 2009 5:23 pm

                Nita, Vaibhav, Prax:

                The nesting capacity of this segment seems to have reached saturation point, so I am breaking the queue in the hope of squeezing it in.

                The point I was really trying to make (perhaps too subtly to get it across) was that Lucknow, Varanasi and (to add to the list) Hyderabad are “cosmopolitan” in a very pre-European, very indigenous kind of way. To most Indians today, the word “cosmopolitan” translates into (1) being anglophone and “westernised” and (2) people of different castes, faiths, nationalities, languages etc. living in physical proximity while remaining strangers to one another.

                Lucknow, and Hyderabad (at least as they were until the 1990s) and Varanasi (even today) are distinctive in that they offer us a locally evolved model of cosmopolitanism.

                • Prax permalink
                  May 12, 2009 4:32 am

                  Vivek
                  ur a wise man and ur right
                  some locals in mumbai are so westernised that even westerners would be a bit amazed
                  Shefaly – i got ur drift.
                  Nita Agree about the inferiority complex , have also dealt with such people
                  others
                  Have only mentioned Delhi not lucknow etc mainly because i spent 3 days there and though it is not enough to understand the city one does get a general idea.

    • June 8, 2009 8:31 pm

      Why must something be in ‘common’ to exist as a nation. This has worked very well for past 60 years, why raise a doubt about India’s existence now?

      I have lived in North-East and few elements want independence. The fact is people are really fed up of them because of their militancy.

      Problems can be solved if we treat every state as equals. That is precisely where Article 360 makes sense.

      If giving up a ‘land’ is the solution for peace…where will the greed for land end??
      If it is Kashmir today, tomorrow it will be Himachal Pradesh.

      Just take a peep back in history. Kashmir was a normal state. Borders are a problem with every nation. Kashmir became a problem when Indira Gandhi committed the MAJOR blunder of helping Bangladesh to get its Independence.

      Kashmir should never be given up. Because if we let China or Pakistan to take over, that will automatically open the doors for the other States of India.

    • June 14, 2009 4:03 am

      Priyank,

      I am from NorthEast India. I am not from BIMARU state, so that it does not send an impression that I am talking on BIMARU’s behalf. Why are you cursing BIMARU?

      ” Enough of taking money from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, TN and other states. ”

      ==> Enough of Natural resources/mines , Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, TN have extracted from the other states? And what is the harm in facilitating your own countrymen / states to prosper? All the progressive states that you have listed is so, due to all Indians from every nook and corner contributing to its growth. Its not that these states have a magic wand and got progressive.

      You fail to see, that development in India is not even, that is why, you probably from one of the progressive states, cant see where the problem is. And people like you consider, themselves hybrid Indians, as if you are genetically more advanced than an Indian from a poor state.

      The main cause is bias in distribution of developmental projects throughout India. There is a good reason for it. This is because lok sabha has no equal seat distribution per state. I agree, its due to size, but that is a loophole. States that has 80 or 40 plus MPs, move all the developmental projects to their respective states, the rest states, only get some little amount to run the democracy show. Then there are other factors like location of the state, adjacent to sea/ocean or not ( helps trade). There is probably two solutions to fix this:

      1) change all states boundaries to equal sizes, if required decrease the number of states and make it few large states. Then distribute MP seats equally.
      This looks too myopic and not likely to happen

      2) Allow only Max 4 national parties to complete in Lok Sabha elections, and do not allow local /regional parties to take part in LokSabha elections.
      4 parties could be : congress, Bjp, third front , 4th front ( front name can be changed if required/agreed by its candidates)

      What can a TDP or AIDMK or BSP or MNS do for the country?

      Regional Parties should be allowed in Vidhan sabha only, because regional parties are not useful in national politics.

      National parties, can work better and will have cushion against lobbying by regional parties.

      There are many more things that require modification to root out regionalism, which I feel is beyond scope here.

      Unfortunately those who are benefiting from a democratic India, now speak about such things, that is divisive.

  2. May 6, 2009 10:14 pm

    I could not believe what Priyank said . And I could not believe you published his comments . So I checked your comment policy says –

    Anti-national comments (calls to cut India into little bits) will not be published. Nor will anything insulting about my country.

    I think his comment is clearly anti-national .

    • May 6, 2009 11:08 pm

      Nationalists are anti-nationalist as well!

    • May 6, 2009 11:09 pm

      Critique is neither an insult nor an anti-national. We can’t be on a honeymoon all the time.

      • May 6, 2009 11:10 pm

        eww sorry my englis

      • May 6, 2009 11:36 pm

        “These states can go screw themselves as they have been doing all this time”

        A very fine and informed critic you are indeed.

        • May 13, 2009 8:10 pm

          i was scared to even voice what priyank has mentioned about , but i have to agree with him on maharashtra and hinterland politicians. if i am say so –they are busy playing the dice like kans mama

  3. परेश permalink
    May 6, 2009 10:47 pm

    I wouldn’t call priyank’s comment “anti-national”: a nation is a group of people united by common language and culture: I don’t think that’s the case with India.

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 7, 2009 1:13 pm

      परेश (May 6, 2009 at 10:47 pm)

      Kudos for that astute observation!

    • May 8, 2009 6:22 am

      Paresh bhai, unfortunately no linguistic or cultural unit of the sub-continent can form a nation. This is because society in the sub-continent is divided very very sharply at the very basic geographical unit – the village. For example every village in UP has four clearly distinct (and non-friendly) ethnic groups, the Jats, the Dalits, the Brahmins and the Muslims.

      And the fundamental reason I think India is a good idea is because I feel a unified republic has a better chance of destroying the hierarchical, oppressive nature of Indian society than multiple nations based on language and culture.

  4. May 6, 2009 10:48 pm

    Priyank, India cannot give away the Kashmir valley and states like Nagaland in the North East because they have never really accepted the Union in the first place.

    a) Disillusionment with the government at Delhi is present in virtually every state but is especially strong in the margins of the country, for very cogent reasons. These places are abused and neglected. Our current political set-up does not guarantee adequate representation for these states. The enactment of draconian laws like the AFSPA, pervasive human rights abuses and the complete silence of India’s ‘activist’ media further fuels alienation.

    b) But this does not mean these places want to just break-away from the Union. There are very good, practical reasons to stay part of India.

    So instead of reacting and ‘letting states go’ we should sit down, take a good look at our political system and decide what kind of changes we need to make the Union more equal and representative. If no acceptable solution can be found, then yes there should be a referendum, no group of people who dont want to be in, should be forced to do so.

    Reacting unreasonably will only make bad situations worse.

    As for your comment about the so called ‘BIMARU’ states, it is racist and completely uncalled for. I expected better from you.

    • May 7, 2009 12:15 am

      “Racism is the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

      Vikram, exactly what part of my comment was racist? I have not said anything about any people, races, religions or language groups. Nor have declared certain races superior than others.

      But I like the fact that you are open to referendums and ‘letting someone go if they don’t want to be with you.’

      If there are reasons for someone to stay with the Indian Union, it should be a reason that originates from the state, and not from Delhi. And just like EU, there can be criteria regarding who can join the union.

      India as a union has definitely helped us in more than one ways but the assumption that India is one, is incorrect.

  5. May 6, 2009 10:56 pm

    “Actually I don’t even know why India is even one country.”

    Artificial empathy is better than real apathy.

    • May 6, 2009 11:06 pm

      Why is it one country though? Thank the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

      • May 6, 2009 11:34 pm

        Odzer, I am thinking about more in terms of the good/bad outcomes of India being one country. So if some student from Andhra Pradesh dedicates her life to improving the status of women and tribals in Rajasthan, and her being ‘Indian’ has atleast something to do with her empathy (in addition to making other things like travel, communication etc. easier) than I consider it to be a good outcome.

        And I personally think that there have been more good outcomes than bad due to India being one country than bad. That is not to say that there have not been bad outcomes, very serious ones. Ask the Kashmiris or the Nagas. And if they want out, I completely understand.

        At the end of the day empathy even for your ethnic group is a made up emotion, so why not make it up for a billion people ?

        Who was responsible for India being one country, matters very little in the long run.

        • May 7, 2009 12:11 am

          No such thing as a good or bad outcome. It just “exists”. Anything can just exist, so India is just existing. There are a lot of people who fancy doing something for others because it makes them feel better. The issue is simple, everyone should have an option to leave if they are not happy. Priyank has got it right this time and if some states feel that other states are a dead weight on them then they should have the option to say ‘look we wont pay up’.

          • May 7, 2009 1:51 am

            Anything cannot just exist . If it is not in sync or balanced , it will disintegrate , and disappear . So I guess , if this country is divided into more pieces , on the most stupid grounds of religion , than you can go “Yipee” . Till then , some of us idiots will tend to believe that there is some rhyme and reason behind the existence of “Incredible India” .

            • May 7, 2009 10:00 am

              Yes “anything can just exist”. A lot of non refined, ugly, almost half working things exist as an example Somalia. Anarchy can exist as well.

          • May 7, 2009 2:38 am

            So, Odzer. When are you surrendering or burning your Indian (I assume) passport?😉

            • May 7, 2009 9:58 am

              @ Amit : My Indian Passport is not “Mine”, Read carefully it says it is the property of the Government of India. They can take it away whenever they want. I have it till they want me to have it.

              • May 7, 2009 12:55 pm

                Looks like someone learned from Clinton and his parsing of “is” to avoid answering a question.😀
                Koi gal nahin.

          • May 7, 2009 12:12 pm

            great point

          • May 7, 2009 12:12 pm

            great point
            Odzer

      • May 7, 2009 1:48 am

        @Odzer

        I think we need to thank Sardar Patel .

        • May 7, 2009 9:59 am

          @ Kislay : I think we need to clean up the bloody roads of cow pooh, the doggy pooh, the horsey pooh and other assorted poohs. Talking big is easy🙂 Oh and while we are at it, we also need the build the road.

          • Vinod permalink
            May 7, 2009 10:25 am

            Odzer, Priyank

            You guys rock! And I thought I was alone in these thoughts about India, given the ultra-nationalistic drive of Indians today. I think of India as an average country like all others, including UK, US, China etc. It is no better and no worse off, even historically compared. We are humans after all and humanity sucked always and will continue to do so. Genocide has been humanity’s track record and that’s not going to change.

            Vikram, I like your pragmatic approach to Nationalism. Sounds well balanced.

      • May 7, 2009 12:20 pm

        Ironically the same logic applies to the United Kingdom too🙂 On a smaller scale.

  6. May 6, 2009 11:53 pm

    Nita –

    I think Amit was probably too young back in 1989 when the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits started… and probably didnt recall the whole picture… I will remember those horror nights for life…

    The picture about hindu’s being the richer is not correctly painted here. Kashmiri Hindu’s were the working class – only because they were the only fully literate community. Although Hindus comprised only 2% of the Kashmiri population, the staff of teachers, professors were by and large comprised of Hindus/pandits – since Pandits always valued educations. Thousands of Pandit families left the valley primarily to ensure their kids didnt have to loose their schooling due to endless curfews in the valley back in 1990. I challenge you to find a single Kashmiri of any religion – who did schooling in Kashmir pre-1990 and didnt have more than half his/her teachers being Pandits… Same went somewhat for clerks/doctors as well…
    So summarizing educated = rich and hence oppressor is incorrect.

    All the businesses and particularly the tourism industry was always 100% owned/controlled by Muslims. Of course, the lower end of labour class too was largely muslim – which is obvious given that they were afterall 95% population.

    Its just to say – that Parsi/Jains are better off than others in India – implies they are oppressors…!!

    Needless to add – the theats to Kashmiri Pandits weren’t because of us being the economic middle class – but purely because we didnt subscribe to the “Nizam-e-Mustafa” concept in Kashmir…

    BTW… for more insight into “kashmir through eyes of a Kashmiri Soul in Exile” visit my blog…

    http://soulinexile.blogspot.com/2007/01/kp-exodus-day-19th-january-1990.html

    • May 7, 2009 12:20 am

      I was in school too around that time but having lived in Kashmir and Jammu and after meeting many Kashmiri Pundits, I am in agreement with A soul in exile’s comment.

      I have heard many accounts of their real life there. How things changed for some overnight. Some people who couldn’t afford to move to another state are still stuck in refugee camps in Jammu and the issue is not even addressed by media or politicians or amnesty anymore.

  7. May 7, 2009 12:12 am

    Nita:

    When I was reading A-Soul-In-Exile’s comment, I was nodding in agreement.

    I have several Kashmiri Pandit friends – and I think you may want to find a Kashmiri woman’s perspective on the issue, just for the sake of balance – who left under traumatic circumstances and involuntarily. Two of them left as teenage girls, after a mob attacked their neighbourhood. Their mother barricaded the door with a gas cylinder. She had a matchbox in hand to set the cylinder alight if the mob managed to enter her house. Then there was another one who left when she was younger and whose parents settled in a Muslim-majority town in UP. What an irony! And then the teacher who was the Head of another Department in my college whose family – parents, sisters, nephews and nieces – was blown up in front of his eyes when he was there for a visit. Before the visit, we were so scared of him, we fell silent when he walked by. After the visit, we fell silent for entirely different reasons. Not just that, in Delhi, Kashmiri Pandits are still called “refugees” with the implicit expectation on both sides that they will return to Kashmir.

    Each one of them will go back if they can. They want to go back. Today if they can. Not for them the solution of giving Kashmir away. For them, it was their home from where they were unfairly routed.

    To India, retaining control of Kashmir is more an issue of geo-political and strategic importance than a simple territorial dispute.

    As for US intervention – or threats thereof – it will be interesting to watch. Both the upsides and the downsides of India’s non-alignment will become transparent. More interesting will be the timing. Will the US wait to come back from the bottom of the economic dustbin or not? And the tools too. Will the US and the UK take the lead in controlling access to arms and ammunition to these terrorist groups? Hah! In tough economic times, an industry that employs double-digit millions in America is hardly going to be touched. So there is plenty of hypocrisy at work here too.

    Interestingly, while the NE does not have major supporters abroad, rolling in $$$ and funding separatist movements, Kashmir has no such problems. Which is why discussing them as comparable entities isn’t really useful.

  8. May 7, 2009 1:06 am

    You know what I think? Had Kashmir gone to Pakistan at that time, we would have been fighting over Punjab now. Or Haryana.

  9. Prax permalink
    May 7, 2009 3:49 am

    Interesting take nita
    Priyank instigated me
    2 points

    1. North east is a very vital area , it borders many states and a sea route , so everyone is interested in it .. Especially China and the US …even pak
    which are funding banglaseshs islamists
    Insurgency cannot last in perpetuity unless fueled by some external force.

    2. Kashmir is not the game/ main aim of Pakistan
    it has become a necessity, for multiple reasons
    it is a easy way to divert attention from the true nature of naPakistan – that it is a failed state dominated by the Punjabi and more specific Sunnis, and Kashmir call mixed with jihadi jngoism is the binding glue without which it will almost certainly disintegrate into Sind, Baluchistan,Pashtunistan etc Its a part of their identity – and a goal of the powers that be in that failed state to balkanise India.

    The bigger game is also to control the sources of the waters that are governed by the unfair Indus treaty and as things go they have no option other than this low intensity conflict in jnk.
    Plus this area is also equally geo strategic , as there are vital historic links – the silk route passed through it , and every country is eyeing the central asian untapped resources.

  10. May 7, 2009 6:57 am

    @nita,you have thrown stone in the hornet’s nest.People don’t listen and form their opinion without knowing history and politics of Kashmir region.Few people like priyank will think kashmir as liability and want to disintegrate India.It is like dividing family on the name of freedom for each small feud.Few people will always think concept of kashmir to kanyakumari as one india for eternity.I feel borders are formed and erased with time but the native people feel the curse/boon of it more than anybody.Kashmir has came into the state of Trishanku stucked between India and Pakistan. I was full of patriotic feeling of ‘akhand bharat’ but things got change when I look with broader perspective.

    The fate of Kashmir is like in the hands of India and Pak but not in the hands of citizen of kashmir.The fault has been done from both side at the time of partition.All the displacement of kashmiri pandit cann’t be justified by any reason.We should not forget the intrusion of Pak backed militants but also remember the discrepancies of 87 state elections.But let us now move on and accept LOC as international border. A solution must be reached as peace talks conveys everything except peace.

    http://sameerbhat.blogspot.com/

    This blog influenced me and make me understand ground realities of Kashmir and reach final decision.

    • Prax permalink
      May 10, 2009 1:01 pm

      all i have to say is that Pakistani appetite is insatiable, and dont really think all will be hunky dory .

  11. May 7, 2009 7:01 am

    oops! Last night I posted this post and then didn’t access the blog until this morning. Was rather startled to see Priyank’s comment! I do apologize on his behalf for anyone who feels offended. Kislay, I do not put everyone on moderation, some people are on moderation alongwith certain words, but certainly Priyank is not on moderation. It is too late to water down his comment now so all I can do is to assure you that Priyank is a real nice guy!🙂

    Priyank, I think Vikram has addressed your concerns.

    soul-in-exile, thanks for your comment. Amit’s account was the way he saw it, I think he meant to say jealousy. So I think the word “rich” he used is misleading but ofcourse you have put it in a far more comprehensive manner. I will certainly take a look at the post on your blog.

    I’ll answer other comments a little later, after I have finished my morning chores. But I will answer each one.
    Thanks!

    • May 7, 2009 9:26 am

      Nita, thanks very much for taking the lead. I do apologise if someone finds my comment offensive. But if someone is simply uncomfortable, then they better get used to hearing criticism. Afterall as we say, ‘निंदकाचे घर असावे शेजारी’ (how to translate? May the critic be my neighbor!)

  12. phoenixritu permalink
    May 7, 2009 10:15 am

    Okay, so Pak takes Kashmir, NE goes to China, Punjab goes the Khalistani way, Maharashtra goes the Thackeray way, South goes their own way, and so on. Where does it all end? …..

    Do we really want that?

    • Vinod permalink
      May 7, 2009 10:33 am

      Who is ‘we’? the educated elite ? do “we” determine what others need?

    • May 8, 2009 7:15 pm

      Well said phoenixritu! I hope we do not want this!

  13. May 7, 2009 10:24 am

    I can’t explain but this post is very much disturbing especially the comments. I came across many such types of comments and posts recently. Seems many are thinking this way .

    I’m from Kerala, we have a lot of differences with people in other parts of the country. But the feeling of being an Indian makes me very proud (and not just during cricket matches). It’s true that people in Kashmir and north eastern states are suffering but I don’t think independent states can do any good to them. It’ll only make things worse.
    (Anyway tweeting this post)

  14. Vinod permalink
    May 7, 2009 10:32 am

    Although Hindus comprised only 2% of the Kashmiri population, the staff of teachers, professors were by and large comprised of Hindus/pandits – since Pandits always valued educations

    I wonder whether this may be due to the casteist history of India. Even today, the IITs and other top institutions are dominated by Brahmins. The small businesses are all taken by non-Brahmins and muslims. It is quite rare to find a Brahmin in a small business. Just suspecting; I don’t know the truth of the matter.

    • May 7, 2009 10:43 am

      Vinod

      To understand this better – you will need to understand what happened in Kashmir over last 1000+ years. Kashmir was a Hindu+Buddhist society till the Afghan invasions happened – which resulted in forced conversions of the local population. At one point – 0nly 11 families of Hindu’s were left in the valley…

      Weird or surprising – as it may sound… all Kashmiri Hindu’s are Brahmins only… there are no other castes known in Kashmiri Hindus…

      Read thru…
      http://soulinexile.blogspot.com/2006/05/holocaust-of-kashmiri-pandits.html

      and you will realize that the current exodus of Hindu’s from Kashmir is NOT the first one… but 13th exodus known in last 1000 years. And any community which has been subjected to ethnic cleansing so many times will always tend to invest in something which no sword can snatch away – hence the emphasis on education amongst Kashmiri Hindus. Yes, there were farmers and small traders too… but by and large – Kashmiri Hindu’s were always a book-class… And hence the formation described earlier…

      • Vinod permalink
        May 7, 2009 12:01 pm

        SIE

        Take a look at this

        http://thesouthasianidea.wordpress.com/2008/12/04/hinduism-%E2%80%93-4-early-interaction-with-muslims/

        It is actually part of a series of posts titled Hinduism.

        I find what is given there to be a more plausible explanation of what it was like then than the ‘forced conversion’ idea that is often propagated today.

        • Vinod permalink
          May 7, 2009 2:18 pm

          And SIE, you don’t find it fishy at all that the Hindus were all Brahmins and the rest of the population were muslims? What does that tell you?

          • May 7, 2009 8:51 pm

            “And SIE, you don’t find it fishy at all that the Hindus were all Brahmins and the rest of the population were muslims? What does that tell you?”

            I get what you are drawing towards – but please read up a bit about history first…
            Just few pointers –
            1. As per the earliest recorded history of Kashmir “Nilmat purana” – on disappearance of River Saraswati in the plains, settlers from the banks of Saraswati moved in two directions… North and south. Those who went to south – are said to be the konkani/mangalore brahmins of today… And those who went north settled in Kashmir – and are the Kashmiris of today… well, of course that would include the Kashmiri Muslims too being their descendants – though KMs would rather claim that they are decendents of Afghans and Persians and Central Asians…
            Both Konkani/Kashmiris are supposedly some sub sect called Saraswat brahmins by virtue of the saraswati connection… Not that I understand or care much for that.

            2. Frankly, very few of us were aware of being Brahmins while in Kashmir… I and many of my friends got this sense only on being probed post exodus. Now – whether we really are Brahmins or not itself could be debated on how you really define brahmin. If u consider that we are non-vegetarians and have rituals/festivals where meat is cooked/offered and many such otherwise non-Brahmin-like traits… maybe none of us are Brahmins… Who cares?
            What however is clear – its either one or other… there are no other castes…if you were really to consider these as castes…

            3. Finally remember – the current KP clans decend from the handful of families that survived the conversion on-slaughts a 1000 years ago.. Now if all those surviving families were the same caste – no wonder that continues…

            That aside…whether its Brahmins or vyasya’s that the hindu’s of Kashmir were – does that matter. The slogans in 1990 were not “Brahmin down down, Dalit Zindabad”…
            …the slogans were

            ““Islam khatre’ mein hai” (Islam is in danger),

            “Aes gacche’ Pakistan, Batav ros’ te’ batnev saan” (we want Kashmir – without Pandit men, but with their womenfolk)

            “Mujahid’on aage bhado” (Warriors of allah – move ahead)

            “Yahan kya chalega – Nizam E Mustafa” (What will rule Kashmir – Rule of Allah)

            “Kashmir mein agar rehna hai, Allah-o-Akbar kehna hai” (Only those who believe in Allah -(only Muslims) can live in Kashmir)

            “Hum kya chahte, Azadi” (we want freedom)

            “La ilah Illalah – Pakistan banega Insalaah” (Praise to God! Kashmir will be Pakistan)

            “Indian dogs – get out”

            “Battav ya raliv, chaliv nate’ galiv” (O Pandits – either join us, flee or die) ”

            I am curious to know what you would say about this…

            http://soulinexile.blogspot.com/2009/04/fate-of-minorities-under-islamic.html

            • Vinod permalink
              May 8, 2009 8:28 am

              SIE, what about the former Buddists there ? Where did they come from? Were there any forced conversion onslaughts to Buddhism?

              • May 8, 2009 2:25 pm

                Hahaaa… you are really out to prove that the 2% minority of Kashmir Pandits must have been terrorizing the 95%+ rest of Muslim population to deserve getting the ethnic cleansing from the valley. Wonder how this 2% unarmed and powerless (there has never been more than 1 pandit minister ever in any state cabinet at best…if any) community managed that…

                Amazing the u pull out this one intvw and ignore the voices for lakhs of other Pandits… One could use this one-man-word-speaks-more than a lakh to some day claim that BJP is the messiah of Muslims… Why not? Dont they have a Sahanawaz, Sikandar Bakht etc in their midst. All those crying out in Gujrat etc be damned…

                Now – lets take a minute to actually scrutinize the very evidence you are presenting. Firstly, the person in discussion is known to have interests justifying his statements. However thats not what I want to harp on…

                But in this very interview – your own champion is saying “I was forced by none other than my own wife and daughters to leave.”

                Did u give a thought as to why his wife and daughter did so…? But heck, they dont seem to be Hindu enough to you…
                But do read something Shefaly commented on top!!!
                A bulb might light up…

              • Vinod permalink
                May 8, 2009 3:49 pm

                SIE, I know this is frustrating on you. I understand you getting worked up here. But given that this is just the comments section, I cannot indulge in many disclaimers. You need to try your best to see the best intentions in me. I was merely questioning and not making allegations or assertions of any sort. I have a deep suspicion of accusations made against entire communities whether they be muslims or Hindus and I do not take such accusations easily. That is all there is to it. So, pipe down.

                • May 8, 2009 4:32 pm

                  Nope… dont get excited… its not frustating me as yet… But you can sure enjoy your self-awarded Nobel for championing pseudo-secularism.

                • Vinod permalink
                  May 8, 2009 5:52 pm

                  Hope you feel better now, dude.

  15. May 7, 2009 10:37 am

    Paresh, let us call India a country then, together for practical purposes. A purpose that has stood us in good stead!

    Odzer, thanks for your interesting views!

    Shefaly, yeah, as you said, the soul in exile has some pretty on the spot kind of thing to say! And thanks for sharing that bit about the Kashmiri women. But while we are on the topic my neighbors here experienced something similar once when the Shiv Sena was on the rampage! And ofcourse you are right when you say that “To India, retaining control of Kashmir is more an issue of geo-political and strategic importance than a simple territorial dispute.” That is the real problem in the north east as well.That is why India swallowed up sikkim. Greater protection from China. I guess in a dog eat dog world this is what it is.

    Priyank, you are the person most addressed in this thread!🙂

    Solilo, yes it’s sad isn’t it. the world seems to have forgotten about the fate of the Kashmiri Pandits. Many of them too I think have given up hope of going back.

    Shilpadesh, I wouldn’t be surprised!

    Prax, nothing to disagree in your comment!

    yayaver, thanks for that link. I took a look at the blog. It’s good.

    phoenixritu, the resounding answer is No!

    Nikhil, I agree with you. It’s suicide to even think of breaking India up.

    Vinod, ditto your thoughts about Vikram’s comment. We need to stick together out of necessity. Otherwise it’s a slow death.

