This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Shubham Mishra. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Opinion: Are We Inching Towards ‘Nativist’ Politics Under The Guise Of ‘Nationalism’?

More from Shubham Mishra

The aims and ambitions behind writing this article are either still not so clear in my mind, or I am hesitating to write on it, because the topic which I am writing on is very explosive. The only evidence for this relies on the fact that I can be attacked or beaten in public by locals, even if I think about it. The first argument or accusation I have to face is that I am complaining about the land and its people, who have been feeding me and my family for more than 27 years. But the truth exists only to be exposed.

Mentioned above is a scenario which I can assume, is not by people who really want good for the state, and want to see it flourish along with the development of people from all the sections of society. Rather, it is by people who just want a single unnecessary illogical argument so as to create an issue on the so-called word ‘outsider’. Let me take you somewhat closer to the issue on which I am writing. It is on existing ‘provincialism’ or we can say ‘nativist politics‘ in disguise of ‘nationalism’. I am not an economist or strategist, but being aware of our surroundings, I can feel that everything is not good from the government’s side.

The Incident That Got Me Thinking

Right now I am employed as a technical trainer in a skill development academy which is in contract with a reputed automobile manufacturing plant in Gujarat. Here, my team and I deal with various candidates who come here to enroll themselves in a scheme started by the government which provides a platform for people who want to develop some skills in order to empower themselves for self-employment. Candidates, after getting enrolled, are called as ‘trainees’. They come from different states, and the farthest candidate we met was from Meghalaya. They are trained here for a year or two and reside locally for the time being.

The problem I am talking about does not occur frequently, but whenever it happens, it takes an ugly turn each time. Almost always, the issue was raised by locals over petty issues, and the mindset that is present is, “How can an outsider talk to me like that?” Here, I would like to mention that this is not as per a belief that each time, the mistake was of the locals only. Even if it was a mistake committed by an ‘outsider’, one cannot just go and beat them up. If anyone really has some problems with someone who has recently shifted there, the police are always there to help. The important thing is, even the law has not given anyone such authority to just beat anyone up, simply because they are from a different place. When you cannot do that even with a foreigner, then how can you do this to an Indian citizen” A difference can be clearly seen between a simple quarrel over a petty issue and the rage of ‘discrimination’, or I can say jealousy of that person from outside the state. I hope the incidents of public thrashing of northeastern residents in places like Delhi and Mumbai were not unknown to you.

Let me remind you of a recent incident which compelled the feeling of regionalism and gave nativist politics a chance to spread its fangs into the ‘social fabric’ of Gujarat. The case is related to the rape of a 14-month-old girl by a native of Bihar after which public anger erupted against labourers from UP and Bihar. Due to violent incidents across western Gujarat against the migrants of UP and Bihar, people started fleeing from the state. Before describing my conclusion about this incident, I want to tell you the truth about societies in Gujarat. The following conclusion is not based on the locality in which I live, but it is based on the bonding between people where my friends live. Societies in Gujarat are the most cooperative, internally. Yes, it is true, similar to other communities, that they give preference to their own community, but they also help people from different communities with the same love, affection, and enthusiasm. The root cause of the problem, I feel, is those people’s mentality, who are brainwashed by some leaders, who think that people who are not native to Gujarat are ‘outsiders’ and they are eating up ‘our’ jobs and opportunities.

I feel it is definitely not wrong to say that Gujarat is a business-oriented state. People here think of expanding themselves and their outreach is more for that in society, more than indulging themselves in unnecessary topics. I strongly feel that the rape case was just an excuse for fringe elements to start an issue, and probably got some pay from their notorious political masters. A criminal somewhere is a criminal everywhere, or I should say, that the wrongdoing of a single person belonging to a certain community does not make the whole community culpable. It may happen that this community itself is fighting the same issue.

After the rape incident, yes, anger was in the minds of people, but it was not that anger which we saw on the streets of some parts of Gujarat. The violence, which happened in the backdrop of the crime against the innocent migrant workers from Bihar and UP and some from MP, who worked in the nearby factories, was just a trial by fringe elements to take political advantage of the crime, and nothing else. As far as people are concerned, they only want the culprit of such a heinous crime to be hanged as soon as possible, and I can undoubtedly say that the same feeling was there in the hearts of the people from the culprit’s community too. Seeing violence against innocent people, the question that arises here is, aren’t people from the culprit’s community also humans? What if the same crime happened with their child, and it was done by a local Gujarati? Then, in such a circumstance, would we have blamed the same migrant community just because they happened to be there when it happened?

