Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An appeal to my fellow citizens....

Bangalore is a place where buses are the backbone of public transportation. And it is really one of the best ones among the transportation services available in different states. But many a times I have felt that the attitude of some of the conductors/drivers is very disgusting for non-south Indians. Yes “non-south Indian”, any non-south Indian is tagged as “north Indian”.

Let me describe you in detail about the incident:

My friend with her hubby boarded a volvo bus from the bus-stop next to her house. They both got into the bus from the second door which is basically meant for the guys to enter. There were not many people getting from their stop so they got inside together from second door. There was no place to sit, so they stood in the area which has three chairs. They could not move to the standing area which is in between the two sides of seats because already people were standing there (people who travel by these buses will understand). Conductor comes and asks my friend’s hubby to move back; he says that he can’t because there is no place. In reply for this, the conductor pushes him behind. Then my friend’s hubby asks the conductor not to touch, which I think is fair enough. Now what the conductor does?

He starts abusing; yes, he starts abusing with all hindi-words which are ridiculous and offensive for example: “MCBC” again and again. (I hope people can decrypt this for I don’t want my blog to be offensive) My friend got very angry and she told the conductor to control his tongue. Conductor totally ignores what she tells and continues abusing, says something like…“khane ke liye aa jaate hai”and asks them to get down from the bus.

Finally, they get down, take another bus and reach their respective offices. And there in office, my friend informs me about the whole incident.

“khaane k liye aa jaate hai”…means that we the non-south Indians come to Bangalore to eat. Mr. Conductor, you are briefly right. But please remember that we come here to eat not because we don’t have enough in our natives that we can’t survive; we come here for job because unfortunately we are software engineers and Bangalore is the IT hub. If there were IT companies in our respective states or if we were not software professionals - then probably we would not have come here leaving our family and relatives in our respective natives.

I am asked to get down from the bus. Am I travelling for free? We are working and earning and spending our money. You are not doing anything for us for free. Then who the hell are you to ask me to get down from the bus? These buses are meant for public transport and are government property and not your personal property.

If any passenger asks anything in hindi, they will stare you and prefer not to reply. Why? You watch hindi movies, you know hindi abusive words but you can’t reply to a genuine question asked in hindi. I am settled here from years, I work here, I know that it will be helpful if I know the local language but I can’t speak it so is it a criminal offence for which I should be publicly harassed and insulted in front of so many people who were nothing else but the silent spectators.

End of the day, everyone should stop discriminating and dividing the people based on their caste and region and remember that we are all Indians and being an Indian citizen, our constitution gives us the right to stay anywhere in India and for that we don’t need anyone’s permission.

It is not just my friend or me who have come across such situations; the situation may not be this severe but it happens with many of us. Why is it so? Why this step attitude towards us? I am not generalizing all the conductors but there are few who have this attitude towards us. It is my humble request to you all that please don’t behave like this with us, we get hurt. We are not taking anything from you and we don’t expect anything too but atleast we don’t deserve such attitude.

This is not a story, this is a true incident that has happened..After this incident took place, my friend's husband has already filed a complaint to the bmtc department taking the details from their website. 
This blog is not a personal attack to anyone. Even I have south-indian friends, colleagues and neighbours. I am not against south indians, i am against this biased attitude, wherever it exists. This may happen to any north-indian who stays in south or to any south-indian who stays in north; basically it can happen to anyone who is a migrant in that particular region. My intention is neither to create any controversies nor to hurt anyone's sentiments. 

People have started attacking me personally. It is my humble request to everyone not to be judgemental without reading the complete blog, please read it completely and don't just pick a few words and start blaming me.

I am staying in bangalore since last 3.5 years and ofcourse I love this place. I respect it's culture and language. I have a job, a family, a life that I lead here by my own wish and I don't regret for that. I love my life here. Please don't interpret me in a wrong way. Don't project me as a racist.   But like all of you, I am also a human being. I also get hurt by someone's harsh words. My question is just that don't I have a right to speak up if something intolerable has happened. It has not happened to me but it has happened to someone very near to me. 

