THE OUTSIDERS

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Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists thrash a North Indian driver in Mumbai during an agitation against "the outsiders" in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists thrash a North Indian driver in Mumbai during an agitation against “the outsiders” in Maharashtra.

ROBERT CLEMENTS

It is a word that disgusts me, ‘outsider’!

When someone’s been living in the country for generations, ever so often longer than the person who called him an outsider, and hears the taunt thrown at him or her, his blood boils!

Outsider? Why because someone worships God in a different way? Because his skin is lighter or fairer than yours? He speaks a different language?

What kind of people, use this offensive term?

Insecure ones.

I remember an incident that happened a month ago: A tenant in the colony I live in, decided to help out in the cricket tournament I’d got involved in. He was a youngster, but a management graduate and he used all his skills for the betterment of the event.

Normally I’d noticed that in forming the teams there was always a squabble to get a particular player who batted or bowled well.

This time it did not happen, because each captain was given five hundred points and with that they bid for the players.

There was order and discipline for the first time, and as the chairman I felt very happy, and congratulated the youngster.

But there were some who didn’t like his proximity to me, and also that his ideas had been used.

“We don’t want him to play in the tournament!” said one of the players.

“Who?” I asked.

“Many of us?”

“Why?”

“He’s an outsider!”

“Well look like some outside thinking made our inside tournament a bit more professional!” I laughed. “Look,” I said, “Do you agree that what he implemented has changed the game here?”

They nodded.

“So we benefitted?”

They nodded again.

“So if his thoughts and ideas have been taken, and made us stronger and surer, then how can you call the man an outsider. When you use him, and he enhances your activity, be it cricket or the city you live in he becomes an insider!”

If all the bakers belong to a particular community and all the traders to another, both are needed to make the city flourish. They both are insiders!”

I watch as a particular community cries itself hoarse that they are the insiders in Mumbai: Ah well, if those so called outsiders left, there would be no Mumbai left as each depends on the other to survive.

It is the weak and insecure who call people ‘outsiders’. They do it because they are not sure about their own competiveness and want others removed.

Instead of calling a person an outsider so you don’t have to compete with him, work hard, build muscle till you are equal or better.

There will be no outsiders after that.
All opinions and views expressed in columns and blogs are those of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Caravan

 

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