Your truth is different than my truth

Can “first world” sensitivity be applied everywhere?

I’ve had some privilege in life. I mean the privilege of a comfortable house, an excellent education, global exposure for work and visits and the ability to keep an open mind and grow. I used to take utmost pride in the fact that I don’t judge or label, but in trying to be obsessively open minded, we forget that maybe everyone around us has not caught up yet. What I mean is, India is a country where literacy has still not reached almost 30% of the population, and even with the others that are counted in “literacy rate”, the number of people who have received higher education or can afford to use their time to develop “first world” sensibilities are much lesser. This really makes me question if what the world “leaders” fight for as redefining sensitivity can be applied to people everywhere, irrespective of their race, gender, literacy or geography.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for evolution of the mind and the human behaviour, but the more a certain group evolves, the greater is this divide between those who still have a long way to get there. For example, it would be barbaric to call someone a moron or retarded and there are a lot of people trying to raise awareness about being kind to those whose intellect might be affected because of a disorder. Now while there are a great number of people trying to raise disability awareness and it is sacrilege to call someone downright moronic, what about some places where if you don’t name a facility like that, people won’t understand what you mean?

To elaborate further on the same example, there is a facility in India for those who are “Mand-buddhi” and there is a very prevalent concept of “Pagal-khana”. This is the same as calling someone stupid or crazy and still these institutions exist and are needed. While this causes a lot of cringe to many people, what about those who are looking for it and don’t understand any other language or logic? There is a man or a woman in some small village in India in search for a facility for someone having such a disorder and when they read this very raw yet literal name of the institution, they find what they need. Does this mean that behavioural and mental evolution is reserved for a select few who have the means or does it also mean that we will have to continue certain practices till we can reach everyone even in the grassroots?

Let’s take a simpler, more wider example. Tell a strong, opinionated woman that you’ll get a certain privilege because of your gender and Oh no! We are now trying to understand and explain why giving special privileges to some is part of the problem and makes the distinctions even more obvious. But what if there is a certain group of people who does need it, because they need access to their basic rights first. In that case they have no option but to take the privilege to get somewhere till they can understand the next layer of complexity in such situations.

Try giving a bitcoin to a person who does not have a phone, internet access or an interest in the world of cryptocurrencies.

The language of sensitivity is almost like knowing and learning an entire different language, with every different person you meet. We define certain things as they become “popular” as the right thing to do, to say or to feel. But this right is right for whom? What about the others. A lot of these issues that are rampantly debated over twitter wars or largely supported by influential magazines voicing the thoughts of “leaders” are so non-relatable to another large section of the society that somewhere the divide keeps growing. Everyone has there right to evolve and make their own stands, but are we being too quick then to dismiss those who we feel haven’t reached that level of emotional, sensible and behavioural maturity? Do we try to understand where the other person is coming from or do we consider ourselves to be better than them based on privilege?

Easiest way to ponder over this is the next time you feel better than someone for knowing the English language. Or if you feel smug that you don’t consider homosexuality any different but some else does. Remember you had to get over the homophobia too. You had to be taught, and it’s great that you learnt. But let’s not stop there. Let’s also listen, understand & spread the awareness.

After all, we’re constantly evolving, are we not?

I'm a writer so I thought this would be easy but turns out bios aren't that common to get right! I'm here to express myself on a lot of things and read a lot.

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Pinaki Kotecha

Pinaki Kotecha

I'm a writer so I thought this would be easy but turns out bios aren't that common to get right! I'm here to express myself on a lot of things and read a lot.

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