Why is it that in India, we still get questioned as to what state we are from, what religion we belong to, and what are our personal beliefs?

If one searches India Wikipedia, one will come across India’s description as a “secular federal republic since 1950, governed in a democratic parliamentary system, it is pluralistic, multilingual, and multi-ethnic society”.

In India, if one has longed for good value-added higher education from primer institutes, has prepared and passed the competitive exams, has gotten in on merit, finished the course, gotten a degree, and has subsequently been placed by the college in a good company and has finally entered the corporate world, they would know that this is not the end but the beginning of series of questions that one is asked about why they are in a particular state, city, etc.

Just as most migrant workers are objected to, as has been the case and seen in some particular states, the fact is that many migrate from their home state to another state and cities in search of better prospects in terms of education and jobs.

But imagine if every day in your life you are reminded of the fact that you do not belong to the particular state that you might have migrated to because of a job opportunity or because of any other reason.

The point is, does it matter why we are in a different state than the state that we belong to?
The last time I checked, we are still one country, one nation, a democracy, a country with 29 states and seven union territories.
A country that is as intricately different in terms of villages, districts, regions, states and so on, but largely we are still one country with people belonging to other religions, regions, castes, etc.; but are root is the same we are clubbed together as one people belonging to one nation called India

However, it is ironic that despite the constitution giving us all equal rights and terming us as citizens of one country, we are so divided in our thought process and in the way we treat people who are seemingly different from us.

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In recent years it has been seen that India and the people of this country are operating in a manner that is close to denying that other states and people from different regions exist and have the right to be anywhere, in any part of the country they desire to be for any reason.

Why is it that people belonging to another state are asked questions as to why they might be in a particular state? What is the reason behind their presence? What are their religious beliefs?
And suppose the reason for the same is perhaps education or a job; in that case, it almost draws a response which is close to cockiness and a sense of pride – do you not have education opportunities and institutes in your state that you had to come to our state?

If you answer the query with “the company I work for is based out of this particular state and the city,” the answer has the potential of drawing cold stares that almost mean that you are eating into our jobs and employment opportunities.

What has happened to this country, that despite being from the same country, we are frowned upon if we happen to be in another state and city that is not our origin?

We have seen similar dialogues and episodes of regional and communal hue in many instances, even if you are well known and recognized in the media and social platforms.
It does not matter; if such mega personalities can be questioned, then us mere mortals have it even more difficult in the ordinary course of life.

Why is our country so divided? Our thought process is equally sadistic. We discriminate and question our own brothers and sisters, our own fellow citizens, and why they might be present in a particular state and region.
It is ironic because when we fought for our independence from the Britishers, we fought as one nation.

We did not fight as different states longing for freedom but as one nation.
Even in these times where we have advanced so much in technology, education, economy, etc., we are still hung on the small matters like which region and state one belongs to.
God forbid if you do not speak the language or understand the region’s dialect and state you find yourself in. The harassment and the cold stares that one is subjected to are equivalent to climate change and global warming.

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So what if we are fighting the Covid -19 pandemic as a nation? If you are from another state and region, then one jolly well has no right to be out of the state of their origin.
As if one is the carrier of the coronavirus, a virus that is looking for a host equivalent to someone who has migrated from his state or region to another, for whatever reason.

Why is it that we are answerable to people who are from one country? Why do we have to justify and legitimize our presence in a different state or region other than where we come from?
Is it a political theme? Well, for once, it can be said that politics has very little to do with it; it is the mindset of the people who have been taught from generations that your heritage is this particular region or language. There is nothing wrong in knowing where you come from and your roots, but if this becomes the basis of discrimination and questioning the people who ultimately belong to the same nation despite our diversity and languages, it is sad indeed.

Our constitution is one of the most liberal, detailed, and accepting of diversity, whether it is religion or otherwise, yet we as people of the same country treat each other as foreigners.
If you do not belong to the state that you might find yourself in, whatever might be the reason, you do not have enough credibility to be there.

It is not only tiresome; it is also without merit and absolutely against our very grain. We got independence as one nation that valued its diversity no matter how much the outer forces tried to break us. Still, it is saddening to see that we have succumbed to state-wise – discrimination in today’s times.

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