On any given sensible Sunday, the Indian response to immigrants would be “Welcome! We don’t have much. But whatever we have, we are happy to share with you. Together, we will try to build a stronger and more prosperous country.” But as things stand, it is not. Instead, we are fighting increasing amounts of selfishness and xenophobia from privileged classes.
These are people who have more than enough, but think that in order to prevent the possibility of losing a little of that, they are justified in calling for the murder and disenfranchisement of those who have a fraction of what they have. They think that they are India and no one else is, that those who have less than them, when they ask for more, are mounting a direct assault on their way of life, their culture, and their very existence.
Because they don’t have problems, they invent them. Someone doesn’t have food, and when they find out, they say, “So what? I also suffer because the name of my city is not what I want it to be. That too is suffering.” Someone is being hounded out of their neighbourhood because of their religion and when they find out they say, “So what? I also suffer because in this country of ten thousand temples, I want one more. That too is suffering.”
Such is their entitlement that the slightest relief granted to those who need help looks like theft to them. They think they deserve it all, and if anyone out there gets an extra morsel even, it is the sound of impending starvation for them. With such nobility amongst us, is it any surprise that we appear to have given generosity a pass altogether?
Our culture of welcome is dead. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is now (and perhaps always has been) just a feel-good phrase that we speak to make White people think we still have something resembling culture and civilisation.