The concept of Bhoomiputra (son of soil)
When years back Bombay was re-christened as Mumbai, I felt a sense of pride. It is justified to restore the original native name instead of the one which was imposed on us by ruling Britishers, was my take on this. Soon Madras was named Chennai and Calcutta as Kolkatta and I relished those events. I still do and wish that there were many takers for the demand to re-name Faridabad, but apparently people are too busy in that bustling satellite town of Delhi to take any note of the fact. Anyway, let us not side-track!
It all started in Mumbai a few weeks back: Non-Marathis (North Indians) were being targeted there. ‘They were not sons of the soil (Bhoomiputra)’, was the argument and that because of them, local or native people were left behind. ‘Mumbai has been exploited and looted by outsiders’ were the sentiments being echoed. These kind of arguments were spearheaded by Raj Thackeray (of Balasaheb Thackeray clan)! This was more of a political issue and I am sure common people cared little about it, but a controversy was, nevertheless, generated! Then Kolkatta also sprang a surprise when local politicians criticized Marwaris as they too are kind of outsiders, in other words, are not sons of the soil!
So this is our India for us! Outsiders verus locals! I used to think that only Moguls and Britishers were outsiders for us who ruled us, exploited us and converted some of us! I have never thought that outsiders live ‘within us Indians’! Thanks to the petty Raj that these sentiments surface once in a while. The very fabric of our country seems vulnerable when petty politicians talk this and misguided people join the fray! I was looking for words when I came across a hard-hitting article by Tarun Vijay. An excellent summation of feelings of being Indian and yet our vulnerability to these kinds of events. An article worth reading: Is Being Indian not Enough?