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The Marginal Vote

The TOI wrote in its editorial today – “…the vilification campaign against her [Khushboo] … [is] guided by a mixture of Victorian prudery and high Brahminical moralism [see this]…” This sentence speaks volumes how cultures the world over have intertwined themselves. The world today is very much similar to Salman Rushdie’s stories – “… where to understand one bit of the world, you have to understand another bit of the world.”

So while ‘Chicken Tikka’ becomes the top delicacy in UK and ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ prepares to launch itself in the U.S., millions of Indian children eagerly await the release of JK Rowling’s next sequel. Globalization manifests itself in ways more than one – linguistics intermingle, sub-cultures pervade and events have repercussions beyond the oceanic boundaries.

At the same time, fundamental, separatist and regionalist tendencies also intensify. So while the term Victoria may be inseparable from the city of Mumbai, it can induce outlandish hatred in the neighboring Ireland (or even Scotland for that matter). Very similar to the above sentiment is this [http://manishchauhan.blogspot.com/2005/12/india-misnomer.html]. So for some, Bangalore and Kolkata are still greater than India as a whole and being Irish or Scottish is more important than being European.

These eccentric tendencies in the world are pretty much the result of historical genes that different parts of the world carry. For the US, the present is just a continuation of their struggles for democracy since the 1700s, but India is probably united under an independent common government from J&K to Andaman for the first time after a gap of 2000 years. [A detailed study will reveal that after Ashok all kingdoms merely chaired the National Throne and allowed local fiefdoms continue – thus India was united in the true sense last under Ashok who conquered all posts from Ayodhya to Ceylon]. At the same time, the US carries a historical tradition of merely 300-400 years while India carries legacy of thousands of years. UK similarly is probably integrated under the monarchy for the first time and Scotland, Ireland and Wales have lost their identities internationally for the first time.

On the other end of the tether, we have Pakistan which has little history of its own but borrows most of it either from India or Arab world. Such neo-states are grappling with a strange identity crisis while those like China are developing a new identity themselves which is independent of their past.

However, in this debate and discussion about globalization we all comfortably ignore (as I have till now) the marginalized, who have nothing to contribute to this globalized civilization. The poor unfed lady who sleeps on the footpath along the much known MG Road in Bangalore keeps talking to nobody in particular the whole night, is not much different from the tribal in Africa who talks to trees and animals alike while struggling with diseases. The 2 year-old who defecates on the Chakala square along the Western Express highway in Andheri is oblivious to the fact that her lungs are already half dead from the vehicular exhaust that she inhales. The naked teenage beggar who exposes herself on the streets of Delhi for the want of clothes, will never know that models who appear in the parties at night get paid to expose themselves.

These singular examples of marginal life are representative of the people whom we see every day and night around us. I have picked all of them from my own experiences in the past few days. It is rightly said that, everyone must contribute and everyone must get affected by globalization. It is for us to decide whether these marginalized folks will contribute only misery and skepticism to the world or a ray of hope ...

3 Comments to " The Marginal Vote "

  1. Agree with you... however, there is another twist to the last para, what abt those who love to be miserable... they don't want to take the pain to change themselves... (more so because change costs them their freedom)!

  2. nikhil wanted me to explain 'freedom'... baba... here you go...

    i hv been brought up in place where people don't want to change... even if the change is for their benefit... b'coz every thing that happens ... it brings another dimention to the life which might not be easily acceptable. like they are free from any social obligations... if they try to change themselves... they'll fall into the traps of 'society'...

    by freedom i also meant was ... freedom to beg/steal/snatch/... (beggers and kids don't pay taxes)... i hv seen parents forcing kids (3-4 yr old) to beg/ sell stuff on the roads full of fast traffic (even i would think to cross raods on those lanes) ... also, there is lot of allowances been provided for such ppl (below poverty line)... so ehy not be below poverty line ... i rememeber some time back there was an article in India Today (abt poverty) and it said that people are scared to be above poverty line because the life of those just above the so called line is much more miserable than those who are bolow it.

    i hope i hv given the picture of what i was refering to... if not we'll discuss offhand ... :)

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