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?


Sudhu said...

Firstly, it was a wonderful post. I just love the way you write (you manage to keep your thoughts neutral,i.e not showing any bias towards any side of the debate) and agree with most of what you have written.
Coming to your theory where you mention that it is the natural instinct of the 'insiders' to feel insecure: That is the instinct which needs to be curbed. Coming to think of it the U.S itself is made up of these 'so-called' Outsiders. Majority of them have migrated from Europe and now even US is trying to reduce immigration.
It does feel very ironic even for Indians to treat our own people as outsiders. Gone are the days of Atithi Dev Bhava .

Nandan said...

I am not sure Sudhamshu, if this instinct can be curbed entirely. As far as the immigration policy goes, each country will act in its own interest. Even Indians won't approve if our jobs are taken by people from other countries. We do not even have a working visa status for non-Indians to work in India.(like H1B in US)

Sudhu said...

I dont agree with you at all. Attributing things to Natural instincts and doing nothing about it is equivalent to justifying it. It is also natural to have an ego, and people are blind many times when their takes over them, but we have to kill our ego to discern the right from the wrong.
as far as Indians not approving foreigners taking our jobs is concerned... It was mentioned in an article sent by you about the jobs in India stolen by the British Empire. We allowed them to do that, didnt we? Anyway, with the open markets now in place, we'll see how the immigration policy changes accordingly. It will take time.

Sudhu said...

If you have time read this blog Nandan. http://gindy.blogspot.com/2005/05/who-said-this-about-democracy-in.html#comments
The man writes 2 lines and gets 17 comments! Its about the Israel-Palestine issue. Pro-Israel to correct myself.