Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Of Mice and Men...

Thank you BlogAdda, for featuring my post here.

While watching a little mouse scurrying along the walls of my room the other night, a thought occurred to me. And it kept me awake and thinking for a considerable amount of time. Is there really any difference between mice and men in the real sense? Well, keeping aside the obvious example of the “rat race” that our lives have become in this fiercely competitive world. I see some more similarities here.

One might surely have noticed fleetingly during some random or weird thought process, that we usually only find grey (or dark-haired) mice in our country. One can see them playing around every household, street, garbage bin. But in most of the western countries one will find little pearly white mice running around the corners of every building (that has mice, obviously). Doesn’t the difference strike a chord? Aren’t we Indians, the so called “brown people”, very much like the dark mice, while the westerners, the “white men”, much like those white mice? The color difference surely maintains constancy across the oceans, as well in mice as in men. There, lies my point. If, despite the stark difference in color, the two species of mice both pose the same problems to all the people around the world, why then are the people with differing skin colors treated so differently?
Why are some people treated with contempt, while others with sheer awe? Surely if such impeccable equality can be maintained by nature in its judgment, it could at least be maintained by us amongst ourselves, the human beings, who practically consider ourselves the rightful owners of the earth and the nature.

In the same vein, I asked a younger cousin of mine if she’d ever like to have a mouse as a pet. Her eyes lit up and she quickly replied, “I would love to, but only if it is a white one!” Therein lays my other point. We Indians ourselves are partially to blame for the prejudice done against us globally on the basis of skin color. Every mother in India wants a “fair-skinned” husband for her daughter. Dark girls are still considered curses on the family in many parts of rural and urban India. A friend of mine, Tamil by birth, recently expressed a wish to have a 1.5 lac melanin treatment done in order to become “fair”. I’d like to ask all these people, if we maintain such false prejudices amongst our own fellow countrymen, how can we expect any outsider to even consider granting us the respect we deserve? Talking about rural areas - given the low literacy, superstitions and beliefs - one can still try to understand the cause of the prevalence of such prejudices. But the saying “practice before you preach” seems to fall on deaf ears even among the members of our “educated” gentry, when it comes to such matters. And then they talk about inequality and racial discrimination on the global stage. Talk about hypocrisy, someone.

What more, the fair westerners are going in for tanning these days. They lay on the beaches, nude, all day, just to achieve that perfect “tan”. It has become a fashion statement of late. Dark complexion is as “in” for them as fairness has always been for us.

I wonder when we, the people of the world and not just Indians, are going to realize the importance of being who we are, the way we are, and letting ourselves known by our work and achievements rather than our place of birth or color. We need to learn, all of us do. Learn to respect ourselves for all that we are. And to respect the others for who they are, in order to be respected ourselves.
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