Many of us are from IT and we travel day in and day out in buses to commute to work. What I want to appeal is not to entertain such incidents wherever it may be and anywhere in India. Let us voice out our concerns and make Bangalore a beautiful and most desired place to be.


  1. I will not agree with all that is written here. I agree that there is a discrimination to some extent. This article has exaggerated things. No one will start using MCBC word as the very first sentence of his conversation unless the tone or the words used against that person is unacceptable. It is obvious that one will get hurt or get angry if an outside person comes to your house and start scolding you.
    I have seen many people who are residing in bangalore for past 10-15 years but still they don't even show interest to learn local language. Thanks to all shop keeper, auto drivers who never give an opportunity for others to learn local language.
    By all these, i am not supporting discrimination, I request everyone not to discriminate people. But I would like to request others to learn the local language and show some respect to the people, language and the religion on which you are dependent/earning your livelihood.

    1. I understand Abhilash, it is tough to accept this. But this has happened. Even we were shocked for even we could not understand what wrong we did that the person started abusing.
      Trust me, I have not written any exaggerated thing. That was not the first word, infact the conductor asked to move back only once and after that he started pushing him. Is this acceptable? Then, when my friend's hubby responded and asked him not to push, the conductor started abusing.
      All of a sudden abusing like this made me write a blog and post it in internet. I don't have any personal grudge for anyone. I am settled here for around 4 years now and I never felt like this anytime before. But what happened yesterday was really disgusting and intolerable, so i reacted this way.
      I am not telling that everyone is bad but yes we have felt an attitude difference for non-south indians. I don't have any intentions to hurt anyone. I respect your feelings and even I have the same request to everyone not to discriminate people and respect all people, their customs and language.

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    3. "request others to learn the local language and show some respect to the people"
      How can someone respect a person by learning his language, you seems to me a racist and moron, and I have no doubt about it after reading your post.

      Learning South Indian languages for a Hindi speaking person is as tough as learning French or Spanish, because the Vocabulary is completely different. Let me also tell you people try to learn local language, however when they find it tough they loose hope.

  2. Very true Sonal... as I am a regular bus traveler, I also face the same thing quite often. One day I boarded the bus from Silk Board to my residence. Bus Conductor get into the bus and went backside which was filled with all male passengers and he didn't came front to collect the ticket. Followed by bus conductor, 2 policemen boarded bus and they started checking tickets. Bus was just started form Silk Board and bus conductor purposely didn't came to collect the ticket. I told policemen that conductor is standing backside in between all male passengers, there is no space to go there. Bus has just started den how could u fine me for travelling without ticket. It's conductor's fault that he is not coming near ladies seat to collect tickets. Same thing happened with one more female passenger who was travelling in the same bus. We both were trying to explain that police personnel but he was not ready to listen anything and charged both of us with a fine of Rs. 150. As soon as policemen get down from bus, conductor came to me and started speaking with me in Kannada. I told that please speak in English or Hindi and I told him that it was your Fault. Bus starts from Silk Board, you should collect ticket from all before starting the bus and if you are standing between all male passengers how a female passenger could take ticket from you. After listening this he asked me "Kannada Nahi" means whether I know Kannada or not. I said no then he started shouting like anything and along with bus driver, started abusing north Indians.

    Sometimes they take bus fair more than what actually is and if you ask to return remaining amount they will reply that they don't have change even though they have it and will pretend as if they don't understand English or Hindi.

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  4. Sonal.. I think the silent spectators in the bus had North Indian people also. So all the people being silent had nothing to do with North or South Indian. Its just our nature(IT professionals in Bangalore) to stay away from whatever happens to others on road and reach office in a clean frame of mind.
    Coming to the point of racism, it might happen in some South Indian places but it also happens in North Indian places. I have come across many of my South Indian friends who were placed in Delhi and not many people would speak to them because they did not know hindi.
    Also would like to mention that you highlighted only one side of the story, but you forgot the good side. Did you ever notice how the conductor would be moving in the front half(ladies zone) of the bus during rush hours. In my 2 years of bus experience I always noticed that the conductor would be extra cautious while moving in that zone. In a country which is becoming so much unsafe for women, this attitude of the conductors is a welcome respite for the women. I am ready to live with the 'khaane aa jate ho' comment as long as I know my wife is safe while she is travelling.

