India & Around, Living, Personal

Insider or Outsider?

This is inspired by the responses I got to the post about roads, which somehow got into a discussion about insiders and outsiders.

First let me say that I really think that I reserve the right to ‘crib’ on my own space. I think that as far as Bangalore goes, I have been a great champion of the city and have taken to it like a fish takes to water.

My friends in Mumbai are amazed that I turned ‘Bangalorean’ faster than I ever turned a Mumbaiite (even after 5 years there, I didn’t really feel like one). So when Shub writes about “her city” and how she cannot take a word against it, I must say that I gave this some thought.

Why can’t we take the facts? Just because it is ‘our’ city, should we be oblivious to the realities that exist? Should we as concerned citizens remain mute bystanders and just take anything that comes our way? I think without people who protest, raise dharnas, fight for their rights as a citizen, we would be still in the dark ages.

I think if you’ve been following my blog, I’ve been a champion of living in the city and the opportunities that exist here and harped quite a lot on the positive side. But I have to call a spade a spade once in a while. It is a known fact that infrastructure is crumbling and that the city is no longer able to cope with it. I am sure solutions will emerge in a few years. But are we to keep totally silent till then? And the sad part is that the government saw this development coming and still has not been able to do much about it. An editorial in The Hindu said that it’s not a problem of money, but of poor governance.

Maybe, things will improve over the years, but we all have our limits of patience and I think Bangaloreans are being tested to their limits already.

I object even more about being called an ‘outsider’. Not only have I settled into my life in this city, I am proud of it and what it offers.

And what is “my city” anyway? I have never lived in one for more than 5 years in my adult life. If I decide that this is the city I want to live in, earn a living and settle down, why should I be called an outsider and asked to leave? It is but a city in my own country, isn’t it? Why should I then be discriminated against? Just because I was not born here?

I live here, pay my taxes to this government, what else should I do to qualify as an insider? I strongly object to this and I think that only narrow minded people can still stick to the ideology that their state is for them alone. What happens to Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta if they decide to throw out all the so called “outsiders”?

Some truly narrow minds still exist as displayed through anonymous comments and it’s rather shameful that they exist in today’s times, when what we should be thinking about is how to progress as a nation and not as individuals stuck in some pre-historic time zone clinging to concept of “my state, and my city” where everyone else qualifies as “outsiders”.

And what if all the countries filled with Indian immigrants like the UK and the United States decides to do this one day? We will cry out loud saying it’s racism and discrimination and yet it is as insidious in our own country, as is apparent by this particularly offensive comment, “The kannadiga anger is near the brim and one day when it would explode all of you would know.” What a crying shame.

I am a huge supporter of being a global citizen. People should be able to live and work anywhere in their country and the world, without being called outsiders and being told to “go back”. And go back where, I ask? I for one wouldn’t know where. I have lived all over the country – in Shillong, Guwahati, Pune, Sydney, Mumbai and now in Bangalore. So where do I really belong and where do I go “back” to?

Usha writes in this post, about how hurt she was after being called an outsider after 26 years of living in the city. “Happened to me when someone asked me if I was a kannadiga or an “outsider”in Bangalore. The categorisation seemed very clear. It did not matter that I had lived in this city for 26 years, considered it my home, spoke kannada better than some for whom it was the mother tongue and above all, loved the city. I own property and I have voting rights here. And yet, to be called an outsider in your home?! Now, that hurt, very very deeply. I did not know where I belonged anymore.”

And I totally understand how she would feel. Why are some people still stuck in these parochial worlds?

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