THE LIGHT OF ANDAMANS | ISSUE 10-11 | 09 SEPTEMBER 2011
Ode to Mini
By Abu Arsh
Our islands since its colonization by the British has developed a society where in people of all class, creed or colour live in perfect harmony. Credit for its genesis goes to the early penal settlers and convicts. The degree of nationalistic pride in them led to a unique language of communication. Its prose lacks grammatical sense but is easily understood by one and all residing in these
Islands. Its simplicity and use of words from majority of Indian languages, makes a new entrant to island's society pick up this language in no time. This language has bonded us together since ages and is truly reflected in our melting pot of a culture society.
Politics, lure of economic opportunities and corruption have created avenues in the islands society wherein divisive elements have mushroomed. The sheer power of sacrifices and sufferings endured by our forefathers has contributed in setting up this pluralistic but cohesive society. It has taken a lot to achieve this and should be valued and preserved. Its citizens so far have thwarted all attempts of religious or linguistic polarisation even in the wake several disturbing developments occurring at times. The present crops of young and educated islanders are carrying on the legacy inherited from the founders of these islands 'society with great aplomb. They hang around in peer groups irrespective of their religious backgrounds or other identities. Any social occasion is the time for the entire neighbourhood to get involved and contribute in the celebration. Social networking sites where some of the islanders indulge to communicate with their friends and families or present constructive ideas and even fool around were abuzz with activity. As in the past, this festive season showed great character by members of these sites. Hindus were the first to wish Muslims on Eid, Christians and Muslims were the first to wish Hindus on Janmastami or Ganesh Chaturthi and like wise of other communities too. Some members on far away lands in their posts came up with great recollection of their child hood memories, irrespective of religious identities how they celebrated each others festivals in these Islands. Going through those exchanges gives a feeling of pride being part of such a harmonious society.
The simple and peace loving islanders need to be vigilant and not let divisive elements take us for a royal ride in the pretext of humanity or basic rights. Of late various organisations and individuals are coming with ridiculous ideas. These ideas in garb of preserving particular identities, culture and social service propagate a cult of intolerance and hatred. They try to get people on their side by being advocates of providing better facilities, human rights and opportunities against oppression and injustice. The real intention of such elements is to enhance their own bargaining capacity with power centres in the islands. Islanders should be wary of such so called intellectuals and noble souls. As long as we are united, honest and true to our real life values and principles, we don't need messiahs. Nobody will violate any of our fundamental rights and we will exercise them without any fear or reservation. Our islands don't identify with separatists or antinational sentiments.
Let us all work towards popularizing and conserving this casteless and harmonious culture. As such we don't have much to rejoice with all the muck and corruption deep rooted in our society governed by a detached and unresponsive Administration. New crimes and social problems are on the rise. We should as well be prepared to condemn such acts leading to moral degradation as and when it surfaces in our society. Genuine people and causes which try to bring in positive energy in our society should be appreciated and supported. It wouldn't cost us a dime to be an Andamanian, just be what we have always been- a true citizen of Mini India.