By Aditya Aamir
The ‘North India-South India’ binary has started bothering a big bunch of people. You cannot blame them. The Centre’s stingy response to the flood-fury in Kerala is partly responsible. Rs 100 crore and then Rs 500 crore. Misers rule India. Is it because the Bharatiya Janata Party is a party of north Indians and the Marathi? Will it have reacted differently if the deluge had taken toll of a state north of the Vindhyas?
Treasonous thoughts. But what the hell, you cannot push down disappointed voices, the same as you could not stop the waters of Mullaperiyaar from going swollen to pregnant. Now, there is a ‘pause’. But the remains left behind by receding waters have to be removed. The same like the thought that the dominant ‘north’ has a bigger handle also has to be erased.
Unpleasant, treasonous, though it is, talk of a ‘United States of South India’ are sounding boards on social media. The ‘behaviour’ of people is a component of human progress. And behaviour right now is like the slip showing! The very concept of ‘People’ is an anachronism – ‘People’ or ‘peoples?’
Not that the south is a single bar of chocolate. The Tamil stands aloof from the Malayali. The Telugu sticks out like a sore thumb next to the Kannadiga. And vice versa. Come to think of it, the so-called ‘north India’ is not homogenized whole of brotherhood. Scratch the skin and allegations of deliberate neglect of ‘north Indian’ at the hands of ‘North India’ – the rulers of ‘India’, erupt.
It must have something to do with choosing ‘Dilli’ as the ‘centre of the subcontinent’ by invading armies of destruction. The ‘Delhi Sultanate’, then the Mughal hegemony. Delhi bore the brunt of the sword and ‘Dilli’ became ‘Dilli Duur Nahi’ but also Dilli far! Besides, not all rulers ensconced in ‘Dilli’ were ‘dariya dilli’.
So long as it was the Congress, the feeling did not transgress that post-Independent Delhi was indicative of a north-south divide. The Congress had a subcontinental-spread to begin with and it brought ‘India’ freedom. There were stalwart south Indian Congress leaders. But even they – C Rajagopalachari, Kamaraj; somebody like Karunakaran – worked to prop up North Indian prime ministers.
But the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are patently ‘north India’ with roots in Nagpur! The BJP is so removed from ‘south India’, it’s a slap in the face – a spear aimed at the south Indian’s heart for a final takeover. Maybe for the good!
Till as long as the nation-state stays as the foundation for defining a country. ‘India’ is the culmination of thousands of years of trying to amalgamate. An idea. Still forming. Coalescing.
But if the miserly, step-fatherly Modi government is at the bottom of the feeling that the north Indian doesn’t care for the south Indian, then take a pause, like Atal Bihari Vajpayee would, and take a step back. The Modi government has been no different to aspirations of states north of the Deccan Plateau. It’s response to funds demanded by states for flood relief and announced by the Centre have been equally miserable for all flood-hit states, irrespective of north-south.
Tamil Nadu in 2015 asked Rs 25,912 crore but was given only Rs 1,940 crore. Bengal in 2017 demanded Rs 6,068 core but got zilch, a big Zero! Bihar in 2017 pleaded for Rs 7,637 crore but was given only Rs 500 crore. The same year, Gujarat sought Rs 2,095 crore but was ladled Rs 500 crore and Gujarat is Modi’s home-state!
So, for Kerala to demand Rs 2,000 crore and only getting Rs 600 crore interim relief is nothing to moan about, whine!
BJP-ruled Assam put forward a demand for Rs 3,888 crore in 2017 but was given a miserly Rs 590 crore and told to throw the begging bowl in the Brahmaputra.
Nice guy! Our Prime Minister, with a heart of gold – generous to the core. Truly Indian, with no favouritism. His tea is for everyone to drink. But only in small sips, not big gulps! So, cut the crap about the north-south binary and nurture the fig tree into a banyan with the strength of the oak. It ‘teaks’ all parts! Pardon the pun, but don’t grudge a little fun. (IPA Service)