A criminal does not have any community or religion or state. A criminal is a criminal, whether they belong to UP or Bihar, and reside in Gujarat, or whether they belong to Gujarat and reside in UP or Bihar. The people who carried out violence should be asked a simple question: where were they when any rape incidents happened in Gujarat by locals previously? Was there any incident where people from a certain community were beaten up, just because one of them committed a heinous crime? Is there really a difference between the culprits of such a heinous crime, and so a question needs to be asked about where they belong? Is a rapist any less of a culprit if they come from a certain state? Of course not. Again, I would like to say that a culprit is a culprit, and nothing else, whether he is from Gujarat, UP, MP or Bihar.

Who Is An ‘Outsider’?

Now, why do outsiders come here? This is a somewhat common question shared by people who also think ‘what can we do if the state is not generating employment?’ Why they are taking our jobs? Why they are using our resources? I would say it is natural because we are being made to think like that by regional political parties and similar entities, who do not have any political base other than a specific region. To mislead people, to create tension, to raise an issue of zero importance, to put a crowd in unnecessary aggression and convert it into a mob, these are their doings, and they know nothing other than this. I think such problems are aggravated due to one more reason, and that is educated public coming in the trap laid by such people. ‘Hazaar baar jhoot bolne se vo sach nahin ban jaata’ (a lie told a thousand times doesn’t become the truth) is a famous line in TV serials and films many times, but this is unfortunately true for the real world, and especially the world of politics.

Actually, there is nothing like an ‘insider’ or ‘outsider’. Constitutionally speaking, Article 15 ensures that no one can discriminate on the basis of caste or place of birth. The Constitution, the law, and other such ‘national entities’ want us to live with cooperation and brotherhood in society everywhere. As far as coming to a different state and working and living is concerned, it is in both, the fundamental rights and freedom of individuals, to move to any corner of the country to work or to live. Now, you will say that this will harm the local people, but I ask how? Is an increasing population a problem in your local area only? Is the uneven distribution of resources a problem only in your local area? Is shrinking living space in a state of 6 crore people a problem just because of thousands of migrating citizens? Why can’t locals understand that people from different states are not ‘foreigners’ but they are the citizen of India, just as they themselves are? ‘Outsider’ is a word which we do not even use for the Britishers, who looted India when they visit us today. If we can address them with respect, how can we, shamefully, call our own people ‘outsiders’?

“Unity Makes Strength”

Now, giving priority to the requirements of the locals, what do they want? They want peace, right? They want their business to flourish more, isn’t it? They want their country to be strengthened internally, isn’t it? Now, peace will come from law and order, and the police are there for everyone. Businesses will flourish with more customers. “Unity makes Strength” is a quote which our children learn in the 5th or 6th standard, so why can’t we understand it now also?

Communal, regional and local tensions don’t exist automatically but are produced by quarreling over petty issues, and just not understanding that there is someone else present who can take advantage of our fight, and that the third one is the real enemy of the state. The philosophy behind this is very simple, that Gujarat is not only for Gujaratis, instead, but it is also for Indians who live in this country. Similarly, Maharashtra is not only for Marathis, but it is also for Indians. If we will remain united, India will exist, if not, then we will become India’s worst enemy.

Whether I belong to UP or MP is a secondary thing. The most important is that it in my birthplace, if I or any other person from any state is living and earning there, then surely we will be providing some revenue to the state. I can’t stand to see any scoundrel sowing seeds of enmity among different communities living happily under India’s social fabric. I love my community, I love my society, I love my state, and because I love my country, I’m even ready to die for it while solving any doubts like this. If communities, societies, and states will remain united, then, and only then, can our country move forward, and eliminate all those things which drag our nation towards the darkness of violence and war. This is a duty of the utmost importance for all of us. So, here I conclude this article, and will proudly say “yes it (India) is mine!

Featured Image For Representation Only
You must be to comment.

More from Shubham Mishra

Similar Posts

By Richa Tyagi

By Imran Khan

By Balkrishna Patil

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below