oppn parties Time To Bury The Outsider

News Snippets

  • The government says Covid-19 is still in local transmission stage in India
  • Government scotches rumours of extending the lockdown beyond April14. Says no such plan
  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
  • Untimely azaans in J&K mosques spark panic gathering
  • Stocks rise - Sensex up by 1400 points and Nifty goes above the 8600 mark
  • Rahul Gandhi says the economic package is "the first step in the right direction"
  • The government announces wide-ranging measures to help the poor overcome the economic hardship caused by Covid-19
  • G20 leaders to hold a virtual meeting today to explore ways of fighting Covid-19 in a coordinated manner
  • The Delhi government orders testing of all medical staff after the positive test on a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor
Death toll reaches 27 as Covid-19 cases across India reach 974 on Saturday
oppn parties
Time To Bury The Outsider

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-06-18 18:38:13

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The very idea of creating states on the basis of language or ethnicity gives rise to the idea of the ‘outsider’, or someone who does not ‘belong’. But whichever the state, an Indian is an Indian. Already, there are several restrictions on buying land in place for people other than those domiciled in the state for a given number of years in many states like J&K and all states of the North-East. The idea of India will be defeated if a Punjabi is treated as an outsider in Meghalaya, as it recently happened. The state witnessed days of curfews and clashes in which even senior police officers were attacked when a minor scuffle between a local Khasi and a local Punjabi snowballed into a major issue that raised questions about ‘outsiders’ bossing over the ethnic population. Meghalaya had already witnessed ethnic antagonism that had seen people from Bengal and Bihar leave the state in large numbers in the sixties and the seventies.

Elsewhere, Maharashtra sees periodic ‘drives’ against the so-called “bhaiyyas’ or people from Bihar and UP. In the sixties, the Naxals had made living hell for non-Bengalis in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal. That thread was revived in the late seventies by a fringe outfit that called itself “Amra Bangali”. It tired to enforce a linguistic hegemony by painting shop boards in languages other than Bengali with black paint and targeting non-Bengalis. The movement was an alarmist response to the problems being faced by Bengalis in the North-East. But it fizzled out as it did not receive public support and the administration dealt with the miscreants with a firm hand. The idea of an ‘outsider,’ however, received a measure of ‘respectability’ during the prolonged agitation against foreigners in Assam in the 1970’s.

But India is changing. For instance, boys and girls leave West Bengal for higher studies to places such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Delhi, Mumbai and Noida, among others. Sensing better opportunities elsewhere, they opt for campus placements and seldom return back permanently to their home state. The same is happening with young people in the North-East and other states. There are thousands of north Indian students in colleges and institutes in south India and likewise, there are thousands of south Indian students in colleges and institutions in north India. In that sense, the whole of India is becoming truly cosmopolitan. Hence, there is no place for an idea like that of an ‘outsider’ now. It is just that petty local politicians inflame passions and create disturbances. The administration must educate the people about cosmopolitan behavior and deal with all such instances swiftly and with a firm hand.