After a discussion with a North Indian friend on her uncomfortable experiences with Maharashtrians, she concluded that Maharashtrians tend to be racists! In doing so, she identified and assigned a set of attributes to everyone who is a native of Maharashtra and tagged them in a category simply because of their birth (which we all know and realize is out of their control). She became a racist for pointing out a set of humans she believe are racists!!
Are we Racists?
We, the citizens of the world’s largest democracy, are more racists than anyone else across the world. Prejudices are more widely prevalent in our society than anywhere else. The multiple races existing within us find its basis in various stereotypes including almost every parameter by which one can create silos within humans. It could just be different states (North Indians v/s South Indians; Punjabi v/s Tamils; Maharashtians v/s UPites and Biharis) or genders (Men against the women) or various religious groups (Hindus v/s Muslims v/s Christians v/s Sikhs) or between different economic class (Rich v/s Poor) or different castes within the same religious group (Shudras and Brahmins in Hindus / Shia and Suni in Muslims).
The extreme patriotic in each group would create a ‘group’ in the first place and then fight the rest of the world to establish their superiority, the rationale of which is beyond me. Various religious groups would continue to fight simply because of the different name of the unknown God they worship and have the hopes of their lives in. When they are done fighting the ‘outsiders’, they will search within their group for disparities and charge against the apparent ‘lower’ castes, people who are ‘low’ by birth with absolutely no choice over their origins. If that was not enough, they will move on to the poorer section of probably the same caste and then finally on the female members of their own family. Sometimes I wonder, what would happen to a girl born to a poor Hindu schedule caste father and a Muslim mother?!
The inevitable tagging…
Somehow we manage to tag everyone down on the basis of something or the other. We all manage to fight each other on the pretext of supremacy of our own race. We punish innocent people, who are casually going about their lives, simply because they were born as a Muslim or a woman or a Chammar.
Identifying and appreciating diversity in our environment is one thing, violence because of that difference is quite another. Somehow most of us, across world, always manage to reach the next level, the more violent level, the most unacceptable level, that takes us beyond humanity. Humanity takes a backseat to the cynic patriotism of our own race. The higher cause is never the humanity, it’s always the race.
How and why we managed to create such hatred for each other? How and why we managed to create fear of each other? How and why we managed to distinguish and divide humans from each other?!
I wonder if there is a way out…
Somewhere in the subconscious, we all have these questions with no answers. Somewhere in the subconscious, we also know we are racists and do nothing about it. Most of us do not have the power to change world opinion, if operate alone. But sometimes I wonder how many groups or organizations have that, other than maybe huge media groups, who hold the uncanny power to control, modify and direct mass public opinion. When most of them, however, are busy wasting their energies and power on news like ‘billorani’ and ‘danav ki aankhein’, the hopes of manufacturing favorable and positive consent is diminishing with each passing day. And in my desperation, I look around in search of people like Mother Teresa or even a Dhirubai Ambani who managed to change the face of society and the people living in them. I look around for them in search of hope, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a place where my kids can grow up peacefully. And it is this selfish interest of mine, that I long to work with institutions that are part of a meaningful movement or even a National Geographic that allows me an opportunity to know people and cultures and develop an ability to love all humanity for its infinite, indefinable beauty.
I hope and believe…
I am not hoping to change the world. I am not hoping to find the answers to these questions. I am not hoping to remove all differences and the spice of diversity from our lives. Neither am I in search of any answers or solutions to change the world. I just hope that someday we will question our own acts and wonder about the highly shameful, unforgettable and unforgiving acts we have indulged ourselves into.
I want to educate the coming generations to learn to question the ‘obvious’ and the ‘accepted’ and do the ‘right’ instead of the ‘told’. Then, maybe someday, ours and the previous generations would be standing helpless and speechless in front of our own kids with no answers. So if not for our own peace, for a chance to be able to meet the eyes of our kids, we might stop for a moment to think and wonder about our negative approach towards diversity.
I want to be lucky for a change and meet someone who is out of ordinary and not a racist!