How do you decide which Indian state you belong to?

Do you think it would benefit the people of India if all Indians started seeing the states they belong to as their ‘religion’ and maybe those who belong to other states as threats?

But how does one decide which state one belongs to?

For example, it seems, learning/speaking Marathi does not make you a Marathi manoos. Maybe this applies to some other Indian states too.

“Just because one can write, read, and speak Marathi does not entitle him/her to local jobs,” he said. “For getting a job in Maharashtra, one should be a Marathi by birth. Knowledge of reading and writing the language will not do” [link]


“If you teach them Marathi, they will open Marathi schools in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and claim jobs in Maharashtra. What will then happen to the local people?” [link]

But who are these ‘local people’?

Those who have been living in a state for a certain period, say three generations? But I know of families who speak the regional languages, have been studying and teaching in local schools, and cook, pray and celebrate like ‘local’ people but have surnames (and sometimes skin color and facial features) that they have inherited from their great grandparents from other parts of the country.
Would you consider them ‘locals’?

Does anybody who has been living for a certain amount of time, within a certain distance in any direction from a place become a ‘local’ in that place?

Or do they also have to have grandparents who spoke the language that the majority in that place speaks? Or do they also need to have the right ‘genes’?

Why do you think should those who live within a certain distance have more right to employment/other rights in a place?

By this logic should every Indian live in the states their grand parents were born in? Then what happens to those whose parents are from two different regions/religions?


28 thoughts on “How do you decide which Indian state you belong to?

  1. My father is from Punjab. My mother is a Punjabi too but born and brought up in Lucknow and Ghaziabad. I spent a part of my life in UP, a part in Punjab, a part in HP and now I am settled in Bangalore.
    Which place do I belong to? There was no way how my parents could have stayed in one place (they had transferable job). There is nothing in Punjab/HP/UP which excites us professionally.
    Where do WE go?
    And my daughter’s case is even worse (or better maybe?). She has a punjabi mother and a Bengali dad, and her birthplace is Bangalore.
    Where should she stay?

    Just the other day I was telling my hubby that at this point of time in life, I can’t imagine staying in any other place. Bangalore is my home. But the logic which these people (Raj Thackerey and likes) present tells me otherwise.

    I believe that when you adopt a place as your own, you need to start respecting it. You respect its culture, its local flavors, people – everything. You no longer behave as an irresponsible tourist. You need not be related to it by birth. But if you love and care for it enough, it does become your own.

    (Strange that when US or other countries talk about preserving jobs for ‘locals’, it becomes a racial discrimination. When we do it to our own countrymen, it is to ‘protect’ ourselves!)



  2. I think it was not a good idea in the first place to segregate states based on the language spoken. An Indian can choose to make a living in any part of India. Our constitution gives this right. Anybody denying this right to a fellow Indian is violating the Constitution.


  3. Its a question thats constantly been on my mind.
    The reason the constitution gave us the right to live anywhere in India and have equal opportunities is to encourage mingling and unity. What Raj Thackarey and his ilk are doing is the exact opposite – divide people based on language, location of birth, physical appearance.
    I think what a child can learn from travelling, living in different parts of the country, having parents from different religions or those that speak different languages is immense and unmatched.
    What would happen to the nation if every state imposed an unconstitutional rule saying only people “belonging” to the state would get benefits. People wouldn’t move to other states. We’d just become a namesake nation hosting many other individual nations. Another USSR waiting to burst and split.

    While I totally agree that it is important to preserve the culture and heritage, it is equally important to mingle and build new traditions.


  4. India is like Europe. Imagine the whole of Europe as a single country and France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland etc as its states. They will be bickering all the time about each other.
    The problem with human mind is that we keep seggregating to the minutest levels untill there is an external threat. If there is an attack somewhere in India today, we will all unite as Indians, otherwise we will keep dividing like amoeba.
    I have always believed that it is my birthright to live and do a job anywhere in India. No one has a right to tell me where to work. So, essentially, the organisations which florish on such a propoganda should be banned, but sadly they are not.
    Also, I find the statement – A local person should get that job which a person from another state took away – very very absurd. Replace ‘local person’ and ‘person from another state’ with ‘an Indian’ and you will understand what I mean.
    Maharashtra or any other state is not a seperate country and that is exactly why people like Thakreys should be put in jail. They are leeches who live on the ignorance of the common man.


  5. We never knew where our grandfathers came from India. Its four years now that i came to know UP but before that we just said India, but now we say Uttar Pradesh , its good to know but there should be no divide among our Motherland. If you were born in India you are an Indian and allowed to live and work anywhere. We are still proud to be Indian although we are in South Africa for 152 years.

