Slum Dog…..Gosh! I am really finally exhausted by reading all these news reports of and controversies following the much applauded film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. And, I really want it to be out my head. I am telling you …

Suddenly our ego is getting hurt…because we can’t connect with the film? Or, because, we don’t want to accept the reality that it is part of our dear country, or we know but we just want to escape from the truth!

Take it or leave it.

But, the Truth is slums are part of our major towns. The Truth is that Dharavi is the biggest slum in Asia. The truth is there people live in real subhuman conditions.  Truth is also that most of the people objecting to this and also staying physically near to this area have never looked beyond the tainted window panes of their cars. They have neither felt a sniff value of the place as their cars being comfortably air conditioned. And, the Truth is whatever shown in the film is truth and nothing but the Truth.

The fact that movie is not about India. Movie is just about this slum dweller who is also a human being.. Story is about penetrating his psychology and find out what all goes in there for him to evolve what he is finally.

But, why we are so embarrassed?

I just read yesterday a music director of our Bollywood was ashamed while being in New York as ‘slumdog’ becoming slang for Indians.

But tell me one thing. Doesn’t one Indian call another by some slang? Each community thinks it is better than the other community. Here are few examples of how we call each other names with derogatory undertones. (These are not my personal views about various communities, but fact how and why so some people think they should call each other this way.)

Bihari -people coming from state Bihar perceived as ambitious.

Bhaiya – Coming from UP. They think all people from UP are bhaiyas or ‘dhoodwalas’, sabzi walas

Biharis and UP wale are thought of as cheap labor coming to Maharashtra to take away the job of inhabitants.

Jaat – from Haryana. People call somebody a Jaat for ones coarse behaviour.

Ghati – Non – Maharashtrans feel good by calling their Marathi comrades so.

Ambedkar or Dalit or etc. – Cast specifics people use for people who they thing don’t deserve basic respect and dignity as human beings. Yes, this untouchability (though invisible) still exists to its fullest.

Panju – Punjabis perceived as smart and hedonists, notorious for spreading their Punjabi culture.

Gujju – Gujratis are called so for their typical way of talking, businessman ship.

Madrasi – all those coming from South India are termed as Madrasi, which is quite offending to others who are not from Madras and also to those who are from Madras.

Chinki – North eastern people for their different oriental looks.

Sardar ji – Many people feel good thinking they’ve got more brains than those with the turban. And that’s how all those jokes of Santa & Banta.

There could be many more. But the big question is, why we call each other like that? Why we look down upon others and feel good about it?

Is it all about being humans? Isn’t it satisfying to our egos? Isn’t it a way to tell ourselves that we are better off? Does it give some kind of security that we are not in their place?

Oh is that that what’s hurting here? Yeah…I know…don’t accept somebody giving name to me, while I can call others names.

We first should expurgate our own vocabulary from all the racist terminology and then we can expect outsiders from calling us things.

Till then may we must say, “Slum dogs, surely, why not?”

“Do to others what you would have them to do to you.” – Jesus


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