What makes us Indians?

I find myself perplexed whenever our ministers vomit out their hatred towards
specific religious, ethnic communities for obvious reasons of vote-bank politics.
I do not understand their moral-ethical, educational backgrounds on the basis of
which they articulate such nonsensical statements such as filtering out Indians
from the foreigners.

Our country like most other countries has braved stories of migration,
resettlement and most importantly colonialism. Reading about the narrative of
our historical upbringing, one can easily make out that the Indian society has
always accepted, assimilated, improved by some omissions and editions. The
Constitution of India, no matter how much it deserves a reconstruction, it still
has in it the basic universal principles of liberty, equality and freedom. We do
know that the judiciary and the executive of India is yet to upgrade their mode
of deliverance to the people so that a complete potential of the basic structure of
the constitution is realized. Those belonging to the government, our ministers,
should at least give one reading to the Indian Constitution.

Also, the political standards by which we choose our government have
deteriorated with time. Our misinformation, radical political associations has
tainted the Indianness out of the Indians. The current government in power,
envisioning a ‘homogenized’ India, with the slogan of ‘one language one
nation’ has instilled in the Indian society a fear that will take a long time to fade
away. The fear of not being ‘Indian’, not having the necessary documents to
prove your citizenship, not having a mandatory Aadhar Card for that matter is a
fretful concern. If we look at the current socio-political trend, one is compelled
to think if the documents issued by the government authorities, the NRC
(National Register of Citizens), the Aadhar Card was to facilitate the welfare of
people or to jeopardize it further.

Identities have always been a matter of great concern to the people, religious,
ethnic, linguistic, cultural differences, that distinguishes one from the other are
augmentation of the intrinsic values of nature. One can take a cue from this very
place where we all were born, the mother earth. Look at how even the similar
species of flora and fauna are further divided into beautiful subspecies and are
found to be distinct from one another yet they have their common origin. The
various differences that we have in our society are to be considered as an
adoration, to mark out the cultures, societies, communities and the individuals.

I lose my calm when people favor prejudices and thus seem to directly or
indirectly accelerate the stereotypes based on race, class, caste, sex, creed etc.
Vegetarianism an cow vigilantism is an ongoing debate in India. The cultural
affiliations in terms of eating, marrying, basically our lifestyle is a personal
affair and thus has to be respected. Education, let me add here that there is no
right kind of education, it being subjective, it still can inform and enhance the
individual’s decision-making process through the basic values it seeks to
rationalize, also enshrined in our Indian Constitution.

Coming to the question where I began, the threat to an individual’s cultural,
ethnic identity is also a story that our government is grappling with, the sole
reason why the concept of NRC came into limelight. However, much of the hue
and cry over the dominance of one particular community dominating the other,
like that of the ‘Bangladeshis’ over the ‘Assamese’ is a failed story of
rehabilitation more than anything else.

History of colonialism is an overlooked factor in this context. The so called
‘illegal migrants’ from Bangladesh and bordering areas have had a troubled
history of poverty and colonial exploitation, their placement in the Assam tea
plantations was to profit the global tea trad favoring the British. The
enslavement of various ethnic communities by the colonial planters is not a
forgotten story in Assam and surrounding areas. The native population in
Assam thus traced their history of cultural contamination from here before the
advent of the Bangladesh War in 1971.

Colonial wrongs, of the exploitation of the poor and vulnerable, of those who
they found uncivilized, those who they found different and foreign and ‘tribal’
is thus what mutilated that ‘difference’ we all embraced in our Indian society.
This problem was further extended by the radical political parties who still
believe in the homogenization of India, instilling anger in the different
communities residing here. The whole conundrum of the ‘self and the other,’ us
versus them’ narrative gained ground. The natives and those who migrated had
to bear the burden of a failed governance along with the mutual distrust
resonated in the propaganda of the political parties they sided with. They were
deprived of the opportunities, of basic amenities required by every other
individual. This failed rehabilitation process thus escalated into the coming up
of the NRC.

The government being impotent, our hopes are high with the Preamble of the
Constitution having the principles of equality, fraternity grounded in secular though processes as a safeguard, along with the fundamental rights. Not giving
ourselves in to the propaganda of the ministers, we have to note that, our
Indiannes lies in our acceptance of the differences that even our Constitution
promises to protect. The story of migration being the heart and soul of our Indian
history, we have to find a common ground by which we settle and embrace our
differences without taking away the basic rights of either of the two entities.
India was and has been multicultural, multilingual, multi-religious, multi-ethnic
and thus that is what makes us INDIANS.