    Proud Indian


  6. Primary aim of deliberately dividing people using language/religion is to get political power. Cheapest and may be easiest way to become a leader is by making a group of ppl hate some other group on some basis.


  7. darn! does Mr.Thackeray mean that my daughter is not a marathi manoos 😦 Born in Gujarat,Staying all her life (alright only 4 years) in Bombay, mother and father Tambrams, who themselves have been brought up in Gujarat and West Bengal, though the kiddo can speak a smattering of English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi and Tamizh…

    Dear Mr. Thackeray, do you accept my child in your state or should I being the headless chicken hunt of figuring out which state do I belong to?


  8. When people ask me where I’m from I still get stumped. My father is from Banda, a small town in UP, but he left when he was 14. He is in the railways so he has been posted in Bombay, Bhusawal (in Maharashtra), Bonn (in Germany), London, Chittaranjan (in WB), Lucknow, Banaras, Calcutta, Chakradharpur (in Jharkhand), Delhi, Jabalpur and now Patna. I left home when I was 18, 4 years hostel in Banaras, 2 years in Noida/Delhi and now 4+ years in Bangalore. My mother’s father was also in the railways so she has lived all over the place too. Now my grandfather lives in Banaras though his father lived in Ghazipur (another small town in UP) and his father lived in Darwal (a village in UP).
    So where am I from? I usually now answer with Banaras since I have lived the biggest chunk of my life (9 years) there and my grandparents still live there (though some people have objections to my saying so since they are my ‘maternal’ grandparents). I don’t want to say Banda since I have no association with that place other than holidays spent there. I don’t know what I’ll say once I’ve spent more years in Bangalore than in Banaras. I’m sure a lot of people will object to my saying Bangalore and I also feel that till I learn Kannada I shouldn’t. My husband is a Bihari by lineage even though he’s never stayed there – his grandparents on both sides of the family migrated to Chattisgarh. He’s never lived in Chattisgarh either – his father is also in the railways and been transferred all over. He says he’s from Calcutta because that’s where he’s lived the biggest chunk. Anna was born in Bangalore and will most probably live here till she goes to college. I hope she will at least be able to call Bangalore her home-town.
    Sorry for the long comment. Got carried away.


  9. I was born in Karnataka but lived in Andhra Pradesh for 25 years until I got married and relocated to Singapore. I used to visit Mysore and Bangalore very often as a kid and now as an adult I visit both the places every year. I can speak Telugu and Kannada fluently. My family celebrated local festivals of our hometown in Andhra Pradesh. We relished local food a lot, spoke in local accent with our friends and neighbours, loved the people there, adopted many good local practices and customs and could easily switch to Kannada while talking to Kannada-speaking people. I love Mysore for its rich heritage and the local cuisine is amazing. Mysore is my second home town.

    When people ask me whether I am a Kannadiga or an Andhraite, I say “I am an Indian”.


  10. Marathi Manoos has usually been considered someone who is born and brought up in Maharashtra. But its closest explanation is “Common man from Maharashtra”. Which includes anyone who has spent some years in the state.

    To be honest most times a non-marathi speaking person is also often considered a local or from Maharashtra if that person has spent a bit of time in the state.

    Historically speaking, Maharashtrians usually do not share a ethnic identity as such like say Tamils, Punjabis or Bengalis (which include Bangladeshis). This could be possibly because the Maratha empire being a lot bigger than Maharashtra and hence a lot of Marathi speaking populations moved around a lot within the regions. For instance Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi which is in Uttar Pradesh, was originally from Maharashtra.

    I do not think there is anything wrong in expecting taxi drivers and auto-drivers to know the local language of the state they are providing a service in, but the way political parties have used it to intimidate people, it has become toxic.


  11. I don’t understand why this species of leaders are not controlled with strict laws….I am a bong, born & raised in UP, and now based in Haryana (Gurgaon) for last 8 years…does that mean i should go back to Bengal as my native place…what if they say that I don’t belong to them as I am born in UP… so this whole weird logic becomes very confusing if we start branding people on the basis of community, language, etc
    And sometimes these leaders brand few under-developed & under-privileged states as the main reason for all the problems in their developed states( Our Delhi Madam Dixit is always found blaming UP-Bihar people for even scarcity of water & electricity in state)…and these leaders very well know that it is very easy to divide the common less educated mass on the basis of these things and portray themselves as their ‘Messiah’


  12. Forget states, today because of globalisation even the idea of nationhood is eroding. How do you decide which is an American or even Indian company if they are listed on the stock exchange of one country, have their headquarters in another and have significant operations in a few countries around the world? Historically, the places that have thrived have always been crossroads that welcome the best and brightest from everywhere. Only people with short-term goals, normally motivated by narrow self-interest and insecurity, will argue for erecting these kind of walls.


