One of my college friends is leaving to Sweden for his Masters. He made all his arrangements to spend his next two years of life in Sweden. Only thing he has to do on landing there is to get a part-time job and to get a job he has to learn Swedish. The university provides all its international students Swedish language courses for free. Now imagine what if a student from Sweden comes to India (in worst cases) to pursue his higher education? How many languages he has to learn? There are 22 official languages apart from a lot of unofficial languages. For god’s sake let the count remain 22, because carrying an A4 sized 10 rupee note becomes even more difficult than earning it.
Language is only one of the many attributes of our country’s diversity. Living in the bottom of our country in a place called Chennai, it requires even me to dust off my Hindi speaking skills, at least to manage, when I go to northern part of the country. India is a country of countries. A person from one state is a foreigner in another state. Everything is different; language, clothes, customs, beliefs, gods, politicians, soap operas, newspapers, superstars and recently, their IPL team. If you think racism is only between two different countries you are completely wrong. It exists even between two states of this country. A person from Andhra Pradesh is called a ‘Golti’ (for both genders), but if a person from Kerala is a man he is called a ‘Nair’ and in case of a lady the name by which they are being called is worth not mentioning, if he is from Tamil Nadu he’s called a ‘Madrasi’ no matter what part of Tamil Nadu he is from. At the national level Indians cannot accept a foreigner as their Prime Minister. At the state level people are so intolerant that they don’t even allow inauguration of the statue of a poet from a different state in their soil. They are dead set against people from other state being employed in their state governments. Of course it’s a natural behaviour to expect from people who don’t even allow the river flow to its neighbouring state. During the times of unrest between two states, vehicles with registration number of a different state are smashed, movies made in the enemy state are not allowed to screen, and film fraternities from the respective cinema industries flock together to stage protests only to rehearse their punch dialogues in the upcoming movie. Anybody making a loose talk during such protests becomes the next national issue forcing the actor to apologise to the people in the regional languages of both the states.
After all of this have you started thinking that there is nothing common in all these states? In this country of so much diversities and adversities there are also certain things common – bad roads, jam-packed trains and buses, traffic jams, long queues, price rise, power cuts, terrorist attacks, quotas, statues, piracy, summer heat, floods, Gandhi Jayanthi, and recently Swine Flu!