RIP Equality

Another headline flashes! Another exclusive report! A farmer’s son has qualified the most prestigious engineering entrance exam of India.

Should I be shocked to learn about a farmer’s kid being an intelligent lad? Why do we highlight these professions each time we find bright students in their homes? What does that tell us about our perception towards these professions? I think we all know the answers.

equality in india
Being a farmer in India is not the best thing; could be the worst though.

Our prejudice towards certain professions, reveals itself in one way or the other, telling a dark secret about our mentality. While we look at some professions with a sense of respect, there are so many jobs out there, employing thousands and thousands of individuals, that do not get the appreciation (and of course money) they deserve.

Many people would argue that it is about the struggle (especially in terms of money) that people from these professions face. This is a valid point, but not the complete picture. If this was entirely about the economic condition, then how often have you seen the mention of writers, comedians, social activists, painters and countless other professions which are considered ‘elite’ but on so many occasions these professionals make little or no money at all? You haven’t… and the reason is simple. We do not have that disgust in mind when we think of a musician, but as soon as someone mentions a sweeper, our face changes.

The point is, despite the fact that we need to share the story of hard work of an individual and a family, we need to remove the certain terms from headlines, like the name of that profession. Like – Barber’s son goes to IIT, Watchman’s daughter makes it to IIM. Yes, it gives a romantic touch to the story, but more often than not, it has many undesirable consequences, which are capable of hurting the ‘equality’ part of our society. The only logical headline I saw, was on Logical Indian website, which said – His Family Couldn’t Afford Daily Meal; Today He Is An IIT Topper. This makes sense. Rest of the media portals did their job as it was expected from them.

The long term hazards of such mindset can be clearly seen in our society today. How many kids have you met, who wanted to become farmers, cleaners, barbers and not doctors or engineers? I bet the number would be close to zero, if not zero. And yet these are important professions. Aren’t they? So important that it is almost impossible to survive without these people. Today, we are seeing shortage of professionals at all these levels, which we consider unattractive, to say the least, and if that continues to happen, the future would be even worse.

The role of our media (both print as well as TV) demands criticism (yet again). The same media that pretends to care about equality fuels the highest levels of inequality in its own cruel ways and we don’t realize it. Same is true about you and I. We are equally guilty in this crime. So, if there’s any solution to this problem, it would be – all of us with improved sense of perceiving the world. Equality deserves its place in our society, otherwise the society will cease to find a good place in the world.

Yes, the caste and religion based divide has reduced, if not disappeared, but my worry is that our minds are so well programmed with inequality that it will take a long time to bring equality. I hope I am wrong.

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