oppn parties Time To Bury The Outsider

News Snippets

  • SC will examine whether a ban should be put in place to prevent tainted politicians from contesting elections
  • RBI governor Shaktikanta Das says there are limitations on monetary policy and the economy needs structural reforms to spur growth
  • Centre, citing the gravity of the crime, assigns the Elgar Parishad case to the NIA to preempt the Maharashtra government from handing it over to SIT to be formed for the purpose
  • Billionaire investor George Soros says in his speech at Davos that Prime Minister Modi is creating a Hindu nationalist state
  • IMF chief Kritalina Georgieva says growth slump in India is temporary and momentum will improve going ahead
  • CJI S A Bobde says excessive taxation is a form of social injustice
  • Nitish Kumar says senior JD(U) leader and former bureaucrat Pavan Varma is free to leave the party after he criticizes the party's alliance with the BJP in Delhi
  • The government approaches the Supreme Court to fix a 7-day deadline for filing of mercy pleas by death row convicts
  • SC reinstates the woman staffer who accused former CJI Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment
  • Anupam Kher and Nasseruddin Shah clash over politics. Shah calls him "a clown" while Kher says Shah is a habitual critic of famous people
  • More than 100 Muslim clerics meet Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and demand that the state assembly pass a resolution against the CAA and does not implement it in the state
  • BJP calls the Congress "Muslim League Congress"
  • USA says Pakistan has limited options on J&K
  • India rejects US President Donald Trump's mediation in J&K
  • India plunges 10 spots on democracy index, now at 51st place
India beat New Zealand by 4 wickets in the first T20
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.