Where will they belong to?

Day 2 of the Write Tribe Festival is here and today we are answering a question.

Well, if you must know S and I have had a love marriage. He’s from the north of India while I’m from the east. So that brings us at the receiving end of a lot of jibes and questions. And I’ll make an effort to answer one such question today.

Which part of India will our children, whenever we have them, belong to and what traditions will they follow? Will they celebrate Durga Puja or Diwali? Will they be from Uttar Pradesh or Assam? Who will my children be?

I have been asked these questions or several variations of these questions ever since S and I tied the proverbial knot!

But before I answer the question or questions let’s delve a little into the strong question of regionalism that sadly exists in India. Something that I have noticed and lived with ever since I realized what it meant. And it all began with me being looked upon with questioning glances because I lived an grew up in the North East.

You know the sad part is that instead of acknowledging our identity as Indians, most of us, including me at times, are more eager to establish our identities as north, south, east or west Indians. And that’s where the problem lies. That’s where a lot of discord arises from. Don’t get me wrong, India is a great country. But the underlying current of regional chauvinism is also very much pertinent here. I don’t know whether it exists in other countries but having born and brought up in India I’ve grown to believe that regionalism is one of the biggest social problems that we face today. That is perhaps the reason why maybe people ask me these questions. Because otherwise isn’t it understood that they will be good human beings belonging to India and the world? Isn’t that more important than being an XYZ Indian?

I’m a Bengali but I’m not fanatical about being one.  I believe in my identity as a person and not as being a Bengali. More multi dimensional you see. Makes sense? Not that I don’t love the Bengali Culture. Of-course I do but I don’t hold partisan views about everything Bengali. 

Culture, one that is developed and peaceful, in my view is something that doesn’t restrict us to one region, language, religion or traditions. Don’t you think so too? It saddens me that to this day, whether it is in a family, a social circle or a city, an Indian from any other part of the country is made to feel inferior or unwelcome. That is my problem with zealous regional chauvinists.

So to answer the questions we will raise our children to be people who don’t do so to others and more importantly who are not affected by such petty mentality.

They will be people who will not get caught up in the trivial matters concerning region or traditions. Just like S and I, they will belong to every part of India and decide for themselves what and how they want to celebrate any festival. We will not force down any traditions on them. They will be raised to make those decisions for themselves. Cosmopolitan, I believe is the word I’m looking for. Well, at-least that’s what we intend and will try to do.

You know when S and I got married somewhere we believed, and we still do, that it was one small yet important step towards reuniting this nation. And I still feel the same when any acquaintance follows suit.

It’s not easy because we have been brought up differently and our traditions are different. But we have discovered that the base, the basic idea of the kind of humans we need to be is the same regardless of where we were brought up or what our mother tongue is. That is what we wish to give to our children. We are happy to belong to India and the World as a whole and that’s what we wish for our children too. It might sound preachy but it’s true. I know it will be like walking a tightrope but I think it will all be worth it at the end of the day.

Tell me did I make any sense at all to you?

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I’m taking part in the Write Tribe Festival and you can read more posts here.

18 thoughts on “Where will they belong to?

  1. I read somewhere – in India when u marry somebody, u marry their family! N that's exactly why these questions arise! Maybe when pan-India marriages become the norm, it'll be a happier place to live in

  2. How about telling them that your children will embrace both cultures and instead of just allowing them to choose, make them feel they belong to both. My dad was Indian, my mother is from Singapore. We embraced both cultures. Thank goodness no one asked my parents such a question.

  3. That was so true and impressive. I wish everyone thought like this and then India would have developed at a much greater pace than what's now, rising above all regional discrimination.

  4. Isn't it rather sad that we still need to do this. But sometimes our cultures within the same country are so different, it's hard not to do, no? I'm sure you'll work it out.

  5. Valid Qns.
    Sad but true… But, we have to answer & face the challenges & solve issues.
    We are strong, just like India is…Huge appetite to accept into its fabric.

  6. I am sure in time your kids will give perfect answer to anyone who asks them this question, and that would be that they belong to India 🙂 I am quite hopeful that with all the turmoil and questioning of conventions that we see in present-day India a greater respect for diversity and difference will prevail in the times to come. Such questioning is always the starting point for a more harmonious tomorrow. A good post, Naba!

  7. It is sad that despite the 'modern' times we live in, our mental make-up is still so outdated. Why there is a need to ask such a question. Why this regional biasness and discrimination?

  8. Most of us, and surprisingly most males, hold this partisan view of being Bengali, Marathi, Tamil or Gujrati..India can develop much faster and in a better way if we behave as only INDIANS.

  9. Let me start from the end, Naba. Yes, everything you said made sense. And to be honest, you hit the nail right on the head. Bring them up to be people. Where they are from matters less than how they are as human beings and how tolerant they are. 🙂

  10. Absolute perfect sense Naba. This thing about regionalism needs plenty of thought – or perhaps, in the reverse, much less thought than it gets. My husband and I are both from the North. But we've been in the West now for almost two decades. The other day my daughter said 'mama I'm a Maharashtrian, na?' and I was a bit unsettled. Then I realised she was right – she is one and maybe my Husband and I are too. So we're both Maharashtrians and UPites and that's just so wonderful. If only people would stop obsessing about the whole thing!!

  11. Made perfect sense, Naba. We should start using Indian more than north indian, south indian divisions. After all, all are just humans. What is there to boast off about cultural supremacies? Well written post.

  12. You always make sense to me, dear Naba. I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. We are all one and dividing ourselves based on region makes no sense to me at all.

  13. I liked the way you have presented your thoughts, its makes a lot of sense… despite that when it comes to children… it becomes challenging especially when the families start interfering and taking sides… its a common in our country, splly in love marriages, when the children comes, suddenly the man feels a strong sense of belonging to his community, and his family plays a great role in naming the children, choosing the religion etc…. I pray that you don't have to struggle with these issues, but bring up children to respect and accept both the regions and cultures

  14. I did make a lot of sense. It is time that every one in the country becomes an Indian rather than XYZ Indian. And I appreciate what you said about letting the kids choose for themselves.

  15. Totally agree with you Naba. My hubby and I didn't even give it much thought. Our kid would be Indian, celebrating all festivals, respecting all religion 🙂 All this north south east west khitpit is too much to handle 🙂

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