Ever since the integration of several states of the peninsula at the time of independence, the division in the language, way of living and practices have always been a topic of heated debate in India. Though several attempts by the governments to bridge the gap by introducing common languages, rules have failed, we have started living the subtle truth, that is, “unity in diversity”. United we are, yet important issues from the south fail to make it to the national news often. A cricketer or an artist winning International Awards is an Indian, but more than 20 Tamil fishermen killed by our neighbours trigger happy attitude gets reported as a Tamil, local issue.
While north-south divide is taking a new form in the internet forums, a shockingly gruesome act of police brutality by the TamilNadu police goes unnoticed by the north. India, being ruled by a nationalist party, is slowly failing in its attempts to unify the country under one single-coloured umbrella.
While randomly browsing a question and answer site, amidst all questions pertaining to secret love affairs, investment advice, anthropological debates (which gave someone a feeling of belonging to the motherland), I spotted an interesting question about the ratio of policemen to the general civilians. It turns out the recommended figure is 225 policemen per 100,000 civilians. Neglecting hierarchy and job roles, common math tells us that each policeman enforces written and agreed law over at least 440 people. Though there is no doubt that an idealistic mind would pinpoint sizeable lapses in the quality and nature of police work in our country, what happened to Fenix and his father from Tuticorin is “barbaric” to say the least.
It is also true that the police force of India is under tremendous stress thanks to the novel coronavirus. With constant monitoring of the commercial establishments and the general public, their work in curbing the spread of the virus deserves mention. While one cannot deny the fact that keeping a shop open beyond the permitted hours is wrong, and also knows that no amount of post mortem writing is going to bring them back from the dust, what should have happened is a bit of a civil treatment proportional to the severity of the crime. Even ancient texts dating back to BCE, like the code of Hammurabi guide a law enforcement body or an agent such as the police about what degree of punishment should be awarded to specific crimes.
News broke out and soon social media users from the south started recording their agony. There were some very cleverly made cartoons as well. The nature of the torture inflicted reminds us of the Delhi medico Nirbhaya who was killed in a similar fashion. A few of us from the south (mostly celebrities) have raised their voices asking why Fenix and his father’s story isn’t gathering much attention. So again, in the comments section of one social media post cries an indifferent Indian apparently from the north saying “you Tamils always stand separated from the rest of India and now that you want unity, you shall not get much support”. This makes one think. In order to get the support of the full of India, one has to be inline (in ways that are not really required) with the rest of the country? Even in single language speaking countries, local differences will surely be noticeable. The ones who cries that the south calls itself ‘unique’ are the same blokes who months ago called our North East citizens ‘corona carriers’ due to their appearance, which even led to violence in some places.
This difference mostly arises due to varying growth seen between the two regions. If the north apparently has more people enlisting themselves in the military, the south is busy producing the weapons, machinery, the computers and its code to make the nation safe. However, the south is almost always blamed for not accommodating itself in the grand vision of India. Nationalism, a rising trend across the globe, should not be pushed down the throats of the citizens. Our pride is our nation, though borders are dissolving (either in good spirit or invasion). No matter how short-sighted some citizens are, India is mixing. Our roads and rails make sure Indians, at least a small part of them, are able to find work in all corners of India. With English as the common language across the regions, why couldn’t we stop quarrelling over the internet and focus on building a safer, better nation at least for the sake of our kids? Videotaping Chinese cell phones getting smashed by teenagers isn’t doing much to be honest.
Credits to Ace Maheshwaran