Don’t You Feel the Need to Defend?

“Don’t you feel the need to defend Bihar any longer?” asked a friend, casually, as the conversation turned to the recent exam-topper fraud brought into light by the media.

“No. Why should I?” seemed like a callous response, so I shrugged non-committally. Unfortunately for me, the friend is sharp and also knows me pretty well; so she concluded correctly, “You don’t.”


Udta Punjab might have won the favor of high court, but the self-appointed keepers of Punjab-prestige are not giving up. They feel the need to defend their state.

Another young friend, usually an unconcerned, easy-going sort of a girl, felt the need to condemn the “wrong” portrayal of “Maratha people” in Bajirao-Mastani.

Deriding and defending IITians is a common theme of threads in startup forums. And some people are hurt that despite being from IITs and IIMs myself I am not defending the students in the Flipkart placement row.

Defending your tribe seems like an expected behavior, even demanded out of you. I am sure that there would even be some evolutionary explanation for it. Being with your people helped you survive. So you defended each other. No universal morality or sense of justice was applicable back then.

But for people like us, increasingly, the universal views dominate over the sympathy for our tribe. And for how many tribes can one keep feeling the belongingness? How many groups can I keep defending without losing my own soul? Bihar, my state? India, my country? Navodaya, IIT, IIM – my schools? Google – my most important ex-employer? Bangalore – practically my own city now? My language? My caste? My family? Women professionals? Women, in general?

And why should I defend any of them?

No, I don’t feel the urge to defend. I do, sometimes, feel the urge to contradict someone who is single-mindedly focussed on one aspect of some issue, ignoring any evidence that goes against their idea. But that issue need not be about a tribe I belong to. It could be, but it could be anything else. Yes, I find myself contradicting the notions of many of my North Indian compatriots that Hindi must be a universally accepted language in India. And then I also find myself contradicting the Kannadigas who think that people who don’t know Kannada don’t have any rights to live in the state.

But I don’t feel the need to defend either Bihar, or Bangalore.

Is there something wrong with it? Not feeling the need to defend?

This entry was posted in Thoughts and tagged , by Jaya. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jaya

Jaya Jha is an entrepreneur, a techie, a writer and a poet. She was born and brought up in various towns of Bihar and Jharkhand. A graduate of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow, she realized early on that the corporate world was not her cup of tea. In 2008, she started, one of the first print-on-demand publishing platform in India. She currently lives in Bangalore and divides her time between writing and working on her company's latest product InstaScribe ( with a vision to make it the best e-book creation tool. Blog: Twitter: @jayajha Facebook:

5 thoughts on “Don’t You Feel the Need to Defend?

  1. Considering all that’s going on in India,having an opinion has itself become a problem and I feel the best is to keep quiet. It is their shortsightedness that they fail to see that afterall we are one country. Now we dont need English to divide us,the division is already there in the mind. So as it is said ‘do not put your pearls in front of ……(hope u know)they will trample it and then it will come to attack u.’ just leave it give yourself some peace.

  2. Mine has always been that defending the tribe became part of a right of passage. To be of the tribe one must defend it. – we are an exhausting species.

  3. जिसको न निज गौरव तथा निज देश का अभिमान है
    वह नर नहीं है पशु निरा है , और मृतक समान है !
    – Ratrakavi Maithli sharan Gupt
    I m a proud born bihari Girl and i feel protective about my bihar .It is my motherland . how can i just keep quiet if someone try to hurt my mother ??

  4. Hello Miss Jaya, ur mentality of keeping quiet and not to be bothered by other things is very fatal. It reminded me of “Delhi Gang rape incident ” . The poor girl full in blood and badly injured ,crying at the roadside and noone was bothering to help her as she doesn’t belong to their family/cast or native . Everyone wanted to keep quiet that night and they didn’t want to attract tension /police inquiries . Bacause they were also not feeling the urge to defend the girl . At that stage of medical emergency, every single second was precious for her life . but why people will come out ? everyone had decided to simply keep quiet . likewise u must feel a urge to defend ur Bihar .

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