• Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 05:30

Chitra Subramaniam| March 16, 205| 4.20 pm IST

(Comment)

We are all outsiders.

All too often politicians and their factotums make comments that come back to haunt them. Sexist, racist, misogynist or sometime plain stupid comments have been pouring out fast and furious in India at a time when what the country needs is jobs and more jobs.

On today’s menu is a question by a Bangalorean asking outsiders to leave. We have heard this from Mumbai and Calcutta recently and if this type of discourse is not nipped in the bud, all of India will be soon telling the rest of India to leave. It is time to look at the bhoomiputras and putris or “sons of the soil” construction to ask ourselves – who is an outsider?

Is it someone who does not speak your language and takes your job? Or is it someone willing to do all the dirty work that you are unwilling to do as is the case in many parts of the world where immigrants are assigned jobs local citizens will not do? Or is it someone who invests in your state i.e. bring in the money? There is no standard answer or recipe for this one and The News Minute (TNM) believes there cannot be one.

Would it help if we asked the question from the other side – who is an insider? Is it a native an expat or an immigrant? Common to the last two is employment. As for the natives, we know the fate of the native populations in many countries that were decimated to accommodate the conquerors.

For as long as we know, people have moved around the world in search of opportunities. Hundreds of years ago this was trade and gunboats. Today education, employment and to a smaller percentage family reunions have joined that list. The outsider argument also falls flat in the face of millions of refugees who seek life away from the claws of dictators and despots.

Yes, Albert Einstein was a refugee as were millions of others. Among them was a seafarer who landed in the new consistent which was mistaken to be India but turned out to be the United States of America. Similar strains of outsiders and insiders can be found in Europe where many economies are in a trough and the easiest person to blame is the one who looks different and cannot speak the local language.

Families from all around India have settled in Karnataka (formerly the Mysore State) for three if not four generations and much more. How new is old and how old is old? If outsiders have to leave, then all the outsider companies creating jobs and generating revenue for the state should also leave. You cannot be half-pregnant.