The End of Power on Sulekha
I was reading the comments posted here, and some peoples' attitude shook me, really. Some of us weep for Kashmir, in spite of Article 370 and inspite of it being the biggest drain on the Indian taxpayers' money. And some more people want to divide India further, because NI is supposedly "holding up" the country's progress ! It really takes all sorts to make a world (or a country, in this case)!
Let me make one thing clear first. I am a South Indian. I am a proud Kannaditi and a prouder Indian. But, being a native of Bellary, which borders Andhra and is a place that has a lot of Telugu influence, and having lived in Madras for some time, I can really appreciate the plurality of our country. That is what India is. It is a plural society. I might be called a Hindutva fundamentalist for saying this, but the main thing that unites our country is the sanAtana dharma (don't call it Hinduism, please) and samskritam. Recently, at a Samskrita Bharati meeting here in the US, I saw people speaking all languages come together and converse in Samskritam(an 18-month old baby included), and pride welled up in my heart, for being a part of this amazingly diverse country that is India.
I still remember the time when my Mother was teaching us this patriotic song, 'bhAratIyaru nAvu endendu ondE'. There were tears in her eyes when she sang 'kAshmIradinda kanyAkumAriyavarege kaMgoLipa tAynADe prANakU migilemage'. Though I was too young to understand that emotion at that time, it left a lasting impression upon me. India is one single entity. The uneducated Bihari, the ultramodern employee at the posh MNC in Bangalore, the communist from WB, the truck driver in Punjab are all Indians first. We, as Indians, must do what is possible by us, to make the lives of each of these people better. I would try to convert the commie, not try to secede WB from India!
There could be one very influential reason why the NIs and SIs are the way they are. They faced many onslaughts from Islamic invaders. Until the sea-route was established, whoever invaded India, came through the North. This protected the South from the invaders, but changed the culture of the North Indians considerably. That is why we see NI women wear veils, but not SI women. Unfortunately, it was not just the culture that was changed, it was the complete attitude of the people. NIs are much more courageous and hardened than SIs. When SI was being ruled by the Wodeyars, NI was under the direct rule of the British. Because of prolonged tyrannic rule, peoples' expectation from the Government went down drastically. (Even after independence, we have not exactly had good governments.) That is why we see so much corruption in NI. People passed this attitude on to their offspring and they passed it on to theirs. It is nothing that good education cannot fix!
Blaming NI for the slow progress of our country is not fair. This is especially because NI also deserves a fair share of credit for SI's progress. Until we understand that we are Indians irrespective of the region we live in, our country will not progress economically or culturally.