69 years

There is great jubilation on Independence day, amplified by the advent of social media, especially Facebook which now even lets you update the world on how you are celebrating Independence day.

Being an Indian brings with it its own roller coaster of ups and downs.
I feel pride in the laurels of my country and in the great personalities it has managed to produce from the most unexpected of settings. Singing the national anthem and listening to patriotic songs gives me goosebumps and a sense of great patriotism.

But then I am more often than not shaken out of this patriotic stupor by the ground reality of it all.
Being from a state like Manipur has meant that my sense of belonging to India is rather offset by a flicker of alienation. No matter how many years I spend on the 'mainland', somehow I feel like I am seen as an outsider. No matter how many years I spend wandering the streets of Delhi, the vendors and autorickshaw drivers and the hostel wardens will still hike up their rates when it is an outsider like me.

Skipping to today, while the country celebrates its 69 years of independence, my people have taken to the streets to demand the introduction of the Inner Line Permit in Manipur. While I may not agree with their point of view, it still pains me to hear their chants of protests and their tussle with the state police who retaliate with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Somewhere along these 69 years of 'independence', something has gone terribly wrong. Somehow minorities have been made to feel threatened enough for them to start demanding for some sort of protection.


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