Under the rosy picture, we’ve painted to the world that ours is a very diverse country which tolerates all people irrespective of who they are, there is a lot in the underbelly of that painting which is stinking red with blood. Be it urban, be it rural, be it the classy lot or the marginalized whom the majority see as a blot, there is a lot of turmoil already in our society. No one is an exception and everyone is living with walls built in their own minds. These walls are very tough and have only a small opening which allows people only of a certain kind to pass through them. These gates have a lot of checklists before entering a person through that gate. The checklist is huge and here’s a glimpse from what that checklist looks like. He/she should be from my same region, he/she should be from my same religion, he/she should be from a similar background, he/she should be from the same caste, he/she should be from the same sub caste.

The list is huge and we have filled our minds with all those filters of region, religion, caste, class and many more. So where’s this coming from? We might sing and dance about unity and diversity, but after that singing and dancing, there’s also something called living which unfortunately many are not entitled to in our country. People are getting killed for asking for good drinking water in our country. That’s our dire state of affairs. We might argue on bigger things like nationalism, communalism, conservative, progressive and make aggressive speeches and debates. But what good does it yield while we still make our ways through the filthy lanes of regressive practices?

There is no need to pull out statistics or quote references to say that we have a problem, and frankly most of us do it ourselves without actually caring about it. Why don’t your maid eat on the same plate that you eat? Why do they sit on the floor while we eat on the table? These have been practices which have been followed in our houses all these while. If any curious kid asks that question, he would be silenced with a “ Don’t ask stupid questions” sort of response. Yes. India has a pungent policy called caste which is a plague in the pleasant picture of India.

Our caste system is rigid and largely rigged. Agree on it or not, the majority of us have the caste stigma in us. We might look progressive but judge people a lot in ways which even we don’t acknowledge until and unless someone questions us. Our constitution gave us laws and rights for equality as a blanket statement and yet we use it as per our convenience rather than sticking to the core value of it. I’m not lecturing on the state of affairs. But it’s discrimination and division is becoming a part of our life which is alarming and is becoming normalised which makes it even worse.

It has just become an open secret to us which is questioned once in a while by powerful journalism or hard-hitting movies like Article 15. But do these have a significant impact on our blatant blots? Well at this point all we can do is hope. Hope that it happens and that happening should happen at the grass-root level rather than finding some superficial solutions for the deeper wounds. The divide is beyond imagination as people are even deprived of basic amenities like water. I can quote daily examples when my neighbours didn’t allow tenants who didn’t belong to a certain caste to rent their flat, in the college when only your caste determines whom you’re friends are going to be and many more.

Wake up, people. Wake your mind’s from the thoughts of the 1900s. This is 2019

Religion, region, caste, class, status, gender doesn’t define what we are. Our efforts and actions determine what we are. Dignity and integrity for all people is a must and which needs to be given a thrust. So next time please don’t judge people based on who they are and where they came from. Instead, focus on whether they are competent enough or not.

Discriminate people, Insinuate the marginalized, Divide and sub-divide,

Make relations between people tall and wide,

Make everyone abide, This hooligan law,

And caress this careless flaw, Which we lazily spilled it on our lives,

When we should have thrown into the dustbin,

It is then we find, Our holy land,

Soaked in sorrow with the many shattered fragments of its own.