Saturday, June 28, 2008

Social Stigma & its Repercussions on You

I appreciate the efforts taken today’s 'Dus Ka Dum' show – Salman Khan’s new Prime time game show on Sony Set Max. Today they brought in a Eunuch as one of the competitors. I appreciate the effort made by the team simply because an endorsement of a man of the stature of Salman Khan for a social issue adds a lot of value to the cause. This act I believe would surely open the eyes of at least the next generation of Indians to accept Eunuch’s as an equally valid social being and very much deserving of a respectable position in the system.

A friend of mine who was along with me questioned my position and raised a valid point in return – ‘You just saw one side of the story! In the Indian mythological setup these people are given a position of respect and their blessings and curses are equally valued. But if they are not respected in monetary and/or some beneficiary mode, they create mayhem to the extent that they go nude in front of the public audiences in a marriage or mouth out disgraceful words. This is also visible in trains where they come along and do a similar act or at traffic lights. There is also a clear commercial agenda here on having them present at the show clearly drives up TRPs.’ I was now convinced that he too was part of a system that looked at the issue in a partially blinded perspective. The blinding was to the point that his stereotypical opinion was the fact of existence of social stigma against the Eunuch’s. The obvious repercussions are in the form the suppressed community’s seemingly disgraceful actions.

I am sure many of you would align with the position taken by my short-sighted friend here. I am also sure many of you would not even have tried to trace the root of the existence of the thought process. My counter starts with a position I have on Eunuchs, I feel the Eunuchs have been given a position of respect in Indian Mythology due to obvious reasons of physical disadvantage. This accurately identified disadvantage renders them close to incapable of surviving in the social structure of marriages and families. It effects directly their survival in a mutually dependent social structure where their disadvantage is almost grave to the extent of dilution of the value of their existence. Just as we have all observed in a child, the attitude to fight out of its way to receive what it wants, so it’s obvious that these human beings request for an equal right at chances of survival. Thus the setup gives them the respect and promotes their cause in the society as a form of respect to an anomaly of nature.

Purist philosophies are again another identity of the wild nature we humans also have adopted in an ignorant and insensitive way. The naive proponents of the philosophy have a tendency to elect and push forward the strongest amongst the lot as the most eligible one to lead and guide them to surviving and sustaining a breed. This if observed in our daily movements is evident from the nature of our own groups. The leader is then the one we all strive to align with and be like. From this grows the nature of purist philosophies where any anomaly would become a weak link in sustaining the breed.

India’s social stigma has reached a point where even women are a targeted victim of purist cleansing. The women really do not bring bread to the table and it did to not make any sense of their survival. Similarly, the case of Eunuch’s who being less visible due to their relative size of population are being targeted at being cleansed from the system. And as the larger the purist’s system becomes, the chances of their survival further diminished. With the respect and understanding of the reasons why mythology was designed the way it is diminishing, it becomes difficult to prevent acts of a purist nature to be discouraged and degraded.

If such perspectives exist inside individuals in our society – in me or you or the people around us, which are imbibed and embedded from a young age then, such cleansing is inevitable. This is the stigma – The Social Stigma, applicable in dishonor unto minorities, mentally or physically challenged, etc. If given an equal opportunity to work, operate businesses and live as though would either of us without the mass social stigma working against them, then they would also no more have reasons to annoy you, defame you or malign you in anyway.

A final point I would like to make on this is about the working model of the Indian Mythological setup. I respect and admire this setup to the extent of feeling proud that I am myself part of this model. I see it as one of the most scientifically modulated*, politically correct* and sustainable model* of civilization that humans could have ever come across. It clearly is not a religion but a simple way of living. It talks about a simple working philosophy of Mother Nature – The Karma Cycle. It states that – ‘what you sow so shall you reap.’ How many people who have performed a bad karma (bad karma defined as: an act of directly inflicting damage on another fellow living being) have had a great end to their life? While you consider these people also consider the after effects of their actions on their families. The conclusion is clear right? The family would have suffered some sort of irreparable loss – as a loss of a dear family member or uncontrollable disorder in the family setup or mental disorders or simply loss of earnings, etc. This is the simple concept of karma.

The design of the mythological models is such that there are traditions, cultures & beliefs along with ages of learning’s and knowledge. These need to be respected and followed with an open mind populated with love and kindness for another being as at utmost priority. We are ready interpretations and new perspectives as long as another being is not being directly or indirectly inflicted in the process. Any stigma that you carry which discriminates another person can surely consume you one day and then you may not have an answer to the reasons. Gandhi fought against the stigmatized perspectives of Indians against the Dalits and those of the Whites against Indians. It was an effort without parallels in action and inexplicable in words for appreciation. A similar effort was extended by the team of 'Dus Ka Dum' take an action at attempting to remove the stigma against the transgender community. I give a hoot to the fact that there was a commercial agenda implied in the act. The effort is what counts.

Take a small step and make an effort today. The world will change by itself.


Arun Raj :D

1 comment:

diksha said...