Monday, February 11, 2008


"The art of thinking independently together" - Malcolm Forbes

Diversity is now a commonly used synonym for multiculturalism. This concept talks of an inclusive society (or workplace) where people from varied ethnicities and beliefs live in harmony.

In my dealings with numerous organizations based out of the US, one thing that has caught my attention is the huge number of posters claiming the organization’s diverse workforce. Couple of times, I had to attend a ‘diversity workshop’ as a mandate before dealing with them. However, as an Indian, I strongly believed that I should be excused from another such workshop. My passport is proof of my tolerance.

India has more than 150 languages! And that’s not talking about dialects… And She has more than 10 different religions (again not counting sub-denominations). Never, ever have I worked in an organization or lived in a locality that didn’t have at-least three different religions and about 10 different languages. I am a Catholic from Kerala, brought up around the country. My wife is a Bengali from Benaras, brought up in Delhi. More often than not, my best friends were neither Catholics nor Malayalis. Ditto for my wife, my sisters, our parents. So, why is it that someone in my country refuses to let another work in his/her city?

Found an interesting piece of news here. It says that the US should learn diversity from India.

Is it enough to be content that: “In only 60 years and with 14 Prime Ministers, India has already elected a staggering variety of chief executives - from a Kashmiri Pandit to a Punjabi Sikh, India has seen a UP Thakur and Jat, an Andhra Brahmin, a Punjabi Khatri, a Karnataka Gowda, and a half-Parsi, half-Brahmin pilot, among others at the helm.”

Well, that article says a lot about our political diversity. But please understand that these leaders were made by politicians and not by the people. Did I ever want a V P Singh or a Deve Gowda to be my PM? Hell no! And at the same time, we have people in Assam, Mumbai, and other parts wanting ‘outsiders’ to go back! The state machinery waited a full 10 days before filing an FIR in Mumbai. And it is anyone’s guess as to the outcome of that. I am led to think that diversity in India is more of an accident than a choice!

MY constitution gives me the right to live in ANY part of MY country. No man/woman or political party has the right to question that. I was not a cynic, but some of my perverted fellow countrymen are succeeding in making me one.

But there is one thing that I will take with me to my grave. And that is my identity as an Indian. An Indian who doesn’t just believe in diversity, but has lived his entire life in it.

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