Would you be able to say that you have been a 100% fair in treating people who differ from you? If we were all to take a moment and think about it, I’m sure we could all agree that we haven’t been our best selves when it comes to the treating those who are different in our opinion. Different in the way they talk, they walk, they clothe themselves or the way they just choose to live their lives. The plethora of stereotypes in our minds are endless, the black man is violent, the South Indian (mind you, they’re all the same in most of our minds) are all mallus and engineers, the Bengalis are intellectual and lazy, the North Indians like to drink and dance, everyone in Mumbai is in the film industry, people from Bihar are uneducated, North East Indian girls are easy, people from Kashmir aren’t devoted to the country, etcetera etcetera..
Does it not seem too tiresome to judge people based on these mental, age-old demarcations? Does our constitutional right to secularism not exist in our minds at all? Are we so blinded by these stereotypes that we are still judging people? Does the possibility of someone being so much more than these assigned labels not exist? Of course it does! In this age of individualization where we teach our kids to pursue their own dreams, find their own ‘calling’ in life, how can we live comfortably knowing that we fail as human beings if we judge anyone based on how they look, what they eat, how they talk or how they choose to live their lives? Why are we so judgmental? And who are we to think anyone is superior or inferior to us?
The divide and rule approach used by the British to rule over this country worked wonders for them, because they could shake the very aspect of our solidarities. And we still haven’t been able to recover from that. We are still a divided nation, and so, these stereotypes are so rigid in our heads. Instead of choosing to celebrate our uniqueness and individualization in harmony, we choose to despise and dissent from anything or anyone that differs from us. And we are not just this way with each other; we are this way with people from all over the world. And yes, racism exists everywhere but at least people are acknowledging its existence in other parts of the world and it is about time so do we. Let’s stop judging people, and start opening our minds and hearts to the possibility of people being different. Let’s uphold the principles that the Republic of India was based upon. Let’s be better citizens, let’s be better Indians. Join the campaign of India Against Racism, to help show that you’re better than those before you, that you acknowledge the problem of race in India and that you’d try your best to make everyone around you feel like this country is much their as it’s yours.
Also Read: The Politicisation of Consumption Practices