Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Us Vs. Them

I was probably 11 or 12. My friend and I were in a park in our neighbourhood in Delhi. I can't remember how suddenly we started talking about it, but I felt the south Indians were to be pitied more for the troubles they were facing in Sri Lanka, while she felt that it is the north Indians suffering at the hands of the Sikh terrorists that needed all the sympathy.

I am sure we did not understand the issues involved or the politics. But, we felt the need to support the underdog, to show solidarity with the sufferers, but most importantly, identify ourselves with the victims.

Today, I am sometimes worried, sometimes shocked when I see that even as adults, we seem to feel the need to take sides, constantly. That we maybe unfair to the other side be damned. That our own stance may shift with the winds is conveniently forgotten. That there are no absolute truths be overridden with one sweeping statement.

If perpetrators of so-called social crimes are evil, can taking the opposing stance be good? Isn't it only reversal of roles? Do two negatives become a positive, or are we simply tilting the balance?

If that is the way of the world, why should the past be judged? And if it is not right, why perpetuate it in a different form today?

Ironically, it also seems to be a time where everything Indian is either rubbished or elevated on a pedestal. "Oh I wish we were more like them," seems to be the tune of some, while the others seem to think "All that they know is because of us."

Education, access to technology, exposure to global thought do nothing to expand our views, open our minds. We will remain small and mean so long as it serves our purpose. So long as we can somehow show our superiority - either in aligning ourselves with the victims, or by negating our roots.

Forever, we will be forming teams to fight battles - either directly by throwing bombs or indirectly through the power of the pen.

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