  13. You will be amazed how much it matters where you are from , not just in india.. BUT here in UK it is the first factor when making FRIENDS.. If you are from Punjab, and In there from a particular Region and then furthur divide to a particular district or city .. ALL this is taken in consideration ..

    WE have every one here
    hindu muslim sikh isai
    but No Indian…

    and Same is true in India too,


    • I have faced this when I lived in UK. It was so weird having to listen to segragation according states in India while living in another country altogether! 😐 (Not that it’s any better listening to while in one’s own native place!)


  14. My mom was born and brought up in Mumbai. Dad was in Maharashtra from the time he was in his late 20s to the time he passed away. I was born and brought up in Maharashtra, studied there and then got married and now live in Bangalore. We hail from Kerala, speak Tamil at home. To this day I never know what to answer when someone asks me where I am from. In my heart, Pune is my home. I read, write and speak Marathi, while I can’t read or write Tamil. Where do I belong to? Am I not a Maharashtrian? I am a complete Puneri at heart. What would I do if I were told I cannot live or work in Maharashtra?


  15. It has nothing to do with where one is born and everything to do with Money – this guy is a power hungry money grabbing goon, nothing more nothng less..
    Both me and my husband are from tamil speaking families.. originally form TN, he was born and raised in bombay and i was raised in various places inthe south and moved to bombay after marriage, both my kids are born and raised mumbai. so even if they leave me out, my husband and kids have spent all their life in mumbai. but ofcourse no one questions my husband on his tamilian roots and tamilian parents mainly because he has businesses that generate jobs, money at it’s best and hence he’s A OK to live in mumbai. 🙂 it’s all about money, power, divide nad rule mentality…. such idiots shouldn’t be given the time of the day. but we do …


  16. If the majority of people in a particular indigenous group (say Tamils, Malayalis, Maratis) accepted to abide by the constitution of India and be part of Indian nation, the laws and structure of the land should be respected by everyone even if an individual or a small group (say one political party) has a difference of opinion they should explore all the constitutional mechanisms available to air their grievance and seek remedy. There is no room for hate speech and violence in a modern democratic society. As long as the people (MNS supporters) fall prey to cheating, the cheaters (senas etc) will thrive.
    Honestly I don’t believe in the idea of India itself, I feel it is kind of forced marriage, take for example Kashmir. If the Indian constitution and being part of this nation is not acceptable to majority of Kashmiris and if they feel alienated and abused, what is wrong in seeking divorce? At least shouldn’t we be hearing their case? Is it worth keeping a vigil on your own people 24*7 with an army of 5 lakh people? Already a generation and many lives lost.


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  18. I agree with Ham Actor, that the idea of India as a single national entity is a forced political construct. I am totally against the kind of ultra-nationalism preached by the likes of MNS in Maharashtra but I can understand the kind of socio-political antagonism a lot of Marathis face in their homeland vis. a vis. the dominance of the mainland Hindi socio-cultural framework.
    It is similar to why there is so much militant nationalism in North East India as well and why there is so much antagonism against mainland Indians (or as they are known locally, plains manu (Nagaland)., dhkar (Meghalaya), etc.)
    Unless the Union of India is ready to admit that there are far too much ethnic, lingual and cultural differences than, say, a Punjabi and an Assamese to qualify as a single nation, the entire exercise of National Integration would be a socio-political failure. India is a multi-national country, like Iran, Turkey or Russia, not a uni-national country like Taiwan.


  19. I think there is some merit in the Thackeray argument. Please do not over politicize the issue. The issue started from a resource constrained place called Mumbai. Mumbai is still a constrained place, where the biggest fight is for space. It was seen that people from othe states have started migrating to Mumbai, pretending to search job, while eventually grabbing space (land) in the city. They became land lords and soon the service class locals who had been living on rent, started facing the biggest problem, the insecurities of a changing house. It was observed that people who had money (as well as land, possibly as big as a large farmland, in their native towns, villages and states) started making the rental market extremely competitive and volatile.
    Can pick something up. FYI you cannot buy land in J & K if you do not belong to that state.


  20. So I think the solution is if you already have a property some where else, please do not claim the property by saying I belong to that place. And nationalism definitely is not forced. We all are Indians, because we could not ahve been anything else. Our leaders who thought and envisioned India, had thought much more than what we can think today.


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