Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Homeland and Beyond

  As we celebrate the 66th anniversary of India’s Independence, many of our compatriots are clamouring for divided identities. The issue of separate statehood for Telangana has reached a feverish pitch, giving a boost to similar demands elsewhere in the country. The cry for Bodoland has resurfaced, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha supporters are calling for a separate Gorkhaland, while the Codava National Council is gearing to press for an autonomous Codava Land. Will the call for a division of Uttar Pradesh build up? When everyone and their neighbours seem to be staking their claim for distinct identities, where will we stand as Indians? Will we support increasingly narrowing sub-divisions and fight among ourselves for shrinking patches of home turf? Or, shall we transcend constricted allegiances and boundaries to become not only Indians, but true citizens of the world? What defines a homeland? Is it ethnicity, language, religion, customs and beliefs? Are we Indians simply because we happened to have been born as citizens of this sovereign republic? Deep inside, do we identify ourselves more strongly as Kannadigas, Punjabis or Marathis, or according to our religious affinities? Where do we really belong?

In recent times, humanity has made rapid strides towards a global community. Yet, today, Indians are flying to foreign shores in droves, not always to open themselves to other cultures, but often to cocoon themselves within ‘little Indias’ overseas. Many prefer seeking out others from their own community and linguistic groups instead of mingling with the locals. Even within the boundaries of our own country, we prefer to associate with members of our own religious and linguistic communities. This can often happen at the exclusion of other groups.

Read my take in full in Sunday Herald

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