  5. Hi Abhilash

    I was present there when all this happened, and there was no scoldings or anything. The conductor all of a sudden started using this explicit language when the man asked him not to touch as if he was testing the patience of the person and was trying very hard to provoke him. They (the husband and his wife) were shocked.

    Also, the comparison you gave does not mean anything. If some guests come to your house, would you converse in the language you know or some common language which both of you understand. Learning or knowing a language is a personal choice. Its not a crime not knowing a local language.

    We as youngsters can bring change by respecting all cultures, no matter in which part of country you are, and should try to curb these racist behaviors in atleast our circles.

    Lastly, respect is always a mutual thing.

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  7. I came across this blog accidentally, and couldn't resist myself from posting a comment. Although some parts are believable, i'm very sure that most of the things written (or told to you by your friend) are overly exaggerated. I've traveled extensively in Bangalore's buses, and the drivers and conductors have always shown respect. I've seen conductors speaking in Hindi and even English sometimes (on the Volvos that ply on ring roads).
    Like one of the comments above, respect is a mutual thing, and someone cursing when unprovoked is not very believable. If true, there must be a complaint lodged against the driver/conductor, and severe action must be taken against them.

    p.s. You say we are all Indian citizens, but the title says: Racism by "South Indians"? Who is creating the divide now?

  8. I feel the intention of the author is being taken in a wrong way. Author has brought up an incident which is being interpreted incorrectly.
    May be these incidents are happening across the country but all of us have not experienced the same. So instead of arguing with each other, let us take a stand and try to stop this whenever we witness similar incidents.
    May be its better if author changes the subject line

  9. I appreciate your effort to rephrase the blog. I really hope action is taken against the guilty. It is our duty to stand up against such people. It would have been much better if the people in the bus would have raised their voice against the guilty.

    Off topic, and about the use of word "racism": In my opinion, "racism" has been converted by the media (especially the Indian media) into a cool word to sensationalize issues and to get more viewership. The magnitude of "racism" is much, much bigger, and can only be understood by the unfortunate people who have faced it. I'm quite sure no Indian has faced racism inside modern India. We are all of (almost) the same race afterall. ;) It would be nice to have caution against the usage of the word... "Discrimination" can be used as a more generic alternative.

  10. I am just another Indian who had been around the country & had experienced something similar when I was in Bangalore & I was deeply hurt too...but I preferred to behave just like those thousands of people who take such things silently & try to forget it with time. But I appreciate her effort to bring it up & hold it against all odds to make the sleeping society aware of the same & I believe that what she is trying to say is just something very simple like: "We are Indians. We belong to the same country. From ages we have claimed to the slogan - Unity in Diversity; so lets not discriminate each other in terms of religion, caste, region, language, etc. Lets just be Indians & not North-Indians or South Indians. There might be a few glitches like this here & there around the country as we are all just humans but lets just not tolerate anything like this & support each other in such times & correct the mistake right at that moment". We cant blame a whole community for a silly mistake of just one person amongst them...we need to build a strong country & not a lingually diversified country...and this can happen only if everyone is aware & takes a stand at such instances.
    Well, I know Sonal personally & I also the person who might have faced it & I can confirm that neither of them are the kinds of people who will exaggerate things! I agree that this happens to most migrants irrespective of whichever part of India you are in. Just the level of discrimination & abuse are different. I would definitely disagree to the comment that we have to learn the local language to stay in a place. How can people of this generation have such a mentality? Language is just a medium of communication & is solely a personal choice. It gives nobody any base to discriminate. Neither can anyone blame the migrants of not showing any interest in learning the local language as its not ABCD to learn a language & not everyone is capable of being so smart & neither does it show that the person who can't speak the local language is being disrespectful towards that community or place. He is respectful & that's why he has chosen to be there amongst strangers away from their home. Hindi is a national language but not everyone in India knows Hindi so should those people be thrown out of India? Someone who mentions anything like this is another Discriminator!

