By: Vivek Mohan
Yes. Thanks to the film which gave me an apt and timely title to talk about something that has been bothering me for some time…
The ‘Dev Bhoomi’ is also the land of ‘siddus’- an integral part of Himachali cuisine. When we’re small and immature we’d jokingly term sardars as potatoes found in every nook and corner of the world! No wonder today, and deservingly, the finger licking butter-chicken, mouth watering curry-rice and foot tapping bhangra are all-pervasive!!!
Such is the power of migration and hard work… with your feet firmly planted and still mingled with the ‘alien’ world for a cosmopolitan society the need of today. Unfortunately, Mumbai witnessed otherwise, thanks to unscrupulous politics (not Bombay, mind you, ‘Wake up Sid’) in becoming ‘outsiders’ vs. ‘localites’ – ‘North Indians’ (actually UP/Bihar) vs. Marathis. The Hindi media blew it out of proportions to ‘safeguard’ its constituency!
Coming to the brass-tacks…
I feel hurt when it comes to Himachalis settled outside. Where are our “brand ambassadors”? What are they doing or not doing?! OK. We might not be ‘ancient’ in our modern history but we do possess some unique strengths and also weaknesses but don’t seize enough of the opportunities. I find it very laughable when some fairs and festivals are coined ‘International’ when they are not even talked about regionally by our ‘visionaries’ and presented in the oft repeated sarkari style year after year with monotonous arrangements, programmes and PR. Like the 70s and 80s’ Bollywood ‘International’ productions and box office duds in India! Why do we suffer from ‘gora –complex’? Two hippies faces in a crowd of localites do not make an even by any ‘definition’ ‘International’!
Wake up Siddu!
Shed your ostrich-like vision. Do we also live in a global world or are we still villagers in this globe?! Export not only Himachalis but Himachal too. It hurts when ever effervescent, bubbly Preity Zinta wants to perform only ‘Punjabi Bhangra’ and not Natti if Kings XI Punjab enters s/f’s in IPL-II… Imagine how many eye balls worldwide would’ve added a new word in their cultural vocabulary? Can you IMAGINE? Or are you ‘world-famous’ on the Mall Road only? I remember how initially when I came to Bombay then persons knew Shimla, Kullu-Manali, Dharamsala but not Himachal! They may be dumb but we are no more intelligent either. It hurts when Kangana Ranaut, the latest heartthrob in Bollywood, feels embarrassed to tell the outside world that she’s not from Mandi but more popular Manali. The ‘famous’ Sukh Ram is definitely not the reason… it’s as frivolous as people presume it to be – ‘subzi mandi’! You blew up your chance, baby.
We too are to blame. We go ga-ga over masala news and not raise such issues. A section of the media plays to the gallery to fill up pages apart from tenders and we happily surrender (case in point is PZ’s last visit to Shimla a few summers ago where she ‘promised’ to eat siddu the next time!) Keep waiting for the Godot. PZ. Poor Zoke. Bad politicians are elected because good people don’t vote… they just talk in coffee houses. Suddenly a ‘Himachali’ Madan Lal will appear and …
Wake up Siddu
It’s not all hurt. The heart rings with ‘josh’ when the National Anthem is sung… “vindhya HIMACHAL yamuna-ganga …” Lemme sum-up with a Guru Dutt number… “jinhe naaz hai Hind (Himachal) per woh kahan hain…?”
Wake up, Siddu.
(The writer is an award-winning film-maker from Himachal)