Mera ‘Desh’ Mahaan
I respond by a “Majama” to “How are you”, ask my friends “Tumi ki Korchish” for “what are you doing” and dance to the tune of “Nakka Mukka” enthusiastically whenever it is played. None of these are my “home-state” languages; these are lessons and memories that my “Indian” friends have given me.
I belong to UP and have lived in various parts of Delhi NCR, and Mumbai in the past 5 years before I landed in Lucknow where I am currently pursuing my MBA degree. In these 5 years one thing that has remained constant is the ethnic and regionally diverse set of people I have come to know and the bonding that flows despite the so-called “State” differences. It is for this reason that I chose to counter an article on the same topic: http://insideiim.com/mera-state-mahaan/
The author has very aptly drawn attention to the rich diversity that we, as B-school students, are fortunate to encounter in these 2 years. But, in today’s day and age, this regional diversity is not limited to a B-School, it is evident everywhere- be it an engineering college like an IIT, a law school like NLS, an arts college like St. Stephen’s or any workplace. It definitely helps one appreciate different cultures and viewpoints that these diverse set of people bring with them.
It is this increasing diversity that makes me believe that the state boundaries are blurring- at least inside the walls of these institutions and corporate organizations. Sure there will be some staunch state-loyalists who belong to a particular state first and India later, but mostly I have seen an increasing open-ness.
The author has mentioned about exclusive discussion forums formed by different regional groups and solidarity basis on membership of those groups. I beg to differ. Sure there are practical benefits of such groups like coordination of travel plans etc. but beyond that I see no/very little “state-specific” solidarity. The reasons are simple – you can’t belong to “a” state because unless you belong to one of the metro cities and are fortunate enough to find your choice of education and career in your own city, you would have to move cities and states.
I could be a UP-ite by vitue of birth, a Delhi-ite by virtue of my education, a “Mumbaikar” by virtue of my short stint working there but I am none! I am an Indian, and I have friends from Kolkata, Punjab, Delhi, Mumbai who have all taught me different things. It is these people I fall back upon when I need any help, not the people who would be from my “State”.
These boundaries, if any, are washed away in the high tide of batch solidarity in B-Schools. When you pour on a case at 4 am in the night with a group of 6 people, you bond with them over much more than the state they belong to. In fact, one craves to know people beyond his known group of people-people from different parts of the country, who have a different view, a different perspective on issues. It ensures that there are healthy debates, opinions are discussed, new insights generated. That is the essence of peer learning, that’s the whole point of regional diversity.
After I graduate and go back to the corporate world, I will encounter another set of equally diverse people, like the ones I worked with over my past stints, and the whole team would sit and share “Khakhra” and “Dhokla” as enthusiastically as they would relish a plate of “Paneer Tikka” or “Appam” and I would again reiterate, “Mera Desh Mahaan”
(Theme picture source: www.ideasmakemarket.com)
This post is a formal entry for the InsideIIM Debate 2014.
Name: Swati Thakur
Institute: IIM Lucknow
Team name: Twisted minds
Team-mate’s Name: Reshal Jain