Who am I ? Who are you ? And who are they ?
Who are we all ? How did we fall into into this rigid frame called self definition (by the way an volatile and dynamic concept) ? Is there a definition for everything in a true sense ? I wonder.And are we defining ourselves from within or from outside?
The day a child is born, into a certain family, it is named according to the religion and community that the family follows.In fact each one in the family has been named that way to start off with, dictated by the same factors.If, I call my child Ram or John, its only because I am either a Hindu or a Christian, respectively.Not because the child was Ram or John the time its birth, which was destined to take place by the nature.
We name a child, just so that people can identify or refer to him or her. Hence it is inevitable. Something as fundamental as name is also based on the kind of a cultural background we are from.It was neither our choice nor something which we were sent down with.We came here with nothing,except for a physical form.Not even a name.
We are made to follow a set of customs and rituals in order to lead a life, defined to be the way, by the ones who came before us.Nevertheless every single belief of any background, does consist of a rationality with the logical support of science, wrapped in a spiritual cover, which often becomes the topic of criticism among the skeptics, due to the fragmented dissemination of knowledge between generation.Now the point is,
I am a Hindu, because I was born to a Hindu couple.I speak a Dravidian language called Tamil, because my family speaks that. Thus I am a Tamilian.My home is located in the coastal town of Madras,that makes me a Madarasi (affectionately by the rest of my country, haha!). My peninsular state defines the geographical end of India.And that’s how I am an Indian.Therefore all of these labels have been fixed upon me for the purpose of identification due to place & situation of birth and not by my choice. None of us get that choice of birth followed by these.We don’t know any of these till we are born and raised.
However as we are raised in a collective society that projects a certain way of living adorned by aspects of history, geography , food and language, we begin to take the impressions that our immediate physical entities, which are naturally unavoidable. As children we are nothing but clay (easy for me to relate,as a ceramicist,as of now ;)) We beautifully take in whatever seem to happen around us, be it right or wrong.
And all this is by a matter of chance.The game of probability.What if I were born in a nursing home and got picked up accidentally by another family (which by the way happens a lot in our Indian films, I trust Indian films, *winks*), which belongs to say the fellow Indian state of West Bengal.I would probably be speaking Bengali and believing all my life that I am one, when I was actually a child of a Tamil family. Through one accident my identity changes.So who cares about something that I could have been, had I not been displaced within the wards of a careless nursing home. That is what identity is all about. Maybe it is right, but it is not the ultimate of what one is or one could be.There is always more.And in learning and self engineering, more is never more.
But in my experience of being in this extremely multi cultural society,at this period, I have noticed that somewhere we all are toiling to defend a certain identity of ours, resulting in a gradual motion towards what could be ‘fanaticism’ which is actually a retardation as a society.We dogmatically fight for something that was a matter of chance (with due respect to all cultures and languages,including mine) forgetting the bigger picture of what we need to do as a country and definitely as an individual.This is not some rebellious piece of write up meaning to provoke patriotism,saying we are Indians first. However its just a reflection of my thoughts , which constantly questions this regional zealotry of a modern and developing nation (hopefully).
Are we going to let these labels describe who we are and live with that alone ? Are we going to just settle with something only because we were born with it and not learn from others too? When one leaves his physical form, he would want to leave as a person who has made the best out of himself from the day he began to think or speculate and not just as a man or an woman, as a Muslim or a Christian , as a north Indian or a south Indian ‘ALONE’. We think we are collective.But we don’t make our thoughts collective or inclusive.Now what is with that internal hypocrisy ? *winks* We are by the end of all this not the we, that we think we are !
Here is a thought,
Respect where you are from.Guard it with a healthy devotion,in true sense.But move out to learn more, add more to yourself and meet the new you,who will come your way,every time you learn something different. Remember, nothing of what you have created and established is going to stay forever here.Neither you nor what you have. Like someone had rightly said, we are all a speck of dust in this endless universe.
After all, we are all here by a matter of chance ! We weren’t the only choice of Universe.
To Cultural tolerance & Equilibrium