Friday, August 17, 2012
Mass-exodus from Pune on August 16 2012 as fear and panic work their way among the students/professionals from North East India. (News is, around 3,000 people from North East left Pune on Thursday. The Pune railway station is choke-a-block, and they had to add two new coaches to the Azad Hind Express.)
This is the same city I have called home for the last 14 years. And, I cannot just run away, even if I’m beaten up (Yes. I am preparing myself for such an eventuality; anything is possible.)
Only if I could make sense of the reality!?
The tragedy is, those who are attacked, and those who attacked them, both have nothing to do with what’s happening elsewhere.
For the last few days, I’ve been attending more phone calls than I do in a month, frantic calls from family, relatives, friends, all asking if I’m okay. They have read the news or have seen in television, how people from North East are being targeted in Pune. I laugh at their concern. I say, I am fine. I tell them it’s nothing, a few people were beaten up, yes, in specific localities. That was it. There is nothing to worry about. The police have taken control of the situation. I tell them I am in Pune for the last fourteen years and I know the people of Pune; they are not vicious.
Outside, I have put up a brave face, it’s just a mob thing, it will pass. Inside, I am mortally scared. How do you fight such intolerance? I am afraid even to step out of the house, even though I do not look like a typical North-easterner.
Despite being born in a politically-volatile state, despite growing up in a politically volatile time (I remember the Nellie massacre, if only barely.), I have never been political. I have always avoided answering political questions, or offer opinions about what should be done. For me most of these issues are non-existent; they are brought to limelight for reasons other than the issues themselves.
In the root of it all was a historic mistake. The Bangladesh Independence War, and Mrs Indira Gandhi’s generosity. And, if you want to go further, then, the Partition itself. If you want to go further yet, it all started in a small village called Yandaboo in Burma, in February 24, 1826.
This is the legacy of the Colonial India: Divide and Rule. And, after 65 years, we are not yet independent of our own petty differences.