Differences Divide

Posted: March 12, 2011 in Politics, Society

We all are different and these differences start at individuals’ level. These individuals belong to a family. Then there comes, groups of people with same belief system or religion or region or race or a cause that brings together people to form a set. What belongs to me is good and I will work to make my lot better. I wish others too do the same and we all prosper. All we need to learn is to accept these differences. We work for betterment of the lot we associate ourself with. But at times we get off-tracked in our zeal to work for our people and biases creep in. These biases make us pull down other people who don’t fall in our group and get an illusion of uplifting our people. While doing so we forget that pulling others down reap similar reactions from others too. We all are interdependent and exclusive favours for a particular group breeds contempt and are not conducive to development and upliftment of any society.

Differences have always existed. Globalization has blurred many boundaries but differences remain. If some differences are done away with, many new differences have been created. With learning comes more thinking society and all have different belief system. Today some people ask to do away with pre-existing notions of religion or regionalism citing them as reasons for divisions in society. They overlook the fact that these things are not in themselves evil but it brings out evil when we consider ours is better than others’ and then try to force others to acknowledge so. People who consider these groups based on religion or regionalism as evil too are affected by the same syndrome of considering their own belief system of abolishing old as best.

How we treat other groups and how well we can respect their beliefs is the measure of how civilized we are. Last month on Mumbai trip I heard about Shiv Sena’s initial movement. In few years of creation of Maharashtra Shiv Sena came into existence. It sought preferential treatment for Marathis. But in doing so it victimized other communities. Had Shiv Sena not vandalized Gujratis and Marwaris businessmen to recruit locals and instead made their recruitment more conducive by making it mutually beneficial, it would have a bigger base. In initial years of Sena’s formation, instead of ransacking Udupi Restaurants it could have worked with South Indians to make them a part of Maharashtra’s growth. To grow its national presence instead of projecting its Hindutva’s ideologies and getting confused, it could have started with a call for inclusive growth for all in Maharashtra. Similarly, whether women must work or what one must wear or who to marry are issues that every individual can decide on his own. If there are fatwas on bettering education and health, they would be more welcoming. If Ram Sene and Bajrang Dal or any other group feel that people are attracted towards wrong, they may put forward their point of view. Everyone can decide on their own if they agree with them or not. Forcing others to believe what you believe will only alienate them from you.

This phenomenon isn’t a country specific phenomenon. Ku Klux clan is existing in America for more than 150 years. White League and Red Shirts were similar groups that were present in America. With development people started getting alienated from such groups and their presence started getting diminished. But hate crimes again broke open in America as aftermath of WTC terror attacks. Similarly in European countries such crimes were witnessed with tumbling job opportunities and migrant population were made target to vent ire upon. In developing countries such phenomenon are much more prevalent as there are many supporters for these groups. People living in misery look for reasons for their plight and when someone tells them that others are snatching what rightfully belongs to them, they readily agree. Adversities evidently colours the power of reasoning.

Solution to weaken the force of these divisive groups is thus inclusive development. One thing that everyone chooses is development and prosperity through good and effective administration. Everything other than that is different and diverse.

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