THE INSIDER OUTSIDER SYNDROME
Good morning my country.
I have marveled at the consistency of nature. The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, season’s struggle to give us symmetry against all odds, the tides turns and the earth faithfully spins on its axis. There is a comfort in the planet we inhabit and often abuse…there is a sense of belonging. Everything is predictable, even with the human race. They never fail to show their bias and dominance and will always choose confrontation over harmony and dialogue. It is in our nature to dominate or avoid domination. We hide behind masks of civility and education hoping against hope that when unmasked, we can melt into a sea of unpalatable justification.
I am rather shocked at the sheer level of intolerance. I am a product of a mixed marriage and my family gene pool is mixed and varied. I am proud to be an army brat (we called ourselves that to nullify the pain and insecurity we felt when our parents were out defending our borders). We had no bias and no one asked if our fathers belonged to a majority or minority. We were Indians and that was undeniable. We were educated in different schools and colleges all over the country, struggling to make new friends and be accepted into different peer groups. But were we pliable little doozies with no opinion? Most certainly not! We questioned, argued, had different points of view, but we always had a dialogue. We spoke and listened. We didn’t always agree but we never foisted our opinions with force or otherwise…that is the India we grew up in.
Then why am I so afraid now? Afraid of what my country is metamorphosing into and so afraid of my countrymen. I am a performing artiste, public speaker, writer and columnist. Does that make me ‘the press’? If I don’t toe the line and have a different view point will I be given an abhorrent label? If there is a cacophony all over the civilized world, why won’t somebody listen to our children? Why are they beaten, bruised, arrested and disregarded? If it ‘true’ that they are misguided and incited by so called ‘vested’ interests, then where is the voice of sanity? Why must they be beaten into submission? Must all voices of dissension be decimated? Haven’t we learned anything from history?
Bangalore was a relatively peaceful cantonment town which was dominated by the Armed Forces. We manufactured defense equipment and aircrafts. My father was the founder/director of one such establishment. We were a mixed bag of people of different religions and ideas and we were never subjected to the ‘insider’ or ‘outsider’ propaganda. As a new democracy, no one either questioned our credentials or loyalty. My parents, and many of my friends parents I’m sure, lost a lot when our country was divided. But, even as a child I have never heard any simmering discontent. They were large-hearted people who went about re-building their country with courage and conviction. Perhaps we always lived in a secure bubble in ‘namma ooru’. We believed in harmony and co-existence.
So my heart burst with pride when our own home grown girl Deepika Padukone stood silently in solidarity with the students of JNU. Didn’t she know the repercussions especially before the release of her movie where she is also the producer? Of course! She knew she would be mercilessly trolled and threatened with a totally un-constitutional ban of her movie. But she didn’t care now did she?
History tells us that there are a couple of warning signs when governments turn fascist. Some of them are:
- A disdain for Intellectuals, Centre’s of Education and the Arts.
- Religion and Government are intertwined.
- Powerful and continuing nationalism (constantly making use of slogans, symbols, mottos etc)
- Disdain for Human Rights.
- Controlled Mass Media.
If any of these signs resonate…then speak up.