January 10, 2012

In this country - Homogeneity VS heterogeneity

Now, over the years, over countless debates and numerous fights, millions of us argumentative Indians might have discussed the issue of India as a single entity or our unity in diversity.

My opinions on this issue has changed or been modified several times since I was a child and I still have a fairly neutral view on the subject, but matters took a turn for the worse recently when I met a couple of old friends after ten years and these topics came up for discussion.

Initially, my so called urbane friends were talking about hindi or english to made as the universal language of the country and I kept on listening. Not for long though, as the tone got increasingly sharp as the day proceeded and these two well kept friends were fairly unanimous in the " Either my way or the highway" syndrome.

I tentatively joined int he discussion gleaning from my experience of having breathed the air of Bengal, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh and offered reasons for the need to having hundreds of languages and millions of dialects.

No though.... No way - the instant reaction was dismissal of my views and in loud tones. What surprised me the most is that they were unwilling to listen to me and shouted me down. No amount of reasoning, cajoling, arguing could bring them to listen to me. Disturbing thought this - educated people and not even pure hindi speakers being so adamnat of imposing a way of life that is alien to the hundreds of friends I have in across the country. They were infact dismissive of the fact that a lot of non-hindi speakers did manage to speak hindi out of their own interest and not out of compulsion.

The discussion went far and long but the crux is that they did not budge from their stated positions. The fact perhaps there are so many of us who may be educated and bright, well read and traveled - yet are so very narrow in their outlook that they have failed to see the beauty of the nation as it exists. Failed to see the magic of heterogeneity in eating rasgullas one morning and fish curry that evening, saying namaste and nallarkingla in the same breath.... It surely is a big task for mother India to keep the heterogeneity alive.