On every car trip, the intensity of diversity in India never fails to strike me. Whether it is the murals on the street walls or the famous green sign board showing distances and place names in at least 3 languages, diversity is found in each and every nook and corner of India.
The most amusing mark of diversity, however for me, are the stickers festooning rear windshields and other places on various vehicles, denoting with pride the person’s caste or religion, their native place or showcasing pieces of their history. Deep within this, lies the idea of unity. No matter what caste they belong to, or which god they believe in, at the end all of these cars end up on the same road, towards a similar destination.
However, with pride comes fear and where there is fear, there is irregularity. Pretty clearly, we haven’t been able to sustain our diversity. Humans have treated other humans in such devilish manners that our history has been stained forever. And no matter how hard we try, those stains are as strong as wine stains on a white dress. Racism and discrimination shouldn’t even be words that we still have to fight against in the 21st century.
What makes the issue of human diversity even more pressing is that it is the source of all the other issues. Imagine a huge tree, with flowers of all kinds, which bears fruits that are divine and yet distinct in every bite. Consider the name of this tree to be “diversity”. From that tree, you now see too many black branches branching off. These branches are the social issues penetrating our society and feeding it with poisoned apples. Examples of these issues are gender inequality, war, discrimination and racism, all, if you look closely, are due to the rejection of the idea of diversity. Denial that women should be paid more. Refusing to give a certain caste equal respect and position in the society.
In today’s time the issue has become more pressing than ever. 2020 is a good example of the same. We witnessed protests like Black Lives Matter. There has been major polarization on social media and in real life. We are unable to communicate clearly with each other. Diversity of thoughts, of beliefs and of assumptions have led us into a severe mess, one that could be only cleaned by the broom of acceptance.
Diversity is a topic near to my heart. While there are a lot of issues submerged in it too, the idea of beauty in diversity still attracts me to it. Instituting the idea of unity is important more than ever before. Diversity is a beautiful term, but its real beauty can only come out when there is unity.
©Aaira Goswami, 2021. All rights reserved.