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Our Beautiful State!

November 17, 2009

Well, my Indian Government and Politics teacher puts it this way. If we were taught in school what we are taught in college, India wouldn’t be even half as united as it is today.

When they say ‘learn to unlearn’ i finally understand what they mean.

In school, we had the Preamble printed on the front few pages of our course books and had to sing the national anthem every morning. In History we were taught about how the great Indian civilization has been a model of Unity in Diversity for centuries. We learnt how the Iron Man of India- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel- was responsible for Kashmir being a part of India (they never told us why he was called the Iron Man). On the news and in the classroom we saw discussed how the militants from Pakistan were trying to claim Kashmir as their own. Admittedly, it isn’t just what we are not taught but also what isn’t reported in the news (or is reported with bias). We are taught to believe that the Indian Nation is strong and diverse and one of the greatest cultures of the world. And don’t we all feel a small tug of pride in our hearts when we see the flag hoisted on Republic Day?

In class when we discuss the issue today, we realise that the people our government and the news are quick to term as militants may be, in fact, the people of Kashmir who never felt they belonged to India in the first place. The insurgency in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, is actually a people (tribals) fighting for freedom and a right to decide what constitutes development on their own. Have you ever wondered why the insurgents in the north east call their movement a Struggle for ‘Independence’? Sardar Patel was called the Iron Man because of his ‘strong will’. A will that, perhaps, took advantage of a weak moment of the King of Kashmir?

Today, I can say that I’m more of a cynic than I was four months ago, but with good reason. You come to realise that joining politics might not help because you’ll be pulled into the system. That fighting corruption is not as easy as Munnabhai makes it look in the movies. And that the whole idea of India being a country where unity in diversity thrives isn’t as rosy a picture as you’ve been led to believe all your life. Sad, but true.

But what’s even sadder, is that not everyone learns this. Students who choose to study engineering and medicine and those who don’t opt for higher education,  never learn even the basics of Indian Government and Politics. And so they’ll never know…

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