No dividing line: Why North and South India are bound together in their love for anarchy
From rioting over godmen to crowding outside hospitals, there is no difference between North and South India.
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India is a land of great contradictions.
In theory, it's one nation created by stitching together several constitutionally birthed states and union territories. A country where over 1.2 billion people all live together peacefully as a big happy family. However, in reality, it is anything but.
Divided by the invisible lines of creed, caste, colour, culture and language, India, much like its people, is held together by its love for the one true God – anarchy.
Though we like to delude ourselves into believing that we are inherently easy going people, united by our love for peace, the ugly truth is that from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, we are a nation of intolerant and violent people who at the drop of a hat are ready to bring entire cities to halt with our propensity for violence.
File photo of DMK chief M Karunanidhi (Photo: PTI)
Case in point, the saga that's currently being played outside Kauvery Hospital in Chennai.
Tamil Nadu, seems to be on the burner as thousands of followers and party cadres have gathered around the hospital to express their support for the ailing 94-year-old Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader, M Karunanidhi. However, with their love looking likely to turn chaotic any time, the state machinery has been put on high alert to contain any breakout of trouble in the city.
DMK leaders too have appealed to party cadres and supporters to not lose calm. However, the fact is that if rumours of the Tamil leader's health deteriorating do end up coming true, it will be very difficult to prevent the law and order situation in the city from breaking down.
The latest saga being played out in the streets of Chennai, however, isn't the first of its kind. The city, as well, as the state is used to living through such scares.
It happened before when AIADMK's J Jayalalithaa succumbed to a cardiac arrest in December 2016. Though Chennai largely managed to pull through the loss without any major clashes between Amma's followers and the city police, the state did reportedly suffer the loss of 203 men and women who immolated themselves after hearing of the news of Jayalalithaa's death.
Then there was the violence during pro-jallikattu protests which left Tamil Nadu burning for weeks. More recently, anti-Sterlite protests claimed 11 lives after police clashed with protesters in Tuticorin.
Add to the mix Bengaluru's mass molestation horror from December 31, 2017, Kerala's never-ending love affair with communal violence, and Andhra Pradesh's Kapu quota stir from 2016, and one thing is clear that such incidents of mindless violence are not only limited to Tamil Nadu alone but are part of life in Southern India.
Followers of Gurmeet Ram Rahim pelt stones at security forces after his conviction. (Credit: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters)
Not just a North Indian problem
Now let me make one thing clear.
This is not an attempt at calling out southern Indian states for such indulgence of mindless violence. Not even close.
Like, I've said before, we as a people love anarchy, and as such its only natural for people from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and other southern states to every now and then express their displeasure in the most unthinking of ways. Afterall, as North Indians will attest, bringing law and order machinery down to its knees, and subjecting entire cities to senseless violence for something as trivial as the arrest of a godman is a thrill that has no parallels.
As such, the only aim here is to show that despite the barriers of culture and language, South and North India, are truly not that different.
It is to show that attempts by many from the southern states to distance themselves from "unruly North Indians", and similar attempts from those in the north, are futile and counter-productive, as, at the end of the day, our love for mayhem binds us together like nothing else does. The sooner we accept this, the better it would be for all of us.