Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Of UP and Bihar

Walking into the department, I overheard the security personnel talking about Biharis and UPites facing trouble with their jobs. With their Hindi and dialect, I could understand the tinge of concern in their voices when discussing the issue. They themselves must be from one of these two states. I felt ashamed, hurt, angry, I don't know how to explain that feeling. Here they were Indians, worried about their future just because of the place they were from - wondering about being driven out.

We spend main pages day after day in newspapers and talk time on national news as well as otherwise, venting our anger, disgust and annoyance of how our brethren are treated in Australia. But, here, right here, we have our own people worried about the backlash they have received and are still receiving at the hands of their own. But, there is very little noise about it. Of course the politicians concerned have their names in the front page of the newspapers. Otherwise, what else ?

Why ? Ofcourse, those who have gone to Australia for studies are better off as they have the means to fund their education there. On the other hand, people from Bihar and UP who come so far away, away from home, family, the land they love, their language, their customs to a totally different place are more or less people who have hardly anything - except the hunger in their stomachs. Even though the country is still India, things are so different (in India, every 100 kms besides the landscape, language, dialects and customs change) - and all for what ? For a means to survive.

Most of these people live a frugal lifestyle, sending money back home, for there is a whole family dependent on them. They live huddled up like cattle (I remember Tharoor, of course) but that is exactly how it is, in a single room with a minimum of 5-6 people. They spend the best parts of their lives, alone, slogging it out, just to survive. And when their physical strength fails, they go home, to a life, where nothing much is left, where savings are non-existent, and health fails.

I remember my dad's lines. He had people from Rajasthan and UP working for us when building our home. He said, "They are such simple people. Very hard working and happy with what they get. They do earn but send almost all of it home and live life in penury. And all this they do, because of the hunger in the stomach, because of the conditions at home. They are nice."

So, why are we so rude to them ? Why do we differentiate ? Why is it that we don't see their pain ? Why don't we see their suffering, their loneliness ? Their large hearts ? Their will to work, in distant land. Why can't we treat them with respect ? Why........... I can't understand this. This human suffering brought about by man himself, because of the way he treats his own. I don't understand this cruelty.

And to politicians, who play politics, I don't think you know the meaning of the word "Hunger". If you say, yes, you know, then, it is not the same "Hunger" I am talking about. And you would never ever understand it.

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