Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Outsider and Insider

I am really a novice when it comes to blogging. Sudhamshu's latest blog (which could be found under the apt name of Professional Pakau) kind of inspired me into writing this.

As I write this, I remember a short anecdote I read in one of my textbooks. The writer tries to get into a crowded train compartment. As it is already crowded, people inside ask him to go to the next one saying that it is less crowded. Nevertheless, when he decides to come in, a well-built guy makes sure that his entry is not very comfortable by blocking his way. However once he is in and the train departs, he slowly finds himself being accepted and when the next station comes, he and the guy who blocked his entry rally together to block outsiders coming in.

What this means, is that there are really no divisions based on religion, nation, money or race. All conflicts basically arise in two groups - insiders and outsiders. Depending on our interests, we play both the roles in different situations. Outsiders struggle to be insiders, and once in more often than not oppose the rest.

So it is not surprising or even self-contradictory when someone advocating banning outsiders coming into metros like Mumbai or Bangalore, is ready to send his children to another country and most often wishes that they would settle there. He is just an insider in his own city, but outsider to that coveted nation.

Narrowing the scope of this discussion to immigration, I guess it is an inevitable process. On a larger scale, it represents the perpetual struggle between Haves and Have-nots. No one can really prevent it; the best they can do is slow it down.

Outsiders usually tend to do better, as mostly they have nothing to lose, are prepared to work harder and take more risks. So if insiders feel a bit of grudge about people coming from outside and feeling insecure about their own future, then it is not unnatural.

Working in a way to preserve one's interest is the natural instinct and when it is coupled with the sense of insecurity and injustice, the insiders do take some drastic measures. Banning movies from a different language being displayed or beating up people coming from a different state or country are just a few examples of it. The holocaust could easily be the gravest one.

The question is where will this lead us? - more hatred and more wars? No one can predict.

But strangely, it appears that the path of attaining Moksha means being outsider to your body and soul. Does that appear to be a simple problem to solve?