This land is my land….This land is your land.

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Continuing with my series on immigration and feelings of immigrants in a foreign land. Since I am from India, I focus on my experiences from the perspective of my country and the connection with this land. The british immigrants who were the founding fathers of this land, also ruled in India for close to 100 years but the influence of the East India Company started around 1700 or so . So, when they claim that this land is theirs, by virtue of the fact that they landed here first, I would like to question that claim, I question it not because I would like to deny that this land is theirs, but because I would like to them to open up to the possibility that this land is also mine. The argument goes like this : The time that the British people came to India, India was flourishing and had all the riches imaginable. By world standards of those days, it was richer than many places in Europe. We welcomed them in our land, not as immigrants, but as business partners, with whom we would carry out trade. But unfortunately, the division and factions within India, and our inferior military led to our falling under a more stronger country. Of course, those were the barbaric times, so one cannot question the fairness or unfairness of it. All was fair in love and war as they say.  And there were no non-nuclear proliferation or arms control treaties in those days. :). India was called the “Sone ki Chidiya”, or the “Golden Bird”, because it yielded so much riches.

In any case, the truth in all its nakedness was that India was marauded and plundered and mowed down to the 3rd world nation that it is now. We became the mix of cultures, confused and astray, as we succumbed to a more powerful people, powerful not by intellect, but by sheer military might. That is the story of India and that is how the immigrants took over our country, in short.

Now, if the story is turned around Indians are immigrants in a nation mostly built by European immigrants. But is it really their land? After our land was turned upside down and our people eroded, dont we have the right to come to your land, but we come in peace, not as rulers, but as workers, to work side by side with you. Is it really fair to ask whether this land is my land too? Don’t I have an equal share in jobs? Unfortunately, the new immigrants are still looked upon as foreigners, preference is stil being given to color, race, and origin. We are still asking questions on job forms : Asian, Black, Hispanic…etc. etc. Hasn’t each country plundered the riches of other countries since beginning? When the British landed in India, their economy was in shambles, there was poverty in their country. Did we question their right to enter our land? Perhaps we did, but they found their way in. Perhaps it was right and justified. Because, does any land really belong to anyone? Doesn’t this whole world belong to each one of us?

Aren’t we all free to choose where we want to be? A cold land or a warmer place, a land of the rivers, or a land of snow, a land full of forests, or the land of sandy deserts, or the rocky mountains? This land is your land…This land is my land…And that is the only truth. And that is how the world was meant to be.


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