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Archive for June 10th, 2009

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

Ayam nijah parovetthi gananam laghu-chetasaam|
Udaar charitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam||”

Maha Upanishad, Verse 71

“I am from this place(country), you are from that(country) etc is the talk of petty people, for the noble-minded, the whole world is one family.”

Irrespective of how debatable the Upanishads are, I love the essence of this verse. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the whole world is one family. If only we behaved like so. Very often we forget the very teachings of our culture. It does not tell us to discriminate on any basis. It tells us that we are all one family, devoid of racial, cultural and national barriers. That we are all bound to each other as fellow human beings. And yet, here we are, bickering over our differences. The national diversity creates differences. The Mumbaikar vs the UP-wale bhaiya, the ‘northies’ vs the ‘southies’, the Brahmin vs the Dalit, the Reddys vs naidus, the Deshasth vs the Konkanasth.

Since childhood we are taught our national identity. Our schools do not teach us that we are different. We are all same, wearing the same uniform, the same old black shoes, and studying the same things under one roof. And yet, as we grow, we somehow learn that this particular caste is higher and this lower, we also learn how people of that community behave so and so and blah blah blah. We learn to dislike entire communities based on hearsay. Our education system seems to only skim over our diversity, and yet we somehow learn to like, dislike, love, hate, judge people, and in the process create mental walls around ourselves. Walls that we only build stronger and higher in course of time. Degrees, diplomas and bank balances seldom create a dent in this wall.

We in turn, pass these prejudices to our progeny, and they propagate from generation to generation, hardening more at more at each step so much that we might reach a point in time where Indians will not be able to tolerate each other any more. The diversity that we are so proud of, and that we flaunt whenever we speak of India, would be the bane of our existence. Are you scared? Be really scared. Because it might come true. And we will be the reason for that to happen!

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