Thursday, 15 May 2014

Loss of Indianness

The loss of Indianness is happening systematically in urban schools – and the children coming out are losing basic Indian values, and respect for basic Indianness and Indians ... from a rural to an urban world, its many layers show up starkly.

In the middle class and in its schools one prominent feature seems to be to look down on all that is Indian. This is done, while simultaneously professing a love for Indian culture, Indian classical dance and music. The real Indian, and the real Indianness is dismissed.

Wearing Indian clothes in a natural fashion is questioned and derided. My daughter grew up in paavaadais and realized soon that this was looked down on. She is happy in her bangles and anklets and flowers. She soon discovered that those simple Indian ornaments, worn, incidentally, by 90% of Indians today, the ‘masses’, is looked down on. And the more westernized makeup is admired. Her colour which is dark as of most Indians was again derided. She learnt that some darker children were able to pull it off because their attire and makeup was more western which overrode their colour!

The school teachers object to children speaking in Tamil in school, saying “Are you slum children?”. While they may have reason to encourage spoken English in school to build up fluency, this remark speaks volumes of the contempt the poor, which again includes 90% of our countrypeople, are held in.

A quick and lasting lesson an average school child learns is that all that is Indian is wrong and to be ashamed of – having the Indian colour, wearing the Indian dress and Indian ornaments (except as exotica), speaking the Indian language (especially if fluency in the whiteman’s language is limited).

Basically, while a love for vedas and bharatanatyam maybe cultivated as showing ‘culture’, all that truly of the average and poor Indian is derided and despised. Once one despises one’s identity, and looks down on one’s countrymen, one is completely lost.

Along with this sweeping derision for all that is of their country, is a more sweeping derision of the villages which actually make up most of our country. The children would discuss used to discuss ‘Do you know I went to a village. It was so boring and dirty.’ And the others would concur that villages are so dirty. Ignorance covered by arrogance.

It is more tragic that we realize - the extent to which we are enslaved and colonized today.

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