If you want to drive an auto-rickshaw in Mumbai, they don’t test you for your driving skill, or your politeness with passengers, but pass you if you know Marathi. If you want to send your child to school in the same city, parents have to produce a domicile certificate saying they belong not to this country, oh no, but to this state!
Yet, when Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel was under attack in 2008, a young commando named Major Sandeep, daringly entered the hotel to rescue men and women kept hostages by the terrorists. Sandeep was from Bangalore, he’d studied at the Frank Anthony school over there, had even been part of the school choir. But strange, as he entered Mumbai to do a job nobody else could do, not the local police, not the local politicians nor the local political party, nobody stopped him and asked him to show his domicile certificate. No politician, stood at the door of the besieged Taj Hotel and said, “Sir have you brought your domicile certificate?” No policeman shouted, “Hey he’s taking away my job!” Nobody told him, “Sir you cannot go in if you are not a son of the soil!”
He went in, rescued the captives, was shot by the terrorists and died.
Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan was part of the Special Action Group of the National Security Guards! He was a son of the soil wasn’t he? Which soil? The soil of India!
When we shout with firmness and conviction ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai!’ we are shouting for our beloved country! We are the sons of Indian soil, not Maharashtra, not Karnataka, not Punjab or Bengal, but India!
When our soldiers go to the border and fight, do people from those towns and villages tell them, “Go back, we will defend our borders ourselves!”
Oh no, the soldier from Tamilnadu, from Kerala defends the borders of Kashmir and vice versa when the situation so demands and they are all thought of as sons of the soil, even if they do not speak the local language!
In America you can move from Texas to New York and pick up a job without being discriminated against! Their constitution allows it! Ours does too, but politicians don’t like it. Like the British who used the ‘divide and rule’ policy, our political leaders do the same.
If I am an Indian, I am a son of the soil. India is my motherland, and I should be able to work, to study and live anywhere in the country with the same rights as my neighbour.
If Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan could die for Mumbai without a domicile certificate then why should I need a certificate to drive a rickshaw or pick up a job anywhere in the country?
India is my motherland, which makes me her son! Right?
(Published on 01th July 2019, Volume XXXI, Issue 27)