Human world had been subject to discrimination and oppression for a very very long time until the rise of liberalism, which promoted the idea of liberty and freedom and equality for all. Humans have finally begun to look at fellow human from the lens of humanity and not from race or ethnicity or tribalism. Age-old practices based on culture and tradition and patriarchy are in the process of getting replaced by liberal values and reasoning, which makes up the modern world.
However, though everyone believes that all humans are equal and need to be treated equally, some of us still tend to take a soft approach towards the change, simply because of “conditioned thinking” or because of being from the privileged bubble and don’t have the first-hand experience on what does it feel like to be oppressed and treated unequal. Because of that, every time there is a debate and discussion over “how to end discrimination of all form,” they come up with certain arguments which they should not be saying in private or public.
The following are 6 things you should never be telling to any Dalit or any oppressed and marginalized group.
Change does not happen overnight. It will take a time.
What are you trying to imply by that? Are you saying the person should suffer because “change does not happen overnight?” When your life is in hell or you are going through the tough times, it’s natural for you wanting to come out of that as soon as possible. At that moment, what you need is motivation and hope that everything will end soon. You don’t want to hear “it’s not going to end soon, so deal with it, adjust with it,” especially when you know it can be ended soon if people genuinely work towards. As Vladimir Lenin said, “there are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” You never know which week gonna turn into the one.
There is discrimination everywhere, even in USA.
Two wrongs don’t make a right. Just because there is discrimination of some form or other everywhere does not mean we should live with it. Just because USA could not fix it, does not mean we cannot. Maybe, we can find the solution that world can learn from. Until Gandhi, no one thought you could win by non-violent approach. He proved it and now world lives by the template. Moreover, don’t you see people storming the street against discrimination? Which country is better…country where discrimination exists but people protest against or country where discrimination exists but no one protests?
There will always be inequality
YES! There will always be inequality, unfairness, hardship, fights. Since the dawn of humanity, we humans have been solving problems, finding solutions just to end up in another problems, another challenges. It’s like walking through mountains. You climb up a mountain just to meet another mountain. It’s a never ending journey, does not mean we should put no effort to solve the current crisis and problem. Today, whatever we humans have attained are the result of our relentless effort of making this world a better place, not for few but for all the whole humanity. We fix one issue, and then move to next issue, and then next. Thus, just because another form of inequality is waiting for us, does not mean we should live with the current inequality in practice. We should thrive to fix the existing one and prepare for next one. That is how it works and should work.
Don’t create a scene, taking the issue to public
Everyone likes that soft, loyal, non-rebellious individual who takes a soft approach in solving an issue in private, or leaves it quietly. By saying “don’t create a scene…” what you are trying to imply is be that nice and soft person. But remember, you can’t break a mountain without making a noise. So, let there be noise. Better accept, encourage and promote those brave and bold. It may look chaotic for a while but Taj Mahal is not built without mess of debris and construction materials.
Don’t be idealist. Be realistic
What is to be realistic? dictionary definition of being realistic is “having or showing a sensible and practical idea of what can be achieved or expected.” So what is unrealistic in saying “do not discriminate any human based on their caste or race or gender or sexuality?” And what is unrealistic in saying “we must end it as soon as possible?” Asking for equal treatment is not being idealist. Asking for punishment for any wrongdoing is not being idealist. Those who say “don’t be idealist,” are indirectly supporting evil in society and are afraid of those asking the end to it.
As long as there is reservation, there will be discrimination
It’s like saying as long as there is a reservation for woman, there will be sexism. As long as there is a reservation for poor, there will be classism. Reservation is never a solution and is not there for a solution to end any form of discrimination. Reservation is a mere compensation to help oppressed and weak ones and also a protection for the kind till the wings grow. Don’t mix reservation and discrimination, just like how you should not mix rape and dress.
If you cannot be part of a fight, it’s okay, but don’t say or do anything that discourages, demotivates, or disowns any fighter fighting for a change. Like how desperate you will be to run out of heat if you are to put into, like how even a second means 100 years long to wait if you are to sleep over a bed of nails and thorns, living through discrimination, living through inequality and injustice feels the same for the victims. You can’t feel it unless you are one of them.
What do I think of Nepalese Youth in general
If you don’t fall under the type that I fear, you don’t need to prove the article wrong.
Irony of my life is, I run youth-based media and I fear the very same demography the most. That’s because, I have watched them closely for many years, through their comments and posts on social media, their online and offline activities, have identified their interests and hobbies and life and political philosophies and trust me, they scare me. By saying that, of course, I didn’t mean to generalize the whole youth populace but the specific type.
