Monday, February 25, 2008

We the People

The last few days have been amazing when it comes to Abuse of Biharis.

First, The Entire Sons of Soil Vs Soiled Sons episode was enacted in various parts of the country.

Then yesterday, I heard the erstwhile landowner of the land on which our Apartment Complex was built - He also owns a substantial number of Apartments there - say that the Carpenters were urinating and Spitting Pan all over the place – “These Bloody Biharis…” were his exact words.

Incidentally, I am a Bloody Bihari (at least I am from the United States of Bihar and Jharkhand), doing very well, thank you, in Karnataka for the past 6 years, and within that, in Bangalore for the last three and a quarter years, bought a flat and all that. I am not Shah-Rukh-Khan-in-Lux-Ad when it comes to cleanliness, but yes I don’t go around spitting Maghai Pan (Incidentally Maghai comes from Magadha, the modern day Bihar) on staircases and street corners, nor do I expose myself in public and start urinating against walls. Obviously he got my goat. Now, if I was the violent sort and - to lend strength to another unfair generalization- Biharis are a violent lot, He would be in hell and I would be in Jail, which is one and the same thing. Thankfully, for both our sakes, I am not the violent sort. Not even verbally abusive, another generalized Bihari trait, Teri ma ki…

I had to explain to him, very politely, lest the animal (Hardly any Humans are born in my native state, if you go by the opinion of certain morons) in me came out, that being unclean and unhygienic was not geography dependant, but trait dependant – arguably geography defines certain traits, not all. To give him credit, he apologized. I am not sure, if it was to let sleeping lions lie. My recently acquired moustache and the fact that I had not shaved in days, or got myself a haircut, did make me look as if I belonged to Chambal. Incidentally Chambal is NOT IN Bihar, but he wouldn’t know the difference, otherwise he would have been in the IAS, which incidentally the Biharis crack, like they crack their fingers, daily. Bottom line, neither my look nor the fire in my eyes left him with enough Hing-in-his-backside (Any Bihari in his dreams can translate that into Hindi) to continue the conversation his way.

Then today again, in another conversation, the subject matter of Bihar (It’s quite popular as a subject of discussion if not otherwise) came up, this time, apparently the abilities of Biharis to get away with doing almost anything in Bihar. I tend to agree, except that we manage to do it even outside Bihar and not all of it we need to be, or are ashamed of.

But the most important point I want to drive home – home being the tender fat butts of these zealots who want to drive fundamentalist stakes right through the hearts of our founder fathers, is that, like it or not, the Biharis who are an imaginary threat to the imaginary jobs that you would have got if they were not around are doing very well, thank you very much and are here to stay. Therefore, stop fooling around with poor carpenters and cooks and taxiwallahs and hammals and coolies. Don’t grudge them their meager existence, and if those are the only positions you aspire to attain, the test has not been invented yet to test your IQ levels. I rest my case.

Incidentally, I work in a very cosmopolitan organization; there are Biharis there and Gujjus and Bongs, and UPites (who south of the Vindhyas are difficult to separate from the Biharis and you never know which one of them actually spit the Pan on the staircase wall!), we have the South Indians there too. All of us urinate. None on staircases and boundary walls.
All of us, outside of India, become Indians. In fact outside of India, even the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis are Indians, working as cooks and taxiwallahs and Software Engineers, the entire community, with its identical identity lives on, till such times that they are caught urinating against the imaginary walls erected on the platform of jingoism. Such walls deserve to be urinated against.

8 comments:

avdi said...

Good Post Prabhash!

We cant help certain associations with various culture-groups in India. Crazy Sardar, Mean Marwaris, Stingy Gujjus, Blasted Biharies, something Southie etc etc. But we have to be mature enough not to let some generalised reference turn into a deepseated prejudice and actually hurt people.

Good thing you brought the landlord up short.

Here's from a crazy sardarni (12 baje) to a bloody bihari..

Prabhash said...

Hey thanks.

Shyam said...

Nice post! Sarcasm in a well-written post always inspires admiration in me :)

Prabhash said...

Hey Shyam,

Good that you like it. Sometimes, more than the need to be heard is the need to speak out, thats what I try to do in my Blog.

Swayam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Swayam said...

hey damn cool article...kudos from another BLOODY BIHARI!

*Aham* said...

Yes Prabhash,

Am with you, completely. Its quite fanatical for people to brand a section of population, basis geography. Though yes, geographical elements do play a pivotal role in certain eating habits and some customs and traditions thats followed since generations. It definitely doesn't typify ones sanitary habits like pissing and spitting. A lot goes in upbringing... Though all of us forget this and go about making judgments about people.

Not only Sardars and Bihari's even We Tam Brahms face the brunt of it too. We have a very "cerebral" presence everywhere, which makes it a little difficult for surnames like "iyer" to make a mark in creative fields (no wonder Balakrishnan of Lowe and Director of Cheeni Kam calls himself "Balki").

Perception Breaking is a real scrupulous task.

smiles :-)

Aham (alias Harish Iyer)

Prabhash said...

:-)