December 16, 2012 12:49 am 21 comments __
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Identity is a word that is entangled with every walk of our life that creates more problem and crisis than solution. This fact we often ignore and thus invite problems. Even after the crisis is created we do not even realize that it is due to identity. It may be personal, regional, national or global.

Identity starts from personal or in other words individual identity. I as a person is important more for me than others and it only become important to others when this ‘I’ serves the purpose of another ‘I’. let us analyze I as person. I was born in a family with certain background, born and grew in certain geographical location, acquired certain qualification and skill thus am important enough to earn handsome amount either by helping or exploiting others. When the person starts thinking about this entire background, it shall either become selfish or selfless depending on how he operates and will cause pride and ego in him and in his behavior or may bring in him absolute politeness and modesty. Thus such development may thus bring either crisis or solution. Thus this identity may bring such crisis that he may have troubles within his family and environment creating problems for him with neighbors and even with his or her brothers and sisters.

Next to individual comes family. A family known for contribution in the past may command respect by many and many of the members of the family may take advantage of this reputation to acquire advantage in his favor without any contribution. Like individual too there is family ego which may lead to crisis. There are many well known families who are respected not because of their contribution but due to wealth and position and these family continue to dominate over others taking advantage of the situation. Those who betrayed India to support British during war of independence are continued to enjoy such status though they do not deserve. In fact Landlord or Zamindar families belong to such category who created crisis and problem than solution historically and continue to e so even today. They were supporters of British Raj during independence, exploited millions and after independence they continue to create problem socially. If bio-data of individual members of these families are analyzed it will be mostly disastrous without any culture. Partition of India was due to these people. Though normally believed it was due to communal divide, it was actually not so. The clash was between higher castes Hindu Zamindars of Bengal with Muslim subjects and Muslim Zamindars of Punjab with Hindu and Sikh subjects. Communal political parties could only exploit this situation to precipitate crisis ensuring miseries of millions of poor.

Next comes the social identity such as identity according to religious belief or caste or creed or ethnicity. We may deal each one separately. They may sometime overlap but by and large they are different. Indian subcontinent suffered historically due to religious identity as mentioned above. Not only that country was partitioned but we continue to suffer even today due to terrorism originated from this identity as innocents are killed by terrorists of different terrorist brands linked to different religions. But in addition we had to suffer due to ethnic identity. North Eastern India is the region that suffered the most due to ethnic strife such as Naga vs. Kuki, Manipuri vs. others and strife between different tribe of same group. This identity was noticed in Bangladesh too causing exodus of tribe like Chakma etc.

Linguistic identity, religious identity, ethnic identity or any other such problems often cause conflicts leading to different dimension and further crisis. In the year 1947 India was partitioned due to crisis of Religious identity. But within the new countries thus created there was conflict of several forms of identity crisis. In Pakistan, created due to Religious identity was ruled by Punjabi ethnic group and the rulers in order to keep power with them became tyrant. Democracy was systematically discouraged to deprive powers to larger linguistic group residing in Eastern part of the country. Finally it led to one of the worst genocide and finally leading to liberation of Bangladesh. The grievance of other linguistic and ethnic group in Pakistan continues even today being suppressed with the help of terrorists such as Taliban. Therefore religious identity failed in its experiment at least in our subcontinent.

In India too there is crisis of identity of various natures which influences political activities though it may not be visible in real form.  In spite of declaring India as secular Republic and making constitution accordingly with provision of equality, in practice it was different in political forum. Demolition of Babri Maszid and subsequent development such as communal riot in Gujarat with administration not only remaining mute spectators but also rulers participating in genocide led to formation of Government with communal identity contradicting constitution. Thus in political activities religious identity continue to dominate not only in one but in respect of all religions practiced in India. There are political parties contesting election identified with respective religions.

Conflict with other identity such as ethnic or caste or regional continues. All said and done due to advance in education amongst higher caste Hindus creating situation that this group continue to dominate. This was anticipated while drafting constitution and that was the reason reservation of job and even elected representative was made in respect of tribe and dalits. It did helped in bringing them up but not in totality. Those who are deprived amongst such backward communities there was grievance. Recent Maoist problem in various states are due to this ethnic identity though it did not reflect in documents.

Thus Identity crisis is a major crisis which we are ignoring. Until and unless the joy and sorrow is shared irrespective of identity of various kind it will remain so and will create problem. As first step all political parties must stop acting to divide the population according to the identity rather must take action to bring them together. In other words all communal, linguistic or ethnic political parties must be banned and only secular parties be allowed to contest. And next step must be to plan and implement development equally covering all. With formation of such human India we shall have developed South Asia. We may someday think of producing Muslin with cotton from Pakistan spun in Bangladesh and woven in India.


G. K Ghosh: Born in the year 1948 in a well known Bengali family domiciled in Odisa.   Presented over 40 papers in Anthropology in Indian Science
Congress. Retired as Joint Chief Executive Officer of Khadi & Village
Industries Commission, an autonomous body of Government of India
serving rural poor. Authored over 50 books of various subjects. After
retirement he was made Chairman of a committee formed by Ministry of S
& T for three years.

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