The Congress Working Committee accepted the demand for separate statehood for Telangana this week, thus introducing the possibility of one more IPL team that no one will care about. This move has changed the fundamental nature of discourse in Andhra Pradesh, with people finally talking about something other than the soul-fondling awesomeness of Hyderabadi biryani.
Hyderabad will be the joint capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for the next ten years, making it the state’s most awkward love triangle since the time Shoaib Malik allegedly married the appetisers before the main course. After that, the capital will shift to wherever Saina Nehwal goes.
This news led to a renewed demand for other states. One of the first people to react was Shrimati Lord of The Andals Mother of Statues Behen Mayawatiji, who reiterated her demand for Mulayam U.P to be split into four. This is redundant, since U.P has already been split into different parts, all of which have moved to Mumbai. (They are Taxi Pradesh, Chaat Ki Dukaan, Jogeshwari and Amitabh Bachchan.)
The pro-Gorkhaland voices also got stronger, to which Didi responded by calling everyone’s mom a Maoist. Besides, the Gorkhas have already carved out a nice, separate place for themselves. It’s called the Indian Army.
The issue of statehood is complicated because with every new entity comes the burden of adding new regional stereotypes to our current list, which already runs longer than a riot hearing. But we’re up to it. Our previous achievements include branding everyone south of the Vindhyas as math teachers, which is ridiculous, because they’re nurses. Unless they’re men, in which case they’re moustache-farmers. In return, everyone north of the Lungi Dance Line is considered illiterate, a kidnapper, a thief or a buffalo-seducer. And if you combine all that, you get the average government.
Then there’s the half-joke that maybe India would work better as a collection of separate nations, like Europe. (Of course, if you want to feel European in Bombay, just buy drinks at a bar and you’ll automatically start using fancy European phrases like, “I am le sucker.”)
For the record, I’m not in favour of any splitting, because that’s the kind of opinion that draws thinly veiled sexual assault threats from politicians, and I much prefer threats that are fully veiled in accordance with Indian culture. But it is an interesting thought. South Bombay would work as England, because townie guys already look like Manchester United threw up on them. Himachal Pradesh is already Amsterdam, minus all that tulip nonsense. And you just know which state would be Germany. You can even hear the famous WWII slogan: Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Feku.
I don’t get the concept of regional pride. Sure, it makes sense that you would, by default, like the place that you were born in – even cockroaches must think that drains are amazing – but it’s weird to see people act superior based on nothing more than the fact that their ancestors hooked up within certain geo-political borders, their power and glory dependent on how much elaichi they sold to white people.
This is usually accompanied by a declaration of how proud they are to be from the same culture that gave birth to <INSERT NAME OF FAVOURITE WARRIOR/SAINT/JEDI MASTER> That’s just taking credit for someone else’s work. I was born in U.P, as was the legendary wordsmith, Premchand Baba Sehgal. This is true. But you don’t see me using that connection to cuss out other greats like Devang Patel, even though Patel Scope withers in comparison to the cosmic secrets nestled in the hymn, Baja Bana Ke Ban Gaya Raja Manjula.
Also, no one ever wants to acknowledge the mistakes from their community. You never see a Punju guy go, “PROUD TO BE SHERA! But sorry about Honey Singh. He fell into a vat of Rad Label as a baby and had to drink his way out.” If your veins are bursting with Mumbaikar pride, how about you also apologise for Riteish Deshmukh in Grand Masti? And if you’re from Gurgaon, just apologise for existing.
See, that’s the problem with regionalism. You’d spend most of your time just trying to sweep idiots under the carpet. It’d be easier if we just accepted that we’re all messed up, and focussed our energies on a common goal: Thanda Thanda Pani for President.
(Note: This is my HT column dated 4th Aug 2013.)