I am afraid of them, not because they are physically violent, but because they are too wild, uncouth, and insensitive that you don’t know when you will become their memes, you don’t know when you will become their social media posts for nothing. Just say something against their set beliefs and you will become their tea talks. From a nice guy, it does not take a time for you to become the most hated and taunted person — all because you offended them by not speaking their existing thoughts and beliefs. And sometimes, because they simply have problem with whatever you do, out of jealousy or envy, and they just wait for that one mistake from you to amplify their deep-rooted hatred to bring on social media.
This whole society runs on the formula “what others think of you is what I will think of you.” Probably, this is where what-people-will-say came from.
Why are these people like this? I have wondered zillion times. I have wondered while going through posts on Facebook groups like MRR, I have wondered while going through comment sections in local news portals, I have wondered while reading Facebook posts from my “FB friends.” I have wondered while listening to gossips over coffee, I have wondered while watching Youtube videos from them.
It’s like unwritten rule that everyone of them follow — if someone says something that you cannot agree with, mock them, taunt them, insult them. They drag you to their level that you have no option but helplessly pray that no one from your circle gets to see that. You think of your siblings, your relatives, your loved ones, your friends, your colleagues and wonder what they may think of you seeing you being mocked and taunted publicly.
Sadly, the whole society runs on the formula “what others think of you is what I will think of you.” And the taunts and mocks become your new identity. Probably, this is where what-people-will-say came from. Makes sense right? Since you are going to be judged based on what others think of you or say about you, you have to be careful about what people will say.
Slowly, this fear of “what people will say” start crippling you mentally so deep that you knowingly and unknowingly fear to dare, fear to be bold and straight, fear to take a stand against popular opinion, fear to make mistakes, fear to learn from. You rather will choose to be one of the sheep and be loved and adored than be different, try different. Or, you rather choose to be quiet than be judged for speaking or being obvious and apparent to others. You must have heard some people saying “Nepal ma bachera kaam garna jannu parcha.” That’s what they meant — avoid any kind of spotlight if you want to live smoothly in this country.
Funny, most of these youth think that they are educated because they can read and write, they have gone to colleges and succeeded to crack the exams and get the certificate. No matter how toxic their attitude and mentality is, they somehow will find a way to earn their life through some job or business, or at worst, find a job abroad, and what do you need more? You have now source of income, who do you need to care anymore! You are not going to lose your job for throwing your half-baked knowledge on social media or mocking some youtubers or media personality or writing crap on Priyanka Karki’s post or passing anti-gay or racist remark on social media, like how Bronx Restaurant Fires Employee After Anti-Gay Remark to Married Couple.
And, then there are this high-class youth, whose way of bashing you is much sophisticated. They gather over coffee in an expensive cafe or some fancy internet forum and make you a topic. And like always, rest of others build the opinion on the person, based on the opinions of gossipers. Different class, same formula.
However, irrespective of my fear and concern and frustration and resentment against these youth, I love them and care for them, because problem with them is they don’t know what they are doing, and no one to tell them how they actually should be. Class, appropriateness, etiquettes, sophistication are not part of a family for whom scarcity, chaos, and stress are life. Most of these youth are born and raised by parents who never went to college, and they grew up listening to assumption-based opinions rather than facts and research-based in dinner tables and neighborhoods. They went to school and college, but barely learned and understood what’s in curriculum, the purpose and message. Throughout their life, it was all about cracking exam by answering somehow right. As there is a saying, “fruits don’t fall far from the trees.” So what we are seeing actually is the younger version of very same uncle and aunties and elders with baseless opinion on America, on India, on politics, on health, on each and every aspects of life; the very same elders whose favorite self-soothing behavior is mocking and looking down to others just to feel good about self. Only difference being they have college degrees.
Nevertheless, someone has to make the hand dirty to fix it all for generations to come rather than hiding all their life to avoid insults, mockeries, bullying for taking the stand, challenging the established norms and thoughts.
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Generation Y learning to live in gray zones
Came across this picture of a Nepalis guy in his 20s residing in Australia. Seems like newly bought car, just done with “Puja,” with that Om and Banana. And the guy standing in a grunge personality.
This picture to us rightly represents this generation in large. Half of their life, they grew up witnessing the ritual and tradition practiced at home, by mother, by elders and we enjoyed thoroughly. As they grew up, they also learned that faith is one thing and reality is something else. Culture and tradition is one thing and the world that they have to live and thrive in is different thing.
In between, they learned to blend both, making peace with faith, culture, tradition, modernization, science, and yet live their life to the fullest. They don’t really that strongly believe an imaginary God will protect them by offering banana, yet they don’t see anything wrong doing that. They know rationally speaking, they can just drive the car without doing the “Puja” but they also know they can drink a whiskey without tossing the glass, yet they do, because they have simply learned the importance of such little ritual and gesture to add colors in their lives and activities of daily living, without which things would be dull and boring.
It’s never about being right or wrong. Life and world have never been black and white. This generation have learned to live in the gray zones, blending past, present, and future making peace with everyone and everything.
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