  16. May 7, 2009 10:55 am

    Even in 1947 Kashmir going to Pakistan was not a solution. Kashmir Valley is a muslim majority area but we forget that J & K has three parts-
    Laddakh (Budhist majority)
    Jammu (Hindu majority)
    Kashmir valley (Muslim majority)
    The only area which has problems with India is the valley so we have to keep the other 2 areas also in mind. Even in the valley the people complaining about Indian rule are not necessarily with Pakistan, they want independence which is not a very practical solution considering the geography of the area. When Nehru agreed to plebiscite he knew that majority of Kashmiris are not with Pakistan. Plebiscite didn’t take place because of both the countries not doing what they should have, like moving the army from both the sides of Kashmir. Even in the Hurriyat conference there only one or two leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani who want to go Pakistan.
    The major goof up from Indian side came when Rajiv Gandhi removed the democratically elected government of Sheikh Abdullah and imposed a puppet Chief Minister, Ghulam Mohammed Shah by engineering a revolt in his party, which alienated the common man. This along with Zia’s policy of bleeding India through a thousand cuts and the militants rendered unemployed due to Soviet pull out from Afghanistan created a mess.
    If Kashmir is given to Pakistan firstly the Kashmiris won’t be happy with that, Benazir Bhutto has also admitted that in an interview. Secondly the Muslim population in the rest of the country will suffer because this would mean that India has accepted that we are not secular and Muslims belong to Pakistan. Independent Kashmir is not a possibility because of security issues. With China on one side and Pakistan on the other, a land locked country is not feasible.
    Kashmiris believe in Sufism and their version of Islam is very different from the fundamentalists. They are caught between the army and the militants, suffering atrocities from both the sides. The plight of displaced Kashmiri pundits is equally bad and has to be taken into consideration. Nationalists or not it is not a piece of land we are talking about, we have to keep the practicability in mind.

    • May 7, 2009 11:41 am

      “Not a possibility”, Who decides the possibility? I do not think anyone can agree on that one. Isnt this what Churchill said about Indian independence. “Not Possible”. Two quotes of his on what he thought about India :

      1) Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues and freebooters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles. —->It is claimed he said that on the eve of Indian independence.

      2) India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the equator. Speech at Royal Albert Hall, London (18 March 1931)

      So do you agree or disagree with Churchill?

      • Vinod permalink
        May 7, 2009 11:57 am

        I think I find myself agreeing with 2)
        India as a nation is a modern concept that probably came from the later years of Indian independence; perhaps even imported from European ideas of ‘nation’.
        Otherwise, we are a bunch of people with complex identities competing for limited resources. We shouldn’t get misguided about our social realities by our fragile political unity and the imposed dogmatic nationalism of school education.

        • May 7, 2009 12:17 pm

          Vinod, what makes it a “fragile” political unity?

          • Vinod permalink
            May 7, 2009 1:51 pm

            It is fragile because the formation of an Indian Union was pretty much an act of an elite group of nationalist freedom fighters who managed to get the support of the masses because of the common enemy – the British. It was more of common suffering that brought us together. Once the British were gone and we looked at each other, we were seeing ‘the other’ – the Biharis, the Tamilians, the malyalis, the Sikhs, the muslims, Christians, the Brhamins, the Dalits etc. The country was formed on the basis of a common sense of ‘hate’, in other words, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. We have got along so far because of a strong nationalistic trend that continued in our education system and of course, we found another common enemy that brought us together – Pakistan. But these superficial unifying trends cannot wipe out the fact that we do not share common identities fundamentally. We never historically did. We have always divided and subdivided our selves, right upto the little village we all come from. These differences will continue to show itself in the politics of our country. And politics, as we know, doesn’t quite care for soft notions as ‘unity’. It will harp on unity as long as its self interest is served and will abandon it the next moment if the calculations show differently.

            • May 8, 2009 11:47 pm

              “We have got along so far because of a strong nationalistic trend that continued in our education system and of course, we found another common enemy that brought us together – Pakistan.”

              Vinod, who is this “we”? Are you speaking for me here, or for yourself? I hope it’s the latter, because I don’t think of Pakistan as an enemy and neither is that a factor in my definition of India. I wish them well, but I don’t see why defending India and Indians would be considered as being inimical to Pakistan.

              • Vinod permalink
                May 9, 2009 8:14 am

                I was referring to the general Indian attitude towards Pakistanis. I’m glad you don’t have that.

                • May 9, 2009 8:47 pm

                  Vinod,

                  General Indian attitude? If that was the case, why would India inaugurate Sada-e-Sarhad in 1999 and invite General Musharraf to Agra for talks? I’d imagine that there were Indians traveling on that bus too, no?

                  I think this “general attitude” you speak of is somewhat hyped up by “the-sky-is-falling” and “we-Indians-are-so-bad” group – I’d read some Indians express similar attitudes when India-Pak started playing cricket a while ago after a freeze – “Oh, those Pakistanis treated Indians so well when they went to Pakistan to watch cricket, and we didn’t treat them well” – without making an effort to talk to Pakistanis who came to India to watch cricket, and finding out from them how they were treated by Indians. In other words, baseless.

                  • Vinod permalink
                    May 10, 2009 7:54 am

                    Amit, I sure hope you are correct – that it is hyped. Because, I get to see only Indians who, let’s just say, are not too fond of Pakistan.

    • May 7, 2009 11:50 am

      “The major goof up from Indian side came when Rajiv Gandhi removed the democratically elected government of Sheikh Abdullah and imposed a puppet Chief Minister, Ghulam Mohammed Shah”

      Sheikh Abdullah died way before Rajiv Gandhi came into politics. You are refering to Farooq Abdullah’s chief ministership… and GulShah replacing him…

      Well… a lot is made out of that and 1987 elections… But tell me – is that the only state ever where centre meddled and imposed governors rule or did some other tricks… We see that happen in every state every year… MLA’s defect and govts change hands faster than Salman takes off his shirts… That’s no justification for alienation and terrorism.

      And neither is the other bugaboo of “oh… Kashmiri’s are not in the mainstream and there is economic alienation”… Kashmiri’s themselves are preventing mainstream involvement by hiding behind Article370… Why didnt the Kashmiri Hindu ever feel alienated from India – because we never had the misplaced notion of a ‘Islamic promised land’ somewhere else…

      And economic marginalization is the biggest hoax ever created by the Abdullah family to keep getting billions in grants every year. Kashmir always got the biggest grants – even pre-1990… and more so today. Kashmiri’s are far better off economically than all other states in India. You hear of people starving to death in Orissa – or dying of cold in winter on streets of Delhi… Have you ever in last 20 years of terrorism or earlier – heard of a starvation or winter related death in Kashmir? There are no slums in Kashmir (except of recent migrant Bihari labourers there)… there are no homeless in Kashmir… there is no starvation in Kashmir…
      If these could be excuses for terrorism and independence, district of Bastar and Kalahandi would have had their own flags and parliaments decades ago.

      • May 7, 2009 12:21 pm

        Some very interesting suff in this comment string
        Odzer, to think of it,
        aren’t most states geographical terms ?

        • May 7, 2009 12:47 pm

          Prax

          Specific to India: The earliest organisation of states in India was for administrative convenience/ reasons. Then ‘linguistic identities as a basis’ started to gain ground and that is how Andhra was carved out of Madras, and later Bombay was divvied up and then Maharashtra and Gujarat were created.

          Broadly speaking, in political terms: a ‘state’ or a ‘State’ has never been purely a geographical term; there is an element of governance, the separation of the public and the private, and defined territory. India is a State which is a collection of states.

          • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
            May 7, 2009 1:43 pm

            Shefaly:

            A couple of corrections to your statements above:

            The ‘linguistic identities as a basis’ idea had its embryonic beginnings around the turn of the 20th century, mainly as a reaction against the Hindi imperialism that had already started to emerge then. It came to a head during the Constituent Assembly debates on language.

            Andhra was carved out of the former Madras state in October 1953.

            The linguistic reorganisation of states was in 1956, when a substantial part of Hyderabad state was combined with Andhra to form a Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh.

            The significant exception to the principle of linguistic reorganisation was the creation of Bombay state, combining areas in which the predominant languages were Marathi and Gujarati (the former included parts of the erstwhile Hyderabad state, now known as Marathwada and Vidarbha (not “Vidharba” or “Vidharb” as 99.99 % of our newscasters in Hindi and English pronounce it).

            The division of Bombay into Maharashtra and Gujarat came in May 1960, a good four years after the rest of the major languages had been allotted their own states .

        • May 7, 2009 1:01 pm

          Prax, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were carved out of (East) Punjab more than a decade after independence.

          • Prax permalink
            May 10, 2009 1:09 pm

            was talking more in general terms
            not specifics …

        • May 7, 2009 1:47 pm

          @ Prax : A lot of them are. However homogeneity is an important factor for the survival of “countries”. Even though multicultural countries may be ‘fun’ to live in and I certainly do enjoy all that they have to offer the truth is that in the long term it is stressful. Stress kills countries just like it does humans. In any case not that it matters every country has their lifespan. India has been fragmented and united over centuries so many times and I am sure it will again change its shape. The question we should be asking ourselves as constituents of this union and as the union itself is, ‘Is this Union working for us as states and as a country’. I do not think asking this question is in any way unpatriotic or anti-national. In my view a loose commonwealth may do India more good or at least a more federal structure. Someone else may have a different view. Clearly I do not agree that the present structure is successful. We have some states footing the bills of others, we have ethnic, religious and economic strife. We have poverty and hunger. We have unemployment and we are hanging by the thread. I think the time has come to rethink somethings and may be try a different approach. Unless of course we are nervous due to change. Either we centralise everything or we federalise, its the fence sitting that bothers me. Indecisiveness that has taken away the momentum of doing better as a nation. If such a situation continues, I do not think its unfair if certain parts of the union begin to think, ‘how would it be if we went our own way’. Its just natural, isn’t it?

          • Vinod permalink
            May 7, 2009 1:54 pm

            Odzer, I think talking about ‘India’ in India is almost as if one is talking about a religion. And your voice is that of an unrepentent heretic. Burn him at the stake!🙂

            • May 7, 2009 2:03 pm

              If that helps….May be you can form a nation around my legend then. I would be the new Jean d’ Arc. How cool would that be!

              • May 7, 2009 2:07 pm

                Oh and can you just yell “Free Tibet!” afterwards, it will help if it kills two birds with one stone. Make sure its a big carnival, cotton candy and all and a giant Ferris wheel. Families need their fun too🙂

                • Vinod permalink
                  May 7, 2009 2:16 pm

                  lol. You’re the man!

                  • Vinod permalink
                    May 7, 2009 2:23 pm

                    We have a fundamental flaw, Odzer that will prevent us from ever being rallying points (even if you do get burnt at the stake🙂 ). We have nothing sacred to offer.

          • Prax permalink
            May 10, 2009 1:14 pm

            Though i broadly agree with you on all that u have said and on ur loose commonwealth logic and federal structure , especially if it rids me of the problems i face while getting a eu or us visa
            i don’t think politicians will want such a change , especially when we have a control freak congress upa at the centre!
            maybe im naive here but that’s my opinion

    • May 7, 2009 4:05 pm

      Sorry, I meant Farooq Abdullah, not Sheikh Abdullah.

  17. May 7, 2009 1:07 pm

    Very detailed post .

    ” A “substantial” change in the US policy toward India was visible under the Obama Administration which appears to have put China on a higher plane that its southern neighbour,”

    Well these days saw that China is the new colonizer , we should not forget china entry in Africa as well . So indeed china has a real high status these days .

    No one wanna live the cold way again and the best solution is cohabitation between the super powers .

  18. May 7, 2009 1:11 pm

    @ Priyank

    Given your suggestion, if India hadn’t been one country then i believe current day Maharashtra, Bihar and Orissa had been in worst situation today.

    Cause Mumbai hadn’t had any industry as whatever it has, has been brought by entrepreneurs from outsiders, particularly from North of India …nor it had head offices of any financial institutoins etc which help raise maharashtra’s per capita income.. and in agriculture it lags behind even “bimaru” states like UP.
    Bihar and orissa had been facing chronic problems of starting from very low base of development and cast base politics…Uttar Pradesh i feel would have been in better position as it’s politicians including Nehru, Shashtri etc would have concentrated in this state rather than entire country..

    I read somewhere that once somebody asked Nehru that why fruits of developments aren’t reaching his own constituency Phulpur in uttar pradesh…Then Nehru Replied ” Here in Phulpur people at least have clothes to wear and food to eat, go to Orissa and Andhra where people are deprived of even these basics ….”

    Nehru had entire country to take care of not just his constituency or statei am sure… had there been any regionalist from south/Maharashtra in the power at centre…the central govt could never have had any national vision….even today, as evident from many comments by many people on this blog, people from these regions lack national vision…all they care of their region

    • May 7, 2009 2:01 pm

      In those days they would have elected a lamp post if it had been wearing a Congress badge🙂

      Things are a bit errr different now :p

  19. May 7, 2009 1:39 pm

    It’s interesting to see some people here even dont consider india a nation, while others want it to disintegrate , some have in the past accepted that they dont cosider themselves as Indians….

    It’s amazing that the goals of ISI’s, LET’s, China’s etc perfectly match wishes of these people ……….

    But one thing is for sure…What a pity, these people will have to live their life with this frustration only.. as i dont see india disintegrating as they wish..

    • May 7, 2009 1:50 pm

      Focusing on ISI’s LET’s, China etc will not make India in to a nation either🙂

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 7, 2009 1:54 pm

      V Mittal:

      Before you preach to “some people”/”many people” here about “nation”, “nationalism”, “regionalist” etc. please find out what those terms mean in serious discourse. It is not quite as simple as your brand of “nationalism”, which is nothing but the regionalism of the Hindi imperialist north Indians.

      Nita:

      I find that all my comments on this thread are going into moderation. I don’t question your prerogative as owner of the blog. But how is it that different standards are applicable to “Madrasis” such as me vis-a-vis members of the self-styled master race such as V Mittal. Shouldn’t his last two comments also have gone into moderation?

      • May 7, 2009 2:26 pm

        @Vivek K

        I am just an Indian , not a North Indian . Seems as if you buy the BS of Aryan-Dravidian theory .

        • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
          May 7, 2009 3:55 pm

          //I am just an Indian , not a North Indian//

          That statement is an example (though a subtle one) of what I mean when I say that Indian “nationalism” is nothing but the regionalism of the Hindi imperialist north sought to be imposed on all the rest of us.

          //…the BS of Aryan-Dravidian theory.//

          Again, that it is BS is just your opinion. And one doesn’t have to buy something that is freely floating all over the place.

          • May 7, 2009 4:42 pm

            May be you are right about the Aryan-Dravidian thing . But if you think that only Hindi speaking “North-Indians” like me are nationalistic , then you are wrong .

            • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
              May 7, 2009 7:07 pm

              Kislay Chandra,

              I think the exact opposite of what you think I think. I firmly believe that what passes for nationalism in India is very often the just regionalism of the “Hindi-imperialist North Indians” (I have used the quotation marks to indicate an integrated phrase — to prevent the kind of misunderstanding that led Shefaly to take umbrage, some days back, at my use of a certain expletive, which she thought I was using for all North Indians), who arrogate to themselves the right to speak for the whole of India with its “anti-national” diversity of language, cuisine, costume (traditionally), panchangas, social conventions, religions (I have put that last because to me it is the least important).

              • May 8, 2009 11:47 am

                Clearly , you have something against people of the “cow-belt” region . I happen to be one of them . Please feel free to label “us” as you wish to . But , you are lumping us all together , based on your experience ( must have been bad ) . For me diversity , is not anti-national , but rather natural , for it exists everywhere . If we cannot learn to exist within the realms of diversity , then we will either perish or live a very troubled life , is what I think .

                • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
                  May 8, 2009 1:33 pm

                  Kislay Chandra,

                  I have never lumped all north Indians together. In fact I grew up in the north, Hindi is the only Indian language I formally studied, and know enough about north Indian culture to appreciate its finer points.

                  What I resent is the tendency of a vast majority of north Indians to project everything from their culture as being pan-Indian, while most things from other parts of India are dismissed as pradeshik, “madrasi” etc.

                  • May 8, 2009 5:42 pm

                    I apologize, in that case . And to be fair , I have across such Indians from the Northern states as well , though I my self have different thoughts . To quote a fool I heard a while ago , “Delhi ki neech sab south hai” .

                    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
                      May 8, 2009 7:53 pm

                      Kislay Chandra,

                      Apology not necessary. The overall tone of your comments to/about me has been polite and reasonable, despite your sense of hurt, and I accept them in the spirit in which they were made. I did feel it was important to correct your misimpression about me, which I did.

      • May 7, 2009 2:37 pm

        Vivek K, even earlier once you had accused me of this type of thing. The very fact that your this comment was published without a problem as well as many others means that your name is not on moderation. If you are using any words or signs (or something that the software mistakes for links) which are under moderation then I am afraid I cannot do anything about it. If your name is on moderation I will inform you about it. The word madrassi is NOT under moderation. And Vivek Mittal is also not on moderation and I find nothing offensive in his comments. He is free to have his views, whether I agree with them or not.

  20. May 7, 2009 1:57 pm

    @ Odzer

    \\ Either we centralise everything or we federalise, its the fence sitting that bothers me \\

    Here I agree with you…may be creating the states on linguitic lines was a blunder.. as it divides people..

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 7, 2009 2:19 pm

      V Mittal

      //…creating the states on linguitic lines was a blunder.. as it divides people..//

      You actually mean “…as it denies Hindi a domineering walkover across the whole of India”, don’t you?

      • May 7, 2009 2:43 pm

        No i dont mean that,

        Long back on doordarshan they used to telecast a cartoon film with a social message. It was about a society of people created by God, and when someone challenged God to divide those people so that they kill each other, God simple did one thing, he gave different colours to the people …some found their skin turning Red, some Blue , some yellow and so on..and soon they formed different groups with same coloured people and started fighting/killing people of other colour.
        The morale of the story is what i mean

  21. Vinod permalink
    May 7, 2009 2:14 pm

    I think the point being made by Odzer is that the question of Kashmir should be approached very practically and not with any emotional notions of India being a great nation and blah like that. There is nothing sacred about India. The sanctity is something that has been drummed into our heads and it has the potential of clouding our minds when we approach issues such as Kashmir. The sanctity served its purpose during the independence struggle. It no longer does. The sensitivity can block obvious answers and perpetuate the sufferings of people in those troubled regions. People get priority over nations! We should not rule out the possibility of giving up these states, if pragmatism demands so. The worrisome aspect is that some approach this issue as if that is not even an option and should not be. Like as if it’s blasphemy to suggest that. That is the real objection. It is important to have a long term view of how nations evolve over time and not get hung up on a 1940s view of India.

  22. May 7, 2009 2:32 pm

    \\ We should not rule out the possibility of giving up these states, if pragmatism demands so\\

    If today we give away Kashmir, it would become the safest haven of terrorists.And the likes of Al Queda, LET’s etc will have much better reach to the heart of India. Even China would build military base in Kashmir, NE etc if it is given away to Pakistan/China.

    As our “practical” friends suggest, if we give away NE to China then it will be stupid to believe that China will remain grateful for the rest of future.Will a peaceful/powerful India suit China?
    Never; After getting NE, it will again try to create fresh problems for India.Pakistan is nothing but a pawn of China, it will give away Kashmir to China if India leaves the claim on KAshmir. .

    The biggest threats for India is islamic terrorism and China,and the threat will become more grave if we give away Kashmir and NE

    • Vinod permalink
      May 7, 2009 2:42 pm

      Demonizing the other is the corollary of self glorification.

      • Vinod permalink
        May 7, 2009 2:44 pm

        I’m also biased against ‘doom and gloom’ arguments. Sorry.

  23. May 7, 2009 3:06 pm

    The post and the account that @shefaly mentioned seems very much in line with what I have heard from my Kashmiri friends and their parents.

    Every single Hindu Kashmiri friend I know, (their parents)had to struggle their way up, starting afresh moving to Delhi or other places.
    One of my friends still loses his sanity talking about the struggles and is openly Anti-Muslim.Even his most commonly used email id has the word “hindu” in it.

    -Nikhil

  24. Vinod permalink
    May 7, 2009 3:56 pm

    Am I the only one that thinks that we are fairly quick to sympathise with the radicalisation of Kashmiri Hindus for their suffering, but fail to do so when it is muslims? Somehow the muslims'[ radicalisation is from their religion and cannot come from their circumstances.

    • May 7, 2009 4:18 pm

      Vinod

      You are not the only person to think so. Many commentators draw attention to the relatively poor socio-economic circumstances of Muslims the world over and how those catalyse the radicalisation of the Muslim youth. However then the conversation turns to the reasons for these circumstances and while societal and institutional discrimination are to blame, one cannot entirely say that the religion’s general treatment of women and their attitude to education etc are blameless. That is when it starts getting murky.

      When the discussion on a post such as this can be dragged into the direction of a North/ South debate by the usual suspects, you can imagine what a can of worms will be opened by articulating such an opinion as you do. You must be a very brave person!😉

      • Vinod permalink
        May 7, 2009 4:34 pm

        thank you for your thoughts Shefaly. I sure hope my comment does not derail this topic.

        • May 7, 2009 6:10 pm

          Vinod, I totally agree. I think that radicalization is a direct consequence of circumstances and people from any religions are equally vulnerable to it.

          That said, one must not forget the fundamental difference between Abrahamic religions and Dharmic religions. Those religions have a concept of ‘my god or wrong god’, the whole basis of those religions is rooted in self superiority. You can’t help but give them an advantage in their assessment of ‘feeling discriminated against’.

          • Vinod permalink
            May 8, 2009 8:18 am

            Priyank, point well made and taken.

      • May 7, 2009 6:17 pm

        Shefaly, I might be getting defensive here, but I was trying to address the systemic problem behind Kashmir issue: i.e. Union of India is holding certain states against their wishes.

        What happened in Kashmir could happen anywhere (e.g. the unfortunate Mumbai anti-immigrant riots) as long as the systemic problem remains. And foreign ‘hands’ will be more than willing to aid.

      • Vinod permalink
        May 7, 2009 7:25 pm

        Shefaly, one of the reasons it gets difficult to see the circumstantial influence on the radicalisation of muslims is the rhetoric they use when radicalised is predominantly religious – the muslim-kafir worldview, the ummah, Shariah, sunnah, jihad fi sabilillah and all that blah.

    • May 7, 2009 8:58 pm

      @Vinod…

      “Am I the only one that thinks that we are fairly quick to sympathise with the radicalisation of Kashmiri Hindus for their suffering, but fail to do so when it is muslims? Somehow the muslims’[ radicalisation is from their religion and cannot come from their circumstances.”

      Mr Vinod – you are so wrong?

      where other than blogs did you see anything in favor of Kashmiri Hindus? Which govt or party has bothered abt them? Which TV channel has ever bothered abt them…? Which anchor cares to even ask Kashmiri Hindu’s abt their opinion when they do endless talks abt Kashmiris…
      Do u know – 50000+ kashmiri Hindus’ still languish in refugee camps in Jammu – even 19 years after exodus.

      http://soulinexile.blogspot.com/2008/11/in-exile-at-home.html

      No one cares!!! Because we are NOT a VOTE BANK…

      On the contrary – the moment there is something to do with muslims… everyone jumps in.

      Do u remember – James Lyngdoh and whole election commission stalled the Gujrat elections just because 3000-4000 people were in some refugee camps.

      Whereas – even 19 years later – no one cares about our right of franchise… Read this…!!!
      http://kashmiris-in-exile.blogspot.com/2009/05/kashmiri-pandits-demand-voter-id-cards.html

    • May 7, 2009 11:22 pm

      @Vinod:
      That’s a very confused and ignorant notion, but a very common one. Look up the bio-data of OBL, Zawahiri, Omar Saeed Sheikh, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and other terrorists (London tube, Glasgow airport, 9-11) and tell me which one of them faced circumstances that would lead them to commit terrorist acts and kill innocents, and how many of them are/were poor and uneducated.

      The second point is that in our democratic societies, we have a system – imperfect, but a system nevertheless – to address and resolve grievances (constitution, courts, ballot box), and resorting to violence and killing innocent people because there are genuine or perceived grievances is something that’s only to be used as a last resort when all other options have failed, not as the first option. Imperfection of a system shouldn’t be an excuse to take up arms, unless one has tried other options and tried to make the system better. There’s nothing stopping people who have grievances to run for election on their platform of grievance and improve things – why the hurry to pick up Ak47? (remember ‘Are you a builder or a wrecker?’)

      If tomorrow, the court rules against me regarding some dispute and even if it’s not fair, would that justify me taking up arms and killing others, just because of my grievance? How will that solve the problem? I do hope that you won’t justify my acts of violence just because I had a genuine grievance.

      • May 8, 2009 3:27 am

        Amit

        In citing “…OBL, Zawahiri, Omar Saeed Sheikh, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and other terrorists (London tube, Glasgow airport, 9-11)..” to make your point, you miss one crucial detail – that all of them are alive.

        These individuals did/ do not carry out mass-terrorism missions; they merely incite/ “guide” them. The missions are executed (unfortunate word that) by naïve young men, who are overwhelmingly from poor, disadvantaged backgrounds which means not only do they not have great prospects, but also they do not always have the awareness/ the willingness of using the legal apparatus available in democratic societies.

        Further the evidence from Muslim communities in a democratic country like the UK suggests that a vocal minority prefers the local laws to be subjugated to Islamic laws, whilst the silent majority has still not worked out how to address the question of radicalisation (tied as it often is to issues like the Prophet, the Hadith, the Sharia, the Umma and so on) without publicly allowing a scrutiny of their identities at the most fundamental levels.

        This combination of disquiet on one part of the community and the uncomfortable quiet on the part of the other means that the intellectual argument about ‘don’t take up arms against the system’ etc just do not fly.

        Not sure whether I should now characterise _your_ view as an ignorant and confused notion. But I guess I shall leave the name-calling to others.🙂

        • May 8, 2009 4:22 am

          Shefaly,

          The terrorists involved in London tube blasts died, no? And the Glasgow airport was a suicide mission too, which was foiled at the last minute. The 9-11 hijackers are all dead. These were all foot soldiers who were neither uneducated, nor poor. You can look up Peter Bergen’s essay titled “Madrassa Myth” where he talks about studies that have debunked “poverty drives terrorism” view.

          And I am already aware of what you wrote in the rest of your comment regarding this issue, and that doesn’t change one bit what I wrote in my earlier one. But thanks for sharing your thoughts anyway.🙂

        • May 8, 2009 4:32 am

          The issue is not whether “don’t take up arms against the system” flies or not, the issue is people being apologists for such acts. I wouldn’t do the same for rapists or murderers, so I don’t see the need to do it for terrorists. If people are living in a modern, democratic society, it is up to them to learn the ropes. After all, they also learn how the traffic lights work and when to cross the street.

      • May 8, 2009 6:12 am

        Amit, ironically the insurgency in Kashmir started after the rigging of the 1987 elections by the National Conference. In fact a lot of the insurgents were people who had contested the elections but were unfairly ‘defeated’.

        I would highly recommend ‘My Kashmir’ by Wajahat Habibullah (he is not a Kashmiri, he was an Indian bureaucrat posted in Kashmir during the insurgency and before).

