Saturday, 22 September 2012

Discrimination is all around us


One day we bought few small, as well as cute water bottles for our 9 month old, Jia. It's actually convenient and safe for babies. Later we realized that, whenever she used to see us drinking water, she would also want to drink from our bigger bottles. After much struggle and no mater how hard we could have tried, she never used to drink from her smaller bottles. In fact, she would start to cry and ultimately we would have to let her drink from bigger bottle, of course with too much difficulty. It seems the feeling of being discriminated starts at a very early age.

During my childhood we used to play cricket in our locality. Sundays were really special for us, as there would be lot of players. Immediately after watching "Mahabharata" TV serial in the morning, every one would usually used to rush to the playground. I think I was in my 5th or 6th grade that time. But there was a little problem. In Sunday many seniors used to come to play, so I and some of my friends would never get an opportunity to either bat or some bowling. We  felt really bad, basically we faced discrimination that time.

When I was in 4th semester in my engineering college, my father got posted in Guwahati, so my parents shifted there. I used to visit home monthly once or twice. There used to be one girl in our neighborhood and she was damn smart, outspoken, outgoing, as well as little damn care kind of. One day I witnessed some kind of an argument between she and her father.

Her father said "You are a girl and you should behave like a girl. Look at other girls, how they behave?"

The girl replied "why are you discriminating between a girl and a boy? How can you just say like that?"

I liked the girl's attitude. But, One day I saw the same girl in a city bus. I heard her taking to a old man "uncle, this is ladies seat, can you please vacate the seat?" So, there was discrimination in the bus as well. 

Now, we have witnessed discrimination in our engineering college as well. When we were in 3rd year, city bus service was introduced in our campus. Earlier the "No-8" city bus would come only till Ayurvedic college, which was actually the entry point of our college campus. Now our general Secretary  tried his best to bring the bus service inside the college campus. Finally the Motor Transport Authority agreed that the last bus stop for the "No-8" bus would be engineering college main gate. But the end point of our college was our hostel.Now our hostel guys protested on that, as we felt we're being discriminated. Some kind of verbal argument between our hostel guys and the bus driver/conductors, became quite common those days. Sometimes the argument used to go little nasty. Whenever there would be more than 3 or 4 guys of our hostel inside the bus, they would shout at the bus driver and somehow were able to take the bus till our hostel.

College students from different hostels used to say to us "Why you guys are so upset ? What big deal? At least bus is coming till college main gate and you guys can walk a bit."

It went on like that for some time, until one day 3 of my batch mates from our hostel, thrashed one bus driver. They had an intense verbal dispute, as the driver was not ready to go further from the college main gate. After this incident the bus association protested and they stopped coming to our campus. The incident was escalated to higher authorities. At that time our immediate senior batch were already done with their final exams and were waiting for project viva. The authorities played some kind of politics that time. They put the 8th semester project viva on hold, until they reveal the names of the culprit. There was tremendous pressure on our hostel seniors  to reveal the names, as the viva was on hold for entire batch. Our seniors stood by us and they never revealed the names.

Now there is discrimination against NE people. Sometimes we see posts in social networking sites "stop discriminating people from NE".

I get really confused when i come across such kind of posts. Looks like entire India discriminate NE and our people. I don't want to go into much details, as it could be little controversial and I am only writing my perception.  I had been out of Assam from last 10 years and was in Delhi for a year and the later came to Bangalore. In my entire life I never came across even a single person, who showed even a little bit of discrimination against NE or NE people. Whenever usually I used to introduce myself to someone and when the other person get to know that I am from Assam, he/she would usually used to reply "Wow! cool man, nice place. So, you must be playing guitar?" Well, I had to face this embarrassment several times. Few times I seriously thought of learning guitar, may be one day I would.

From my experience I have learned that most of the time there's actually a very thin line between actual discrimination and the fear of being discriminated. Sometimes Ego plays an important role in developing that fear.

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