To begin with I would like to say that we are a no pretence society.
If you want to be called an Indian and be treated like an Indian, then you must look the part. For example if you are a South Indian then please stop using fairness creams, we don’t want you to look fair, that is the prerogative of the North Indians. If you are a North Indian, then please hum Yo Yo Honey Singh’s songs every chance that you get. And of course don’t forget to carry metal rods, bats etc in your car, you never know when you might feel the need to kill or rape someone. If you belong to the north east, then you better name yourself Baichung Bhutia because that is all we know about the north east. After taking care of the above we might endow upon you the right to be considered Indian. At this point you might start wondering what is so special about being Indian.
The answer is relatively simple, we are a fair society, and I am not talking about colour. I don’t endorse such bigotry. To prove how just we are the locals will cheat the foreign tourists as well as the local tourists. Everyone is allowed to break the law, you, the cop, the politicians, we accommodate all of humanity’s flaws. We are interested in everyone’s lives, not just Rahul baba and Namo, but also our neighbour’s daughter. We don’t treat anyone special, we care about when Salman is getting married but we also care when our aunt’s neighbour’s daughter’s friend’s brother is getting married. The social fabric binds us all together, and since we believe in justice and equality, we don’t want others to do better than us in life, any success is treated with jealousy. We are apathetic to all types of issues be it poverty, domestic violence, or child labour.
The speed with which we turn away from our responsibility towards society encompasses the fairness in our indifference.
We also have an opinion on everything, even on topics that we don’t understand. This write-up is a case in point for the same.
Another truly Indian thing is our love for stories, which is proved by the flourishing media and entertainment business. The news channels don’t deliver mere facts but facts woven in an interesting narrative. Let us look at the recent case of “racial profiling” of a young student from Arunachal Pradesh. The problem is not that we did not treat him like an Indian, the problem is that we did, a little too much. Society looked at him, the way he dressed, the way he spoke and classified him into a bucket of how he should act. Any deviation from this normal was not acceptable.
Just buttressing my argument that we find every person’s life interesting and we had an opinion on his existence. He should have acted like he was expected to, that is turn away from this discrimination, like we always do, but he did not. Another deviation, one which proved too costly.
Now there are talks about integrating the north east into the socio-cultural fabric of India. Teaching the history of north-east is one solution, I am certain it will work considering how educated the shopkeeper must have been.
The core problem here is lack of fear among the battling parties. The victim did not fear retribution when he reacted by damaging the property and the assailant did not fear legal consequences of his brutality. The failure lies in the law enforcement inability to generate fear leading to a lord of flies situation.
Although the battle fought might have been worth fighting for, but in Gandhi’s own country I am sure there was another way. After all like Henley said “You are the captain of your fate and the master of your soul”