        • May 8, 2009 9:29 am

          Vikram,

          Isn’t National Conference Abdullah’s party? Why would a Muslim rig elections to defeat his co-religionists, and why should these insurgents take their ire out on Hindus in the state? Power games between NC and others?
          BTW, I don’t think anyone’s hands are clean regarding what happened in Kashmir, be it Indian State, different political parties, Indian army or terrorists/insurgents, as well as Pakistan. From what little I’ve read, seems to me that all parties have made blunders, so I’m not blaming any one party.

          Thanks for the book recommendation – I’ll check it out. Though, there are always two sides to any issue, and then there’s the truth which lies somewhere in the middle. I hope that was not the only book you read to get your information on the events in Kashmir.🙂

          • May 9, 2009 12:52 am

            “Why would a Muslim rig elections to defeat his co-religionists”

            I dont think religion was the issue here at all. The rigging of elections was Kashmir were the actions of an entrenched and greedy elite (read NC) who compromised the dignity of their people to maintain power. Only Sheikh Abdullah tried to implement land reforms. The rest of the elite easily co-opted with Delhi to maintain their status.

            And the rest of India, our media, election commission, judiciary kept silent. Kashmiris wanted (or still want) out because they never really even got the minimal democracy that the rest of India always took for granted.

            The Constitution was bent, twisted and thrown in the dustbin by successive Union governments.

            Kashmiri Muslims then threw their culture of Kashmiriyat into the garbage can by driving out the Pandits. It is a culture that may perhaps never return.

  25. May 7, 2009 5:47 pm

    great post Nita,

    I agree with you that India as country would have been far better if we dint had these issues.

    Archana

  26. May 7, 2009 5:54 pm

    Kashmir is being looked at differentely by by different interests. It is US, Pak.and their respective national political interests.We should see it from the Indian perspective only.Kashmiris are fully secured with India and even they have realised this fact.

  27. May 7, 2009 5:56 pm

    1. Just a note that Mr. Blackwill is a retired diplomat and has no official connection with the Obama Administration and hence doesn’t speak on their behalf.

    2. I think Priyank’s view, seconded by some others, is naive in assuming that by letting go of some states, the remaining states will be left alone in peace. That is what the Pakistan Govt thought when it made the Swat peace deal with the Taliban.

    3. Like Shefaly pointed out, retaining Kashmir and NE states is in India’s strategic and geopolitical interest. Extremist Islamists and imperialist China will always keep knocking at your door, however much you reduce your borders.

    • May 7, 2009 7:07 pm

      Mahendra, I don’t think Swat is comparable. An example similar to Swat would be the Indian government surrendering administration of certain territories within its own jurisdiction, e.g.: surrendering to Maoists.

      Keeping Kashmir or NE makes sense from a strategic/political sense only. China has already started trapping us from other sides using their string of pearls formula. But that’s all it is, a strategic need, and calling it nationalism, one India, akhand Bharat etc is false.

      • May 8, 2009 8:33 am

        I did not call it any names, but mentioned that it is important from a strategic, geo-political perspective.

        I was responding to your suggestion that we should ‘let go’ of these states. Now you’re saying it does ‘make sense from a strategic/political sense’. I’m not sure if you’re still sticking to the advice of letting go of these states or admitting that we need to stick with them.

        • May 8, 2009 9:58 am

          If we care to listen to what people want, states must be let go since they don’t wish to be a part of the union. If we care about India’s strategic worries, there’s more to that than fighting over Kashmir or NE. I don’t think we have a strategic policy and holding on to these troubled areas seems simply an emotional move. Weakness in strategic policy is demonstrated in the powerlessness of intelligence agencies or the lack of political resolve etc.🙂

          • Prax permalink
            May 10, 2009 1:41 pm

            Priyank
            im with Mahendra on this one
            it is easy to be an idealist , but reality points in the other direction.

  28. May 7, 2009 9:03 pm

    First, you are a good journalist Nita – you got information from someone who came to buy the moped!!
    Having lived in the southern states, I could tell you one thing. There was a huge uproar and anti hindi sentiments in TN wanting to become a seperate territory when Hindi was made mandatory in all official communications. At that time, if you had taken a vote, people might have voted for a seperate nation. But it was only due to the heat of that particular issue. But now, people are happy to be a part of the union as their core problem was solved.

    We could also look at Kashmir (and even Pakistan) in this light. Not addressing the issues that is most bothering the common man and only creating propaganda stunts will just take us a lot of steps away from solving the problem.

    Destination Infinity

    • May 13, 2009 8:45 pm

      kashmiris will talk to anyone who will listen to them. They have not been heard. Pick a kashmiri and he will talk – One of them who owns a scandinavian furnishings – a shop in downtown NY with his scandinavian wife talked to me for a good 1 hour about kashmir and home.

  29. Ajay Reddy permalink
    May 7, 2009 9:33 pm

    India crushed Khalistan terror groups in 1980s, thanks to KPS Gill.
    if KPS Gill wasn’t there or if Govt failed to stop terror groups, may be Punjab could have been another Kashmir. may be you would be writing article on Punjab rather than Kashmir.
    A Punjab through the eyes of Punjabi.

    Naxalism is a huge problem in many states, they claim they fight for the poor in rural areas , they try to run parallel govts which means they want to rule the states.

    But then there have been failures and some success against Naxalism. Naxals fight with obsolete stolen weapons from Police which gives counter-insurgency forces a upper hand.

    may be if Naxals fought like Kashmir terror groups, things could have been worse. In this case, its more than one state, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand. You may have been writing an article on all these states.

    ULFA fights against Indian rule in Assam, NSCN-IM in Nagaland. other groups fight against Govt rule in Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur.

    why Kashmir became such a serious issue, its because pakistan took it seriously as their most important foreign policy issue. otherwise we wouldn’t have seen so much violence and presence of armed forces.

    militancy only makes Govt more determined to not talk anything concrete anything about Kashmir.

    Just like Priyank (first reply) was saying.
    “I don’t even know why India is one country, states have less common than in EU”.

    this is exactly the point, our freedom fighters let it be Gandhi or Bose or anybody else wanted united secular India and not a collapsed India like present Russia.

    despite all the difficulties, India continues to remain one country, break it up, its game over. Each State or Country will be fighting with other over various issues.

    Bimaru States like Bihar will become rogue states threatening other better developed states. They will become another afghanistan or Somalia.

    Among all the confusion in Kashmir. Both GOI, Kashmiris, their leaders and all Indian citizens that jobs and development can solve many problems.
    at the end of day, one needs peace, jobs, prosperity, happiness.

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 8, 2009 6:12 am

      @ Ajay Reddy:

      //a collapsed India like present Russia//

      Come again!! Which uncollapsed past Russia are you implying? Or are you suggesting that Russia = USSR?

      //Bimaru States like Bihar will become rogue states//

      I think you mean ‘state’ with a lowercase ‘s’ in the first case and capital ‘s’ in the second. But that apart, don’t you think Bihar is already a rogue state? Recall how its present and past CMs reacted to the shooting by the Mumbai Police of one of their ‘nationals’, who ran amok with a gun on a municipal bus in Mumbai. Could those reactions have come from the leaders of anything but a rogue state?

  30. May 7, 2009 9:55 pm

    In the spirit of DI’s practical comments above, I can suggest the following practical steps to improve India:

    1) To satisfy people’s legitimate political aspirations and greatly improve administration, more states be established. Particularly for large states like UP (Awadh, Purvanchal, Bundelkhand), Madhya Pradesh (Malwa, Bundelkhand), Maharashtra (Vidarbha), Andhra Pradesh (Telangana) and West Bengal (Gorkhaland).

    This will create some opposition from the poor kids in our schools that will have to memorize the names and capitals of 40 states instead of 28, but hey, they cant vote😉 .

    2) Make the Rajya Sabha (the Council of States) a more representative and effective body by having roughly the same number of reps from each state. This is how the US Senate works.

    3) Give states the power to tax the income of their residents and more effectively raise revenues for themselves.

    4) Referendums in the Kashmir Valley and Nagaland to decide whether they want to remain in the Union.

    5) Let every state have its own sub-Constitution, instead of stuffing things into an already bloated federal Constitution.

    6) Learn to say Federal or Union instead of the colonial ‘central’ (yuck, I hate that word).

    7) Make states more prominent in the national and international media. A simple step in this direction would be referring to each city/town in India as city, state (example: Ranchi, Jharkhand) in the national media and penalizing ‘international’ media like the BBC and New York Times that do not adhere to this.

    8) Always remember the first line of the Consti, ‘India, that is Bharat, is a Union of States’. So the states make up India, you need to be Bihari, Tamil, Assamese before you can claim to be an Indian.

    • May 7, 2009 10:22 pm

      I think every state needs that referendum, so the matter is settled for once and for all. The Union should be made of willing states and should not be of an ‘imperial’ nature. Oh and it should not the kind of referendum that Sikkim got :p

      • May 8, 2009 2:20 am

        I am all for referendums in every state. But from the surveys and data I have seen, only Nagaland and the Kashmir valley seem to want out.

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 8, 2009 6:57 am

      @ Vikram:

      Excellent ideas! I wholeheartedly agree (I hope this exchange is not against the comments policy here🙂 ! ). Just a few cautionary notes, though:

      The carving up of UP must precede the creation of Vidarbha, Telangana etc.

      Re. Gorkhaland: it could create a precedent for demanding the carving out of new states wherever there are large concentrations of migrants (no prizes for guessing which language group they would predominantly belong to). So, in addition to Mumbai, there would arise a demand for making Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune etc. into ‘national’ cities, detached from the states to which they belong.

      To supplement your point on the Rajya Sabha, the current freeze on the statewise number of seats in the Lok Sabha, fixing them pro rata with the population of those states at a past date, must be modified as follows:

      (a) the freeze must be lifted in the case of the “madrasi” states that have been true to the spirit and the letter of the population policy, and must therefore be rewarded. I dream of a parliament, in the not-too-distant future, in which Kerala will have a larger number of representatives than UP, Bihar and Haryana combined.

      (b) the freeze must be made punitively incremental in the case of the cow-belt states, which not only have not contained their population growth rates but also contribute maximally to the migrants into the “madrasi” states.

      The states already have the right to tax their citizens. What is necessary is that a higher percentage of the taxes collected (say 95%), whether by the state or by the federal government, should accrue to the state.

      Regarding terms like ‘federal’ or ‘union’ instead of ‘central’, what’s stopping us from using them?

      I particularly like your last point, about allegiance to a state being a precondition to qualifying as an Indian😀

      • May 8, 2009 7:35 am

        @ Vivek,

        The fertility rate in any state is co-related strongly to the infant and child mortality along with life expectancy.

        Example:

        UP: Fertility rate: 4 Infant Mortality: 76
        TN: Fertility rate: 2 Infant Mortality: 37

        Whats my point ?

        The high population growth rate in UP and Bihar reflects more the dismal state of healthcare in those states rather than an insidious plan to dominate the legislature.

        Bihar has made some decent strides in health care and this will show in the 2011 NFHS survey, unfortunately UP is a different story.

        You have still made racist comments like ‘cow-belt’. Racism cannot defeat racism. If the imperialist attitudes of the North Indian elite towards state languages is wrong then so is using derogatory terms and blaming the suffering people of Bihar for their own misfortunes.

        • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
          May 8, 2009 8:48 am

          @ Vikram:

          I happen to have formally studied demography at the postgraduate level, so I am aware of the correlation you mention (though you have oversimplified it).

          I have not suggested ‘an insidious plan to dominate the legislature’; just that the brute majority of irresponsibly (or compelled by socio-economic circumstances) begotten numbers has in the past been used to browbeat the rest of us (“madrasis”). And in recent times these bullies have sought to bring the same tactics to local government institutions (such as the Brihanmumbai Mahanagarpalika) riding on the backs of their hoodlum constituencies.

          The freeze on the number of representatives per state in the Lok Sabha was a correct decision when it was made. But it is now high time that the “madrasi” states were rewarded, and the cow-belt punished (if you think ‘cow-belt’ is a racist term, that is your problem; it is even used in serious writing, as a quick and random survey of journals such as EPW and Seminar will reveal).

          Finally, no one is blaming the people of Bihar (or UP) for their own misfortune. One just minds their bringing their native lawlessness and goondagiri to the places to which they migrate, and objecting when the locals react to such high-handed behaviour in similar manner.

          Finally, if you agree that “the imperialist attitudes of the North Indian elite towards state languages is wrong”, and if there is no recourse to the law against such an attitude, then the only option open is for those aggrieved by it to take the law into their own hands.

          • May 8, 2009 9:07 am

            Vivek, the EPW is not a journal. I dont think its articles are peer reviewed. I have not seen that term used in a single peer-reviewed article.

            I am sorry but for your self-professed claims to be a scholar, statements like,
            “One just minds their bringing their native lawlessness and goondagiri to the places to which they migrate” is not very different from right wingers like the BJP and RSS like to spout out.

            Biharis and UPites are no more prone to crime than so called ‘Madrasis’.

            Enduring imperialist attitudes is tough, but it pales before crimes like this …
            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7287007.stm

            • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
              May 8, 2009 9:40 am

              @Vikram:

              Re. my “self-professed claims to be a scholar” I have never made any such claims. It is just that I think it is possible for an average individual to have interests in life other than hindi films, saas-bahu serials and cricket. My interests happen to include reading non-fiction. That is not the preserve of scholars.

              I am afraid you are resorting to the clever device of quoting only that part of what I wrote which suits your argument. This is the same as quoting out of context.

              Regarding the last two points that you make, I am afraid they will have to wait, as I have to rush for a business meeting now (it may interest you to know that this meeting is about drainage and drinking water problems in the tarai areas of UP and Bihar, and will be conducted largely in Hindi).

              • May 9, 2009 9:18 am

                Vivek, I quoted your complete sentence. If you had made any other argument then I not seen it.

                Also, waiting for your reply to my last two points.

                • Vinod permalink
                  May 10, 2009 8:14 pm

                  Vikram, that link was an eye-opener.

            • Naveen permalink
              May 10, 2009 8:05 pm

              Vikram, Thanks for the link. The news item disturbed me (I am a migrant myself, in the US) and reminded me of the atrocities committed on South Indians in Mumbai in the 70s, in the name of maniacal regionalism. I am sure North India will eventually find its love as the South found its (with development). But I feel that this whole discussion is evidence of how hatred feeds on dumb conformity.

    • Vinod permalink
      May 8, 2009 7:44 am

      Vikram, wholeheartedly agree as well.

  31. Ajay Reddy permalink
    May 7, 2009 10:06 pm

    I would like to Vinods post regarding fragile political unity. It is simply in our attitudes. we all can change that. Its not a difficult thing ofcourse but its very difficult to convince others.

    But then god does give us a gift, despite having so many divisions, there is lot of family unity in us. if only we thought India is a huge joint family.

    • Vinod permalink
      May 8, 2009 7:46 am

      Ajay…it is in our attitudes. No doubt. But We are at the end of the day a protoplasm of prejudices.

  32. May 7, 2009 11:35 pm

    Nita,

    Clearly, your post has worked up so much emotions in people around here; it is good, not to forget informative..

    Most of what I had thought of saying has been said in the comments already…Or has it? May be less has been said about the naivety of ‘your good guy’ Priyank. (dunno what makes him understand that letting go of Kashmir will not expose the ‘new’ borders to same old troubles. Also, his views on the ‘bimaru’ states are ill-formed, if not ill-intentioned.

    Kashmir is as much an issue of ‘akhand bharat’ as it is of strategic safeguarding of our geography. Sad that people are looking at it with the myopic thinking of ‘letting people free’.

    Anyhow, I won’t say more, but only for the reason that much has been said already.

    Vaibhav

    • May 8, 2009 3:10 am

      The good guy does not understand these ‘Akhand Bharat’ dudes at all. There is no historical basis for such stuff – Akhand Bharat never existed. Frankly, what are we going to gain or what are we trying to prove by including Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Mayanmar into our country? And why stop there? Why not gobble up Tibet, Afganistan, Thailand and maybe China too?

      The good guy is also waiting for you to correct his ‘ill informed, ill intentioned’ views on the nonperforming states supported by the performing ones.

      Finally the good guy would like to hear from you some substantial response to his views rather than calling him names.

      Thanks.

      • May 8, 2009 1:22 pm

        Good guy Priyank,

        Let us try to survive with having Kashmir and NE …and Maharashtra…and TN…and all ‘bimaru’ states (and every other region for that matter, considering the kind of eclectic mix that we are as a people) You in your opening comment were vociferously suggesting to do away each of these in the name of ‘freedom for all’!! We’ll do well to have these together and that alone is what I meant by ‘akhand bharat’; I did not mean to include pakistan, burma, SL, and all other neighbouring geographies that you are sarcasically referring to be included in India. Let us save that ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ (One world for all) theory for the books.

        Is NE only as much a part of India as Bangladesh? If you think yes, then you disrespect the notion of the Indian Republic. And how far are you planning to go in name of ‘freedom’, the seekers of which could get further divided to demand a further division within Kashmir, were their demands to be granted.

        Take fewer, better lessons from history dear.

        Vaibhav

        • May 8, 2009 8:48 pm

          //Is NE only as much a part of India as Bangladesh? … Take fewer, better lessons from history dear.

          Historically, Bangladesh is more ‘Indian’ than say Manipur. Maybe you need lessons?

          //If you think yes, then you disrespect the notion of the Indian Republic.

          I don’t know what is your notion of Indian Republic. You are throwing vague sentences again.

          • May 9, 2009 2:03 am

            //Historically, Bangladesh is more ‘Indian’ than say Manipur. Maybe you need lessons?//

            Look at the overall understanding you have of India … Do away with Kashmir, do away with NE, and you even dragged the ‘bimaru’ states in this ‘kashmir’ issue, which are an entirely separate subject of struggle!

            You are the kind of soul who has his face buried in the old sands of history that was written by someone else, told by someone else and understood by you in your own way!

            Look on…backwards !!😉

            PS: And just to correct you, I did not call you names; it was Nita who called you a ‘real good guy’; that alone I referred to. The only difference being that Nita probably meant it!

            • May 9, 2009 10:12 am

              You called me naive before. And now you call me a soul buried in blah blah. Do you have an argument for my views or are you simply fancying a personal attack?

              • May 9, 2009 11:02 am

                Hey, easy !
                (you said I was ‘throwing vague sentences’; I called you ‘naive’ . . that’s okay, considering the nature of all this; please don’t take to heart)

                By the way, I don’t see any argument in what you say and neither I am fancying anything.

                Let it be!

                Peace : )

  33. raghav permalink
    May 8, 2009 4:36 am

    Grt topic. Grt. viewpoints.

    I just know Haryana is Haryana, Maharashtra is Maharashtra, Karnataka is Karnataka, Assam is Assam because they are in India. If we get divided, we will be eaten by whoever we call our enemies. We will lose our secondary identities. Together, we are safer than independent states. Haven’t we not learned enough from our history, our kings were not united, that’s what paved the way for arabs and mughals into our country.

    Yes, we are different in many regards, but should the price of being different from each other always be division. Why should we ape the Europeans for everything? They had to form a union, we have it already in one piece, so what if we have challanges.

    Kashmir is a mutilayered complex issue. No practical solution which i could c happening in near future comes to my mind. Time n circumstances will decide its fate.

  34. Vinod permalink
    May 8, 2009 8:13 am

    Haven’t we not learned enough from our history, our kings were not united, that’s what paved the way for arabs and mughals into our country

    Our country??!! Arabs and moghuls were no more foreigners as Marathas were to the people in the South and vice versa. Indians have developed this historical myth that India as a Union somehow existed since time immemorial. It did not. It came into being in 1947. The Indian consciousness was perhaps created somewhere in the late 1800s or early 1900s and more likely by the British adminsitration. Even then, it wasn’t a universal consciousness.

  35. Vinod permalink
    May 8, 2009 10:00 am

    There are Tamilians in Singapore whose forefathers came from India before independence. These Tamilians have no sense of any Indian identity. They only had a Tamilian identity which they inherited from their forefathers. Clearly shows that the Indian identity wasn’t universal even during the independence struggle.

    • May 9, 2009 8:58 pm

      And in contrast to above, I know of Malaysians and Trinidadians (not Naipaul) who were born and grew up in those countries, and in spite of having no connection to India for several generations (their forefathers migrated much before 1947), feel attracted to India and Indian culture. Go figure.🙂

    • Vinod permalink
      May 10, 2009 7:57 am

      Amit, even the Indians in Singapore still feel attracted to India, because their origins are in India. They still visit India and watch Indian movies, visit temples and love Indian food. But they do not relate with their own cousins in India on issues like Kashmir. Cultural connections to the particular subculture of India does not mean nationalistic pride – “India is the greatest country” and all that blah.

      • May 10, 2009 8:27 am

        “But they do not relate with their own cousins in India on issues like Kashmir.”

        I know many Indians who don’t relate with other Indians on issues like Kashmir.🙂
        (As comments here would illustrate.)

        My example was just to illustrate a counterpoint – not to negate – to yours regarding people having a sense of Indian identity even though they are a few generations removed from any contact with India.

        • Vinod permalink
          May 10, 2009 10:10 am

          Amit, help me here a bit. Can their identity really be called ‘Indian’ or is it a little more localised? In the sense that, would they be interested in the kind of laws being made in India about say homosexuality or the budget or the elections etc. Or would they be more emotionally connected with the laws and the budget of their own country? Would they be more interested with India’s foreign policy or with those of their own countries? You see what I mean? Their connection with India is very different from the connection that an Indian, like say Nita, would have with India as a whole. In fact, the Indians from India who come to Singapore actually find themselves unable to connect with the Indians who have been in Singapore for generations. Is that the case there with the Trinidad indians as well?

          • May 10, 2009 8:56 pm

            Vinod,

            But do you really think that all Indians take an interest in the laws and budget and all other Indian issues you mentioned in your above comment? Is that a pre-requisite for an Indian identity?

            Regarding connection, according to you, Indians have superficial unifying trends which cannot hide that we don’t have a common fundamental identity. So, I fail to understand why you’d think all Indians have this connection with India just because they happened to be born here and grew up here. It’ll probably be true for many Indians, but I wouldn’t assume it’s true for all Indians. Different comments here are proof of that.

            And while these folks from Singapore or Trinidad may not take an interest in laws and budget, they do feel a deep concern when events like terrorists attacking Mumbai last November happen in India. A love or concern for India can be expressed in different ways, not just by an interest in law-making and budget.

            Again, I’m not negating what you wrote about Singaporeans – I’m simply offering a different example based on my personal experience. I also know people like the ones you mention. I also didn’t say they have an Indian identity – I’m mentioning their attraction/love/concern towards/for India.

          • Vinod permalink
            May 10, 2009 9:29 pm

            So, I fail to understand why you’d think all Indians have this connection with India just because they happened to be born here and grew up here.

            I think there are identity constituencies one draws or developes as one goes through life. The first circle may have to do with one’s family characteristics – Tamil Brahmins etc. The second may have to do with the city. The third may have to do with the state, fourth the country and so on and so forth. These circles of familiarity may not be friendly or pleasant in all instances. It depends on the individual’s life experience.

            Assuming the life of an average middle class city bred man brought up in India (no personal experiences of famine, riots but that of regular govt corruption or bad roads and traffic, competition for colleges etc) layers of identity are drawn that include the country in it. These identities tug at some basic emotions in us and are pretty deeply ingrained in our consciousness. So events and incidents that affect these constituencies in our multi-layered identity will reverberate in our very beings. It is that connection I am referring to which develops if one has a typical secure upbringing at a place. And I am trying to say that India as a constituency of an identity does not exist in the second/third generation Indians found in Trinidad or Singapore. They may feel for indians when there are terrorist attacks in India just like I feel for the Iraqis, Palestinians and Pakistanis when they face terrorist attacks. But that is a connection of humanity, something of the outer constituencies of one’s identity.

            I believe that Tamilians in Singapore or the Indians in trinidad will have quite naturally a deeper identity-connections with the places they grew up in than with India. There is a little bit of their inherited identity that has its origins in some specific locality/language of India that may be even deeper than the connection to their own countries.

            That is the point I have been trying, so poorly, to articulate.

            • May 11, 2009 12:13 am

              “They may feel for indians when there are terrorist attacks in India just like I feel for the Iraqis, Palestinians and Pakistanis when they face terrorist attacks. But that is a connection of humanity, something of the outer constituencies of one’s identity.”

              And what I’m trying to articulate is that it’s more than just a connection of humanity that someone may feel for a tragic event unfolding in the world.

              I’m not really sure what’s to argue here – you provided some anecdotal experience, and I’m doing the same, which happens to be different from yours. Both are true. Life and world is too diverse and complex to be bounded by any one theory or the other regarding this connection felt (or not felt) by second-and-third generation people. Again, my experience does not negate yours – it’s just different. Please read that previous sentence one more time, Vinod.

  36. ulag permalink
    May 8, 2009 11:28 am

    I actually agree with destination infinity’s point the most. Often people get whipped up in a frenzy by politicians and they do not know what is good for them. By allowing referendums we would see different parts of India break up solely because the peoples there have been misguided by politicians who would want a chunk of power. why would someone not want to rule over a country of his own? we have enough such selfish leaders who would be willing to do anything for the sake of power. We have seen time and again as to how regular peace-loving folk get whipped up into a mad frenzy by these politicians into doing distasteful acts like mass scale rioting. does anyone believe any of the riots in the past wouldve occurred without the instigation of politicians? and just because the people did it, does it mean its legitimate? so on what basis can we agree to referendums when we know that there is a history of manipulations done by our politicians? Referendums are all fine in USA or France where people are well educated and well informed and there is good media penetration to give all the appropriate facts n info even in the villages. We all know that this is not possible in India and this leaves a lot of space for politicians and leaders to manipulate public opinion.

    And history has given us examples of how disintegration of states is bad. The term “Balkanization” itself is a negative one referring to a string of independent states economically down and constantly at war with each other. Yugoslavia is a prime example. Sure that there were lots of inter-ethnic tensions in the country when it was a single unit too. But breaking the country up gave it no solution. Things have got worse infact.

    Some people have cited the EU and have said that India should adopt such a model of a union of separate countries. Funny thing is that the EU is looking at India as an inspiration and is trying to form itself into a single cohesive unit if not a nation. For centuries Germany, France and Britain fought each other as separate states. Now under the EU theyre coming closer. They now have a single EU president drawn from one of the member countries. They now have a common currency. Theyre trying to setup a single market and increase co-operation between inter-country organizations. And theyre only trying to find more ways to integrate. India is already there. Why go backwards?

    • May 8, 2009 9:43 pm

      This point of EU trying to actually form a union of all the nations in Europe is really interesting. I think we need to look at this issue not only from a strictly political/security point of view but we also need to look at it in an economic point of view. Why did the Europeans want to form a union? Why did they take all the pains to bring in a common currency of Euro? What other areas do the European countries in the EU cooperate? If someone can shed more light on this, perhaps we could all learn.

