"Bharat” and “India”- two countries of India
by Tholitho Nyuwi - Courtesy Morung Express
The world knows India as a country to be reckoned with. She is one of the two giants of Asia. It might not be too distant a reality to see her playing significant role in the world’s economy. But sadly, we only know about the “not-so-pleasant” reality of India- a land divided into ‘BHARAT’ and ‘INDIA.’
There are complexities and contradictions enmeshed in Indian society that understanding them is like unraveling a mystery. No small wonder than that we have comments such as ‘India is a sub-continent in itself, ‘knowing Indian society and culture equals knowing half the society of the world,’ etc. being made of India. Indeed, we need a social scientist of sort for such a feat.
Sociologists’ look at India!
Sociologists have remarked that we are basically two separate and clearly distinct countries, living side by side. The first country is “INDIA”- the land of our big cities that enjoy the latest amenities, state of the art technology and entertainment. The second country is “BHARAT”- the rural country, the land of the peasants and farmers, of the dalits and the adivasis (tribals), where many things such as adequate educational and medical facilities, proper housing facilities, transportation and communication, job opportunities, to name a few, are barely existent. You know discrimination and social injustices are still rampant.
A Refugee Phenomenon!
It isn’t a surprise that we often encounter “refugees from Bharat, in India!” These refugees are slum-dwellers (one estimate says India has 40.3 millions slum-dwellers), pavement dwellers, domestic workers, employees in Companies (North Easterners) and various others, that seem to suggest that they should be deported to Bharat. But Indians would be at a loss if they are to be deported because it is this “Bharatiyas” that makes their life easier, doing all dirty works, building their houses, roads, fly-overs and so forth. Late Shiv Sena Supremo, Bal Thackeray, has scripted history for himself as ‘both a tiger and a lion for the Bharatiyas from the North and South’ in Mumbai. We do have raw memories about the hundreds of North Eastern tribal students and employees who were herded back from India to their respective Bharat land the previous year. And the horror is that this is taking place in the “Third Millennium!!”
Bharat or India - Who matters??
The division of our land into India and Bharat holds good at the practical level since division-making is in the hands of Indians who often opt for what makes their already pleasant enough lives still more pleasant, at the cost of the people of Bharat. In our country, the life of Indians matters. A Bharatiya is of no consequence. For instance, when the Asian Games was held in New Delhi, an important decision had to be made regarding whether we should switch from the then black and white T.V set up to colour T.V. The decision of course, was made by the Indians. They felt it would be best for a country that they have a more superior toy to play with even though the people of Bharat had a more urgent need for clean drinking water and their basic necessities of life. Money was allocated to promote Indians with better luxuries than Bharatiyas with basic necessities. There was also an incident about the alleged plague in the city of Surat. In this particular case, Indian lives were at stake, so the whole governmental machinery came into action. The best medical personnel rushed to the spot with best facilities. Soon after, Surat was so sanitized and purified that it was ranked among the cleanest cities in India. These two examples show that Bharatiya lives are of no consequence and not meriting the care and concern that Indians deserve.
The Dalits and the Adivasis of Bharat- Their reality!
There are more than 150 million dalits in our country. Most dalits are citizens of Bharat. The recent Government Survey of India admitted that, on an average day, somewhere in our land, two dalits are killed, three dalit women are raped, two dalit houses are burnt and fifty dalits are assaulted by people of a higher caste. In most of the 60,000 villages of Bharat (whose population is about twice that of India), dalits are deprived of all the rightful privileges and discriminated on all grounds -all these despite the Laws/Acts against discriminating dalits been enacted in our Constitution.
The UN Declaration of 1993, as the year of “Indigenous People” led to the resurgence of indigenous people all over the world in the second half of the last century. The Adivasis of India have been no exception. In India, it was Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, who championed the cause of the Adivasis and their development with his well known Panchsheel or five principles. The plight of the Adivasis displaced in the North is pathetic, caused in the name of various developmental projects. Studies indicate that the number of Displaced Persons (DPs) is higher than official estimate and that fewer than 30% of those displaced by the country’s planned development have been rehabilitated. Their struggle still continues! The tribals of the North East are discriminated against and alienated on many aspects. Every now and then, we hear of the butcher of Eastern tribals in the altars (cities) of India. They get only a step-motherly treatment from the Indians. They too don’t matter much for the Indians.
Wind of change in Bharat- Very mild!!
Change is the only thing that doesn’t change. This phenomenon is true for the people of Bharat. Many Bharatiyans are catching up with the changing times. Many are beginning to taste success and are moving ahead in the ladder of social status. But the stark reality even at this juncture is that the situation in most of the villages of Bharat is still deplorable. Many are carried off by the jaws of malnutrition and endemic illnesses. Medical helps, living standards, Educational system - the list goes on and on, are still far behind. And the plight of the Bharatiyans doesn’t bother the Indians much.
To conclude, I wish to state one contradiction at hand. India is striding in its economic development. The world sees India as one of the probable fastest growing economies. But the bitter reality is that India houses a third of the world’s poor. “Bharat” cannot be removed from the picture. It’s time our leaders remember that the vision of “India Shining” will merely be a wish- dream, if “Bharat”, the land of the peasants and farmers, is not given due consideration in terms of development, putting a break to every form of discriminations and step-motherly treatment, thereby, bettering its lot.
India sure does have a long way to go!!
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