“If you don’t like it here, you can always go back where you came from! ”
A sentence that I first heard in the first month of my arrival in Canada when I was talking about the initial incidences of racism being faced by me, from a lady who worked in a government agency supposed to help new immigrants settle down.
I hear and read the same sentence time and again whenever my horror stories of discrimination add up and I mention them to others.
This may not happen to me only. Or just in Canada ! Whenever people talk about discrimination in most places in the world, similar voices can be heard.
“Take it or leave it”, ” Our way or highway”, ” Go away, if you cannot tolerate”, “Vanish”, “Shoo..”.
Magic words coming from ‘superior’ people to others they consider ‘inferior’. Or of people in majority.
I used to think that such words were a hallmark of bosses to their subordinates, in the corporate world.
Or the super scheming mother-in-laws of Balaji’s serials to their suffering daughter-in-laws, in virtual world.
Or of the political and communal leaders out to show their strength to their vote bank by threatening the minorities, in the real world.
Or of beasts who protect their territories and prey from equal threats, in the animal world.
After all ‘Fear’ is the key for all these worlds !
I was wrong.
These words come from ordinary mortals like you and I, as we have an animal inside ready to take over our reins, the moment we feel threatened in the presence of others.
These words mean that now reason ends. Now no answers will be given, no introspections carried out, no changes made. The gloves are off and the mask is removed. Accept and bow or bow and leave !
Then why don’t we leave Canada and go away ! Or for that matter any other country or region, where immigrants face similar threats !
After all we carry India along with us in every breath of our existence. Our homes run Indian channels every day, Indian newspapers are a part of our daily fodder, our food is not complete if we have not had our daal-roti and our phone lines, like our heart lines, are always connected to the Indian route. If we have India written all over us, then why not go back as these learned people suggest?
And who may want to go back to India? Let us remove from this group the second generation POIs who may not relate to India , or people who have hit gold mines and have solid reasons to stay back here or refugees and dons alike who have found their own reasons to abandon the motherland.
Let’s just focus on ordinary mortals like me, first generation immigrants, who have lost their professional identity of being doctors, architects, engineers, administrators and work now as factory workers, gas station attendants, small business owners, security guards, et. al.
What makes such people stay back when even the career hills regularly conquered back home look like Mt. Everest here?
It may surprise people who tell us to go away, but our reasons of staying back are still positive and not because of any negativity towards India.
We stay back and kill our ego while facing all humilities because of the love that blossoms in our heart for our children and our families. For us, ‘Love’ is the key !
We stay back because our minds are still receptive and we came here because we wanted to accept and learn more in this world. Like sponges we pick up the positives out of our adapted nation everyday to enable us to improve our lives. We know how to pick roses from thorns.
We stay back because we are not afraid of hard work and hardships and have strong family values and support system and use it and our work ethics to build strong lives for ourselves and our children.
We stay back because deep inside when you shower your insults and tell us to go back, we can see our strength and our resilience being reflected from your fearful faces and can see through your insecurities to know that we are on the right track. We know that success is just a step away and if not to us, will come to our generations. Your words give us courage to continue with our fight.
India lives in our heart and there is no going back to something which was never abandoned. We have also accepted our adapted land as our own and will work to make it as receptive as India has been for centuries for all cultures of the world.
Learn the Indian way, as we are here to stay and together we will create a better, understanding world.
Published in Times of India on 10th July 2013. Link below-