  11. I guess that what hurts MOST in these instances is actually not much of the abuse but the fact that the others who witnessed it & knew that this was wrong preferred remaining silent & just enjoyed or ignored it. If public accepts the wrong & incorrect it can never be corrected or stopped. We are just letting it breathe its way out & grow. If such an instance occurs & everyone together takes a stand against it, such people would think twice again before repeating it with someone else. So lets just utilise our rights to support the correct & fulfil our duties of being a good citizen of India.

  12. What made me to reply to this post is my past learning from media.
    1) A lady who involved in an accident in late hours blamed a traffic police constable and locals who gathered there saying they tried to manhandle her, police didn't co-operate with her, a local lifted his lungi and showed private parts to her bla bla...
    Outcome of this - Police constable got suspended, inquiry has been made, found no fault of police man. Fault was totally with the lady and all the allegations made by her was found to be false. While walking those who wear lungi, they fold it and tie it upwards(those who are aware of this culture know this style) and she called it as lifted lungi and showed private parts.

    2) 2 girls who complained against a volvo bus driver and conductor for manhandling them. Those 2 girls appeared in TV as well. Conductor and Driver got suspended.
    Outcome - After inquiry it was found that the fault was with girls. Girls started misbehaving and abused conductor and driver. Each and every person who were there in the bus that day came out and aired their voice in tv and also appeared in police station and supported both conductor and driver as there was no fault from there side.

    3) 1 lady who got caught for drink and drive. Her husband complained in facebook saying police misbehaved with his wife, taken to police station and beat him up. You can find the details in facebook. He is a DJ of some restaurant. I forgot his name. You can find it in facebook.
    Outcome - After inquiry it was found that he had kicked a police constable who was on duty and taking the breath analyzer reading of his his wife. Still police didn't arrest this guy in humanitarian grounds.

    4)2-3 days ago we got another report against police office Kasim Raja and it is still getting shared in facebook. That gentleman said "At the Frazar town police station Inspector Mr. Raja Imam Kasim was extremely rude to us and wouldn't even give us a chance to explain what happened. He immediately told us to "Get Out" of his office. My repeated attempts to try and reason with him fell on deaf ears and he warned me that if I did not get out of his office he would physically
    "Kick me Out" . "
    Comeon yaar.. Kasim is a high level police officer and why he will ask the person to get out even before starting a conversation. It is clear that some conversation has happened before saying that.
    Outcome - Lady who was driving the car does not have a DL. She involved in an accident and on humanitarian ground no complaint was registered. Kasim is a very much reputed police office with no traces of scam black remark on his name. Kasim has cleared this in public and almost everyone in facebook scolding the couple for misusing facebook to try tarnish Kasim's image

    I wanted to type such a lengthy comment just to make my stand clear. Initially i was expecting some truth in these kind of allegations. But none of the allegations which got reported like this were true. Instead the fault was with those who complained it. These things have made people to ignore this kind of complaints and start doubting on the person who is complaining. I would say people has misused the options enough.

    Still i would say learning local language is a way of showing respect to karnataka. I don't know what made Yatan to say "How can someone respect a person by learning his language, you seems to me a racist and moron, and I have no doubt about it after reading your post." I don't know in what other ways he can show respect to karnataka.

  13. "Still i would say learning local language is a way of showing respect to Karnataka." This is the reason I told you that you are moron.

  14. A blog I believe is supposed to be a public forum where people can express their views with others & discuss on certain topics which need more of public awareness than of the administration. So that's what we are doing here & nobody is being tried to get anyone behind bars or assassinate anyone's belief's. Its a way to make everyone stand together rather than pinpointing someone & blaming it on them. Lets just act as matured citizens!

