Editorial: A Culture that Celebrates Diversity
         Date: 08-May-2018

“…the theory of the Aryan race set up by Western writers falls to the ground at every point, goes without saying….In the first place, the theory is based on nothing but pleasing assumptions and inferences based on such assumptions. In the second place, the theory is a perversion of scientific investigation. It is not allowed to evolve out of facts. On the contrary, the theory is preconceived and facts are selected to prove it. The theory of the Aryan race is just an assumption and no more. The Aryan race theory is so absurd that it ought to have been dead long ago. ”

 

––Dr Babasaheb B R Ambedkar, Who Were Shudras?, Thacker & Co, Bombay, Pp. 77-78

 

In the Karnataka Elections, for the Congress and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, harping on the divisive agenda of North versus South is the new ploy. He first started with the hyper-regionalism, celebrating Tipu Jayanti, dividing the Hindu community on majority-minority lines and now taking it to North Versus South debate. No wonder, other regional satraps from South also joined the bandwagon of this artificial division. Why Siddaramaiah is playing this dangerous game? How far this division holds the ground? And how we can strengthen the integration rather than divisions?

 

It is but obvious that corruption, infrastructure, agrarian crisis, water scarcity, growing radicalism, crumbling law and order, regional imbalance etc are the real issues in Karnataka. Being the Chief Minister and regional leader for a long time, Siddaramaiah knows them very well. To divert the attention, he craftily brought the divisive and identity issues to the fore. Harping on North-South divide is his latest ploy.

 

During the colonial rule, British invented and imposed many theories and divisions in Bharat on European parameters. Aryan invasion theory was one of them. Unfortunately, after Independence we carried the narrative forward and taught the same in our school text books. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar scientifically debunked this theory in his book ‘Who Were Shudras?’. Again, invoking the same rhetoric, the Congress party is insulting the Constitution and the Constitution makers.

 

Some regional parties used it for their political existence and the Congress party, which had a historic responsibility to build the narrative for unification, indirectly supported that. While doing so, the dynastic party also ensured the ‘Delhi Centricism’ to the national narrative. This resultantly further strengthened some sort of alienation, not only among the States in the Southern part of Bharat but also in the North-eastern region. Some of the issues that emerged out of this alienation process may be genuine but instead of taking responsibility for this perversion, Congress is now directly allowing its regional leader to blatantly play this divisive agenda.

 

Whether it is Prime Minister Modi or his idea of executing cooperative-federalism, organising the meetings of NITI Aayog out of Delhi or hosting foreign heads in State capitals etc is nothing but changing the Congress culture of Delhi Centricism. The changing narrative of the Northeast is a direct result of this process. People from various States are experiencing this change and finding a new connect with the Union Government. This fear is another reason for invoking the artificial divisions.

 

More importantly, when it comes to the issue of resource allocation, there are issues between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu or Andhra and Telangana or Tamil Nadu and Kerala as well. Then, how far it is logical to consider the entire South as a single block and pitch it against the North.

 

The game of numbers is unavoidable in democracy but for winning the elections playing the dangerous ploy of divisions is not only detrimental to the nation as a whole but also vitiates the atmosphere at the respective State levels. Instead of talking about politics of performance, relying solely on the identity politics is legacy of Congress Culture, which we should get rid of.

 

The reality is Bharat does not have diverse cultures but has a unique and integral culture of celebrating diversity. Though the languages and the food habits differ even at the sub-regional level, the cultural-philosophical basis of them is the same. Experiencing inherent unity in diversity is Bharat and considering diversity without unity is non-Bharat. The common masses understand this and practice this. Political parties should build their campaign on this solid foundation, rather than weakening it.

 

@PrafullaKetkar