Integration is the way forward, Bangalore, India

Integration is the way forward, Bangalore, India
My sister has a Danish tenant. He is a single man, a Wind Engineer from Jutland and a surprisingly kind person, even though he is fairly young and single. I find he is so unlike our usual rude and insufferable local tenants, who believe they are paying us a rent, so can be rude, this man is quite different.

I lived in Denmark for 6 months while I was doing a Masters in Journalism in 2006 and I understand where he is coming from. The Danes are culturally a very affable and generous race, besides being stunningly good looking. I did not feel any racism, when I lived there,during my six months in Aarhus, the University town, three hours from the beautiful city of Copenhagen.

I remember looking out of my University apartment’s window at all the men and women cycling by and it brought to mind Hitler’s master race or the German: Herrenrasse, or "master people" ideology, which I had studied in my Masters in History. This was a concept in Nazi ideology in which the Nordic or Aryan races, predominant among Germans and other northern European peoples,were deemed by him as the highest in racial hierarchy. Members of this alleged master race were referred to as Herrenmenschen ("master humans"). All other races were considered inferior.

However the Danes do not subscribe to this concept and neither do most Europeans across the continent.

So when the tenant showed me his tomato plants that he had brought from Denmark I laughed and said, I doubted they would do as well here in India’s warmth, compared to the freezing cold of Denmark. He bought himself some pots and some compost topped up with ours from the pit and the seeds were sown in typical western fashion in smaller pots. Once the seeds germinated and began to grow he transplanted them into larger pots.

But even then, the plants looked weak and spindly and I wondered if it was because they were Danish seeds. But my house help who also cleans his apartment, watched over them carefully and called me to check on them. The tenant as usual was travelling on field work and laughingly asked me to look after his tomato farm.

Not thinking much of them, I went across to see them after a particularly heavy shower of rain. I was surprised and pleased to see that the plants had acclimatized themselves to India over the months. They had spread themselves from being spindly and thin, to healthy and fresh, covered in flowers and little tomatoes. We had to even put down sticks to hold them up, so that they did not collapse with the weight of the fruit.

As an academic the analogy immediately that got thrown up in my mind was that Integration is the only way forward for the world to grow towards progress. The little plants had showed us how. Today’s politicians seem to be driving in wedges between religions and skin tones, languages and races. And yet, look at these plants. They just toughened their backs and decided to take on their new conditions, the best way they could. And what an amazing turn around.

From thin and spindly they had grown into healthy and solid and in this story lies a strong moral belief we need to follow. We need to welcome all sorts of people and all kinds of races into our world, to blend and grow into a master race. That is the only way forward. That we learn to realise that there is much more beyond a person’s outer skin colour and basically, under that superficial coat we are all the same.

Sadly Nazism distorted the real meaning behind the philosophy of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. He posited the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Sadly Nazism distorted the real meaning behind the concept, to fit its 'master race' view.

What plants can do without even having to fight anyone around them to succeed, we humans have to realise and live and let live. One cannot have life set in stone-- my way or the highway. There are rules in life which makes living together much easier. If like the plant we cannot adapt and grow, then sadly lessons need to be taught and to be learned, the hard way. Not everyone is willing to suffer fools gladly.

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