      Destination Infinity

  37. May 8, 2009 12:18 pm

    @ Vivek K

    \\ their bringing their native lawlessness \\

    Better you go through statistics…Maharashtrians seem to be more native to lawlessness and crime than “cowbelt”

    http://ncrb.nic.in/cii2007/cii-2007/Table%203.1.pdf

    Go through the link of “National crime records Bureau” of crimes in india statewise in 2007

    I’ll compare Maharashtra and “cowbelt” state UP

    Crime Maharashtra UP
    Murders 2700 5000
    Riots 8000 4500
    Rape 1451 1648
    Dacoity 716 437
    Robbery 2770 2169
    Dowry Death 436 2076

    Total voilent crimes 20771 26693
    % Share of all India crime 9.6% 12.4%

    above information is from very authentic source (NCRB) and link is given

    Now you see, given the population of maharashtra and UP being 10 Cr and 19 Cr respictely, the murders in Maharashtra are no less than in UP and are perhaps more….

    In other crime cases like Rape, Riots, Dacoity, Robbery etc MAHARASHTRA IS WAY AHEAD OF UP.

    And last two statistics reveal it all…% share of maharashtra and UP in violent crimes being 9 % (against population share of 10%) and 12% (against population share of 18%) respectively

    So, it’s clear MAHARASHTRA IS INCREASING VOILENT CRIME RATE IN INDIA WHILE UP IS BRINGING IT DOWN..as crimes are ALWAYS calculated wrt population.

    So it’s clear now that maharashtrians are perhaps most crime prone people in the country and not just that….They hate all successful people also in the country as they have scene “outsiders” flourishing in mumbai whereas they remained where they were

    • Dnyanesh permalink
      May 9, 2009 11:40 pm

      I agree. Maharashtra is the most lawless state esp compared ‘Healthy’ (not BIMARU) states. Our progress is simply because of outsiders. Keep writing… We are enjoying your comments in Maharashtra.
      Please educate your native people about this ‘reality’ so they will choose some other better state (Bihar e.g.) Police from our cities are searching for criminals in northern states. Someone should tell them about this report.

  38. May 8, 2009 12:21 pm

    PS: The table formed in above comment has not come good after being published. The table has 3 columns “Crime” , “maharashtra” and “UP”.And all subsequent rows have 3 columns as above.
    Or better, the link given can be referred

  39. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    May 8, 2009 1:06 pm

    V Mittal,

    //…it’s clear now that maharashtrians are perhaps most crime prone people in the country…//

    What is actually clear from your statistics is that the most crime-prone people from some of the most crime-prone parts of the country gravitate towards Maharashtra; its prosperity offers so many rewarding opportunities for crime, plus the anonynity that comes so easily and naturally in a cosmopolitan environment.

  40. May 8, 2009 1:38 pm

    @ Vivek K

    Which is more crime prone part, and who are most crime prone and unsuccessful people is evident from statistics🙂

  41. May 8, 2009 1:53 pm

    It may possible that Police did not register FRIs of all crime incidents. It may depends. on efficient police departments of respective states.

    Just a point to add.

    Archana

    • May 8, 2009 1:55 pm

      ‘.’ typo

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 8, 2009 9:18 pm

      Archana:

      That’s not “just a point” you have added. It’s a very basic point. The BIMARU states, apart from being socially, culturally and economically backward, are also known to be statistically backward. That backwardness includes the non-registration and non-reporting of crime.

  42. May 8, 2009 2:03 pm

    @ Archana

    murder or riot cases rarely go unreported, anywhere

  43. May 8, 2009 2:09 pm

    Dear all,

    I don’t know what are people trying to prove by suggesting crime stats and such things. We do have an idea, don’t we? Is the argument about bringing one state versus another, or suggesting the separation of the poor or unquiet states like the NE?

    I’ll agree if someone points out that crime rate in the prosperous states like Delhi or Maharashtra is high, more because of migrants and less because of its local population. But is the remedy any better than the problem at hand??

    Bihar once was a haven for minerals and riches. UP was (and is) rich in agriculture. Both states had at one time the best infrastructure for intellectual pursuits. They failed to do well because of many pitfalls in our socio-political system, rendering them incapable to offer superior opportunities. This reflects in the higher crime rate and migration of their people to other states too.

    But hey, a bihari fellow is not bad by blood, or by culture, is he? He simply has had lesser opportunities that may have caused him to go awry. Further, isn’t a poor labourer who moves from say, UP to Nasik, helping Maharashtra (and in turn the nation) prosper?? Why do u disown his contribution? All mumbaikars very proudly declare Ambani as their own son, as if he really is; let me say thousands of poor, migrant workers have contributed in their own little way in the prosperity of so-called rich states.

    I feel piqued to read many of the viewpoints here, esp the thoughts on people from poorer states. As if throwing a poor state away is the best solution to progress.

    Managing the diversity of India wasn’t an easy task and neither did we do well at it. That however should be no reason to let Kasmir, NE, TN and other contentious states form separate nations of themselves.

    One sick argument is that we anyway weren’t a united country in history and so let us continue to walk the same road; it doesn’t look progressive.
    If Kashmir is different from the rest of India, so is Gujarat from its own Saurashtra; how long will this argument go?

    Diversity has been our greatest virtue; preserve it, protect it, don’t destroy it.

    Vaibhav

  44. raghav permalink
    May 8, 2009 4:47 pm

    Vinod

    I can’t disagree with ur points. But the thing is we live together now (call it a myth or whatever). And i know that if we divide, our enemies will eat us up. As a result all the local cultures we r bragging abt. will be f***** up.

    • Vinod permalink
      May 8, 2009 6:00 pm

      Raghav, I’m still searching for the “enemies”. I only see “we”

      • srinivas reddy permalink
        February 24, 2011 4:40 pm

        not “we” “yourself”.

  45. May 8, 2009 5:23 pm

    Life and living it is gone…I read the post the other day , but didn’t comment because I have lost interest in all these issues…
    We all care , love etc etc but as a society , as a country , as a sub continent , as a continent, as a planet , we forget it all…people keep telling me I am an idealist and I am too philosophical but the thing I ask them always , what if you placed more trust in my idealism and tried to make it alive?
    Some how everyone concludes that is not the reality , pity ..we can say barking dogs seldom bite , but the dogs don’t know that..here we all think the other person is the one who is threatening us ..

    Or maybe I am too kind hearted and never have the heart to hurt ….

  46. May 8, 2009 6:31 pm

    159 comments!!
    An interesting read. And I am back🙂

    • May 8, 2009 11:50 pm

      Reema

      It will be interesting to count how many comments are directly or even obliquely related to the topic of Kashmir (and how many are ad hominem comments)🙂

      • May 9, 2009 2:40 am

        @ Shefaly:

        //…and how many are ad hominem comments//

        That’s true. I myself am a case in point. Couldn’t help it! : )

        But that apart, I thought it alright of the Kashmir issue to lead to other similar issues around, during the course of the discussion/assault/retaliation : )) …yes, but not every contentious issue that we are facing (like bringing up issues of the ‘bimaru’ states, crime stat comparisons, etc.)

        I feel the basic nature of some problems are similar, in part at least. There would be very few things absolutely unique to the Kashmir problem. In fact, we ought to learn from one problem to solve another (as long as we intend to solve it and not just work up a lot of dust and emotions, which is what I’m afraid we did here ! : ))

        vaibhav

        PS: Where did Nita go after leaving us here?😉

        • May 9, 2009 8:58 am

          vaibhav, I have been avidly following this discussion! However it is far too overwhelming for me to reply to all the comments and also most of them are not addressed to me.
          Also, one thing I didn’t realise but have realised now is that the major topic in the post is whether India should be one, or whether it should be like the EU. I didn’t say so directly but by saying that perhaps Kashmir should not have been with us I was implying that. And then I mentioned the NE, and all that I think made people discuss the very idea of what it means to be “Indian” or whether there is such a term. But as anyone who knows my views I am against the breaking up of India, although honestly if I had to go back in a Time Machine I am not sure whether I would have had the kind of India we have now. But yes I would have wanted UP and Bihar and other not so developed states in the Indian Union because they suffered the brunt of the invaders and they need help. I am sure they will rise, slowly and surely.

          • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
            May 9, 2009 9:12 am

            Nita:

            //…they need help./

            So you think that those who are accustomed to getting what they want by bludgeoning and grabbing need help😦

            • May 9, 2009 10:24 am

              Vivek K, I wonder if you have ever thought of what happens to a society when a foreign object enters it with the intention to destroy and divide. The brightest and the most idealistic people sink first and the more aggressive ones survive. In fact unless you are aggressive or you bend you cannot survive. In fact even one small change if powerful enough can change the nature of a society. I see societal norms and behavior like a skin which covers up the internal organs and a small prick can make it bleed. But when the insides are gouged out, it takes longer. In the south and to some extent in MH we were lucky due to our geographic location. I think West Bengal also suffered because of the British.

          • May 9, 2009 9:28 am

            Nita,

            I could see the discussion digressing from its intent. I myself did my bit in pushing it away, as did others : )
            India cannot be like the EU, though I will not go on to elaborate my views now; too exhausted by the retaliations on ‘outside’ topics like the ouster of ‘bimaru states’ from India ..and such uncalled-for stuff (couldn’t help replying to those however, thus adding to the digression : )

            //I would have wanted UP and Bihar and other not so developed states in the Indian Union……I am sure they will rise, slowly and surely.//
            Of course they will.

      • May 9, 2009 8:37 pm

        True!!

    • May 9, 2009 2:12 am

      I think this post will go down in history for having the most interesting set of comments!
      I have been reading it since the last half an hour.🙂
      Great post Nita!
      @Nita : I think that if we would have given away Kashmir, there would have been some other state which would have caused the trouble. Maybe we don’t know how to be one. Its not in our blood.

      • May 9, 2009 2:51 am

        Amit,

        We are a rather big diversity, incomparable to anything else in the world. There is something good about it, and something bad about it. So even if we have failed, it has been a test no other people have faced, esp if one considers the magnitude of our population. That of course doesn’t allow us to disown the failure, but may we can curse ourselves a little less for having failed, or as you said, for not having that oneness ‘in our blood’🙂

        • Vinod permalink
          May 9, 2009 8:10 am

          We are a rather big diversity, incomparable to anything else in the world.

          Indian diversity is no more diverse than that of New Guinea.

          • May 9, 2009 9:00 am

            @ Vinod:

            New Guinea ??? *ouch*

            Frankly I dunno how diverse New Guinea is, but I can only suggest that the magnitude of population involved be considered. In context of the discussion, it is important. (More people, more bloodshed) It’s the “mass” of people that provides momentum to any agitation (or celebration, for that matter) ….that’s why we are a nation of grand festivities and grand troubles : )

            • Vinod permalink
              May 9, 2009 9:05 am

              Vaibhav, diversity is not easily measured. It can be done based on various criteria and each will yield its own results for the most diverse nation. That is why I find it chuckling when Indians casually assert that they are the most diverse bunch of people.

              • May 9, 2009 9:45 am

                You are missing the point Vinod.

                And why do you need to compare India’s diversity to that of New Guinea if diversity cannot be measured anyway!

                For the sake of instance, India is more (no, much more) diverse than say all the EU countries put together.

                //…That is why I find it chuckling when Indians casually assert that they are the most diverse bunch of people.//
                It wasn’t a casual assertion; it’s a fact. Look around. India’s diversity is deepened by its longest history dating back to centuries BC. Very few countries could be as diverse in terms of variety, population and history.

                *digression again* : )

              • Vinod permalink
                May 9, 2009 9:55 am

                Vaibhav, in terms of linguistic and racial diversity, India’s diversity is not very remarkable actually.

                New Guinea has languages that are as diverse as Chinese and the European languages are. India’s languages share a common origin. We were all steam rolled by the Indo Europeans: Sanskrit is a Indo European language like Greek and Latin.

                Even culturally, New Guinea’s communities were so separated from each other by the landscape for centuries that they developed completely unrelated cultures that would shock each other out. In comparison, our frequent interaction has made dulled our diversity of cultures. Even in racial mix, our diversity is no more than that of the Chinese really. Perhaps a bit more, but not too much. If they hadn’t undergone the steam rolling of the early Northern Chinese emperors, they would have been as diverse as us. The Africans surely have an equally diverse racial mix as India does despite the Bantu steam rolling they underwent.

                I recommend the book ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ by jared Diamond on this. It’s got some interesting chapters as ‘How China became Chinese’ and ‘How Africa became Black’

                • May 9, 2009 10:08 am

                  Sorry to butt in here Vinod, but India’s languages do not share a common origin. There are three language families widely spoken in India, Indo-Aryan (itself divided into Eastern, Western and Central Indo-Aryan) , Dravidian (Tamil, Telugu) and Tibeto-Burman.

                  Also I think diversity in India is very complex because it is based on various intermingling factors like religion, language and caste.

                  See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Ethnic_Groups_of_India

                  Also as I mentioned above India is ‘diverse’ in its very basic unit, the village.

                  I am not saying that India is the most diverse or anything, only that it has a very meaningful and enriching diversity.

                  • Vinod permalink
                    May 9, 2009 10:18 am

                    Oh..thank you for that chart. I learnt something today.

                • Vinod permalink
                  May 9, 2009 10:16 am

                  Vikram, I accept that India is diverse. I’m only uncomfortable with absolutist statements about our diversity.

                  • Vinod permalink
                    May 9, 2009 11:48 am

                    Vaibhav, Africa suffers heavily today because the colonial masters have drawn their national borders with utter disregard to the diversity that existed there. It made tribes that were enemies come together and forever separated tribes that were brothers. The relatively good thing that our colonial masters did in forming the states is to take care to divide us along linguistic lines. Else, I wonder if they had drawn random straight lines on the interior map of India like the way they did in Africa, whether we would be at each other’s throats now.

                    China’s diversity suffers from the communist regime there and the tendency of the Northerners to impose themselves on the Southerners. Sounds eerily familiar, eh?🙂

                    I sure pray India does not go down the same road as China.

                • May 9, 2009 11:20 am

                  hmmm…Vinod.

                  You have something good to share. Thanks. I think I have little idea about African nations, may be some idea of Chinese history.

                  However, the issue is not about who is most diverse, but about what is diversity leading to. Other than probably small countries in N Africa, I’m sure diversities in other nations aren’t still having as much trouble as us. Look at China, for instance. Though equally old and diverse as India, it is living rather easy with its diversity.

              • Vinod permalink
                May 9, 2009 9:58 am

                Vaibhav, I can’t help feel that you may be underestimating the diversity among the Europeans just because they share a similar skin colour. I could be wrong. Pls feel free to correct me

  47. raghav permalink
    May 8, 2009 7:34 pm

    Vinod

    Who among ”We” , since u r searching. Politicians or ppl. What abt. Pak n China?

    • Vinod permalink
      May 8, 2009 7:56 pm

      Call me naive Raghav…but I have lunch with the Chinese and play cricket and hang out with the Pakis. I don’t find them to be any different from me. I see the basic humanity we share – both the strengths and the weaknesses – and I have to wonder whether concepts of nation are helpful or not. I meant that when I said I only see “we”. I wan’t making a political statement.

      • May 9, 2009 12:02 am

        Vinod,

        Doesn’t your earlier comment which you made regarding India:“But these superficial unifying trends cannot wipe out the fact that we do not share common identities fundamentally.” contradict your comment above?🙂

        Your comments are causing some confusion and perhaps you can attempt to clarify. On one hand, you don’t care for the concept of Indian nation and think that the unifying trends are superficial, yet you have no problem giving China and Pakistan their national identity (how much of their national identity is superficial?), while at the same time you talk of sharing basic, universal humanity based on eating lunch and playing cricket!! Have you discussed issues like system of governance, dispute resolution, rights of citizens and issues of secularism with them, to see whether you share values/ideas other than kebab and Cricket?

        Ghar ki (provincial) murgi daal baraabar?😉

      • Naveen permalink
        May 9, 2009 12:19 am

        Vinod,
        As for me, I don’t think you are naive but you are an intellectual. But I have only one suggestion for you -In your heightened state of ‘Nihilism’, be sure you still see a difference between your family and your neighbor’s family. I know you wouldn’t mind, but there is always a chance your neighbor might.

        • May 9, 2009 12:24 am

          Naveen, LOL!😀

        • Vinod permalink
          May 9, 2009 8:05 am

          Naveen, good one there.

          Amit, you’re right. It does appear contradicting. The reason is that I see nationalism and nation as a fluid concept. While our identities are real and authentic and true and all that glorious stuff, so is that of others. When talking about a nation one must talk about the benefits of being a nation to one and all, without them giving up their identity to this grandiose idea of nation. Similarly, it shouldn’t be a concept that breeds hatred and unhealthy suspicion of other nations. It is not easy to maintain that balance. Usually in the grip of nationalism, two things are said – one is how our individual identities don’t matter and that ‘national identity’ takes priority over all and second is how there are enemies out there who are going to get us. This is not a constructive approach to nation-building.
          This reminds me of the same approach used by muslims when talking about their cross-national ummah. That too, if not highly federalised will never work. Muslims are not just muslims. Their identities are multi-layered too.
          Nations are nothing more than man-made concept that work today. It may not work in tomorrow’s world. We need to be open minded about it and not worship it like as if it is the be all and end all.

          • May 9, 2009 9:19 pm

            Vinod,

            Your above comment didn’t really clarify anything for me and didn’t address the point I raised. And there are still contradictions in your above comment (you talk of national identity as a fluid concept, but seem to be uncomfortable with national identity taking priority, which if the identity is fluid, shouldn’t be an issue when there are external threats), but never mind. We’ll discuss it some other time.

            What I think happens is in talking about the actions of Pakistani State (or any other State), our contact is with an average Pakistani citizen (like the ones you play cricket with). So, criticism of the State gets conflated with criticism of average joe on the street whom we know. And if that average joe is our friend, then we rush to defend him, even if his State is at fault.

            Anyway, thanks for the discussion.

          • May 9, 2009 9:22 pm

            “Nations are nothing more than man-made concept that work today. It may not work in tomorrow’s world. We need to be open minded about it and not worship it like as if it is the be all and end all.”

            True, but “we” also need to be careful of not assuming that “we” all worship the concept of nation.😉
            Also, it’s foolish to live today as if tomorrow is already here.🙂

      • raghav permalink
        May 9, 2009 6:18 am

        Point taken

  48. May 9, 2009 12:31 am

    Interesting post and very very interesting comments.
    Nita let me dispute your first sentence in this post.
    You said “A piece of news from the United States administration caught my eye today”
    . Then you went on quoting the Republican MR Robert Blackwill as if he knows the inside out of Obama’s foreign policy. Blackwill is here to propagate the right wing American views in India, which will be definitely anti-Obama. So his views most probably are not US administration’s viewpoint.
    Your interview with the Kashmiri was good.
    To get a different view from Kashmir you can read ‘Curfewed Night’ by Basharath Peer.
    Despite heavy odds India still remaining united is a wonder for many. Both India’s cultural history and the diversity and democratic nature of our freedom movement might have helped in India’s unity.
    Further and further democratisation, promotion of social equity and a responsive multi party Central Government are needed for maintaining that unity. Revoking of all special Police laws is a must. All grievances can and should be addressed to under Indian Constitution.

  49. May 9, 2009 8:54 am

    Dear All,
    I am sure you understand why I am not replying to the comments! Most of them are not addressed to me and in any case it is too overwhelming! I agree with Amit who said that the comments are extremely interesting. Charakan yeah you are right and one other commentator pointed out this mistake too. I knew ofcourse that Blackwill was an ex-diplomat but did not know that he was anti-Obama or right-wing. I guess he too has his own agenda. But still, the news item set me on a train of thought that resulted in this post.
    Thanks.

    • May 9, 2009 10:58 am

      Hi Nita,

      It’s great that you are facilitating these discussions and raised the bigger systemic problem thru this post on Kashmir. I don’t think we will achieve anything by discussing stuff here but it does enrich understanding.

      thanks,
      Priyank.

    • Vinod permalink
      May 9, 2009 11:02 am

      I think if this discussion makes us Indians just a little bit more humble about who we are and just a little bit more introspective, something has been achieved.

  50. nehru mantri permalink
    May 9, 2009 11:30 am

    Nita
    These are some of the best discussions I have ever seen on an Indian site. Had you censured Priyank it would have snuffed out any meaningful dialogue. Seriously this ought to be the discussion inside of parliament.

  51. chirkut permalink
    May 9, 2009 12:17 pm

    @nita

    “If I had to climb into a Time Machine and go back to 1947 I would have liked to fix it so that Kashmir went to Pakistan.”

    So,wat u would have done with khalistan,northest,nexal states,vidharva ???

    “For the youth it’s become a kind of trade, a profession, a business. A way of making money, an occupation. Go and get training in Pakistan and then come back…”

    Is this is just for “Azadi”. I am not able to understand …..or u r trying to call them freedom fighter ?

    @Priyank

    “Actually I don’t even know why India is even one country. Our states have less in common with each other than the countries in EU do.”

    Priyank ,have you ever read the first para of constitution of India,I think u have ,but distance from country make u to forget it.Just try to remember India’s National Anthem.Understand what it says.

    Ppl, plz stop these Anti-national talks……..

  52. Sanjay permalink
    May 9, 2009 7:12 pm

    @Vivek Mittal/Vikram/Nita/Priyank/Shefaly:

    You statement “Everyone in India is an Indian first and last” is not true.

    Let’s not be fooled. Does your house belong as much to other Indians as it does to you? Dude, dude, noooooooooooooooooooooooo! KA belongs to the Kannadigas and the Kannadigas alone. Anybody else setting foot on KA is a visitor, not a resident. The visitor must necessarily abide by the laws of KA and respect Kannada culture and language. Period. The fact that the visitor does not need a visa to enter KA does not take away that duty on the part of the visitor.

    What you call as “divisiveness” and “parochialism” is in reality diversity and patriotism, the very foundation of India’s unity. A Hindi who is patriotic to KA in KA strengthens India, whereas a Hindi who is patriotic to Uttar Pradesh / Bihar in KA is a nail in India’s coffin.

    The sort of pan-national vision consisting of linguistic and cultural unity which you talk about is non-existant, and is only assumed by the Imperialists. The one and only pan-national vision of every Indian is one’s patriotism towards one’s own Linguistic People and Land. There is no pan-India vision for a Kannadiga other than a Kannadiga’s patriotism towards fellow-Kannadigas and Karnataka.

    So, What are the centrifugal forces that keep the nation as one?

    The only common aspiration of Indians is loyalty and patriotism to his/her own linguistic people and his/her own linguistic territory. There is no common aspiration over and above that. Yes, there is a common aspiration to be secured against attacks from outside India, but that too is just another form of the same patriotism towards one’s own linguistic state. Kannadigas wish that the border between India and Pakistan be secured because of the fear of bomb blasts in Karnataka. Kannadigas shiver at the news of bomb blasts elsewhere in India because of the fear that those blasts can potentially occur closer home. Hard as it may seem to the jaundiced ear, this is The Truth.

    The real centrifugal force which binds Indians atleast at the sublime level is a common thread of spirituality that runs among the different linguistic peoples of India. We must hasten to add that this force does not have what it takes to unite India at the this-worldly level of economic activity. At the this-worldy level, there is no centrifugal force which can keep the different linguistic peoples of India united other than the force of respect for unity in diversity, which is nothing but respect for every linguistic community in India. The fact that Indians predominantly follow what has come to be known as Hinduism does not make them forget the internal linguistic and cultural differences.

    But at the this-worldly level, the different linguistic peoples of India must compete with each other – Kannadiga with Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Oriya, etc – and struggle to promote their own interests. We must never forget that India’s history is full of wars between the different linguistic states, even though they all ultimately bowed down to the very same Upanishads, the very same Vedas or the very same teachings of the Buddha or the Tirthankaras. These wars were fought for this-worldly reasons notwithstanding the clear and present unity at a spiritual level.

    India can be made stronger only by recognizing that unity among its different linguistic peoples cannot be enforced by indulging in Hindi Imperialism. Doing so only destroys the spiritual unity which exists among Indians, whether they are Kannadigas or Marathis or who-have-you.

    Vivek Mittal, I’m proud to say I’m a Goan first and a Goan last and a Goan eternally. I’m an Indian too but that’s just because Goa is part of India. It is foolish to think of some sort of immortal, pan-national, pan-linguistic unity which has existed for centuries and centuries in India. It doesn’t exist.

    I’m a Goan always-I’m an Indian also-purely because-and only because I have an Indian passport-not for any other reason. I can become a citizen of any other country (US/UK) but cannot be anything other than a Goan. Secondly, you’re arguement about “Indian interests” is a pure myth.

    Uttar Bhartiyas want more trains to Goa because they would like more people to come and settle here. We don’t want these trains. Get it-now whose opinion is more important? UP or Goa?

    Goa follows the constitution of India so long as-and only so long as-it is in the interests of the people of Goa. Wherever and whenever the constitution of India conflicts with those interests (i.e. unrestricted migration/settling anywhere/buying land/demographic change) then those “laws” in the Constitution have to change. If it requires 17,170,1700,17000 amendments-so be it.

    If “all Indians can settle anywhere” is not in the interests of the people of Goa, then for Goa an exception has to be made-which has been made for Kashmir-and can be given to any state any time when migration is alarming (which it is now in Goa).

    There are no “Indian interests” except one thing-t0 be safe against Pakistan. Nothing else. That too, safety because my people-i.e. Goans must not be killed. Not for anything else. The non-Goans don’t want ban of sale of land in Goa because its not in their interests. They’re masking it in “National Interests” come before Goa but they just want to take over Goa if they can. We don’t and that’s why we want to ban sale of land in Goa.

    I’m a Goan and a Goan only. I can change my Indian passport anytime I feel like but can only be a Goan.

    My strongest bond is with other Goans. If I have to give up the Goaness of Goa to be Indian, then the Indian Union is meaningless for me. I don’t have any desire to be Indian if the purpose of “all Indians settle anywhere” is to make non-Goans a majority/rulers of Goa. For me, Goa is what matters and I love Goa. Because Goa is part of India-therefore I love India-but only so long as Goans don’t lose out by being part of India.

    Do I want India to progress? Yes-so long as it doesn’t means Goans becoming a minority. If the purpose of “Development” of India is to make Goans a minority (and Haryanvis/Tamils etc a majority) and convert Goa into a pigsty and Goans into slaves-then you can forget India and Indians. If the purpose of being in India is to reduce Goan culture,language,people and identity to a non-entity through ceaseless and never-ending migration-then I want the laws to be changed or else India and Indians are not a union I want to be part of.

    I’m proud to say: I’m a Goan first, last and always. That’s all I am. Everything else follows from this.
    My strongest bond is for Goans settled in other states, other countries even if they are not Indian citizens-not for Gujjus, Punjabis even if they are Indian citizens. I care more for Goans settled in other states,countries and other parts of the world than other communities. I’m part of a larger Goan family which cuts across national and international boundaries. This family-and not Gujarati,Punjabi et al is the family which is dearest to me. Their concerns-whether as citizens of Burundi or Boston are closest to my heart.

