Apropos the article, “Compassion as source of happiness” (Off ‘D’ Cuff, July 7, 2018), humanity cannot exist without compassion and happiness cannot exist without humanity. As a matter of fact, we need empathy and compassion to get real humane happiness which is distinctly different from hedonistic laugh of a hyena!
Empathy with the victims of class obstacles and caste hatred for their agonising situations is what we desperately need now to revive humanity. Indeed, at least for some time in a day we need to put ourselves in their shoes and feel their pain as if it is our own sufferings.
We must feel what would have been our sentiments if we were ragpickers and got our fingers cut while collecting a broken bottle from a garbage or being attacked by street dogs for carrying sacks. And what would have been our feelings if we were Dalit students as untouchables as being touched by our teacher only with a stick so that our teacher could save himself from touching our little impure body (Pratichi Trust Report) or constantly using our surname and family occupation for name-calling.
However, it may be argued why we must let ourselves suffer in that way as in this world of meritocracy, we should deserve a far better position than say a ragpicker who does not even have the merit of completing her/ his primary school education. But does meritocracy really mean anything in an unequal society? Those ragpickers have been facing Himalayan monetary constraints and those Dalits gigantic social and psychological barriers since their birth. So, how can we say that our merit is better than a ragpicker or a Dalit? After all, it is certainly not our merit to be born into our family!
Poor people find it really hard to get food and shelter let alone getting opportunity to show their merit. Dalits on the other hand have to withstand nagging negative comments from their neighbours, teachers, classmates and colleagues. Moreover, Dalits have been brainwashed for centuries into believing that they are incapable to do many things which only higher castes can do. Indeed, these social, economic and psychological barriers cannot let their victims realise their potentialities.
Even if our merit is better than say a mentally challenged person, we need to feel her/ his trauma of enduring continuous taunts, abuse and ragging. After all, we must not forget that we ourselves may become patients of Alzheimer’s or other similar diseases any time in near future and then our hyena-laugh at her or his expense can backfire on us.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper