Odisha Assam mein hai na!

Aap kahan se ho?
Bhubaneshwar se..

Bhubaneshwar kahan pe hai?
Odisha mein..

Oh! Odisha; Odisha Assam mein hai na?

Sounds funny? It’s true. I’ve faced this at-least six times in the last six years of my stay in Mumbai. And to my surprise, all the six people who asked me this are from one particular place and are IITians. And very recently, while submitting my PAN correction form, the lady Officer-in-charge got confused and asked me… Odisha aur Bhubaneshwar mein kya difference hai?I could not control myself and replied instantly, haan.. Mumbai aur Maharashtra me jitna difference hai, Odisha aur Bhubaneshwar mein itna hii difference hai“. Everybody including the lady Officer burst into laughter and the Officer apologized.

The example I’ve given above is not to tell that people don’t know simple things. Instead, I want to point out here that intelligent, educated and academically sound (in their own topic/field) people are quite ignorant about their surroundings, about the country in which they live and about the fellow Indians with whom they work. Most of them are educated, but that does not mean that they are learned. The ignorance level is so high that one hardly knows or wants to know about the other. It is understandable that India is a big country with vast cultural, language, food and geographical differences and one can’t know every thing about every language, religion, and/or region. But, it is definitely desirable that the fellow Indian should accept and show respect to the other. Even though the ignorance of the other is quite natural, the level of ignorance should not cross the humane values. Sometimes, the ignorance gets mixed up with the superiority complex resulting in friction in the society; new equation of majority vs. minority emerges. People of some caste or region or religion or language feel deprived, left out from the main stream leading to communal fights, terror attacks, regional fights, etc. Fight of this kind or the fight of majority vs. minority will spoil the peace and harmony of the society. Unless it is curbed in time, it will spark more fights, hatred between groups amounting to total destruction of the society. India as a country comprises of many states and union territories. Most of them are based on language and some are based on the regional equations. Even then… India is India; a country where one can see the unity in differences.

Both the electronic and the print media are also responsible for creating the ignorance, division of majority vs. minority and superior vs. inferior in the society. For an example, the infamous and derogatory tag/epithet of BIMARUis being extensively used in a bad light for the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. People who wish to denigrate the Hindi speaking states of India talk of them by using the epithet BIMARU. Instead of downplaying this kind of division, media widens the division by comparing the BIMARU and non-BIMARU states; the inferiority and superiority complex, the division of un-privileged and privileged emerges. In reality, these states are not poor. They are rich in human capital and natural resources. Most of the Civil Servants (IAS/IFS/IPS) are from these states. Even, some recent surveys by National University of Educational Planning & Administration (UNEPA) have found that the average education system in states like Bihar is much better than other states and the so called developed states like Gujurat, Karnataka have the worst education system. Not only that, the teachers in Bihar are more qualified than their peers in other states.

On a similar note, the starvation deaths of KBK (Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput districts of Odisha) are being highlighted always as if these districts of Odisha have only starvations and deaths to show to the world. Unfortunately, the image of Odisha is projected on the basis of starvation deaths, existence below-poverty-line and is considered to be backward. This is not true. Instead of helping towards a solution for these problems and forcing the govt. for a transparent and effective public distribution system (PDS), it (media) shows these issues in a bad light. Sometimes, even the natural deaths and deaths due to diseases are also projected as death due to hunger only to increase the Television Rating Point (TRP). It is true that many parts of India including Assam, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Chatishgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharastra have been witnessing such kind of deaths in the past; but Odisha gets the tag and is identified with all starvation deaths of India. It (Odisha) always gets the biased treatment from the media resulting into a complex feeling between the “poor Odias” and “rich non-Odias“. The impact of the projection of starvation death does not solve the purpose, rather widens the gap between the so called poor and the so called rich. The actual poor still suffers and dies of hunger, be in Murshidabad of West Bengal or KBK of Odisha or Thane/Raigad of Maharashtra or Baster of Chattisgarh or Baran of Rajasthan or Tea estates of Assam or Chhatarpur of Madhya Pradesh. It is there everywhere.

On a slightly different note, the role of govt. and the politicians can be debated. It is because of the poor governance and the selfish politicians in particular and the ignorant common man/aamjunta in general, the “divide and rule policy” still works in India. In the name of language, regionalism, caste, religion, etc. the country is getting divided into parts day by day. This gap is widening further by narrow political parties and the so called big politicians. They just open one card after the other, such that their importance in the society continues and they win elections. In the name of regionalism, some people restrict the entry of the other in some areas or throw them out from their region. Also, in the name caste and religion, some incite people to kill the other their own neighbor, their own brother. In the name of language, some create hatred among people of different languages. They succeed because we work for them. The differences become so wide, that sometimes even the very Indian fears to stay in a different locality. People (Indians) are questioned in some cases regarding their origin, their caste, their religion and even their country ?! (In some cases even Indians do not want to be called as Indians). It is really painful for an average Indian citizen to tell others that he/she is an Indian, and that too in his own country and to his own people.