    I care more for Goans in US than Bengalis in India because of the same reason you care more for your mother than your friends mother-get it?? If I have to bleed I’ll bleed more for a Goan settled elsewhere than any other Indian community just the same way you’ll bleed more for your family than any other family. The plight of Goans in other countries is more touching than any other community’s plight even in my country-which is “mine” only because of choice-I can change this.

    My family is the Goan family. No other family.

    The bond I have with another Goan is unbreakable. No amount of saying “Indians first” can change that. The bond I have with another Indian is much weaker and if push comes to shove, I’ll choose Goa. I’m Indian because I’m Goan-if I have to compromise on Goanatva to be Indian-then India is a identity I don’t want to be part of.
    http://www.mail-archive.com/goanet@lists.goanet.org/msg27078.html

    Finally, “all Indians can settle anywhere.” I have this to say: (quote for Floriana Lobo/Go Suraaj Party):
    see myself as a throughbred Goan. I am not bothered if the rest of India
    goes
    up in flames due to misplaced priorities of a few to reap rich benefits for
    themselves. But if that affects my Goa, then I
    don’t want anything to do with the rest of India (Migrant issue, communalism, High Command dictat etc) In short, what I am saying
    is that I will not support India as my country if it helps to put fire to my
    own
    house and burn it down. My patriotism is for my Goa first and maybe, just
    maybe it will spill over for my country as a whole if Goa is not sought to
    be run-over to help India gain high economic status. It will certainly not
    be at the cost of making a pig-sty out of Goa and pigs out of Goans. In that
    case, I say take your India and stuff it, for all I care. Or else, you
    listen to what Goa is saying and what Goans, not the indoctrinated zombies
    say. I
    equally share the blame to give the call to the tourist to help us out to
    keep Goa’s interests safe (indirectly theirs) w.r.t.
    SEZs. We did not want Goa destroyed as a long-term touristic haven just
    because of some avaricious politicians and their business chamchas.

    The Mumbaification of Goa is being

    In other words, first Daobolim,South Goa,South India, then Indian and then-and then only-the world. “My Goa” is mine same way “your mother” “your wife” “your sister is yours”. Do all sisters/mothers/wives in the world belong to you??

    Lastly, “my Goa” is the reason “my India” is “mine.”

    That is why all Goans-including-sincerely request Govt of India:

    “Please ban sale of land to non-Goans in the interests of the unity of India-because Goans can only be Indians so long as their Goantava/Goaness is respected (yes mass migration of culturally and linguistically alien people is “disrespect”) and if this is to be thrown away in the name “Indian Unity” then the unity of India is something I hate.

    Vivek Mittal/Shefaly/Vikram/chirkut=awaiting your comments.

    Go through this website:
    http://www.mail-archive.com/goanet@lists.goanet.org/msg28225.html

    • May 9, 2009 9:54 pm

      Sanjay,

      I like your comment, especially because you used “I” instead of using some ambiguous “we” to express your thoughts.

      I also agree with the idea that if I migrate to a new place, the onus is on me to familiarize myself with, and learn the language and culture of that place. And at a minimum, not impose my culture/language on to people of that place.

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 10, 2009 5:32 am

      @ Sanjay:

      I’m afraid this is the wrong Vivek responding, but thanks for being so frank and outspoken. Some of the positions you are take seem extreme even by my standards🙂 but I admire and respect you for your eschewal of hypocrisy.

      • May 11, 2009 7:30 pm

        Sanjay: i have not read something like ur comment in ages. Its selfish yet pure…n so honest that it would make others to write their true feelings….n not the jargon!!!

        u rule!!!

        Archana

  53. Sanjay permalink
    May 9, 2009 8:24 pm

    Now a days it has become a fashion to write in blogs that “I am an Indian and I have the right to settle down anywhere in India” which is not TRUE as people from other states can not settle down in Kashmir and such restrictions are there for many other places in the country too. If the rate of influx of outsiders goes high which is already alarming in some of the states then they will also press for such laws. Laws are only applicable at that point of time for that place and will change at the will of the people who are inhabitants of that place.

    Maha Raja of Mysore merged his erstwhile independent kingdom with the Indian Union with hope that life of Kannadigas would improve and definitely not to make his kingdom a refugee camp for Biharis. Yes, VISA is not required to come to Karnataka and no one should misuse that generosity of the Kannadigas. In fact VISA is not required to visit Nepal also. Some time back no VISA was required to visit Common-Wealth countries and we all know what happened because of that. In the days of yore no VISA was required to visit any place throughout the world. Even now VISA is not required to visit Antarctica, Moon, Mars and most of the places in the universe. Just because VISA is not required does not mean the person coming to any place to settle down has no business to spoil the local culture and impose their alien culture.

    What I have studied and what my elders have taught me in my childhood is that we should love our family, our neighbours, our village, our state and finally our country in that order. If I am not a good Kannadiga, Tamilian or a Maharashtrian, I can never be a good Indian. Only in the public forums, blogs and discussions everyone talks about broad mindedness while having 6 feet compound walls with glass pieces stuck on top to prevent outsiders entering their houses and they talk about broadmindedness.

    India is an union and not homogeneous state as envisaged in our constitution. Our constitution has undergone many amendments and the time is not far when restriction on uncontrolled migrations will be included to prevent the entire country going the Assam way. Instead of talking big words when you migrate to a state adjust to their culture. No one will move to a place with noble intention building or developing that place or state. They only go there for the sake of their stomachs and rest of the things are just by-products.
    Though Kashmir is a part of Indian Union no one from other states can go and settle down there. So there is a rule in our constitution which recognises the concept of “OUTSIDER” which can any day be extended to other parts of the country.

    Hence, your argument of “Indians cannot be outsiders anywhere in India does not wash.” If Kashmir is for Kashmiris, most assuredly Goa can be for Goans.

    There is no Karnataka army etc.. becuase Maharaja merged his independent Kingdom with the Indian union and earlier everything was there exculsively in our princely state. Working in military is another job and we don’t need to attach too much significance for that. Given a better choice most of them would switch to other jobs. Note today maximum corrutpion is there in the Indian army. We are part this union just for the last 60 years and we have protected our culture for the last several thousands of years and we don’t need only Punajbis and Biharis for that. Note military is funded by taxpayers money and contribution mainly comes from states like Karnataka though paid as salaries to Biharis etc.. and Kannadigas exhibiting their generosity as usual. Note protection is available at a cost and many countries have purchased such military protection.

    Looks like some of these Hindi speaking north Indians are worse than Britishers who were interested only in looting our wealth but where as these people are out to finish our culture too in the guise of “Indianness” and pseudo-nationalism. Looks like Kannada/Goan/Marathi language and culture was more secure under the rule of Britishers. Now some “proud Indians” is threating Kannadigas that there are NSG commandos are north Indians. After the operation “Blue Star” even military has started quotas for various states.

    If we are really broad minded we should lift the boundaries between the countries which will save crores of rupees across the world unnecessarily being spent on military activities which can be used for removing poverty and hunger. Also it will save thousands of lives of Bihari, Punjabis getting unnecessarily killed. We can all become proud world citizens without any barriers.

    If the concept and intention of the Indian union is to make the languages and cultures of the states like Karnataka non entities I would prefer not to be part of such union. I can see India only through Kannada and Karanataka and everything else for me is secondary. Anyone coming in the way for me is an anti-national and enemy of our state. If I lose my language and culture which are closest to my heart what is there that this country can offer me and I can as well stay anywhere in the world.

    Now a days people change countries just like that. We have many of our friends and relatives who have switched their nationalities but yet they have remained as Kannadigas which is eternal. When you go to other countries you will only find Kannada Associations, Tamil Associations, Punjabi Asscoiations, Telugu Associations etc.. and hardly you find Indian Associations this clearly shows which is closer to ones heart. When our constitution was drafted they never expected that migration will go to such an extent to destroy the native languages and cultures which otherwise would have been taken care of. Time is not far off when such laws will become reality otherwise this country will be doomed with each state becoming like Assam and northeastern states. With people like these “proud Indians” with their imperialistic attitude I am sure that day is not far.

    Lastly, if Kashmiris have a “right” to be a majority in Kashmir, Goans have a “right” to be a majority in Goa as well.

    Amen.

  54. Sanjay permalink
    May 10, 2009 12:06 pm

    Dear all:

    The misnomer is to think that because all Indians are “Indians” they all share the same interests at heart and there is some pan-national interest which is good for all Indians and therefore those interests are superior to all other “petty regional interests” and therefore if there is a conflict between those two, those “national interests” come before. It’s not like that.

    An Indian can be a threat to another Indian in every possible circumstance, just as much as a foreigner can be. An Indian is no less a threat to another Indian of a different caste, religion, region, race than a Chinese/Bangladeshi is to Indians as a whole. While Indians as a whole need protection against other countries (that is why we have the Indian Armed Forces) communities in India need protection against other communities because each community has its own interest at heart and no other. To say non-Goans care a threat

    Therefore, just as we need protection against other “Indians” who would like to rob us( security guards/walls et al), we need protection against other countries who want to invade us (China/Bangladesh), we also need to recognize that each community needs protection-especially from numerically larger and politically more powerful groups. India being one country does not change this need-anymore than all of us being human beings means that all of us have only each others good at heart. That is the fallacy which lies at the root “India’s interests come before regional interests.”

    Hence, starting more trains to Goa from say UP/Bihar/MP is a threat to Goans because it increases the % of non-Goans, particularly numerically larger groups who have more Lok Sabha seats. On the other hand, it is most surely in the interests of Hindiwallahs to outnumber Goans in Goa itself and then grab political power on that basis and make Hindi the Official Language of the state and so on. For those who accuse me of racism, replace Hindi with any other language and the situation will be no different.

    • Vinod permalink
      May 10, 2009 1:54 pm

      In genral, I like your ..err…heterodoxical views. But I want to add that it is important to remember that there is a fine line between protecting localised identities and promoting ghetto-mindedness. Identities have a natural propensity to evolve as it encounters foreign ones and that natural window of interaction should not get curbed in the course of protecting localised interests. I hope I am making sense notwithstanding all the vagueness in my words.

      • Sanjay permalink
        May 10, 2009 6:12 pm

        Dear Vinod:

        10,000 Bengalis migrating to Goa is evolution.
        100,000 Bengalis migrating to Goa is just a bunch of Bengali ghettos
        10,00,000 Bengalis migrating to Goa (Goa pop=15 out of which 4-5 lakh are already non-Goans!) is just a demographic revolution
        1,00,000 Bengalis migrating to Goa is nothing less than the Red Indianization of Goans in Goa.

        Evolution takes place when the number of migrants is small enough for this to take place. Hence, Red Indian culture has not “evolved” in US. Aboroginal culture has not evolved either. Palestinain culture has not evolved much. It has been wiped out see?

        By the way, what exactly do you find so wrong in “protecting” goan interests that you find so right in “protecting Indian interests”?

        In genral, I like your ..err…typical views. But I want to add that it is important to remember that there is a fine line between protecting localised identities like “we are Indians” which essentially rest on living in a piece of land for a particular period of time and promoting ghetto-mindedness. Identities have a natural propensity to evolve as it encounters foreign (like Bangladeshi/Chinese/Sri Lankan et al) ones and that natural window of interaction should not get curbed in the course of protecting Indian interests like saying “ban immigration from Bangladesh. I hope I am making sense notwithstanding all the vagueness in my words.

        • Vinod permalink
          May 10, 2009 7:58 pm

          Oops…You took this to be an attack of your views. I wasn’t. So, pls pipe down. In fact, from your response you actually agree with the qualification I was making to it and you totally get it as well. I have nothing against the particular opinion about the situation in Goa you are making.

  55. Sanjay permalink
    May 10, 2009 2:15 pm

    Nita Kulkarni and others:

    please go through the below websites and see for yourself what’s happening across the border:

    http://oheraldo.in/pagedetails.asp?nid=9225&cid=26
    http://oheraldo.in/pagedetails.asp?nid=9849&cid=26
    http://oheraldo.in/pagedetails.asp?nid=5681&cid=26
    http://oheraldo.in/pagedetails.asp?nid=2110&cid=26
    http://oheraldo.in/pagedetails.asp?nid=1125&cid=26
    http://oheraldo.in/pagedetails.asp?nid=16931&cid=26

    I’m curious to know what you-especially Nita, who always condemns expressing “hatred” against other “Indians” forgetting that other Indians can be just as much a threat to Goans/other locals as Bangladeshis in Assam and NE and elsewhere are a threat to those people. It is of course wrong to hate anyone, but let’s be clear-if migrants are hated, then they have to introspect as to why they are hated.

    If there is hatred for non-Goans, then they have to ask themselves why that is so and try to work towards changing the same. Just don’t blame “Goa for Goans” try to cure the disease. First you need to acknowledge the legimiate greviances of Goans and work towards solving them (quota for state students et al). The problem is that “anti-migrant” protests are seen as the disease itself and suppressing them is the medecine. No. They are only the symptom, only the effect, only the result.

    Solve the root causes.

    Just as locals are themselves responsible for their plight, “outsiders” cannot complain too much if films, books or plays portray them in a bad light, denigrate them or otherwise express hatred-becuase if there is prejudice against non-Goans/non-Kannadigas/non-Assamese (and it is rising steeply) then there must be good cause for it. Merely spouting pious statements like “don’t express hatred for non-Goans” is foolish. If non-Goans sense hatred for themselves, try to find out why.

    Rest assured-if Goans/locals are responsible for the situtation they are in, migrants are also largely to blame for the attacks (howsoever wrong) on them. Don’t disown their resposiblity.

    In addition to this, are we Goans simply supposed to allow non-Goans to keep migrating until we become a minority in Goa?? Can anybody answer this question? And if they do become a majority and grab political power, can anybody answer how exactly Goan demands would be given a voice? If non-Goan voters outnumber Goan voters how will Goan aspirations be of any importance to the political leadership? Will Goan demands matter if Goan voters are a minority in Goa?? And if so would you blame Goans if they turn to extra-legal ways of expressing themselves?

    Can anybody answer this: “If all Indians can settle anywhere” means non-Goans can reduce Goans to a minority and thus disenfranchise Goans by relentless migration-surely Goans cannot be blamed for rejecting the constitution?

    Would you want Bangladeshis to be a majority in Assam? What about Chinese in Arunachal?

    So why do you think we should listen to “All Indians can settle anywhere” and thus simply allow “outsiders” to become a majority in Goa?

    In addition,if there is such a thing as Kashmiriyat (which non-Kashmiri influx destroys) there can be Kannadayat et al? Why not press for extending Article 370 to all the states in India instead of fantasizing about Article 370 being scrapped?

    • May 11, 2009 7:20 am

      Sanjay, on an idealistic note your contention that local identities and culture should be preserved is something I agree with whole-heartedly and in fact no normal thinking person would ever say that local identity should be wiped out. Mass migrations, particularly of those who refuse to adapt to the local culture and assimilate with it are a threat to the local culture. However at the ground level things are often different. It becomes difficult to take legal steps in one’s own country to counter this. As no law can protect locals they often resort to unlawful means. I wish a peaceful solution can be found to this problem but I think no one can stop migration, because whether one likes it or not people will move to better themselves. As one commentator already said no one moves to do good to another state, they move because they find that state most conducive and friendly to them, the local culture most accepting. So people will move. I am all for laws that make it compulsory to learn the local language in schools even central schools. There should also be subjects which teach local culture and respect for them. History too has to be taught in detail of the state where the children are residing, and I am talking of central schools as state board schools already do this. All those appearing even for central exams from particular states should necessarily have to give a paper in the local language. Only those who are there on a transfer can apply for exemption to this. Well, these are just my suggestions and I think they will work if the government has the will to implement them.

  56. May 11, 2009 9:37 am

    Hi, I am a Pakistani-American (but I consider myself South Asian). I am Kashmiri-Punjabi by ethnicity. I find this post and the comments on it very interesting and I wanted to add my two-cents to the discussion.

    I think it is very important that the Kashmir issue be solved diplomatically. It has been one of the main issues between India and Pakistan and has led to much enemity and friction between our countries. If it continues to fester, the violence will continue (several commentators including Arundhati Roy said as much in their editorials after 11/26). I don’t know what the diplomatic solution will end up being, whether the LOC will be accepted as the permanent border or Kashmir will be made an independent state, but I certainly think that the views of the Kashmiris, and not just of Indians and Pakistanis should be considered.

  57. May 11, 2009 12:44 pm

    @ Sanjay

    I didn’t find anything wrong in your comments.

    I visited Goa few months back, and really liked the place and the people. Goa has become one of the most favourite Holiday destinations for me and i would surely like to visit again whenever i get time.
    It would be a nightmare for me too if Goa looses it’s Goan identity for any reason…I would like to visit Goa because it IS Goa, it reflects Goan culture and Goan flavour which i liked..

    I agree with you Goa or any other state/region in India should not loose their regional identy/language/culture etc. The local flavours of diferent places in India is the beauty of our country

    My difference with others is only for mega cities like Mumbai, which being the biggest commercial hub of the country, having the contribution from people of all parts of India, can not and should not be bound in any particular identity. I would love to see marathi culture thrive in rest of Maharashtra. The same applies to a city like Delhi too.

    • May 11, 2009 12:51 pm

      Vivek Mittal, why don’t you also include Pune. It has become an IT hub and you should say that Marathi culture should not thrive there either just as Kannada culture should not thrive in bangalore. Pune in fact has a huge population of people from other states so much so that rickshaw drivers there no more speak to you in Marathi.
      And as other cities develop with the contribution of brains from all parts of India, they should be systematically stripped of their regional identity! As India develops economically we will have many such thriving cities, all of which should be made union territories. All economically successful cities should be made such I guess.

      • May 11, 2009 12:59 pm

        Nita
        That’s why i have included Delhi also which has long back lost it’s native “Khari Boli”/”Haryanavi” accent for being the national capital…and i dont mind
        For me only these two cities are exception

        • May 11, 2009 1:08 pm

          Not only that, people in Delhi or north western UP nowadays are asahmed to speak in their native dialect (they are afraid to be termed as rude Dehatis) and try to speak in “standard/modern Hindi dialect” which is spoken in bollywood movies

          • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
            May 11, 2009 3:31 pm

            V Mittal,

            //… people in Delhi or north western UP … are asahmed to speak in their native dialect … and try to speak in “standard/modern Hindi dialect” which is spoken in bollywood movies … //

            So now the cow belt has to depend on Mumbai even for its language resources! Do us a favour — why don’t you just relocate the entire sewer called bollywood and its camp-followers somewhere there? We can then have a clean, delumpenised Mumbai.

            • May 11, 2009 4:20 pm

              Of course, and relocate all the industry as well… then mumbai will be a city of people eating vada pav..or at best people doing low level jobs in govt

              • May 11, 2009 4:41 pm

                Vivek Mittal, I think you are going too far with your comment. To say this about Maharashtrians is disgusting. I will keep your comment however because others should also see that there are people who don’t give any credit to MH. Industry has gravitated to MH for a reason about which I have written about here. It is clear why industry came here, because MH offered a peaceful state, good incentives from the govt. and Maharashrians were a welcoming peaceloving people, adjusting and flexible. Also a huge pool or workers were available here, and yes this means both educated as well as skilled workmen and women. MH is known for having the best educational institutes and a good numbner of educated men and women. Maharashtrians are good technicians and doctors and lawyers and professional managers, even if they are not entrepreners. If people from other parts of India had not come here, our pool of talent would have managed to make MH a great thriving economic success. To say that Maharashtrians are only capable of doing low level jobs in govt is a big lie, and its racist as well. I would advise you not to make any more comments like this in future. Thanks.

                • May 11, 2009 4:53 pm

                  Nita

                  That was a sudden reaction to a provocative comment
                  I didn’t mean any disrespect for maharashtrians extend my apology

                  • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
                    May 11, 2009 5:06 pm

                    //That was a sudden reaction to a provocative comment. I didn’t mean any disrespect for maharashtrians//

                    Really???

                    I think the track record on this blog of the writer of the above speaks for itself.

                    And let him not mock at us with his apology.

                  • Bombay wadapav eater permalink
                    May 14, 2009 3:10 pm

                    Think before you write. It is sad that you associate Maharashtrians as “dumb” (that’s what you indirectly meant) doing govt. jobs. My father and grandfather were govt. servants as they would call themselves. It is appalling that govt. servants have such a low profile after the Raj was over. My grandfather tho’ worked for the British and had a top position which generally o.w. only British officials could get. I know of lots of really high intellectual Mahashtrians, many being my relatives. Remember that we are a very tolerant lot who never shut doors to outsiders and Bombay was like NY an opening to people to start sth here. It is true that we lack guts to start sth and prefer to have a steady and safe job. For that most of us are willing to give up a lot of luxuries but wealth and intelligence has never been directly proportional. Especially with your wadapav comment. I am an economist and a proud Maharashtrian and wouldn’t mind giving up my bank job to start a chain of wadapavs all around the globe beating all the shit crap like Macdonalds and the like. Probably I need a “vani” like you to teach me all the business accumen since my education provided only with a lot of theory.

              • nehru mantri permalink
                May 12, 2009 1:11 am

                Vivek
                Where are you going to relocate? Maybe you can take Azhruddin’s suggestion and move them to Moradabad. Excerpts below from the bbc.
                Azharuddin talking about why he is running in Moradabad. “It was the party’s choice, which is why I came here,” he says a shade defensively. “It’s been an eye-opener really. Where I come from, villages have electricity and running water. “Here they go without power for 12 hours a day. I’ve never seen such underdevelopment.”

                Moradabad is only 3 hrs ride from Delhi. I know you are going to blame the politicians, but remember politicians come from the people in the area….people like you. Besides if you relocate Maharashtra can make 10 or 50 times more from the vacant land from private investors who would gobble it up to whom Marathis can even dictate terms to which the renters would gladly accept. And of course the city will be going nuts eating vada pav.

              • nehru mantri permalink
                May 12, 2009 1:29 am

                Vivek Mittal:
                “can not and should not be bound in any particular identity”

                Dead wrong. It is who provides the land and infrastructure to begin with and here it had to be all the Marathis all the way unless Delhi owned erstwhile Bombay somehow. The land does not belong to the central Govt. unless it had bought it to set up business in which case it has limited rights which it will forfeit once the said business terminates. As for the “we helped develop” canard, you got paid for it. End of discussion. Besides the agreement with the locals to set up the industries in the first place is in the interest of MAHARASHTRIANS, just as you see Karnataka set up the IT industry in Bangalore. Why do you think state govts. exist? To punch migrant tickets? As for people they come on their own volition and if they wish to settle have to respect local culture just as we would if we went elsewhere. The 4 hub theory is wrong. Karnataka does not get much from Mumbai being a giant and neither does Kerala and Andhra from Chennai. There are Marathi artists in chennai who are respected and embraced for respecting Tamil. Can you tell me of a single northern artist who having made money in Mumbai speak marathi?

                Nita could you delete the other copy of same post please. Thanks.

                • May 12, 2009 7:35 am

                  Mantri ji : )

                  I agree with most of the above in your post, but for the last part:
                  //There are Marathi artists in chennai who are respected and embraced for respecting Tamil. Can you tell me of a single northern artist who having made money in Mumbai speak marathi?//
                  You conveniently use the words ‘respected’ and ’embraced’ for marathi artists settled elsewhere, but look for ‘marathi speaking’ northies !! How many of these marathi artists speak tamil in Chennai?
                  And in any case, don’t make it sound point-blank please. Speaking the local language is only one way of measuring the respect for one’s home state (that you are rightly seeking). However, knowing the native tongue is neither necessary nor sufficient for a person to be called a good citizen of the place or be thought of as respecting the local culture.

                  • May 12, 2009 8:05 am

                    *oops* double post (below)
                    (@ Nita: if required, delete the one below)

                  • nehru mantri permalink
                    May 12, 2009 9:21 am

                    ji, tiwari ji🙂

                    “knowing the native tongue is neither necessary nor sufficient for a person ”

                    For a day or two / visitor, of course not. But years/decades/millenia, I know of no other, ji!

                    • May 12, 2009 9:59 pm

                      Mantri ji,

                      Your anguish is not unreasonable.

                      However, I will not agree if you say that northies are particularly obstinate towards respecting another culture. This problem (of locals feeling piqued) is typical to places where migrants tend to settle down. And isn’t that how “cosmopolitan” geographies are formed? New York has no local flavour. And I’m not sure if every migrant in New York will pass a ‘yankee’ test!)

                      It is just that we do not have an equivalent population of southies/others in the North to compare with, for the already-much-argued reason that industry and opportunities have been pulling people down South. That of course is an unsettling load upon the society, by and large, and the local crowd has faced the rub of this. But it will be wrong to further infer that Marathi people respect other cultures but North Indians do not. It is like taking an MNS-inspired lesson. A northie isn’t taught to disrespect other cultures. Such feelings are a negative distillate of years of socio-political changes and happenings.
                      To blame an entire people (northies in this case) is a sweeping remark and doesn’t seem to be well grounded into reason.

    • Vinod permalink
      May 11, 2009 1:40 pm

      I’m not so sure that approaching the protection of identities as ‘identities of cities’ is the right way. It has to be about protecting the identities of people in the city. If, for whatever reason, a city’s identity has changed over time, then there is nothing to worry in that per se. It is about whether individual communities are being compelled to give up their local identities by virtue of preferential and/or discriminatory treatment and whether they have equal opportunities to express their own identities. For eg – the white settlers in US tried to “civilize” the native Americans by prohibiting the children of native americans from speaking in their native tongues and dressing in their native style. That sort of governance would be abhorrent. I think the focus should remain on that. Natural demographic pressures from immigration or economic shifts is something that is better not meddled with. Such things are not a fundamental infringement of human dignity per se.

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 11, 2009 2:59 pm

      @ Sanjay:

      Saayba! Better watch out! After Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, it’s your turn next!

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 12, 2009 12:57 am

      Nehru Mantri:

      Unless I am missing something between the lines, your questions go further than those that I have been asking for longer than I can remember.

      • nehru mantri permalink
        May 12, 2009 1:18 am

        Sorry, that was addressed to Vivek Mittal. I did not notice that.

      • May 12, 2009 3:16 am

        “Unless I am missing something between the lines, your questions go further than those that I have been asking for longer than I can remember.”

        Vivek K.: It’s this nesting which creates this confusion, and one has to scroll up by aligning the cursor to the margin of the current comment to see which comment is being responded to by checking the indentation. Quite frustrating when we have so many comments, and that’s why I prefer no nesting.

  58. Vinod permalink
    May 11, 2009 1:00 pm

    I think there are lessons for all in this article. I hope readers will see the wider point of the article
    than that of the Hindu-muslim divide alone. It is more about awareness of identities.

    http://www.hindu.com/mag/2008/11/30/stories/2008113050120400.htm

  59. Sanjay permalink
    May 11, 2009 4:51 pm

    @Vivek Mittal:

    If I have to choose between a Goan-majority which is as poor as Burma and a non-Goan ruled Goa which is as rich as Dubai-I’ll always choose the former. Hence, arguements like “we tourists will boycott Goa” are of no use. No amount of economic benefit from industries set up by migrants will result in me be willing to give up Goa as a non-Goan majority place. Therefore, in future if non-Goans were to be attacked and then threaten that “we’all leave” well that’s fine with me because I prefer a poor Goan to a rich Mumbaified Goa. Get it? Be sure of what Goans will argue if you use the “if outsiders leave blah blah” story.