  15. @Yatan, I don't know why you consider that learning a local language in NOT the way of showing respect. I can't even imagine a justification that you can give for it. Learning a language, following a culture, Spreading that culture.. etc.. there are thousands of such ways where you can show respect to that culture or place. It is not me who made that statement. Learning a language is a way to show respect to that language is the truth. I never said it is the only way to show respect.

    Someone said " He is respectful & that's why he has chosen to be there amongst strangers away from their home." No this is not true. You are staying amongst strangers away from your home just because you have a job here which pays you. Once you change your company which operates in chennai, hyderabad, Gurgaon etc.. you will shift to the respective city and you will never turn towards karnataka. You didn't make your mind when you are born like in future i should go to karnataka so for that i should become an engineer.

    You can defend like you are paying tax for whatever you are earning. So there ends your responsibility. I agree for this. But what about the pain that karnataka has gone through in setting up such huge IT parks, Heart breaking stories of those who lost their land as part of government acquisition for the developement of IT parks. There are 1000's of sad stories behind every IT park/Shopping mall/Fly over which you are using and made your life beautiful.
    For these you should show some gratitude/thankfulness. There is no law which asks you to show your thankfulness. But a good human being will do that.

    And respect should always give and take. So if you are expecting some respect, make sure you give respect first.

    So people over here will not think that "he came enjoyed here and went" Make them think like "He came, adapted here, showed respect to our culture and land, spread our culture, made karnataka proud. "

    Don't just say kannada is difficult i won't learn. Kannada is not a difficult language to learn.

    1. Apologies if I am being a bit carried away...

      As if these Malls, IT parks and fly overs etc etc are made only for non Kannadiga's to use. I understand many things gone wrong in Bnagalore's development but Do you think that should be blamed on anyone who cannot speak Kannada and staying in Bangalore?

      I have also used public transport numerous occasions and I have not seen any non Kannada speaking guy starting misbehaving with conductors, drivers or any fellow passengers.

      In my personal view, I have seen every single non Kannada speaking person mentioning Bus Drivers, Conductors, Auto Rickshaw Drivers as "BHAIYA" which means "Elder Brother" which shows kind regards before even starting any conversation.

      Hindi is our national language so can we expect some more respect towards nation from at least by public servants? As respect is give and take so can we expect these people to learn Hindi to show some respect towards nation and for that sake non Kannada speaking people?

      And I must let you know that Hindi is as difficult language for a Bengali, Rajasthani, Assamese, Oriya, Punjabi to speak fluently as it is for anybody. On other hand as simple as anything and I don't understand why one can't communicate in Hindi to explain their views.

      I am not from Karnataka but every time I decide to change my company/job, I prefer to stay in bangalore rather than going close to my native because I truly believe "Bangaluru" is better than any other cities in India but that does not mean we should be protective to those who insult humanity.

      Kind Regards.

      P.S. I appreciate everyone's view whoever has taken time to write down here.

  16. First of all Kudos to the author for bringing this up and in-spite of all the criticism she stuck to her stand.
    I don't think anything mentioned above is being exaggerated coz even i have witnessed similar incidents in BMTC buses.
    Its been rightly said in one of the above mentioned post "May be these incidents are happening across the country but all of us have not experienced the same."
    Lets not try to simply brush aside these incidents. Don't stay in an illusion that our city or state or country is perfect. "No its not".
    What we can do is to try to make it perfect.
    Everyone here is saying we will take a stand,try to stop these incidents from happening. Let me tell you a fact "No one will come,no one will help."
    Above is the bmtc website. There is a customer grievances tab. If you witness any such incidents please do report it here.I am not sure what action will be taken but at-least we can do our bit.

  17. Kudos to Dheeraj & Girish! And Yatan you are right!

  18. Thanks to everyone who read this post and understood and supported my point of view for the incident. If unintentionally I have hurt anyone, I am sorry for that.
    My motive is not to blame an individual or community, my motive is just to bring this incident in front of all and my request is just to speak up when such biased attitude is adapted by anyone. And as Girish has mentioned, we must do our bit by reporting such incidents to the forum available.