Monday, August 31, 2015

Troubling times

Migration - Off late this topic has been haunting my mind like nothing else. Not a day passes without any news of boats "accidentally" capsizing near border ports, trucks and containers carrying illegal migrants found abandoned with dead bodies. It all makes a sickening read yet are major causes of alarm.

Its high time people started debating on human trafficking. One mister Donald has been raising rhetoric on this topic with all the wrong reasons. But at least Trump is honest and forthright with what he feels about this topic rather than being politically correct. Every single major country in the western world has been struggling to contain the influx of migrants and refugees. Immigration has been the single biggest topic of debate on either side of the Atlantic with ruling governments beingat risk of getting toppled on this touchy topic.

The citizens vs migrants debate has reached a melting point and could possibly redefine the next century. It brings to us some very basic questions.
- Why are so many people fleeing their native and try to enter foreign territories, that too illegally?
- Who are these dead people? Why would they risk their lives, getting stuffed like garbage and shipped across hundreds of miles across treacherous stretch?
- What do those promised lands offer that their own native doesn't? Considering that at about a 100 miles travel in any direction leads to a different country/culture/language in the European continent, how do they expect to survive in such hostile, to say the least, environments?
- Are their local nations so bad that, they feel better off dying trying to migrate to an alien nation than staying in their locales?

There is another side of these questions, which are conveniently ignored by the governments.
-Why were they forced to take up that illegal option?
-Are the legal ways of getting into their countries so very difficult?
-On one hand these countries are worried over dropping birth rates and stagnant population and on other hand they are trying to retain their " unique cultural identity" by prohibiting immigration.

The very definition of being an immigrant and native is so very difficult to judge. How does one draw the line on the definition of immigrant? Does it start with the current generation? Are they "guests" who have over stayed their welcome or predators? How does one define the status - native? does it refer to people who are born on that particular place? Or should their parents and grand parents been residents? How far back in time one should go to validate their status? If the Mayflower travellers where migrants doesnt that make their descendants migrants as well? If those who were born to those travellers are natives why deny the status to those poor kids born to immigrants now? Should people resort to the ways of Huns and Hannibals to re-establish a new Europe?

Strangely, yet curiously, the situation is the other way round in India. The current government recently signed a historic deal with its neighbour on enclave swapping that added few more thousands to the billion plus population. Being the major economic power and surrounded by host of poor nations, India can never shy away from this problem. In many ways, India has always been a contradiction of sorts when it comes to dealing with critical issues as compared to the western world. Its one reason why its fascinating yet alarmingly irritating to watch.

With an already burgeoning population and bursting at it seams, the last thing India needs is inter state rivalry. With a size and scaling rivalling the entire continent, Europe can learn a thing or two in handling people from India. Everything comes at a cost. Those countries can gloat their hearts out in claiming to have the best human development ratio and being the happiest and safest places to be, in the entire planet. Yet when those ads invite people in hordes to take advantage, these countries develop cold feet. India provides an exact example to Europe in its cultural diversity, scale and size. Every 100 Km you enter a different state in India that has a different language, culture and terrain. Yet people co-exist. No one denies a Telugu person his stay or settlement in Chennai. No can stop a Malayali from taking up a job in Maharashtra. A Punjabi can set Dhaba in Bangalore while a Gujrati can lead the entire nation!!

There could be fissures as big as continental drift, yet there is no question or deniability on their right to be Indian. There could be divisive forces playing an Aryan Dravidian divide, yet it would be more towards establishing superiority of one clan over other and rarely to break away. In a country that is linguistically divided and partitioned on religion, that divide lost its validity long time back. Its this ever singing thread of unity that sets India apart from the world. There could be countless things that one can list out bad about India, but this one country is going to be the template for human existence into the next century.

1 comment:

Ramesh said...

Very thoughtful post Gilsu. Yes migration is a big issue in which there is hardly any black and white - everything is shades of grey. Some refugees are from war torn Syria - fleeing for their lives. Some are economic migrants seeking a better life. Who is it OK to let in and who not ? Very difficult question to answer. That's why its a such a difficult problem.

Yes, India is a unique example of extreme diversity living together. We should never forget this and should never resort to infighting state to state or caste to caste.