    I believe that you think by virtue of 1 man from a place investing in another place, therefore 10000000 people can also come from that place and settle there. So we can’t oppose say 100,000 Gujjus because Patel invested in Goa? Well if that’s the case Patel is free to leave Goa.

    I wanted up to clarify this once and for all because it keeps coming up all the time: your investments do not mean anything. You invested in Goa (not say Bhagalpur or Sonepat) because of the environment in Goa (created by Goans). Not out of any charity to Goans. If there were better places to invest in, you’d have gone there. Since your own or other places were not good enough or as good as Goa, you invested there.

    If North Indians themselves don’t want to invest in NI states than why you don’t work towards making them good to invest in? If Mahindras et al themselves North Indians choose to invest in states other than the ones they are from-doesn’t that tell you everything about these places?

    In addition, business goes where there is the max profit. The fact that Northie businesses are mostly outside NI just shows what is the state of affairs there.

    Care to answer this?

    So now England has to depend on India even for its resources! Do us a favour — why don’t you just relocate the entire sewer called British Empire and its camp-followers somewhere there? We can then have a clean, delumpenised India.:)

    Yes, and then of course, and relocate all the industry as well… then India will be a country of people eating stinky smelly chappathis or at best people doing low level jobs in govt (since all the top jobs were done by Englishmen.)

    Just as India did not collapse when the British left, even Goa (or any other place) will also not collapse if some set of people leave. Indians took over from the British-Goans will take over from the non-Goans (and so forth for other places)

    • Vinod permalink
      May 11, 2009 10:19 pm

      Sanjay

      Before I ask you anything, I hope you will not be antagonized by what I’m going to write.

      This ‘Goan’ identity – how did it come about? Goa wasn’t like new Guines, was it? – in the sense that it was completely isolated from the rest of the world and “discovered” in the 20th century by White explorers.

      Goan identity has been moulded by people who have come there and settled there over time, isn’t it? How will you compare that settlement with what is going on now in Goa?

      Once again, I hope you will take this in the best spirit.

  60. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    May 11, 2009 11:39 pm

    @Vinod:

    //Goan identity has been moulded by people who have come there and settled there over time//

    Why single out Goa for that statement. Isn’t it true for all of India? Or, for that matter, for almost all parts of the world if you count in units of tens of thousands of years?

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      May 11, 2009 11:43 pm

      Sorry, I clicked “submit” perematurely in the above comment. The point is, there is a vast difference between the evolutionary process of colonisation, assimilation and integration which takes place gradually over such long periods of time, and the “conquer, subjugate and culturally dmolish” process that happens in a matter of decades.”

  61. May 12, 2009 7:54 am

    Vinod and Vivek K,
    Goa was colonized by foreigners and they were the rulers. If Goa changed because of the foreign rule the locals had no choice really. As you might be aware we are orignally from Goa and our kul devat is in Goa. We can trace our family line to Goa and we still have a priest by our name there who is at the temple even now. One member of our family ran away from Goa when there was pressure on them to convert. The others hid in the forest. We didn’t want to convert.
    The Portuguese owned the land, they took it by force, they converted and gave names to locals and obliterated their identity. What happened was by force.
    The point I am making is that now we are in the Indian Union. We are all equal and have to respect each other. No one is the colonizer. Let me add that I do not think that most people migrate and try to disrespect the locals. They just have a healthy contempt for them!🙂 I mean it’s in our Indian mentality. I have seen many Indians who live in the west who are contemptuous of western culture but still live there and learn the language! So in a way Vaibhav is right, language is not the only thing.
    Vaibhav, I agree that language is not the only way to show respect to the locals but believe me it is an important part. I can say it’s the beginning. Let me say it is a way of showing that you respect. I remember when I was in Bangalore and I picked up a book on Kannada and tried to speak broken Kannada to people and they were absolutely thrilled and touched. I tried the same when I was in Kolkata and it works like magic! Go anywhere and you will see it. Today one of my good friends is a Marwari woman who speaks fluent Marathi and is familiar with our MH culture. Forget about the fact that I feel that she respects MH. I respect her!

    • May 12, 2009 8:38 am

      Hey Nita,

      I agree completely. I am in Bangalore myself and when I speak a little bit of their language, it is not only immensely useful but also pleasing to the locals of this city inundated with ‘outsiders’ (most of them young, and rather too busy or prudish to learn or mingle into anything alien) Also, I feel, the work style (even timings for some of us!) makes our schedule too busy to learn new things all the time. Spare some room for that too. It however does not make them any less good.
      That said, I’ve known how knowing a local language can have immediate (and sometimes immense) benefits ! : )

  62. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    May 12, 2009 8:29 am

    Nita,

    //I do not think that most people migrate and try to disrespect the locals//

    You are right. The key word there is ‘most’. Which implies that there are a few who do. Even that is OK. But when those few claim to speak and act on behalf of all, it’s time to kick them in the butt and throw them into a drain that debouches right back where they came from.

    //No one is the colonizer//

    I beg to disagree. Those who infest a place and refuse to assimilate while, at the same time, imposing their own mores on the place they infest, are nothing but colonisers. They must be dealth with as such and made examples that no one will forget in a hurry.

    • Vinod permalink
      May 12, 2009 7:06 pm

      Vivek, in the context of Goa (or any other state), could you provide some details on how the non-Goans are “imposing” their own mores on the Goans.

  63. May 12, 2009 10:17 am

    First of all this post is technically flawed. You cannot view the issue of Kashmir through the eyes of a Kashmiri Hindu alone. The Dogras(the erstwhile rulers of J&K and the current hosts of many refugees from the valley), the Gujjars, Bakerwaals, Ladakhis etc.must be taken into account.
    I am a Dogra, a Hindu from J&K who believes that my people have been caught in the crossfire between the Kashmiri Pandits and the Kashmiri Muslims and all the dirty politics. But this has not shaken my or my people’s faith in one nation state.

    Those who claim that any cty. is united because of a common geographical boundary, language etc are not being completely honest. I have best friends who are Maharashtrians who complaint an d tell tales of strained rel. between the orthodox Maharashtrian Brahmins and the lower castes. The lower caste would prefer a NI friend any day over an opinionated Upper Caste Maharashtrian.

    This problem is universal. A common phenomena in every state, cty, etc. We stand divided on many issues within out so conceived united little groups. I must have been sleeping when patriotism and diversity became bad words. We should do away with BIMARU states and NE andKashmir……is it a surpirse when our social institutions are also under durress when we value everything by its worthiness, productivity and usefulness. Why do we need old , non earning parents..they are such a burden? Right????
    Well the analogy might not make sense to many here since I view my country as my extended family. I may crib, hate somethings, dislike someone… but a break up is unthinkable. No apologies for being a patriot.!!

    The content of the post saddened me and the comments leave me ashamed

    • May 12, 2009 12:18 pm

      Chrysalis, if I have anywhere implied that my post is a comprehensive article on the Kashmir problem I do apologize. It was never meant to be that. It was my thoughts that morning and then an account of a man whom I met. I have never met any Dogras, Gujjars, Ladakhis etc. I think your expectations are too high. This is a blog, with personal impressions and I am not a political commentator. In fact I was never a political journalist.
      However I do thank you for your views. Only I think you should be less judgmental.

  64. Sanjay permalink
    May 12, 2009 7:37 pm

    The “outsider” issue will soon arise in all the non-Hindi speaking states (barring West Bengal, perhaps Orissa) because the rate of internal migration is too huge for any society to accomadate. No society can sacrifice its own interests for some mythical “national interest”-which is simply some other community dominating it. The rate of migration and the quantity right now are quite in Mh and Goa; when it rises to the same level (proportionately) in KL,TN,AP and KA they will also witness the same protests. Just wait for the next 10-20 years. TN and KL will be the last to be affected. But eventually they will all be.

    What those who condemn Goans do not realize is that other states as a proportion don’t get this kind of migration in relation to their populations. When they do they too will do the same thing. It’s not a question of being bigoted-just protecting our interests.

    @Chrsyalis:

    Same way as you told that there are “some” Maharashtrians who prefer NI friends to their uppercaste Marathis, same way there are many Goans who empathize more with their Goan relatives who are settled in other countries than with Northies/Southies even if they are citizens of the same “country.” In fact I may relate more to Goans even in Africa than Tamils in India. That’s why I hate the very idea of any non-Goan community becoming a majority in Goa.

    BTW, some lowercaste Marathis may think this way. Do all? If such is the case, than do you think if say 100 crore northies were to migrate, it would be accepted on the same grounds?

    Some “Indians” think that the states were formed for administrative convenience-not “All.” Some “Indians” belive in the idea of a pan-national “Indian” identity. Not all. Some “Indians” believe that we are all “Indians first.” Not all.

    What you guys don’t appreciate is that India is a union of different states/countries with each state having a different identity,history and culture. Albeit that there has been cultural give and take but the state identities do exist and the states were not formed for administrative convenience. You may want to read about the struggle for a separate Andhra state, Karnataka state and so on. That alone will disprove your point about administrative convenice.

    Yes we are all Indians. We are Indians because we are Goans. NOT for any other reason. There is no other reason we are Indian. There is no “Indian” identity that exists in and of itself or exist. If we were not Gujaratis, Punjabis, Telugus, Oriyas et al we WOULD NOT BE INDIANS.

    It flows from being or belonging to some state of India. You should always ask yourself in regional conflicts “Why am I/Indians “Indian”? What makes them Indians “Indian”? He is Indian because he belongs to some part of “India.”

    Say you’re a Punjabi and I’m a Goan. Yes we’re both Indian in our own ways. Therefore, while we are indeed Indian and I’d love to marry a Punjabi girl one day, I’m not a Punjabi see? If Punjabis want to make Goa a Punjabistan than-sorry, I’ll oppose it. Violently if neccessary.

    Same way if Mallus want to make Kashmir a Mallustan than it won’t be tolerated either. Northies are Northies, Gujjus are Gujjus. They are both Indians but does not meant the Gujju becomes a Northie or vice-versa. Hence, while all are Indians it does not mean all are the same as each other. If linguistic states had not been formed, we would have had much greater conflict than what we do because historically we were always Gujjus, Telugus et al. These indentities exist and are actually the foundation identites. They are eternal. It’s the nationalist struggle and the pan-Indian acceptability of the congress party which obfuscated this. With the departure of the British and the rise of non-Congress parties the regional tide is inevitable.

    However, on this identity exists the Indian identity. Therefore, like it or not, we are Telugus and then Indians and then only world citizens.
    AP and KA belong to people in UP or Bihar just as much as UP or Bihar but the AP and KA have just as much a right to implement Kannada/Telugu in those states as you have the right to migrate there. What you’re mixing up here is the right to migrate and the state implementing its own language. This implementation in Karnataka must kept being done (it is a process which never-ends) irrespective of whether a Kashmir, Bihari et al migrate to the city. A north Indian cannot oppose implementation of a language on the specious grounds “I can migrate and settle anywhere” because when you migrate to KA, Kannada does not stop being the official language of KA. It continues to be. If you don’t want to learn it that’s your business. But a person not wanting to be part of a system does not mean the whole system changes for his benefit-see?

    When you choose to be a part of a school, you have to abide by the rules of that school. When you want to study in a college, you have to abide by the rules of that college. When you choose to live in a state you have to abide by the rules of that state, one of those being the Official Language Act.
    Any college,school,family,country or any body under the sun has rules which are bent or twisted to some extent. But “only” to some “some extent”. If you want to ride roughshod over all rules of a school you’ll be expelled. Same way for any college company or country.

    Even you are a Dogra-Indian. You might be a Dogra-American tomorrow, Dogra-Australian, Dogra-Canadian. But you’ll still be a dogra.

    I’m an Indian when NSG commandos were defending Taj, a Goan when non-Goans are influxing into Goa, a South Goan when North Goa is given more funding and from Daobolim taluka when some other taluka is given more funding.

    Hope this satisfies you.

    • May 13, 2009 7:44 am

      Sanjay, what you write is logical, that all of us have regional identities and strong ones too. In fact we are Indians because of them. Those without strong regional identities are often very westernized.
      Anyone denying our regional identities and differences in our culture is a hypocrite. It does not necessarily follow that those with regional identities (meaning 99% of us) are necessarily wanting India to break up. Some may feel so, but most want India to stay in one piece, like you or me.
      There are some people who feel threatened even by talk of strong regional identities assuming that this means that the person will be more loyal to the region than to the country. I think this is a fallacy. I do not think that resenting an influx from another state is being disloyal to the country for the simple reason that we are all human! It’s natural to feel insecure if this happens.
      If there is an influx of people from another region there is bound to be insecurity amongst the locals, particularly if the settlers look different and speak differently and show no signs of assimilation. To say that those who feel insecure are wrong is again hypocritical because if the situation were reversed, the person condemning them would behave exactly in the same way. It is but human. It is only a few of the intellectual elite, mostly westernized elite who do not have a strong regional identity and instead identify with other elite across India.
      To solve the problems of this nation is to first recognize the problems. Not bury one’s head in the sand, deny that we have strong regional identities, condemn those who feel insecure when those of other states flood their state and refuse to assimilate. I find that most of those who condemn those who discuss regional identities (yes I have had comments on one of my posts that one should not even discuss the differences in our culture as it is anti-national!) have never been in a situation where their own identity and that of their region has been threatened. This is nothing but hypocrisy or maybe naivety. I agree that soon this problem could soon engulf India, the whole of India, each state, it’s already happened in Karnataka and MH. It will also spread across these states. It is starting to happen in smaller cities of MH, like Aurangabad and Nasik, which are growing at a rapid pace. The resentment against those from other states is already strong in Pune because Pune has developed rapidly and is a thriving city today.

      • Naveen permalink
        May 13, 2009 9:59 am

        Nita,

        I agree with every bit of what you wrote. But it is still the point of view of a local and one side of the story.

        I’ll tell you my story, the other side of it. We are a family of immigrants, moved places for a better life. My father, born in a small Andhra town migrated to Hyderabad. I was born in Hyderabad and migrated to the US. All I know in my life is Hyderabad and I love the city more than anything else. Out of nowhere, the issue of Telangana surfaced and they say that I am an Alien in my own city. The campaign rhetoric was too loud not to take notice and called for kicking out of all Andhra people from Hyderabad (calling them colonizers). It is important to note that people from Andhra are not significantly different from people of Telangana in either their speech or looks. There are differences but not significant and the marriages between Andhra and Telangana are much common. America will let me stay here till my visa expires. I will not be welcome in Hyderabad as before and I can’t go back to my father’s birth place. I am an Alien everywhere. My biggest dilemna thats eating me up is – Where do I belong?

        Differences between people will keep coming as you dig deeper- till each individual stands all alone. There are already differences in Telangana people based on districts. I think that it is human nature to fight and differences are only a reason. Most of Americans, who don’t know much of their cultural past, create new differences as Conservatives and Liberals to claw at each other.

        I love North Indian food more than South. We named our daughter a beautiful Marathi name – Asmita. I have a lot of things in me that I could relate to different parts of India and the US. And I still believe that the real differences are not in people but in their minds.

        • May 13, 2009 10:17 am

          Naveen I understand what you mean and what happened to you happened because the movement was taken hold of by extremists. Same thing has happened in MH. Extremists like MNS have taken over and they are attacking people. You belong to Andhra and there is no doubt about that. You have to assert your identity as that, and not feel lost. Why, there are people who try to tell me I am not Maharashtrian because I speak English better than Marathi! I studied in an English medium and therefore it is so. I know more about western literature rather than Marathi and I feel scared to meet people who try to make me feel like an alien!🙂 But I assure you that they will never make me feel un-Maharashtrian! Why, there are people who make me feel I am un-Indian too! Forget all those people. If you feel you belong, you belong!! Ignore the bigots and extremists! But even if they exist, it doesn’t mean that there is no real issue. There certainly is, but we need sensible, moderate people to try and solve it.

  65. nehru mantri permalink
    May 13, 2009 11:40 am

    Vaibhav,

    I do respect your feelings and views which are lovingly expressed. I am not taking a broad swipe but apparently talking back at what pours out universally from northerners on the blogosphere (which may be sound offensive here in Nita’s). My question extends beyond the formal courtesy you mention, ie taking the interest of the locals at heart and their sentiments (particularly language). The artist question is rhetorical and I am curious _there should be one if not a few after all these years! Even if they don’t speak the language is there one who takes up the cause for Maharashtra. The northerner doesn’t lose a thing. Its the south which has everything to lose. While individuals may appear innocent, the unmistakable mandate of the centre to impose Hindi is certainly not lost on the migrant groups who would only see it as justification. The job issue is a secondary problem.
    Of course there is a distinct local flavor in New york and one the west coast as well. Each state in the US has distinct local flavors within a broad north and south context that arise from geographical and life style influences. And many a state insist on protecting those flavors by guns if necessary. I know a city where it clearly states as you enter, “Gun Ownership – It’s The
    Law in Kennesaw”. Many are the times when common New Yorkers asked the UN to get lost if they felt that it was not in compliance with local sentiment. New york had a republican governor until recently. That should give you a good idea of the political undercurrents reflecting local sentiments. Best wishes.

    • May 13, 2009 4:03 pm

      Mantri ji,

      Your post helps me in that it makes me more considerate of others’ opinions, as also more informed of things. Also, I tend to agree more that artists have a bigger role to play, and yes, nobody I can think of has taken up this cause.

      I have a contention though.

      //While individuals may appear innocent, the unmistakable mandate of the centre to impose Hindi is certainly not lost on the migrant groups who would only see it as justification.//

      This is misdirected. Hindi clearly is NOT a centre-imposed idea. Hindi is benefiting from a mass-reach, probably because it flexibly adjusted and made itself available in many forms, and via many media, through subtle changes, to ‘suit’ an increasingly large population. In fact, capturing the youth has been crucial here! For the sake of instance, consider MTv viewership in southern centres and you will have an idea how even a non-Hindi young crowd is hooked to an almost Hindi channel. Look at how Hindi has barged its way into the mind of the youth everywhere – college lingo, remix songs, FM radio and the likes. Bollywood is a major tool here, sometimes cleverly infusing English with Hindi in their songs, making Hindi look ‘neutral’. – *(music) sapno ke din hain, sapno ki raatein, where’s the party tonight (/music)* – Although the lyrics are ordinary and meaningless, it almost asks even a non-Hindi listener to get familiar. This is one song that a Kannadiga friend of mine said she was hooked to! Of course this was just an example. In fact, Hindi language is clearly one of the few things that has made its presence felt beyond India, even if largely through cinema. While theatre is, and has always been, better in centres like Pune/Bangalore, it lacks the mass appeal to drive the cause of the local languages. Also, non-hindi movies or literature aren’t doing enough. Logically then, the mass-reach ability of Hindi has a commercial valuation too, and it becomes a case of an unstable equilibrium, tilting in favour of Hindi, ever so more and all the while. This advantage is not there with other languages/cinema.

      I don’t think there is as much politics to it as you are suggesting. It however is true that State/Centre/people (locals and migrants included alike; artists and commoners included alike) ought to do more than just trying to kick Hindi-speaking people out or to stub Hindi in some other way in their attempt to promote local culture. Is this like asking for the proverbial Utopia??

      PS: I regret my failing to have kept it short; I myself hate essay-like comments/arguments:/

      • May 13, 2009 6:45 pm

        vaibhav, I think if you are interested in the subject you should take a look at this post here. It will open up a Pandora’s box for you! I have no doubt that you are a decent and well meaning guy as it is evident from every comment of yours! But I think once you read the post and the comments on the post I have mentioned you will start to get an idea about why Hindi has spread. I am afraid it is very much political as much as you we would wish it not to be. Unfortunately these things are often political. I just hope you won’t give up reading my blog after reading that post!🙂 I really appreciate commentators like you vaibhav, someone who can make their point of view felt calmly and reasonably. I mean we all from different parts of India need to communicate about these sensitive issues, without getting worked up.

        • May 14, 2009 1:49 am

          Nita,

          I vividly remember seeing this program when it was telecast. Of course I did not know then that I would be writing on the same later.

          The subject itself is not one of much debate though (unless we purposelessly create sub-debates within it)

          To me (a North Indian living in the South), most of the points are evident. Going by the popular indicators of social health, like child mortality rates, female infanticide, women literacy, rural employment levels, educational infrastructure and implementation, medical infrastructure, growth of art, contribution to Indian sports, etc, the South is ahead. (I find it considerable to see traffic ‘policewomen’ at crossroads and lady conductors in state transport buses here – something I’ve never seen even in a town like Lucknow. There are numerous such illustrations in everyday life that indicate, to put it casually, a “better set-up” in the South …To further discuss whether Gujarat or Kerala is better doesn’t serve a lot, esp when done in the way people did through their acerbic retaliations (read comments)

          Coming to the purpose of my writing this, I did not understand any better how has ‘spread’ of Hindi been politically guided. Politicians misusing the upper hand that Hindi has is one thing; their driving that change itself is quite another. In no place in the South I’ve seen Hindi being a necessary part of school curriculum. Or anything like that driven down people’s throats. Where is the political enforcement? Or trickery? At least no long term ‘scheme’ is visible to me. And I know of no simple people in the South who accepted Hindi any more than they wanted to, ever since the times of agitation against Hindi imperialism (that led to creation of South Indian states from the erstwhile Madras State)

          It is only now that Hindi is creeping into our lives through social or capitalist channels that I’ve described in my previous post. I reckon Hindi is ‘doing well’ because it was most nimble footed when it came to penetrating newer ‘markets’ and accepting changes. Tell me briefly if you disagree.

          In any case, there is no reason for me to stop visiting your blog. There was something to be learnt and that was achieved : )

          • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
            May 14, 2009 6:48 am

            @ vaibhavtiwari

            //In no place in the South I’ve seen Hindi being a necessary part of school curriculum.//

            I don’t know what your definition of “the South” is. With the exception of TN, all the major states of the South have compulsory Hindi in the school system, whereas in the Hindi imperialist North Indian states they have not kept their part of the bargain — of making “one Modern Indian Language, preferably of the South” compulsory in the school system — which was agreed upon in the Three-Language Formula laid down consequent to the Kothari Commission and the National Education Policy, 1968.

            The saddest part of the South’s acceptance of Hindi is the case of Kerala, where they now seem to have joined the ranks of the Maharashtrians and Gujaratis in becoming ****-lickers of the Hindi imperialist North Indian.

            //… Hindi is ‘doing well’ because it was most nimble footed when it came to penetrating newer ‘markets’ and accepting changes.//

            Nothing of the sort! It was imposed on the country through sophistry and emotional blackmail (“if you don’t accept this you are anti-national, and a traitor”) for which all of us credulous “Madrasis” fell. The only person who saw through the game of the Hindi imperialist north Indians — even though a bit late — was Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (yes, that is two words, not five as many syllabically challenged North Indians think). To quote from Answers.com:

            “… the Indian government had declared in its Constitution that Hindi was to be the official language of the country … but because of objections in non-Hindi areas had allowed for a fifteen-year period for the requirement to be phased in. From January 26, 1965 onwards, Hindi was to be made the sole official language … and people in non-Hindi speaking regions … compelled to learn Hindi. This was vehemently opposed … severe anti-Hindi revolts broke out in Madras State. Rajaji reversed his earlier position in support of Hindi and took a strongly anti-Hindi stand … On January 17, 1965, he convened the Madras state Anti-Hindi conference in Tiruchirapalli. He angrily declared that … Part XVII of the Constitution of India which declared that Hindi was the official language should “be heaved and thrown into the Arabian Sea.”

            //… creation of South Indian states from the erstwhile Madras State … //

            That is an oversimplification. The “South Indian States” were created out of not only the erstwhile Madras State but also (to mention only the major ones) the whole of Mysore, Travancore-Cochin, parts of Hyderabad State and parts of Bombay State.

            • May 14, 2009 1:38 pm

              @ Khadpekar:

              //The only person who saw through the game of the Hindi imperialist north Indians ….was Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (yes, that is two words, not five as many syllabically challenged North Indians think)//

              At two places in a single statement, you so distinctly look disturbed (and critical of the North Indians) that I’m rather unsure of the tone in which I should write to you.

              I’ll try to sound composed, lest I offend you : ) You seem to hate North Indian politicians and commoners in equal measure, which is unfair : ) For the sake of instance, do I need to hate every Tamilian for what Periyar said of Hindu Gods? I don’t think.

              • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
                May 14, 2009 2:51 pm

                Tiwari ji:

                I do not draw a distinction between politicians and commoners; only between imperialists and non-imperialists. To me, all north Indians who presume that their cultural norms apply to all of India are imperialists, be it in the matter of language or anything else.

                So if an NI claims that Hindi is the National Language of India, or that Karua Chauth is a pan-Indian festival, or that Janmashtami is Bhadrapad vadya ashtami, or that women covering their heads with the pallu as a sign of maryada is a mark of Indian culture (and I can go on and on with such examples) then, as far as I am concerned, that is a North Indian imperialist speaking. And [s]he is usually an urban, educated, so-called upper caste person.

                //Hindi had a bigger population base to start with and it further continues to capitalize on it//

                You mean the Hindi imperialists form enough of a brute majority to ram their language down the throats of other Indians who are non-Hindi-speaking, unpatriotic, antinational “madrasis”.

                And by the way, I suppose you would not know (because is not convenient for you to acknowledge) that of all the other languages of India, six are among the 15 or 20 most widely spoken languages in the world. The exact proportion depends on whether you have more faith in data from Ethnologue or Encarta. But the hard fact is that we are here talking of numbers of speakers of the order of 5 crore and above — in or above the ranks of “national” languages such as German, Swahili, Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia, Japanese, Italian, Polish etc.
                //When she had earlier told me that she did not study Hindi in … Chennai, I assumed it to be generally true of the South … I was less informed, or rather, I ill-assumed facts//

                The first part of that is very familiar coming from someone with your generic surname🙂 . Thanks for admitting it so graciously in the latter part.😀 😀

                • May 14, 2009 4:36 pm

                  //The first part of that is very familiar coming from someone with your generic surname. Thanks for admitting it so graciously in the latter part.//

                  I have already said this was information for me. I am otherwise well-informed of things, so I admitted. Did not get your sense of humour though!
                  Also, your trying to work up fun on my family name is in bad taste, but I won’t bother to mind it.

                  //I suppose you would not know (because is not convenient for you to acknowledge)…. //

                  Why do you feel so? I always acknowledge genuine points : )

                  //…that of all the other languages of India, six are among the 15 or 20 most widely spoken languages in the world.//

                  Ah! is that news !! That’s bound to happen in a country of a billion plus people. I think I already said we are talking in relative terms. What purpose does it serve to compare the number of our folks speaking various languages to the minuscule populations of Italy, Spain, bla? It doesn’t disprove my point.

