Friday, March 7, 2008

Advice: Retire back to home state if possible

I have always been fascinated by the insistence of Puneris and Chennaites to stay in that region under all costs. I am now beginning to understand why, given the recent events in Maharashtra. They want to stay there as they get preferential treatment there, at the cost of discrimination to other groups. And that might mean discrimination towards other groups from the same state too. Cobras and Debras in Pune constitutes the top of the totem pole, followed by Marathas and then "all others". You can answer a perfect engineering exam in Pune, but if the examiner is a Cobra and you are an "all others", you will get marks only deserving of "all others". (This is probably happening throughout India with many other majority or minority groups, in case other examples are flooding your mind right now)

The lesson to be learned here is that you can work and play anywhere you want, but you do want to retire in your native state, down to the exact native region. That does put Sindhis, Baluchis and other partition migrants in an awkward position. And if you are an ethnic Marathi in Belgaum, it might not hurt to eventually retire on the other side of the border.In a way, the blatant Indian discrimination and prejudice explain why Indians do well all over the world; training for coping up and overcoming discrimination begins at home and they are pretty good at advancing despite the odds stacked up against them. The stay home Puneris and Chennaites and Bengalurians do not do well "mentally" outside the country or state and always keep pining to go back home and frequently do. So there is a lesson to be learned from these silent but very effective discriminators, when they get their opportunities.

You might say that a couple of violent incidents in Maharashtra do not mean much. The incidents may be isolated, but the discrimination is pervasive. The only thing that seems to trump discrimination is corruption based incentives. Almost makes you think that corruption is a good thing for India; it plays out as a discrimination equalizing tax, even for doing legitimate business. With all the blatant discrimination playing out in India right now, corruption has never appeared so good.

To repeat the retirement statement, it is all about peace of mind. The looks of contempt and the subtle acts of discrimination can eventually wear you down. So make sure that you plan for a retirement in your native area in India, irrespective of whether you are Maharashtrian, Bihari, Keralite or Kannadiga. Of course, this applies only to retirement; you have to persevere and take the risk for your family and kids and your job. India is still a free, democratic country

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