celebrating the downfall of communism in bengal 300x220 The Anguish of RegionalismBy Sunil Kumar


A million newspaper headlines proclaiming what some idiotic regional satrap proclaims as the law. India votes against Sri Lanka, Maoist rebels hold x hostage, Islamic fundamentalists bomb yet another place. It is funny how the cocktail of a regional identity can bleed the nation to this extent.

In 1911, the British rightfully made Delhi, the capital of India, where it had been for millenia. The beating heart of the country, the city and its vicinity have been the place where the destiny of the vast subcontinent has been shaped for countless centuries. All the major battles were fought close to this city, and every major empire had its headquarters in this rather strange place, where the greatest global power mafia, the English also met their end.

Today, the city is still strangely Byzantine. Our regional satraps are the ones who often cry wolf, and extract more privileges for their states, often staying in the plushest places themselves, preaching frugality and practicing the very opposite. The great Indian voting public seems to be content with delusions, as every election, we are bought with some other promise, and we are too busy trying to cater to our own lives. In our neighborhood, every country seems to be in turmoil, the hallmark of South Asia.

The majority in this country are a silent spectator, as perhaps nobody else in the world is. Our media and intelligentsia are often reeking of condescension. The mere ability to speak in the language of the colonizer does not give you the blanket authority to preach to a vast audience, many of them as illiterate as they were when Gandhi came to India in 1915. Let a million languages go forth and prosper. By the way, another conniving man, Jinnah met him when he landed from South Africa in Bombay.

The history of the subcontinent was defined by the painful partition, which can eventually lead to a nuclear holocaust. We already have had four wars with our arch-enemy, a proxy conflict and numerous skirmishes with almost all our neighbors, and the world is still defined by the American-Anglo client-server relationship and the rise of the Asian superpower, China.

National identities are strange. The philosopher, Krishnamurti often said that we should not bind ourselves in the narrow confines of a country, an idea, or a philosophy. Our ancient scriptures also told us to practise the same thing, as did numerous godmen all over the country. But, practically, we are all narrowly regional or in a global perspective, national. There are regional dialects in every state in India, in every town, apart from numerous languages. China also has a huge number of tongues, except for the fact that Mandarin has been uniformly imposed.

There is a Basque conflict in Spain. But for anybody outside their country, we would think about everybody as Spanish. In Canada, the French speaking province of Quebec has historically wanted to break away from the rest of the English-speaking country. Then the global power struggle between the crescent and the cross.

If evolution is indeed right, then all of us are descended from the apes, have sort of a similar master record, the chromosomes and all of that, and only accidents of geography, history and climate have altered our appearances, then there is no reason why the human race cannot collectively do something.

The divisions are all self-created and can multiply or change later, it all depends on the future. As for me, a mere mortal, I can only write.

300px India 1920 The Anguish of Regionalism



 The Anguish of Regionalism
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