                  //So if an NI claims that Hindi is the National Language of India, or that Karua Chauth is a pan-Indian festival, or that Janmashtami is …………..//

                  Each of those examples are staid and can be adequately replied to taking names of similar cultures/festivals in the South. I’m choosing not to go into it. Can’t answer your pre-conceived notions that help you argue.

                  //You mean the Hindi imperialists form enough of a brute majority to……..other Indians who are non-Hindi-speaking, unpatriotic, antinational “madrasis”.//

                  I can see your rhetorics getting tired and repetitive. When did I say any of what you are gurgling above ?!

              • nehru mantri permalink
                May 15, 2009 3:18 am

                Vaibhav

                Your last line . Of course not. Just as Southerners dont hate all of north because you guys epitomised Dravids as 5 dark pandavs sharing a wife. If the public humiliation of Dravid women as punishment or such intentions were non existent in those days do you think one could write such details as Draupathi vastra….?

                • nehru mantri permalink
                  May 15, 2009 3:20 am

                  that was in reply to the Periar episode

          • May 14, 2009 7:29 am

            vaibhav I am afraid you have your facts wrong. Hindi has been a compulsory subject all over India, except for TN, which fought for its non-inclusion. Little kids learn Hindi all over India and they have no choice but even if we leave aside the question as to whether this is right or wrong, the fact is that it is quite clear why educated Indians understand the language and enjoy movies made in this language. The Hindi language industry would never have spread beyond the north if Hindi had not been made compulsory. Same with Hindi music. The example is TN. They prefer their own films and their own music! I am afraid the Hindi film industry also benefited by using a lot of talent from all over India and they had a ready market. No credit to Hindi I am afraid.
            When I said read that post, I meant the comments more than anything else. If you had read the comments in that post I referred you to then you would have found out a lot of things about the language issues of India.
            So while the questions of whether this is good or not is another point altogether. What is important is that we accept the facts first. Hindi is a compulsory subject in all schools even state schools across India and has been for over 50 years!! How can you not expect Hindi to spread? I know that there are several government organisations in MH solely meant for the promotion of Hindi. I am sure there are similar ones in other states too.
            To be under the impression that there is something superior about Hindi because it has spread is naive. Any Indian language if forced in schools across India would have penetrated and no credit to it. But I think if you have time you should go through all the comments on that other language issue post because then you will get the facts.

            • May 14, 2009 11:05 am

              Nita, Hindi cannot be a compulsory subject in any state, education is a state subject as per the Constitution.

              • May 14, 2009 11:05 am

                I mean compulsory as in forced by the Union Government.

              • nehru mantri permalink
                May 14, 2009 11:44 am

                well, Vikram the center gave us constipation then. They have been implementing a 3 language formula for ever and Hindi HAD to be one of them (positions could change 1,2 or 3) in the south. I was in TN and if it was up to the state, it would have vanished to the point that an official would have to fly down to pick the correct stencils for vanniyarpettai station in Hindi only to find it painted upside down later.

              • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
                May 14, 2009 12:09 pm

                Vikram,

                You are right as far as the constitutional position on education goes. But there are extra-constitutional methods, such as the emotional blackmail that I mentioned in an earlier comment. That is what the undivided Bombay (pre-linguistic rorganisation) fell victim to. So while the predecessor state of the present Maharashtra and Gujarat grovelled and killed the prospects of its own citizens by more or less banning English, the grovellees🙂 (the meaning of that word should be obvious) sitting in Allahabad, Lucknow and Delhi made hay, sending their own children to English medium schools and then on to Oxbirdge.

              • May 14, 2009 12:15 pm

                How can political be only by the central govt? That is exactly what I mean. Only the Tamil Nadu govt. fought for its non-inclusion and therefore they have often been dubbed anti-national.

              • Naveen permalink
                May 14, 2009 9:27 pm

                While I believe that there should be a link language for India and Hindi might serve the purpose, I agree with the ‘grovellee’ part of Vivek’s comment. This is what one of our chief ministers has to say, when he was replaced by the Center and asked his comment, “I came by the grace of Madam and I am going under her orders; I don’t know why I came and why I am going”. The Chief Minister was also castigated by Rajiv Gandhi, the then congress working committee member, in public. Newspapers ran front page articles and people of state were very upset at it. Every bit of state government policy was dictated by the Center without exception to education. According to the policy, every kid has to learn Hindi right from preschool along with two other languages. Imagine the workup on the tiny brains and the confusion it might have brought. The idea was not to make people literate in functional Hindi but make them experts in Hindi poetry and prose by the time they leave school. This happened just before NTR came to power and infact, he won on this sentiment. The first thing NTR did was to scrap the program and make Hindi mandatory from Class V. I know that Haryana chose Telugu as an alternate ‘Modern language’ as part of the 3-language formula but later scrapped it realizing it was a farce. I only wish the North states and TN also chose to implement the program for better national integration.

                • nehru mantri permalink
                  May 15, 2009 12:11 am

                  Naveen
                  Kamaraj from the depths of the south called for a Kamaraj plan_ for grass roots action by the stars and leave mundane administration (ministerships) to supporting actors. No Hindi. Only brains. But for that it would have be a comical extension of the british raj to this day.

                  • Naveen permalink
                    May 15, 2009 4:43 am

                    Nehru,

                    Even though your comment seems to have piggybacked on mine, I meant a completely different thing. I especially do not have the same negative sentiments about North Indians, as you do. Sorry.

                    • nehru mantri permalink
                      May 15, 2009 8:12 am

                      Naveen

                      I think my comments are where I exactly wanted them to be. You said a link language for India was necessary. My post above is to show the contrary. Not the language. It is the will the idea the motive force, the bull, the horse and not their rear ends. One has to transcend emotion to be prone to action. My negative sentiments about northies is your imagination along with the real bile on your lips and neither of us has to be sorry about anything. In most experiences I quote, I have been there. So if “in your face wysiwyg” bothers you the problem is not mine. I read your post on Telengana. You tube has some real colors on this issue you know. What you left unsaid does say a lot. But “especially” you don’t have any hangups like me about the north. So if things in the US dont permit then you have Moradabad (Azhar’s), Rampur (JP of AP) and as Vikram is hopeful_60 years after ’47, Bihar and UP will develop. So you do have a fair choice of places. However I have put you on my “wysiwig list” since I feel it wont happen. I am willing to correct myself at the earliest if possible.

                    • Naveen permalink
                      May 15, 2009 10:43 am

                      I saw the movie you mentioned. I have to accept that I don’t know a lot of things myself. And now if you think I am a perpetrator. Newsflash for you- ‘You’, as a chennai resident, who drank the ‘Telugu Ganga’ water is an equal perpetrator. Who do the water belong to?- the lowland or the highland- is always a contention. You should know it better (WRT Cauvery).

                      And now, if you are in the la-la land that you are ‘settled for life’ in the US. Another news flash for you. The next decade of Hyperinflation and the new generation of ‘Dot Busters’ are gonna throw you back ‘home’ (the same philosophy you preach). I think your choice should be Patna -where the second green revolution is underway. Don’t worry -I’ll be waiting there for you, somewhere around.

                    • nehru mantri permalink
                      May 15, 2009 3:35 pm

                      Naveen
                      Preconceived again. No_no! never preached sending back or asking anyone to leave. You have to read before squeezing off. I support local autonomy and the protection of local interests and for immigrants to not be overbearing in the Indian situation specially when the locals work hard; contribute to the protection of local culture like I would if I was anywhere. In the long run I would expect them to make their best efforts to meld. Willingness helps.Then you have a claim. I have been very consistent all along and I think others can bear me out as well. My brother served in IAF Srinagar for 6 yrs. Never thought I’d be here in the US. I slogged my way through Africa, saving money >study >settle down. I had traveled enough by then . In short I did the hard yards. I have my track record in India 11 of the best years of my life_various places in the south (many underdeveloped then) loved every bit of it and again worked hard as the devil. I had summer jobs in India from age 16 at a time when adults were unemployed. I was being chauffeured around by the time I was 25. I never expected all these. Farmers recommended me to better job contacts. So you can la~ la~ la~ la, all you want. I set my own rules and live by them. I have a son who can be called up for arms at any time by the Govt. and the same is required of me as a citizen which I will. People in the community literally took upon the responsibility in the education and welfare of my son and have led him to where he is today. I have seen teens killed and returned from this war in the place I live_ kids who were in school as my son and followed others they came through college. Makes you humble. I have seen a couple of Indians threatened and killed, throat slashed _we wont go into the reasons there. I have put my money where the mouth is. So if it happens it happens. I have made the choice and don’t suffer a guilt conscience. One thing is sure though. Most here will know that I am not shoveling MY bs on THEM. You can definitely expect the dot busters by doing your interpretation of local mores which is more likely. I don’t shirk work nor people. If you preen that our youngsters are darlings and the locals are degenerates then we have a problem don’t we, Mr. “especial” Naveen and yet we cant resist! Then Patna it has to be so we can do the same bs over there. A mouse that wants to die will kiss a cat’s nose is the Ethiopian proverb. For me it is:
                      Bura jho dekhn mai chala
                      Bura na milia koi.
                      Jab dil khola apna
                      Mujhsa bura na koi!

                    • Naveen permalink
                      May 15, 2009 7:52 pm

                      Nice to know that you are a self made man.

                      //If you preen that our youngsters are darlings and the locals are degenerates //
                      No, I sincerely don’t believe that. And I also don’t believe that ‘there are Marathi artists in Chennai, who are respected and embraced for respecting Tamil’. What I believe though is ‘Good-ness’ and ‘Bad-ness’ are universal and often exists in the same person.

            • May 14, 2009 1:32 pm

              @ Nita,

              My contention was NOT that Hindi is “qualitatively” superior and so it should be employed everywhere. All I meant was (and part of which I am correcting below): 1) Hindi had a bigger population base to start with and it further continues to capitalize on it. It is the largest spoken language in India (let me say, at the expense of being repetitive, that it does not make Hindi any superior or worthy of being forced upon others, but it does lend it an advantage, if languages were to be thought of as several species co-existing. After all, we have been bantering about Southern languages and not about, say, the uniquely beautiful Bengali language only for the reason of relative population, right?) My argument is that population provides mass to any idea. Despite being very different culturally, the Northern states still have Hindi as a singular, visible brand (although the North has more states and more geographical stretch than the tapering South) This unification is incidental, if nothing else, but not-in-the-least political or school-curriculum driven. 2) You cannot deny that Hindi has more dialects and versions (even if we call them crude – I agree they are) and is spoken in more forms than the ‘pure’ regional languages. And here too, school curriculum has no role to play. So Hindi has a bigger ground, both in terms of variety and population. (again, that does not make it superior, but lends it an advantage in terms getting popular) And below is what I have to thank you and Khadpekar for. I checked my facts again with my friend. She confirmed that other than TN, they had Hindi compulsory up to std. 8th in other states. When she had earlier told me that she did not study Hindi in her Chennai (state) board, I assumed it to be generally true of the South, but no. So, clearly I was less informed, or rather, I ill-assumed facts. In the light of the information I have now, the spread of Hindi in the South is accountable to it being made part of school curriculum. It however does not take away the tactical advantage that Hindi has – that of its variety (you can call that ‘crude availability’, if you like) and a larger base. Coming back to the original discussion (which sadly keeps getting lost), the better position of Southern states, while true, has little to do with the spread of Hindi in the South or TN’s offensive against it.

          • nehru mantri permalink
            May 14, 2009 10:33 am

            Vaibhav,

            For the last 45 years the DMK and party offshoots, the TD, some non congress parties in KN, and the Thackrey machine in MR and the general public have seen that such a phenomenon did not occur. The price_south denied all the development late 60’s to early 90’s but center helped themselves to the taxpayer money from industries and the finances from the success of the green revolution down south. Bengal with the largest acreage under rice_ river irrigated is still below national average in yield while semi dry lands in the south far exceed those of the best there. The river deltas of the south went from single to double crop in record time. (farmers even did night shifts). We should have been on par with some of the far east countries and maybe the SL situation could have been worked out better if the Lankans knew the potential of hooking up with a part of mainland India. Bombay film industry (and states) is heavily subsidized and was more so those days. 90% of the time we paid twice (subsidy + ticket) to watch stuff that had no relevance to life down south. With the other part of the money drawn from wealthy states the center did bangda on the nangal. The sikhs saw the oven was on 350 and let the cake bake. Then wanted the others to khali their sthan. Very clever. At one time Keralites and others along the west coast outnumbered muslims from Pak in securing gulf jobs which brought its own windfall. Without all this money Kashmir, Bangladesh and Tibet along with India’s non alignment and “we are so goood” crap would be exactly what they should have been_a luxury and an experiment in vanity. No real use to all the hard workers who created the wealth. If there was anything the north did it was merchandising_ just like the…British !!! Cheap raw material_tax it_finished goods _tax again. Now the hindi dialogues are clear ” the makhans, the pachas laakh talks, the imported ghaadis, iski chintha math keejiye, main Tiwari ko khoob jaantha hoon, dus laakh ke andhar ho jaayega, tumhe jo bhi pasand hai le lo bitiya, paise ki fikr mat karna, aree Vaibhav thu london mei tha, tho phir ek ghante ke liye Paris kuyon nahin aaya, koi baat nahin, nita didi se kaho ke unke liye Amsterdam se khaas phool bheji hai maine, of course ye gobi se alag hai, Kkhya bakhwass karta hai”!

            • May 14, 2009 1:45 pm

              @ Mantri ji,

              What happened to your clear writing ways, mantriji ?!!

              You were either in a big hurry or wanted to convey something so complicated that only a select few understand, in which case, let me tell you that I did not qualify!! And what’s with that Hindi in the end !?!? Huh!

              //For the last 45 years the DMK and party offshoots, the TD, the Thackrey machine in MR and the general public have seen that such a phenomenon did not occur………. Bengal with the largest acreage under rice_ river irrigated is still below national average in yield ….. //

              Already agreed. Read previous posts.

              //90% of the time we paid twice (subsidy + ticket) to watch stuff that had no relevance to life down south. //

              So why did you? I’m sure you had had options of watching better stuff, hadn’t you?

              //At one time Keralites and others along the west coast outnumbered muslims from Pak in securing gulf jobs ………….Without all this money Kashmir, Bangladesh and Tibet along with India’s non alignment and “we are so goood” crap would be exactly what they should have been_a luxury and an experiment in vanity.//

              Amusing : ) (can’t believe that a communist Kerala had been secretly financing our resources all these years. *Namboodiripad rolling in his heavenly abode*)

              //Now the hindi dialogues are clear //

              No, they aren’t !!

              //…. the pachas laakh talks, the imported ghaadis …. main Tiwari ko khoob jaantha hoon//

              *OUCH* : )

              // aree Vaibhav thu london mei tha, tho phir ek ghante ke liye Paris kuyon nahin aaya, koi baat nahin, nita didi se kaho ke unke liye Amsterdam se khaas phool bheji hai maine, of course ye gobi se alag hai,//

              London ? Paris? Amsterdam ? Nita didi (really !!) …. gobi ka phool : ) …. lol (trust me)

              //Kkhya bakhwass karta hai”!//

              Now whom did this last statement point to?
              : )

              • nehru mantri permalink
                May 15, 2009 2:51 am

                Vaibhav

                Guess we are on different planets. That’s my poor parody of movie cliches that I assumed most are aware of unless you wish to embarrass me further by having me explain those. The daily input of Hindi for me since I left school has been 0% unless I listen to the radio or happen to see a movie where they had these dialogues over and over. One of the things I did with a friend of mine was “Aao mere saath”which was the cliche of a time when spy, gangster and crime police movies were made. A go for a hindi movie meant (soon as we were on bikes), playing “Aao mere saath”_meaning the one ahead gets to pause and pompously declare ” Aao mere saath” just like the hero. We played this through lane turns, traffic lights, ticket booths, seating aisles, leaving for bathroom breaks ad nauseam and quite rightly irritated hordes of people, thus getting our money’s worth. We did see hindi because we ran out of tamil and English specially English since the central govt. curtailed it to enhance Hindi and local movies. Finally, money is the instrument _whether capitalist or communist economy. If you recall “foreign exchange reserves”. It’s the Keralites who brought this_precisely non hindu muslim and christian communities. As to the last line it’s all in parentheses. You know it’s part of the joke and not at yourself but if you are serious I ‘ll insist it was at you. There is one thing the northern mind does not get it though in a million years. Don’t equate our like/dislike for hindi or ability to speak hindi with our view of hindi as an official language. This needs to be cliched in hindi/tamil movies or songs written until the message is driven home. Because the next step even if we do speak, at which even you had a subtle dig yourself (what’s with this..) is the other phrase “the southerner cannot speak like us (head nods of disapproval here)”_ damned if we do damned if we don’t of which too we are only well aware of. My wife is a southie brought up northie. One evening after a pretty racy pacy banter with the owner of a rental bookstore in this coastal tamil town which she spontaneously enjoyed turned to incredulous disbelief on the way home when I told her the guy was tamil (honestly he was very good_ he had been up there too). She had to close her mouth only because of the mosquitoes at that time of the evening. All I could care then was to see if the guy inspite of the utter discomfort of engaging in some lucknawi poetry could slowly roll his eyes up and from me toward some serious sleaze that I needed to rent that evening. Friends !

                • nehru mantri permalink
                  May 15, 2009 2:55 am

                  PS sorry, Missed the punch. FYI all the banter was in Hindi.

                • May 15, 2009 4:46 pm

                  mantriji,

                  To the extent we can agree, I think we could agree, even if trying to headbutt each other with our little acts of smartness.

                  Beyond that, let us agree to disagree. (on more than a few things actually, the latest being that foreign exchange was primarily generated by Kerala’s muslims and christians that could provide for our nation and her wars!! I have a lot to say on that, but let it be)

                  //Guess we are on different planets//

                  Not at all (unless you want North and South India as different planets : ) But yes, our ‘movie-going years’ must’ve been different it looks like, because I don’t seem to know “aao mere saath” : ) It was sure funny.

                  //….There is one thing the northern mind does not get it though in a million years//

                  But for such tangy remarks, you look like a reasonable person, despite our differences. Try to get it in your mind that there is no unique devil called the ‘northern mind’. You sound disgruntled when you say such things, as if by some bad experience. Anyhow.

                  //….toward some serious sleaze that I needed to rent that evening. Friends ! //

                  By God, you confused me here. I hope you don’t mock at me for this, but are you actually offering me a good handshake (“friends?”) or did that word refer to your ‘serious sleaze’ F.R.I.E.N.D.S, that you said you needed to rent that evening?

                  If it was F.R.I.E.N.D.S, sleaze is a harsh word to use; continue to enjoy (rather re-enjoy) though, as I do : )

                  If it was “friends?”, then ……………. “aao mere saath” : P : )

                  In either case, good luck and peace!

                  • nehru mantri permalink
                    May 16, 2009 7:40 am

                    Vaibhav

                    Oh ! very much the same here. I hope you are having a good weekend. forget the last bits. As you said the longer the one writes the less gets said. Friends was my (la di da) signature. catch you later.

                    • May 16, 2009 8:31 am

                      //forget the last bits……Friends was my (la di da) signature//

                      A signature that keeps changing !! You seem to be going by the election mood in India.. : ) : P

                      Do well.

  66. Bombay wadapav eater permalink
    May 13, 2009 8:45 pm

    The first Kashmiri I knew was my classmate. Her surname was Kashmiri and she always said that Kashmir should belong to Pakistan and I remember my blood boiling. She cheered Pakistan during cricket matches and kept Imran’s photograph in her school bag. Not that we were anti-Muslims since most of us loved Aamir at that time. In college I had another Kashmiri Pandit friend. She and her sister and brother were studying in safe Bombay and living in hostels. They went to Jammu every holiday. Her parents moved from Srinagar to Jammu but were not ready to leave Kashmir. She always lived with this thought that her parents could be dead any day like some Jewish colleague with his family in Tel Aviv. There were other Kashmiri Pandits who I came across in the university but had no contact with Kashmir and their family living in Delhi. Now I have met a Kashmiri Pandit friend here in Frankfurt. She left Kashmir at the age of 11 and moved to Delhi with her family. She says that this is only due to unemployment. Muslims are mostly unemployed and hence poor and then the jealousy, confusion occurs and many youth get into terrorism. She loves Kashmir and enjoys Frankfurt due to the similarity in weather. She is not really fond of Delhi.
    I have a classmate who was Bengali but brought up in Lucknow. Her father was an econometrician in RBI so they had this hip quarters in the twin towers in prabhadevi. Eventually they got so used to B’bay and loved it that they sold off their house in Lucknow before all the bricks would be robbed and they retired in Meera Road which obviously wasn’t going to be like Prabhadevi but better off than Lucknow. The daughters (my friend/ classmate and her sis are both in the states). My other friend also from Lucknow said that if you have a house there and the political party is not your father’s favour, even the bricks will be stolen and you won’t even know where the house was. So tho’ their father, an IAS officer posted in B’bay started business there and had high aspirations of going back sold off everything when the politcial party changed and moved from the cool Hyderabad Estates (Central Govt. quarters in Napeansea Road) moved to Ghatkoper rather than going back to Lucknow. All that my friend like about Lucknow is some of the food and some cold winter weather not available in B’bay.
    I had many friends from the North-East (Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Mizoram) during my Masters at the University. They were really nice and felt very Indian. Only two girls preferred to be called Chinese one of them from Nagaland and the other from Arunachal. I often wondered why.

    Priyank I wonder if you can compare India to the EU. The EU is doing alright and now in the recession there are many problems occurring. Take Spain for example where the Basques want to be independent or some other communities in France. It is mostly due to language and culture they claim. Unemployment and poverty lead to crises and politicians blame religion or languages. I always wanted Bombay to be an independent city sth like Singapore. Today I laugh at myself at this idea. I don’t reckon that problems would be solved if Kashmir and the NE states would be independent. Probably new issues would pop.

  67. Bombay wadapav eater permalink
    May 14, 2009 3:12 pm

    My comment was directed to vivek mittal

  68. Sanjay permalink
    May 15, 2009 6:40 pm

    @It is only a few of the intellectual elite, mostly westernized elite who do not have a strong regional identity and instead identify with other elite across India.

    @Bombay vadapav eater

    @ Naveen

    These fellows you describe about may mostly be middle class which puts them in 25 % of the population. Over and above this and they are all English-speaking which is about 5-7 % of the population. In addition they are migratory which is even smaller. See-the point is not about those people-how many people as % of India’s 1000 million people fall in that category??

    That’s the problem with the English speaking elite/middle class in India. They are actually a very small segment of the population. But because of the monopoly on newspapers,TN,radio,mass media,public life and society those who can’t speak/read/write good English are just invisible in this country.

    This means that they think that caste is bad, so its bad. They never stop to think that if caste still has relevance (in changing ways of course) there must be some reason to it. They feel that because 0.01 % can’t read Kannada, Kannada cannot be made compulsory in signboards etc, forgetting the 90 % who cannot read/read well English.

    The bloggers here represent a very tiny segment of people. Bombay Vadapav eaters comments actually exemplify this attitude: a small segment of society may inter-marry, settle anywhere, speak English, have access to computers-and may even be much more proficient at English than at Kannada/Telugu. But MOST people are not like this. See?

    The examples you give are of a very small minority. That doesn’t prove that regional identification is non-existent or artificial.

    Truly speaking, the non-English knowing person in India (barring in the North-somewhat) is just invisible and non-existent. Which is amazing because most Indians do not know English at all!

    The comments of Naveen et al are taken in the right spirit. An English-speaking urban middle class Indian often has a rigid belief that there is a “pan-national identity”, “states are merely administrative units” “regional parties are bad”. This is the philosophy of this class of people.

    But they-thankfully-do not comprise most people. The election results-and the people who get elected-as a result show what India truly is, needs and wants. Most people, as I never tire of repeating, are not really like that.

    The only way to improve their lives is by more Telugu implementation, not less.

    Which is why urban middle class voters hate politicians.

  69. Bombay wadapav eater permalink
    May 16, 2009 3:39 am

    Sanjay,

    You are very much right about the Goan identity. In Frankfurt, I see it all the time. My husband is German so I moved here from Bombay and I hardly know Indians. I was too busy with my job to socialise. But when I thought of being friendly with Indians (3 Keralite origin girls), it was weird. Altho’ born and brought up in Frankfurt, being second generation, their general knowledge about Germany was poor and hardly knew anything about India other than their Keralan native place. They were quite rude to me since I was an outcast being married to a German. They spoke in Malayalam mixed with German. Their mothers tho’ settled here since ages could hardly speak any German. The same is with the Tamilians, etc. They all have their separate clubs: Kerala, Tamil, Bengali, etc . and they mingle together. I have heard there is Marathi Mandal too active in Munich. Anyway no time for all that. But I wholely agree with you since in my case I have not much clue about how life and education elsewhere in India apart from Bombay. So this whole big Indian identity just wares off. Only one thing that I have noticed is that whatsover most Maharashtrians, South Indians and Bengali second generation people here are still well educated. These three Keralan girls also studied Mathematics at the University tho’ they carry very primitive thoughts. Sad part is about most north Indian migrants here. They have shops and restaurants and the kids also sit on the “pedi” later, education is not top on their list. So I can compare them to the Turks.

    SIE, Nita, Vivek K, Sanjay and Priyank
    My grandmother always told me that ages ago my ancestors ran away from Kashmir, in order to save themselves from getting converted, to different parts of India and adopted the language spoken there. So tho’ we are Saraswat Brahmins, my ancestors ran to Goa and like Nita said, even our kul dev is the Mangeshi temple, my mum’s is the Shantadurga (depending on the Gotra) in Goa and we speak Konkani. But since the Portuguese tried to convert us into Christians, many ran further to Karwar, Mangalore and down South. So my soft corner for Kashmir and my biggest dream to see this place at least once which I wonder will fulfil. Obviously even if Kashmir wouldn’t be a part of India, we can still travel iff it ever becomes afe. I have been to ladakh where many Kashmiri Muslims live and they all want to be free but I wonder what their definition of freedom is. I don’t know if India can be compared to the EU. The EU is trying to get more and more things fixed at an EU level and not the country level. They have big plans but even now so many EU countries have still not adopted the Euro currency or the Schengen visa/ borders. In India it is already the case. One thing I can say that I hated Hindi at school and wasn’t good at it. I was quite sad to give up Marathi in order to choose French in the 8th standard. I always wished I could have quit Hindi instead so I am highly against Hindi as the national language. Obviously as Priyank and Vivek K think if all the states would be independent similar to the EU (is that what you want?), many things would be simplified and I would never have to learn Hindi and Hindi from the Bollywood industry would provide enough knowledge. In the EU itself Luxemburg, Lichtenstein are more successful than Germany or France. The smaller the country, the better managed it is altho’ there are other reasons for their welfare such as money launderers’ paradise!

