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 Blooming Stars

Status of the World -7

            Equality does not mean that we are equal in height, color, talents, intelligence, resources. It is not important how much money or resources that we have. It is very important what we do with what we do have. We do not need to be concerned about what others have or do. I am reminded of a little story of two kids given three ladoos (sweets) each. One kid was so preoccupied with and looking at what the other kid had; meanwhile a cat came and snatched away what he had. We do not need to be equal in poverty. We can be equal or more equal (generous) in sharing diverse, rich resources that we have been endowed with or acquire often due to no special merit of ours, but just because we happened to be at the right place at the right time with the right set of people and circumstances. In this connection I would like to make a special observation about women who are roughly half of humanity. It is sad that women in general do not experience equality with men.

            In this regard some cultures as well as some religions are better than others. In some instances women themselves growing up in a culture of inequality and patriarchy, unwittingly perhaps, perpetuate practices of inequality. In Kerala (India) for instance, some wives call their husbands chettan (an older brother or person) or ichayan (father). Sometimes some religions or their scriptures foster inequality. Orthodox male Jews, for instance, thank God for not being women. Incidentally while I lived in the U. S., I visited a synagogue with a female Jewish friend; I was asked if I (a non-Jew) would wear a skull cap or something equivalent and join the men to form the quorum required to start their formal prayer service. Women, I think, need to band together, arise, and awake and demand the rights that they are born with. Men who treat women as inferior because they just happened to be women need to be ashamed of themselves.

            Several years ago when I was working for the Missouri Department of Mental Health in USA a colleague of mine pointing to the executive director of the psychiatric hospital I was working for said to me: “Your boss is coming”. I told her: “She is not my boss, the people of Missouri (a state in USA) who pay me are”. Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest reformer and a great saint the 20th century had seen did the most in advancing equality. Even though he strived with might and main against the caste system in practical life he ideologically left it in tact. Shri Narayana Guru, also a great reformer and saint, and a few years older than Gandhi, did better in this regard. His famous utterance “Oru jathi oru matham oru daivam manushyanu (one caste/race, one religion, and one God for human) is very relevant.

            Over the entire known human history we have been deeply de-sensitized to so many injustices, inequalities, discriminations, violations of human rights, racial, ethnic, or sexist derogatory sayings and jokes that we do not mind or we are not aware of being unfair or having a laughter at others’ expense. So an on-going rigorous conscientization and a thorough soul-searching are essential. Again the status of the world is better than it has ever been in the past with regard to equality. We still need to go a long way with regard to the equality factor.It is said that a community is judged by the way it treats its weakest and the most disadvantaged members. We are part of this world, citizens of this planet where every human being needs to have what he or she needs to grow and develop and feel safe and secure. We need to carefully look into our own inner self to see if we harbor even any subtle trace of discrimination and inequality. We have a lot of growing to do in the area of equality consciousness and behavior. Grade: poor-fair


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