The issue of religion, nationality and the idea of “belonging” to one country has been going round and round. Do I have a take, of course I do! Silly of you to think that I don’t.
Let me, however, start from a different part of the world though. I have been teaching this class “Racism and Sexism in the US” for the past 2 months now. It is an interesting subject examining race and gender issues and how they have evolved through the centuries in the US. Mind you, by race I mean people of every color. One class that I taught last week or so, brought up this interesting question…Why is it that when a White person of European descent born in the US is immediately accepted as “American” while a person of any other color or race be s/he first generation American or fifteenth generation American asked the question where are you from? It was an interesting class, one person in my class pointed out that he was a fifth generation American and yet is asked “No, I mean where are your parents and grandparents from?” or how every Black person is referred to as African – American because of their color. Teaching this class made me think about how desperately immigrants try to blend in and yet are never truly accepted to be a part of the country, no matter what. Even if I become a citizen, I am never truly going to feel American or even if I do, I am going to be reminded every time in some way or another that I am not one. It is a little pathetic, forget my position, what about the people who came here eons ago searching for that elusive dream, or trying to find peace and quiet in a land of immigrants.
If we realy think about it, India is a land of immigrants too, every person or part of Indian society has been imported. For all the hue and cry about Raj Thacerey’s “Marathiness” or any one else’s “Hinduness” they live in a society where true hindu has no meaning, no substance and true marathi has no foundation. Given that, I don’t think anybody should write any long post with the intention of proving their “Indianness” Just the fact that you live in India should be proof enough. It is harder to sit here and look at news channels incessantly airing the numerous masscres and religious violence becasue I know it is not a repreentation of the India I love.
The India I love was where I and my friends decorated our class with home made trees for christmas, it was where the nuns let us have fun for diwali and holi and where ramzan or id was another day when students might have the most delicious food in their lunch boxes. The India I know was where I solemnly read out psalms from the Bible every night, becasue I beleived that was how wishes were granted or sat with my father and found similarities in the Koran and the Gita. The India I know was not a palce where anyone had to prove their worthiness to come home for a good night’s sleep and good food. I don’t care who you are, You are Indian enough once you come in. The India I love was where everyone stood up against atrocities becasue all that mattered was another human being was getting hurt..and that was that. I don’t need to defend my position be it on religion, be it on caste or be it on cultural things, for the simple reason that MY STUPID, LOVABLE COUNTRY GIVES ME THE EFFIN RIGHT TO LET ME BE. Why the hell should I defend myself to you….I don’t give a damn who is getting hurt, I give a damn to how you are going to help that person stand up again, that is what I was taught and that is what I will do. All the Raj thackerey’s in the world cannot make me less of an Indian if they wanted to.
This is my country too. I love it and try stopping me from wanting to love it more if you can.