    Vivek Mittal
    Stop comparing Bombay to Delhi. I had been to Delhi for a week and realised that only Hindi is spoken there and they are snooty to outsiders like me. Bombay isn’t like that. Marathi people will speak in broken Hindi to help Northerners but no one will bother in Delhi or for that matter in any other place except Bombay. In Kerala the buses have signs only in Malayalam, not even in English, the same with Calcutta with Bangla. As soon as some more Marathi is promoted, everyone will start calling you a Shivsainik which is utter nonsense. I had so many classmates in school, college who could hardly speak Marathi. Life in Bombay without Marathi is possible since most Maharashtrians will speak to you in Hindi. This is not true about anywhere else in India. And note that industry is not the only way to get prosperity. Bombay had the textile industry which is long gone dead with hardly any mills. Bombay is a financial capital. Infosys which is an IT company was started by Nilekini who happens to be my caste and Murthy, a Tamilian. So don’t consider north Indians to the only entrepreneurs and Maharashtrians to be wada pav eaters and mill workers or govt. employees! Hope you read my other comment as well. I don’t think you would survive in Delhi if you made a comment like without South Indians, you would all be eating gol gappa and be corrupt politicians or whatever. They would throw “jootas” on you. Be happy that none of us Maharshtrians is spanking your bottom with a Kolhapuri chappal since we are all an educated and tolerant lot and believ in pen is mightier than the sword.

    • May 16, 2009 7:53 am

      Bombay wadapav eater, thanks for sharing your personal experiences.
      I too hated Hindi at school and was very bad at it!🙂 At that time when one is in the seventh grade one has no idea of the politics but I remember asking my dad and mom why I have to learn Hindi! One naturally hates any subject that one is barely passing in. I understood even as a child why I needed to learn Marathi but I could never understand why this high flown Hindi was being forced (I studied ICSC). I wonder how students up north would have fared if they were forced to learn Marathi or Tamil or Telugu or Gujarati at this high level. I think it is a huge burden on children. The Hindi poetry that we were forced to learn is of no use to me now, and frankly I have an aversion to it because of the trauma I faced in school, right from the fifth grade in fact. Those days there were no tuitions. But when my daughter started suffering the same, I put her for Hindi tuitions and in the tenth she was going at night for Hindi tuition because in the day there was no time. But thankfully she did well in Hindi and her overall grade in the 10th was maintained. Today she tells me that she was glad to have to stop learning Hindi when she left school. It was hard on her too.
      Kashmir is indeed beautiful and being from an army background I have stayed there a lot, and in the interiors. I too have a soft corner for Kashmir. Even though I mentioned about the giving up, immediately afterwards I have said that maybe I was wrong. It’s just thoughts that I penned down, thoughts which go through one’s mind. Who doesn’t think of such things? One commentator mentioned why I thought like this, but to say that no such thought ever entered anyone’s mind is pure hypocrisy. Any thinking person mulls over various options. In any case now it is too late to give up Kashmir, the demographics in Pakistan and India as a whole have changed so there is no logical reason to give up Kashmir. In any case I am against the breaking up of India. I don’t want to give an inch to either Pak or China. What’s ours is ours! And one day I am sure Kashmir is going to be peaceful and then you will be able to see it from the inside! I think Kashmiris want to be independent because they think that only they are diverse and different. They don’t know or don’t want to know that diversity exists all over India. That is in fact the essence of India.
      About moving towards a political entity like the EU, I don’t know. But if people try to continue to force Hindi on people from other states then the demand for this will increase. Wise politicians will stop forcing little kids from only one part of the country learn an extra language and that too at high levels! I know if I had expended that much energy on Marathi I would have been better at Marathi today. But we had a lower level of Marathi than Hindi and I was studying in Pune! yeah, went to a central ICSC school which did not give a choice. Imagine how many people grew up with a resentment of Hindi! You are another kindred soul!

      • Bombay wadapav eater permalink
        May 17, 2009 6:30 am

        But it was worst during my mother’s time. My mum went to a Convent school in Dadar run by Scottish and Irish nuns. Already my grandmum had to listen to comments from relatives for putting her kids into missionary schools instead of a good Hindu school which would mean Marathi medium in those times but she chose an option which was closest to her house since my grandfather was always living out of his suitcase. My grandmother came from Bangalore and couldn’t speak any Marathi when she came to Bombay. But she took the trouble of learning the language so well that she excelled in Marathi as much as Kannada (Konkani tho’ our mother tongue had no script at that time). I remember her reading the Dyaneshwari, epics to us when we were kids. She loved Natyasangeet and Marathi plays and was so happy to get to see a Balgandharva play. India achieved independence when my mum reached matriculation and Hindi at a very high level was imposed suddenly. Now my mum who never had Marathi at school but only French could hardly write Devnagari tho’ could speak Marathi which she learnt from my grandmum and neighbours found it very tough to cope with high-level Hindi and failed the class. My mum always talks about her classmate Sylvia whose father was a doctor and left India for good and moved to UK so that his daughter could pursue further education after flunking matriculation twice only due to Hindi. But I am very much for compulsory Marathi in MH. However cosmoplitan Bombay may be, I think it is imp. for every resident of Bombay to learn Marathi and there should be no exceptions. Only then can he understand a bit of the culture and history. After all it has Marathi roots and Kolis, the original Bombayites also speak Marathi. If I am in Delhi, I am expected to speak Hindi and no one would help me if I spoke Marathi. Sourashtra was broken into MH and Gujarat and Maharashtrians living in Gujarat speak fluent Gujrati then why not the same with Gujjus in Bombay. I consider the same about Germany. I cannot stand people coming here and not taking the trouble of learning the language. Still the highly posted people get away with it such as the expats or Americans and many English-speaking people. They aren’t looked down upon like the Turks, Arabs, east Europeans, etc. who are in plenty here, having been living since generations and cannot speak a word of German. Many from this diaspora work illegally and live on social help and some youngsters get into crime. Also many Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Afghanis and fewer Indians belong to this category. But Germany is another “tubelight” (if I could use this terminology) like Bombay where people do take the trouble of helping foreigners in English. It would rarely happen in France, Spain or Italy. Even as a tourist it gets really tough, working without the knowledge of the language is impossible.

        • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
          May 17, 2009 7:10 am

          Bombay wadapav eater:

          Thanks for a wonderful comment. It sums up a lot of my feelings in more civil and gentle language than I would care or want to use.

          //Sourashtra was broken into MH and Gujarat and Maharashtrians living in Gujarat speak fluent Gujrati then why not the same with Gujjus in Bombay//

          A couple of errors there:

          1. It was Bombay state, not Saurashtra that was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat.

          2. The spelling “Sourashtra” is usually reserved for the language of the 17th-18th c. migrants to the Madurai region from Saurashtra).

          3. The Gujaratis in Mumbai always did acquire some level of proficiency in Marathi (maybe not as elegant as Maharashtrians in Gujarat acquiring Gujarati, but then that is partly because, except for a small intellectual class, the Gujaratis are not very particular about elegance even in their own language. For most of them, language is a purely functional thing). It is only the Hindi imperialist North Indians who, while resisting and refusing to learn the local language of the place that they infest, seek to defecate in theirs on the place they colonise.

          • Bombay wadapav eater permalink
            May 19, 2009 6:44 am

            Thanks Vivek K! I had know clue about the Bombay state getting broken down (very ignorant of me). You must tell me more and how do you know all this? Was it a part of your architecture curriculum? I can’t remember any of this learning in school in History. In any case I was bad at History (from 6th std onwards with the Peshwas and too many Bajiraos and later on the independece struggle) and Hindi. Seriously interested.
            I like your comment about imposing Hindi in North India. Would love to see students breaking their heads over Marathi!

            • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
              May 19, 2009 8:31 am

              BWE:

              //I like your comment about imposing Hindi in North India. //

              I don’t recall making any such comment. It must have been about imposing “Madrasi” in North India.

              Regarding your main query, one does not learn from curricula or textbooks — or even, for that matter, from teachers or institutions. A good education equips you with “learning to learn”, by asking questions and cultivating a healthy skepticism and irreverence to hallowed sources of “knowledge”.

              dev sarvaangele borem koro

              • Bombay wadapav eater permalink
                May 27, 2009 1:41 am

                That was a mistake I made whilst typing; I wanted to definitely repeat your comment though Madrasi is the person and Tamil, his language like Malyali and Malyalam or Bengali and Bangla. It is bit difficult when I read this website and write comments either in the middle of the night or parallel to entertaining my 20-month-old son. We don’t have luxuries of a maid or cook or the like. A mother’s job is really tough and more demanding than the 50 to 60 hour week bank job. And here I have to look after the entire household – no luxuries of a maid or cook or the like.

                One more thing about “learning to learn” and answering questions. When we asked questions, they were not necessarily answered and I did my BSc in Xavier’s. Esp. our Stats dept. were not equipped with the brightest professors. During my Masters in Eco, most of the professors spent a lot of time abroad as guest professors so I was indeed used to learning on my own but through “books” tho’ some of it like measure theory is tough to really understand and still some of the abstraction is still mystery to me, a reason why I probably gave up my PhD with a prestigious stipend in Berlin. I was “ashamed to ask questions” altho’ I finally met some of the best professors. I was more bothered of what they would think of me and how I could top in the Bombay University MA Eco when so many things remained unclear to me. In any case all this is personal and an answer to your “learning-to-learn-by-asking-questions-theory”. So you speak Konkani as well, is it?

                • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
                  May 27, 2009 8:27 am

                  I don’t speak Konkani as well as I should, considering that I have been married close to 30 years to a South Canara GSB who grew up in Mumbai and Pune. I can follow the language reasonably well, and when I do venture to speak, I prefer the Goa variety (which is closer to Marathi, and the wife and her kith and kin cannot find fault with)😦

        • May 17, 2009 9:03 am

          Bombay wadapav eater, thanks for that comprehensive and wide angle view! That was really news to me, that there are settlers in germany who refuse to learn the language and take advantage of German hospitality. It is the same here! I think it’s a shame! Perhaps they should be as chauvinistic about their language as the French then! In MH we are not, and in fact as you mentioned Maharashtrians always go out of their way to accommodate non-marathi speaking people as compared to those of other states and people have no appreciation for it.
          But there are still people in denial that the majority of Hindi settlers in Mumbai do not know Marathi or if they do know refuse to speak it, even with uneducated vegetable sellers who struggle to speak Hindi. Why Mumbai, it’s the same in Pune. I have a Hindi speaking friend in Pune who insists on speaking Hindi to the rickshaw drivers even though they seem confused! She does not know even one word of Marathi or rather feels embarrased to utter it except in jest saying “ikde tikde!” and believe me she is a wonderful warm hearted and intelligent person. But she feels it unnecessary to speak even a few words of marathi even to to the uneducated who have never been to school and cannot read and write and do not know Hindi! If you came to Pune now you will see that Pune is not like what it was about a decade ago. The marathi flavour is gone as uneducated people struggle to speak Hindi even to maharashtrians as they cannot make out who is maharashtrian and who is not.

      • rags permalink
        May 18, 2009 5:53 pm

        Nita, after reading this I’m taking back what I said somedays ago on another article (that not learning Hindi was bad for T.N.)😉 I truly feel lucky for not having a third language thrust on me (the rote memorisation and regurgitation of other subjects was bad enough).

  70. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    May 16, 2009 8:38 am

    Nita:

    The following sequence of sentences in your response to bombay wadapav eater.

    //I am against the breaking up of India. I don’t want to give an inch to either Pak or China.//

    So your objection is to giving any part of India to another country, particularly Pak and China. Which meansit should be OK to give a part of the country to a people whose homeland it traditionally has been? Surely this was the underlying spirit of Priyank’s opening comment? And I notice that although it did evoke some critical counter-comments, it was nothing like the furore raised by a certain Hindi imperialist North Indian commentator when I jocularly suggested the India secede from UP.

    • May 16, 2009 9:04 am

      @ Khadpekar:

      //Which means it should be OK to give a part of the country to a people whose homeland it traditionally has been? //

      A weakened Kashmir on its own !!??

      You are bravely telling us that Pakistan (even if I forget China) will not think of running into her, convert locals, rape women, maim children, and plunder whatever resources Kashmir is now managing with.

      • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
        May 16, 2009 11:25 am

        tiwari ji,

        //You are bravely telling us that Pakistan … will not think of running into her, convert locals, rape women, maim children, and plunder whatever resources Kashmir is now managing with.//

        The kind of atrocities that you mention are not the monopoly of Pakistan, so I don’t think they deserve a comment.

        As to conversion, isn’t it high time that those of us who are proud to call ourselves Hindus looked inward, introspected, and identified the wrongs of our own society that have, over close to a thousand years, made conversion (whether to Islam, to Christianity or to Neo-Buddhism — I advisedly exclude Jainism and pre-Ambedkar Buddhism) attractive to those who agreed to cross over. Now don’t tell me that it was all done by force or by deceit. A very sizeable proportion of Hindus who converted, in all eras, did so voluntarily.

        • May 17, 2009 1:22 am

          @ Vivek,

          //The kind of atrocities that you mention are not the monopoly of Pakistan, so I don’t think they deserve a comment.//

          You safely avoided answering how will Kashmir not collapse by internal or external commotion, caused by pakistan, china, muslims or whoever..

          Anyhow, I’ll let you have the last word.

          //A very sizeable proportion of Hindus who converted, in all eras, did so voluntarily.//

          Conversion is a minuscule problem that’ll come, but you may have your say🙂

          • Vinod permalink
            May 17, 2009 6:59 am

            Your assumption about the Pakistanis is disturbing.
            The same is true about the assumptions of Indians about the Chinese.

            • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
              May 17, 2009 7:15 am

              Vinod,

              It is not clear whether your response of 6:59 am is addressed to me or to Tiwari.

              • Vinod permalink
                May 17, 2009 2:19 pm

                Oops…addressed to Tiwari.

    • May 16, 2009 9:56 am

      Vivek, you are reading too much into my remark. I do not think it is a practical option to have a separate Kashmir as Pakistan will never give up POK and so this idea itself is theoretical. In fact India too will never agree. If you are asking me on an ideological level, no I don’t want Kashmir to have a separate homeland. Not because I think they cannot survive on their own, but because I do not think diversity is the basis of wanting a separate homeland. Discrimination against a people can be a basis but not really. Problems have solutions. I do not think that breaking up is a solution. It is sad that many Kashmiris don’t have sense of belonging to the country. However I am not really sure how many Kashmiris really want a separate homeland. There has been no authentic surveys on this issue. If there is some indication that the majority in Kashmir want a separate homeland, there is still the minority which doesn’t. So this is a very complex issue for which I have no answer to.

      • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
        May 16, 2009 11:12 am

        Nita,

        //I do not think diversity is the basis of wanting a separate homeland.//

        I will agree with you in toto the day the Hindi imperialist North Indians and their fellow-travellers unconditionally and sp0ntaneously accept that they and all that’s theirs are a mere fragment of the cultural kaleidoscope that is India, that they have no right to any kind of special consideration, and that everything that has happened over the last 60-plus years to invest them with their undeserved pre-eminence is aberrant, immoral, and a wrong that must be righted forthwith. And these conditions are non-negotiable.

  71. May 17, 2009 9:05 am

    Oops got posted twice and with a number of embarrassing typos. Sorry!

  72. Bombay wadapav eater permalink
    May 19, 2009 7:04 am

    Nita and Vivek

    There I agree and as I already mentioned, it is our own fault to go out of the way helping out people who cannot speak Marathi. I remember nobody helping us out in Kerala when we tried with English.

    I had been to India in 2006 last and we did go to Pune, one of my favourite destinations and I was indeed very surprised when the rickshawwala spoke to me in Hindi but obviously I replied to him in Marathi.
    Indeed in Germany, we face a lot of problems due to migrants not learning the language. But in banks, it is a common practice to switch to English even if one of the CEOs is British or American. Many old-fashioned Germans get really pissed but everyone wants to prove that he is global so he gives his best in English. Obviously for me it is an advantage. This is not done in other EU countries. One of my older collegues’ daughter working for the Deutsche Bank learnt Italian just for fun and to get some practice, she transferred voluntarily for 6 months in Milan. She just hated it since the Italians spoke only Italian and they never bothered to speak slowly or repeat so that she could understand or explain in English. She couldn’t take down any minutes. Deutsche Bank is a German bank but the Italians there just never bothered. This is nasty since when the Italians come here, we switch to English since they cannot speak German. My Swiss colleagues in Zurich hate French and say that French will die due to their chauvinism. Even they talk to us in “hoch German” (standard German) as far as they can instead of talking in Schwizer Dütsch. OK I got to go to bed now…it is 3.30 in the morn already.

  73. Abdullah K. permalink
    June 14, 2009 8:40 pm

    @ प्रियांक – “This may seem uncomfortable, but I think India should not only give away Kashmir but also let go of North Eastern states if they want independence.”
    Good to hear that someone understands the problems as it is. Till very recently, women in my state (in NE) could safety use public transports and go to public places without any fear on their personal safety. However, the influx of “Hindi” migration is starting to make a spike of the social evils associated with North Indians – we are seeing more of communal hatred, casteist violence, eve-teasing and sexual crimes, most of them prepretrated by these migrants.
    MT – “It was a language that was used since and during Indian Freedom struggle.”
    So were dozens of other languages. Moreover, the Indian Freedom Struggle doesn’t mean much to those who have had to face worse from the Indian administration.
     

    @ MT – “Sansrkit has its own special place in India, but Hindi is our national language and it will remain so.”

    Mr. Hindi Nationalist, the Indian constitution does not specify any ‘national language’ whether Hindi or otherwise. Hindi might be *your* personal ‘national language’, not that of the person you are commenting on. Your Hindi nationalism is an example of why we can’t live with egoist chauvinist nationalists like you.
     

    @ Vivek Khadpekar – “It has a kind of cosmopolitanism that is rare in North India…”

    Oh, I’m sure forcing women to wear salwaar-kameez to college and justifying attacks on them if they don’t is a sign of a highly cosmopolitan society.
     

    @ swati – “This has worked very well for past 60 years, why raise a doubt about India’s existence now?”

    If the state of India in the last 60 years can be said to be ‘working well’ then the British India would have been paradise.
     

    @ swati – “I have lived in North-East and few elements want independence. The fact is people are really fed up of them because of their militancy.”

    Makes sense. However, I think mainstream Indians should stop forcing to Indianise (read Hinduise or Islamise) cultures which are vastly different from theirs. And they should also scrap discriminatory laws like AFSPA Act which stop local North-Easterners from leading a life as equal as any other Indian citizen.
     

    @ Shefaly – “Interestingly, while the NE does not have major supporters abroad, rolling in $$$ and funding separatist movements, Kashmir has no such problems.”

    NE does have major supporter abroad, like China for example. They aren’t seen in the same light as Kashmir because they don’t ‘make a statement’ by having crazies blow themselves up in crowded public places.
     

    @ yayaver – “It is like dividing family on the name of freedom for each small feud.”

    In our culture, we believe that when friction start in an extended family, the family should divide and live seperately to save the ‘brotherhood’ and ‘sisterhood’. It is crazy to be so obsessed with the ‘joint family’ that family members start murdering and forcing their will on others, as it happens in traditional Indian societies.
     
    My apologies if anyone finds my views offensive, but hey, this is just my opinion. I am no longer the militant I once was.😉

    • June 15, 2009 4:41 am

      MT – “It was a language that was used since and during Indian Freedom struggle.”
      So were dozens of other languages. Moreover, the Indian Freedom Struggle doesn’t mean much to those who have had to face worse from the Indian administration.
      ====> Who is responsible for facing worse from the Indian administration? The people themselves and its elected representatives. Ofcourse in case of NE, some horrible things have happened in the past, including during India china war. But we have to move on and embrace future. We need to do so many things that its beyond scope of explain here, to have fair representation and equal benefits for each state.

      I fully agree that there was not just hindi, many other langugages ( infact respect all equally and they all had their important role).

      @ MT – “Sansrkit has its own special place in India, but Hindi is our national language and it will remain so.”

      Mr. Hindi Nationalist, the Indian constitution does not specify any ‘national language’ whether Hindi or otherwise. Hindi might be *your* personal ‘national language’, not that of the person you are commenting on.

      ===> Hindi is neither a national language, that i learnt today.

      Your Hindi nationalism is an example of why we can’t live with egoist chauvinist nationalists like you.
      ===> Hindi is not my mother tounge. I obviously would prefer my mother tongue, but hindi is a connecting language among people of various states other than english. And if hindi helps create a glue, there is no reason to curse the language. Hindi ( in devanagari script ) is selected as official language of India along with English ( although english was initially earmarked for 15 years, but it has been continued alongside )

      MT, again you have slightly deviated from the facts. Hindi AND English are official languages. Which itself means that Hindi is not the ONE. Secondly, these are OFFICIAL languages of the CENTRAL govt. and all it means basically is that all official communication in the central govt or TO the central govt has to be either in Hindi OR in ENGLISH. OFFICIAL does NOT MEAN that people have to speak it!! And certainly not in ANY STATE. Even in the Union territories like GOA no one HAS TO USE Hindi to connect. They can use English or even Malayalam if they wish. In fact in GOA even poor people can speak English and it is their choice. If people want to speak in Hindi to connect with others, they are welcome ofcourse, but they CANNOT force it down anyone’s throats, particularly the non- Hindi speaking people. You are welcome to use Hindi to connect but please do not say that others need to do so. Also your reference to the usage of Hindi in the Indian freedom struggle (which as someone pointed out was not the only language) seems to me to smack of Hindi imperialism as it seems to suggest that Hindi is what made us unite and get free of the British. You may not have meant it that way, but it sounds like that.- Nita
      p.S. I will not be publishing any more comments of yours on language on this post.

  74. Abdullah K. permalink
    June 14, 2009 8:46 pm

    @ Sanjay
    I can relate to your comment about Goa, since I feel the same way about my state as you do. It is my state first and India second, as I can’t really identify with a country that tries to force its degraded ‘culture’, its language and even discriminatory laws on my people.

  75. June 14, 2009 8:54 pm

    On final note here, I would like to also add that, topic of Kashmir got hijacked by Maharashtra vs north India. And I have noticed this happens at many posts / forums, each trying to score over the other, each trying to show one is better than the other. But no one speaks about the solution as an Indian. Even at times, I get moved to write something, which may look bias.

    We all should have ultimate motive to bind India as a strong nation, try to participate in development of entire India and brotherhood and love , irrespective of region, caste or creed. We should encourage things that builds bridges, that something that divides.

    Also know that, crime or criminals are the results of lack of education or improper distribution of public oriented economic benefits and the use of criminals by the mighty , the rich and politicians. A common man in any state is as good any anyone in the other state.

    Jai Hind

    MT, There was nothing offensive in your previous comment in which you agreed that Hindi is not a national language but a connecting one, but as I said this is going off-topic and I have therefore deleted your comment. You are welcome to post the new comment on the appropriate post. Thanks. – Nita.

  76. vasudev permalink
    June 14, 2009 10:06 pm

    every happy family of brothers and sisters is that which had their partition done! joint family failed in modern day because someone in power always manipulated, showed favoritism and exploited.

  77. June 14, 2009 10:52 pm

    vasudev,

    MT…have you considered the possibility of an indian perestroika?

    ==> Any changes that helps bind the people and make India stronger is welcome.


    maybe you should consider chinese as better friends than say tamilians or mallus (and expand that philosophy to encompasse the whole india)
    ===>
    I am not sure, in what context you are saying this ?

    All i can say is, we should bind together, and should be united irrespective of diversity in language/religion. Broken entities would fare worse, although some may see virtue ( short term approach)

    fyi, I consider china as a threat to India and pakistan, its proxy. No question of liking or appreciating china. Read my posts in : http://forum.dawn.com:91/dawnforum/2009/06/10/a-detente-in-the-offing/ , if you have any doubts about it. ( searh for MT )

  78. Vinod permalink
    June 15, 2009 10:08 am

    I’d like to bring everyone’s attention to this piece about how language affects the way we think and view the world. It is only lately that I’ve begun to see the real intellectual advantages of diversity, especially that of language. Hence, I am a believer in preserving the multiplicity of languages and find within myself a resistance to any purported attempts at bringing about unity through the enforcement of the study of a particular language.

    http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/boroditsky09/boroditsky09_index.html

    Vinod, ofcourse language brings with it its culture! There is absolutely no doubt about it. If you check my languages post you will see references to this. To try and bring unity of a country through imposing one language at the cost of another is the beginning of the end of a people’s culture. One also needs to see how many languages an average person can read, write and speak fluently. – Nita

  79. nehru mantri permalink
    May 10, 2009 12:32 am

    Tamils in SL get an unjust bumrap. The fact that SL formed around the incidental tamil colonies is ignored. Take a good look at Google Earth and see the land connecting TN to northern SL. It does not require a genius to figure out that land was continuous before sea levels arose just as we find in other parts of the globe. The connection of the people to the land can be seen in their passion to defend. The Kashmiri pundits sadly are transplants from the northern plains of India and there are pictures aplenty to prove those. The western ghats south of Pune into KN, TN and KE is chiseled with the handiwork of sons of the soil on rugged territory until the land meets sea at the southern tip. Can the Kashmiri Brahmin claim similar credit? If they were that passionate you would see them divided much as muslims are divided between India and Pak .The big landowners and moneylenders who made much of the capital are responsible for the ills of the northern states being discussed. After rendering their people worthless with no skills they are taking their capital to where they can find skills. That London is the home for leading Industrialists from the north beggars belief ! If current trends continue no matter what one wills that area below Pak and Afg is going to be barbadistan. Learning Hindi only made me realize that I would end up “all show and no go” were I to live like them. On the other hand I could go into interior Tamilnadu, get a group of peasants and immediately launch into science in tamil and hit pay dirt. So the concept of a nation for such folks lie in the ultimate outer reaches of this language which they relate to.

  80. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    May 10, 2009 5:22 am

    @nehru mantri:

    After reading that bit on the Kashmiri Pandits, I am curious about your choice of nom-de-plume🙂

  81. nehru mantri permalink
    May 10, 2009 8:05 am

    Vivek,
    It’s the real deal, brother! A heavy vestige of “you know who’s” patriotism. Where was Priyank when I needed him? The name has gotten me nothing of the awe it was supposed to. Smiley with a wry twist would be apt. One thing I like to contemplate is what of India were Gandhi and Nehru’s thirst for Anglo comforts quenched ie not got thrown out of train and the other out of a club. Instead their miffs rankle our psyche to this day and forces us to commiserate with a generation whose priority was gold buckles on footwear! Where was their outrage at all the British colonial killings that Nita pointed out elsewhere? These bigwigs built a top down administration to which we acquiesce as if it were sacrosanct. Jessie Jackson’s reminder, “the White House was built up from your house and my house and not the other way around” bears repetition here.

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