Who am I?

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I am not religious, but I don't mind calling myself spiritual. Religion, I believe, has, over the millennia, been used as a prop to perpetrate a lot of human suffering. Faith is what matters. I don't believe in the definition of God as a creator. According to me, my God resides within me. Some call it conscience, some call it the sub-conscious, some call it the soul. I don't mind calling it God. So by definition I am not an atheist or an agnostic, but by essence, I may as well be. My God does not reside in a temple, church, mosque or gurudwara. It is right here, within me.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rob you, Rape you, Kill you!

Why do we find it so difficult to break stereotypes? It’s a question I have asked myself many times. We, as a nation of believers, like to have our own opinion of the world around us. Sadly, most of that opinion is shaped by a need for conformity, a desire for acceptability, manifested contemporarily as an itch for “likes” on a picture, a habit of appearing politically acceptable, of “networking” and “creating contacts” in today’s hyper-connected world of super-globalisation. If we think about it, it’s easy to see what we left behind. There are no moral underpinnings to our behaviour, no value strings attached that can hold our actions upright. In such a constraining and compromising environment, it is no surprise that it becomes all the more difficult to come out of the stereotypes we as a society have bathed in, since centuries together.

Staring at a black African more stingingly than deserved, with that enquiring, revelatory look which we give to a giant panda we see for the first time in a zoo, is a common sight in our great country.  Little do we realise that if it’s fascination for us, it’s humiliation and degradation for the other person. Walking the streets of Mumbai, or exploring the mohallas of Delhi, or strolling through the alleys of Kolkata, he is badly discriminated against, again and again, so much that he turns inwards. He is frightened to talk to people, as anyone he tries to approach is already staring at him with panic, or mildly disguised disgust. In a nation of brown skins all around, although not much different from them, the guy with the black skin becomes a loner. People say, yeah, see I told you, those niggers are not to be trusted. They keep to themselves, always devising a devious plan to rob you, rape you or kill you. Beware! And the stereotype continues.

The same can be said about the transgender community. There are fears propagated, since millennia, in the Indian society and a strict direction to stay away from them. We look at them in disgust, always wondering why they don’t have anything better to do than pestering us when we're going to the office, or persecuting us when we are travelling on the train (Gosh! There’s nowhere to escape! It’s dreadful!), or pushing their hand towards our face when the auto-rickshaw we are in has stopped at a signal. We do not want to realise that they do not have a single profession to look towards, as for all of those professions, organised or unorganised, transgenders do not exist at all! They get no employee benefits and are forced to look at “immoral” vocations like prostitution, beggary or whatever we call the confronting-and-asking-money-on-the-train. This very act of theirs further cements our stereotype. See I told you. They are not human beings. Stay away from them or they will rob you, rape you or kill you!

There’s another group of people among us who are not visually any different from the “privileged normal” ones among us. But precisely for that very reason, when revealed who they actually are, they are reviled, threatened, pressurised and bullied in the most horrendous ways. They cannot be easily avoided, as they are allowed the same jobs that the “privileged normal” amongst us enjoy (since they look exactly like the “privileged normal” – unlike the blacks and the hijras, in common parlance). They are the ones who have lived in a psychological cage, where they grow up with the trauma of the realisation that they are quite different from everyone else, especially from how everyone expects them to be. He realises he is attracted to his guy friends, a tendency which, around him, is already cruelly joked about. She grows up confused and one day accepts herself for her same-gender sexual preference. Still, he and she are expected to behave normal, be normal, accept the institutions of marriage (with a person from the opposite sex ofcourse, you silly!); while those among them who have behavioural characteristics of the opposite sex, are made a pariah early on in their lives, and being stigmatized, lambasted and attacked has been a norm for them. We destroy a person’s will to live. 

For the others, some dare to come out of the closet. The others are forced live a life of conformity, looking for means to “vent” their natural instincts (see, we told you they are perverts!) and die a death every single day of their lives. While we don’t even know about their existence till we grow old enough. Our teachers don’t talk about gays, while our parents pretend they do not even know who these people are (yeah it’s true, they are actually aliens!), and we grow up in ignorance when one day we hear a joke about “them”. That is how we first hear about their existence among us. We live our lives assuming no one around us might be suffering from that lifelong “sickness”, and it is no wonder the “afflicted” among us never open up to us, and live a life of mental agony like no other, being around everyone, yet always alone. Oh yeah, don’t you know, they all have AIDS! Stay away from them. Don’t you know that if given a chance, they will rob you, rape you or kill you!

The link to the pic above:

1 comment:

  1. Indeed a great article. As far as you views are concerned, well, I for myself, very much fall in consensus with them. I guess, we as Indians, were never quite provided with the liberty to go and scan around, leaving our brains half baked and due to this lack of exposure we have an abhorrence (not apathy) towards such people or incidences. I might be wrong though. But anyways keep writing dude, you are good.