Don’t let the title confuse you. It’s not a review about the book by the same name. However, the theme is the same.
We are after all human beings and not perfect. We have so much pride inside ourselves thinking most highly of ourselves or our family backgrounds that anybody not remotely possessing the same qualities are cast off as “unequals”. The whole idea of caste system could also be said to be a by-product of this false pride. The rich pride themselves in their riches, the strong and healthy pride themselves in their strength and health, the beautiful take pride in their beauty and so on.
Their pride in turn leads them to be prejudiced against others not considered their equals and as a result, the poor, the uneducated, the weak, the ones with ailing health and the not so beautiful people are often discriminated against.
Sometimes the discrimination is subtle, sometimes not so subtle. It all depends on the circumstances. Discrimination could be in the form of unequal representation in policy making positions, it could be rejection of medical facilities because the person doesn’t have money to pay or in the form of advertisements for fairer skin products etc.
What can be done to remove these deep rooted prejudices that come from false pride? It can only be done through sensitisation and common sense. It will have to be a persistent campaign and a concerted effort. It will need a lot of patience and sometimes we will want to give up.It can’t be removed in a heartbeat though sometimes you wish it were possible.
Educational institutions and even religious institutions will have to play a massive role because these are the places apart from our homes where the beginnings of pride and prejudice start. The role of parents and families is no less important.
We need to remove this pride and prejudice from our societies and communities right now. Unlike in the book where they got a second chance to overcome their pride and prejudice against each other, real life is not always kind when it comes to second chances. So make your first chance count. Do your bit to sensitise and empower others around you by encouraging to think beyond wealth, physical appearances, beyond castes.