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Fuck You, Bangalore

First there is the exodus, then the accusations and the blame-game; the script of a 21st-century Secular, Democratic and Republic India cannot be written any better. The recent crisis in the metros — especially in Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai and Hyderabad from where thousands of Northeast people fled in the wake of sporadic attacks and persistent rumours — started a week before the Independence Day and reached its climax a day after the celebration of the Indian freedom.

(A)
Blame the rumour-mongers who have been apprehended in Bangalore and elsewhere for manufacturing a crisis; blame Pakistan (the safety valve of India), for the Muslims, sorry to say but they are also related in the case; blame the Bangladeshi migrants, who the electoral representatives care about so much; blame the economy that gives rise to social unrest; blame on the ethnic problems; blame everything, blame yourself, blame me. For the record, however, this is not a stand-alone issue we are facing over the last few decades after becoming a part of this country after the controversial Merger Agreement. Please patriots and nationalists and motherland-lovers, prepare a checklist to ensure ourselves, to call ourselves an Indian. We do appreciate the actions being taken up to reassure us that we are safe in the country. Safe, ironical, isn't it?

THE COUNTRY RHYMES WITH HYPOCRISY

More than anything else, the most awkward question is about the idea of India. I bet nobody, living in the mainland would ever come across this kind of doubt; yet there are reasons, all valid, on why there has been such skepticism among the people from the peripherals about belonging to the country. This faithlessness has got nothing to do, in my perspectives, with the armed movements that have swept across the entire Northeast and have hit hard the most in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. Rather this is about the nation-building process, grossly marked by the arrogance, ignorance and apathy of a country and its people.    

(B)
No Indian in their right minds can deny the fact that India has got a problem with its Northeast — historical, political, cultural, economical and everything-ical. A few mainland people out of its record-breaking population know about the Northeast, which is quite comforting in trying times, and many are totally ignorant about us, which is no issue, but the worst thing is found in two kinds of people: (a) one who thinks that Imphal and Manipal and Nepal rhyme so well and that Manipur must be a town in China; and (b) the other who jokes with racial slurs and commit crimes with racist motives on such a regular basis. This is pathetic seeing that the ignorant mass is not only the people living in some remote corners of Chattisgarh and Orissa but includes the well-educated, the convent-educated, the IIM-IIT–educated, the America-England–educated folks. Personal experiences, media reports and stories from friends and families have confirmed this observation repeatedly. A big question mark over there.

It will be too much to ask to change the entire syllabus of the school and college education, still a portion can be inserted about the narratives of the Northeast, which comprises a complex network of countless ethnic groups but which has been entirely absent throughout. There are lots of social and cultural platforms on which the government, if it is willing, can sensitise the people. It may be noted here that we grew up studying the bits of the least influential Rajahs of the Mughals and the Cholas and other unpronounceable kings and kingdoms, while compromising on our history. On the other hand, we read that we belong to the largest democracy, while stepping out on the street, we find that anybody can kill anyone on the slightest pretext, that there is a culture called gun culture, that various black laws like the AFSPA empowers the army while beating the shit out of the people, that there is a group of people called the militants who run a parallel government, that our elected government has no spine because its existence depends on the funds and grants from New Delhi and so on.    

(C)
BANGALORE BLUES  

Bangalore exudes a sense of cosmopolitan elegance and has always been special. I don't know why but it's been special. I found the reason recently, not for its speciality, but for a very wrong reason that blots its fabric that earlier seems to fascinate the people across the world. Suddenly everything has vanished into thin air. On a single day on August 16, more than 4,000 people fled the city. It is what people called exodus, I realise it.

Out of all the brouhaha, the insecurity, the fear factor, the most annoying thing is about the Manipuris. They are the most gutless people in the world and they show it proudly, much to the delight of the airline companies. The Manipuris are a proud people, as a matter of fact, with more than two thousand years of history. Those folks in Bangalore, rather who were there, are the proof of this statement: they are suave, listen to every American and English rock n' roll bands, possess a taste for good foods, good clothes, are globe-trotters, have good jobs with good salaries; but when the balloon goes up, they fly the coop. No, we fly the coop. We are a proud people with dignity, you know, we cannot simply die. Fuck you, Bangalore.

MEDIA, INDIA AND THE NORTHEAST NIGHTMARE 

One of the most noticeable things in the recent days is about the media coverage. More spaces and air-time have been spared, though it is another Northeast nightmare, possibly because it is taking place in the mainland. A famous TV journalist whines that there is no OB van (used for reporting and broadcasting on electronic media) even in Guwahati, the largest city in the region, that they cannot cover the stories — indicating to the lack of coverage of the bloodshed, which is the epicenter of the present crisis, taking place in Kokhrajar (Assam) between the native Bodos and the illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Unconvincing, Mr RS. And India, is this crisis a plot to subvert your Bodoland-pain-in-the-ass issue?

Another fact about the tension is the abuse of social media. In the Arab world two winters ago, Twitter prompted a social revolution that spread like a wild fire across Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria and a host of other countries. In this country, the social media prompted an exodus and an anxiety among the people of a specific geographic location, which one Facebook commenter puts it in this way: "(It is) something like domestic violence, in which only the victim knows his/her suffering, with no one to understand the problem." Another adds it: "It is sad in this age when information should prevent (the) incidents, people are manipulating it to cause chaos."

We have so many problems of our own in our backyard like backward economy, insurgency, extortion, institutionalised corruption and other crimes. To add more pain, 65 years of independence is quite a long time and we are still struggling for recognition of citizenship. On the other hand, the country is afraid to let the world know about us and the human rights record in Manipur, as evident from the restriction of two UN Special Rapporteurs from visiting the state in July last. We are like strangers in our own land. India must try no further to let us redefine neocolonialism. The apathy of the Indian government has always been stark, while bureaucratic red tapes and lack of political will have always marked its ill-planned action towards the Northeast as a whole. More than those tedious blueprints for programmes like the Look East Policy, the country should have a clear vision for this region. -Concluded.

Image courtesy
A The number of people fleeing Bangalore has gone down (Aug 20) Jagaran Post
B At the Bangalore railway station a couple of days ago Seven Sisters Post
C Bangalore State Assembly Times of India Travel 

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