Many years back, my uncle’s colleague was in tears when he described the unreasonable demands made by his daughter’s parents-in-law before, during and immediately after the wedding. My uncle felt really bad that all he could do was to offer his colleague a shoulder to cry on. I remember my uncle giving us a detailed description of the unreasonable demands and telling us how the bride was shocked and disgusted by the behaviour of her parents-in-law.
A few months later, my uncle attended the wedding of the same colleague’s son. My uncle was dismayed to observe his colleague torturing his daughter-in-law’s parents, making almost exactly the same unreasonable demands that his daughter’s parents-in-law had made. What pained my uncle, and all of us, was the fact that his colleague’s daughter, who had been shocked and disgusted by the behaviour of her parents-in-law, seemed to enjoy the spectacle of her parents doing the same things that her parents-in-law had done. Her shock and disgust seemed to have vanished into thin air!
This kind of thing happens all the time.
We are shocked and disgusted when we, or our loved ones, are victims of any form of discrimination.
But how do we react when we, or our loved ones, are perpetrators of the same form of discrimination?
Does our attitude towards any sort of discrimination depend on whether we gain or lose by such discrimination?
At the workplace, all of us like our seniors to treat us as equals, but don’t many of us love to boss over our juniors?
How many parents can claim that they genuinely try to treat their daughters-in-law just like they treat their daughters?
Women belonging to ‘upper caste’ families may complain about gender discrimination, but do they speak out against caste discrimination?
How many of us try to ensure that the economically weaker persons in our lives are treated with dignity?
Do we discriminate against certain persons or groups, particularly when we think nobody else will know about it and/or when we think we can get away with it?
Are we shocked and disgusted when we, or our loved ones, are perpetrators of discrimination?
Or are we shocked and disgusted only when we, or our loved ones, are victims of discrimination?
Let us all try to remove all kinds of discrimination, irrespective of whether we, or our loved ones, are victims or perpetrators.
Let us stop being hypocrites.
(This post was originally published on Nov 23, 2013.)