Tuesday, September 22, 2020
News, analysis and commentary by UBC Journalism students


The great divide that brings us together

By Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra What divides us in today’s ‘global’ world? The obvious replies tend to be race, religion, nationality,…

By Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra , in Blogs Global Perspective on Politics , on February 6, 2008

By Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra

What divides us in today’s ‘global’ world?

The obvious replies tend to be race, religion, nationality, caste, and creed.

What if two individuals belong to the same race, religion, nation, caste and creed? What can further divide them?

How about the place of living? Well, for argument sake, I am from British Columbia (BC) and you are from Ontario, so you are “different”. Does this “difference” mean you have no right to be in BC or have ties back to Ontario?

That’s precisely the question India faced the past week when a politician from the central state of Maharashtra, Raj Thackeray, questioned the work being done by a leading Bollywood actor in his northern home state, Uttar Pradesh.

Mumbai city in Maharashtra is home to the Indian film industry, commonly referred to as Bollywood.

The actor, Amitabh Bachchan announced his plans to open a girls’ school in Uttar Pradesh. Thackeray wasn’t happy. “Are there no girls in Maharashtra”, the politician questioned. Within moments, his ‘party workers’ were out on the streets, targeting Bachchan’s house and assaulting ‘migrants from north’ on Mumbai streets, stating they had no right to be in Mumbai.

Media and politicians from different parties were quick to denounce Thackeray’s comments and started a nationwide debate about “belonging”.

All Thackeray, an admirer of Hitler, was trying to do was – get attention for his party he founded a couple of years ago. He did get it and a police complaint against him.

Like in my previous post, What’s violence chasing in Kenya? , I looked at how political aspirations have led to violence on ethnic divide.

Politicians always find fissures that seemingly divide us. Erase one and you find another one. Then you use that divide to bring people together, as a vote bank.