Unity in diversity: a principle which holds with or without a common enemy

In the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, there is quite a bit of discussion on what's wrong inside India because of which we keep on having these attacks. Two different sentiments are holding sway over the media, which in turn holds sway over people. Firstly, there is the sentiment that India's defense apparatus has gone to the dogs because of unprofessionalism and corruption. Secondly, there is the sentiment that India's linguistic diversity is an impediment to India's unity and security. While the first sentiment is based in reality, the second is based in a false notion of India.

The first sentiment is shared by anybody having even the slightest commonsense. India's progress will never exceed the unprofessionalism and corruption in not just defense but in every sphere of public life. Unprofessionalism and corruption are two different types of cancers which are eating away India. There is no option but to get rid of these two cancers. The only question which remains to be answered is - how can we reduce unprofessionalism and corruption in public servants? The answer lies in true leadership. It is foolish to believe that those who are corrupt and unprofessional can be cured of their cancers. Instead, the solution is for those who are professional and non-corrupt to become public servants, that's all. That is the only way out. In other words, rectifying the unprofessional and corrupt is a futile excercise. It is best to replace them.

We now come to to the second sentiment which is rooted in a misunderstanding of the Idea of India. The basic rights of the different linguistic peoples of India to obtain education and employment, as well as their right to protect their own language and culture are being slighted with increased vigour in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks. It is being selectively forgotten that the irritation of Marathis is against those non-Marathis who act to the detriment of Maharashtra, its culture and its language, and not against those who help Maharashtra in any way. The anger of the Marathis is against those non-Marathis who have the audacity to snatch away jobs of Marathis and openly disgrace the language and culture of Maharashtra. Those non-Marathis who help Maharashtra and who are not inimical to its language and culture (for e.g. the NSG commandos) are obviously welcomed by the Marathi people. The fact that Indians need to be united against a common enemy - terrorism - does not make India's linguistic diversity a shame. Nor can it be wished away. The need for India's linguistic peoples to protect themselves, their respective languages, their respective cultures and their rights to education and employment remains irrespective of whether or not there is a common enemy. India's education and employment are the education and employment of the Marathis, the Kannadigas and that of every other linguistic people. Not just that of the Hindi speaking people.

It is high time people understand that the linguisitc states of India have willingly transferred defense responsibilities to the central government in order that they can focus on peace-time activities such as education, employment, human development, language development, arts and crafts, and culture. It is unfair and against the very idea of India to argue that the speakers of one particular language and their language itself - Hindi - have a higher priority in all the above peace-time activities all over India. It is against the very idea of India to have a system which makes Kannadigas themselves underdogs in Karnataka, and Hindis the upperdogs. We should not forget that this fact remains whether there was a terror attack on Mumbai or not. We should not forget that the principle of unity in diversity holds irrespective of whether or not the different linguistic peoples of India have a common enemy.


Kishore said...

The comment box now looks supercool & I will await for more participation and discussion in Karnatique.

"the linguisitc states of India have willingly transferred Defense responsibilities to the central government"
> I dont believe this. Can we confer rights on Centre and ask them to protect us while we carry out peace time activities in our states? How can we direct them? They are the Centre. They are the Government of India right?

So, if we were to believe that we have given Centre the right to protect us, then in that case can we take back this right and exercise ourselves? Will the federal structure allow us? or will they punish us?

How far are we (linguistic states) allowed to talk about such issues? Imagine... some 1000 questions are going on in my mind.

But finally can we (linguistic states), protect ourselves better than Centre by doing that which we are discussing. If so, then who is going to talk to whom?

who are the representatives of Karnataka & who are the people in the centre who will call on us and discuss such issues. Are these issues being discussed at all with states is the question.

Our security is not in our hand & it is increasing the insecurity amongst us.

Anonymous said...

Defence responsibilities is also with the state governments to protect its people. Only thing is there has to be proper coodination between centre and the state in these responsibilities (which is very hard in our country, but achievable!) and implement such laws so that nation's integrity is maintained.

As citizens of this great country it is our responsibility to vote and elect a candidate who is eligible and capable enough to represent us and bring in developments to community. In the current senario, the eligibility of any candidate is caste which is mostly responsible for choosing uneligible person who only turn into money looters (and they can even sell the country to achieve that). This i feel is the root cause for all corruption and unprofessionalism.

The problem lies in us. Only when we keep betterment of "our" country above caste and regionalism and elect a "well educated" person can we see any ray of hope!. It is our moral responsibility to educate maximum people regarding this and help ourself.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. But just one OBAMA kind of figure cannot do the trick. We need few committed professional young minds who can vest their time in Politics and emerge as leaders.

It is also important for everyone to understand what are the rights of linguistic states. If we are not able to define our own security terms then we are failing as a federal set up.

If someone else is taking advantage of our peace time initiatives then we have to revisit our SYSTEM.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the linguistic state are proetcting their languages. They have already sold their loyalty to english language. English would soon become single language in this so called linguistic state if they dont take any drastic steps.

Anonymous said...

English is a problem which Karnataka has to deal with. More than that we should ensure that Hindi does not add to our woes.

The unprecedented imposition of Hindi on linguisting states is a threat to their identity and LANGUAGE is not just a means of communication & Hindi imposition cannot just be wished away..

Anonymous said...

India's defence mechanism has gone to the dogs precisely because of the hegemony of the Congress party which is steeped in the fuedal north indian mindset. The terror attacks are a result of retrograde Congress policies that serve to keep the minorities from progressing and contributing in any positive way to the nation building effort. Integral to these policies is the refusal to implement the Uniform Civil Code which is as basic to the evolution of a progressive civil society as breaking an egg is to the making of an omelette. It is simple - no UCC - no civil society, eternal religious strife, riots, terrorism, blasts. The visionaries who drafted the constitution had foreseen what would befall the country if different religious communities were allowed to order their lives according to the scriptural dictates or respective religions. Besides, they also had the expample of Turkey before them, which progressed from an Islamic state to a secular nation by implementing modern laws and rejecting sharia.
However, the north indian netas were only interested in keeping the communities in their medieval mind sets to exploit as vote banks.
So who is to blame?

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