One has to understand that India is a country of single citizenship, unlike USA where double citizenship works. People in India are free to speak any language, practice any religion and stay in any part of India. The Parliament and the Judiciary has the responsibility to ensure that every Indian citizen avails these without fail. But, in practice, Parliament is ruled by self-centered political parties and Judiciary by the huge number of pending cases. Most of the govt. decisions are based on the up-coming elections; to please a particular section of the people and just to make sure their vote-bank remains intact or to save their skin from the public wrath. Some times the Judiciary intervenes to maintain the balance, and to bring things to order. In a few cases, public protest also forces the govt. to change its populist decision. But that is not enough. One has to realize that it is not possible for the Court to intervene in each and every decisions of the govt. and is not desirable too. Something more is required.

Then, where does the united India stand?

United India stands only when the extreme happens; be it natural calamities or war or celebration. One will be surprised to witness the celebrations when the cricket loving Indians celebrate the T20 World Cup win. It is as if Cricket is the National and ONLY Game which Indians play. One can see the unity among the fellow Indians at that time. Similar kind of unity is also marked during Kargil, Odisha Super Cyclone, Tsunami in South, Earth Quake in J&K and recent floods in Bihar, etc. But is that enough ? Getting united during calamities or cricket celebrations will not solve the problem of unawareness and ignorance, and will not unite people in general. Unity is is needed required in every juncture of life. Both the self and the other have to be united as we. A social reform, public participation and awareness are desired; the term “I” and”You” need to be replaced by “we” in every move of the aamjunta. The average Indian needs to come out of the cell of self-imprisonment and from the mode of not to interfere in any activities other than his/her own interest mode. In particular, the youth of the country which is around 40% of the total population has to stand up with its responsibilities. This is crucial as the country lacks and needs young dynamic and dedicated individuals in every field, starting from politics to photography, from education to research, from farming to the armed forces. Ignorant aamjunta can be the awakened aamjunta and can re-order the society for its own in particular and for all in general.

Jai Hind.

PS: I have written this article just for awareness among the fellow Indians; not to offend any one.

15 Responses

  1. Quite well explained with a humor on the title. Well Done!

  2. Quite impressive lesson…This happens among a selected group of well educated(intensive ignorant about others culture) people.
    Good to see here as a topic of discussion..

  3. […] For the benefit/reference of interested readers, this article is a sequel to “Odisha Assam me Hai na!“, an article published by […]

  4. Dada, very interesting observation and thoughtful article.

    Interestingly if you replace “i” from illness by “we” it becomes WELNESS….

  5. Funny, indeed ! I wonder how can educated people not have such general knowledge that an average Indian school-goer has !!?!!

    Well, I recently came across some information which along with my opinion, I would like to put forth here… India has 11 ‘special category’ states. It is given to states which have distinct features like international boundaries, hilly terrains, different socio-economic patterns where infrastructural investments or public services are very difficult. However, I think this kind of status should also be given to states like Odisha (at least to the poor or infrastructurally backward districts) to fast-track development… there are so many potential or unexplored options in such areas. At least, some special packages can be approved by the central Finance Commission or Planning Commission to help such states implement massive schemes as eradication of poverty, promotion of literacy, healthcare and generation of local employment through some utterly necessary industrialization. I wish it happened……

  6. Odisha’s plight is mainly due to corruption and mis-management of our Congress Chief Minister JB Patnaik. Though the current GDP is better than the national average, the Rs 2/ per kg rice is the worrying factor for the development..

  7. Very nice, thoughtful and well written article…:-)

  8. Now, South Africa is keen to mine in Odisha… and has also mentioned exchange-of-opportunities in the fields of education and culture with this state. Let’s hope such progressive ideas receive patronage (quick reforms /reinstated industrial policies /favorable environment for investments) from India’s central govt. also, and does not get shelved like Posco, Vedanta, etc. And regarding alarm about India’s carbon-credits…well, the NGT is always there to safeguard it. We needn’t worry too much !!

  9. After AIIMS, now Narayana Hrudayalaya Group to build a 1000-bed Hospital in Bhubaneshwar. The Chairman, Dr Devi Prasad Shetty said “the unit at Bhubaneshwar would be a world-class hospital providing tertiary level services in all aspects of health care”. Cheers……..

  10. Very practical article. It is true that Odisha is getting the best academic and health care facilities; but most of the facilities are centred around Bhubaneswar. More and more quality institutes, especially medical colleges and good hospitals should go the border districts and tribal areas. Recently, Odisha government had signed many MOUs with software groups, may be in future they should take their help in these ventures too.

  11. Partly the people of Odisha are to be blamed for this, including the politicians.

    The awareness is not there as we do not have common course materials at school. The emphasis on geography, culture, and history is not upto mark at schools. That is another problem.

  12. Hilarious! It is true, many in India do not know what is India. Any one from east or north-east is always labelled as chinkis not as Indians. Ignorance and Ego are the killing factor.

  13. If the question of ‘Odisha Assam hai naa’ comes from the IITians, I probably have to stop reading the lines from there, and not to go on blaming on the media, government and politicians. And I do not think any urgency of industrialization,capitalization and commercialization in Orissa to scale it to general awareness of people. Your deliberation opens up many questionable directions towards our social, educational system and sense of patriotism.

  14. […] Similar article by aamjunta – Odisha Assam mein hai na! […]

  15. True, I too faced similar responses from people in many parts of India. The ignorance of the reach (money, education or whatever) is the main culprit.

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