Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mera Bharat Mahan

This density map shows how great India is in the domain of population. The nation is bursting at the seams, especially in the Indo-Gangetic plain that spans the north of the nation. The world's tallest mountains separate this area of massively dense human settlement from the world's most populous nation - China. Nepal and its gargantuan peaks are the buffer zone between India's masses and the Chinese frontier, which begins first and foremost with the high-altitude Tibetan plateau. India is currently struggling with these masses of people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who are not accustomed to a very modern sort of law and order but who are seeking job opportunities all over India as laborers. This has bred the freshest of India's communal conflicts, a disgusting disgrace of a communal dispute between migrant labor from the North and the so-called natives of the cities in Maharashtra.

This cultural conflagration does not bode well for the state of Maharashtra. While there are undoubtedly some legitimate criticisms of the migrant folks, this tension is a despicable manifestation of regionalist chauvinisms. I also see the migrants as bringing many problems to the areas where they have settled, and in this regards, these laborers are so similar to Mexicans in the U.S., Algerians in France, Turks in Germany...It's just that these migrants are Indian too, albeit with a completely different cultural and linguistic history and background. This tension could spin out of control in no time, leaving places like Mumbai with an intractable regional conflict at its doorstop. In order to preserve social harmony in Mumbai and accentuate the feeling that Indian-ness trumps all types of regional, ethnic, religious, and caste identities, this conflict should be squashed.
Some of the greatness of Indian derives from its communion with the spiritual levels of consciousness. India's charm is also a function of the most staggering linguistic and racial diversity found on earth, which makes for a polyglot and melting pot-cum-tossed salad population mix. The sublime becomes all churned up with the ridiculous in this land of sacred wanderers, crazed snack vendors, and untouchable sweepers.

India is a super-national enterprise, since it represents the collective political will of so many distinct yet fluid nations within, each with seemingly definable characteristics but ultimately ambiguous and impossible to pigeonhole. The logic of illogic reigns supreme in India. The survival of India for 61 years as a sovereign nation-state has been nothing short of a miraculous triumph of remarkable inter-group cohesion and some dumb luck that is much more powerful than the ephemeral strokes of constitutional framers, planners-extraordinaire, and corrupt-wallahs. Jai Bharat!

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