This post is based on an uncertain assumption that whoever is reading it- is leading a fairly comfortable life. Now while ‘comfort’ is a relative term, isn’t a certain level of comfort definable? The fact that one has a smart phone/ a computer, a room and a bathroom, clothes, water, food- is a lot to ask in a country like ours and thus, defines comfort to a lot extent.
Now, look at your immediate friend circle/family/colleagues/the circle of people you’re involved with. How many of them share the same comfort that you have (if not more)?
Answer these questions to yourself, as honestly as possible and only then, move forward with this post.
Our circles- be it family, friends or work- are limited. By limited, I do not mean limited in quantitative terms. Limitation of these circles refers to our inbuilt capacity of refusing ‘inclusiveness.’ I don’t believe any class/caste/gender/race/religion can be blamed for it. Humans, globally, have the tendency to want to remain in comfort zones. But they also have the capacity to step out of it.
What I mean to say is, if I look around myself, the schools I go to have students who have just as much of money as I do, the colleges I will go to will be the same and probably, after a while, the work forum that I end up in will involve interacting with people who share the same ‘comfort’ level. As a result, I end up knowing the world through a very minute lens. It is not because I’m insensitive; it is because I’m in denial of the lack of inclusiveness of my circle.
‘Inclusiveness’ in its essence doesn’t mean dragging people from all walks of life and asking them to be a part of something. No. It means, including people and their experiences in your lives.
In a country like India, where poverty is so visible, we can’t escape its glimpse. So we deny it. There are children begging on the roads of Delhi all the time. I’ve seen similar faces a lot of times and I’ve also given them food or money or clothes whenever I could, but I have never even asked their names. Asking their names, getting to know them, getting to know their world- that is inclusiveness. The rest is simply a help or a favour, whatever one might call it.
To include people means to understand the same world through different colours. In my friend circle, there might be someone who’s gay, someone who’s introvert, someone who’s poor, someone who’s a ‘Dalit,’ etc. But I do not include them in my life, if I don’t try to look at their worlds through their lenses.
In your workplace, there might be many women and men. But how many men do understand the world through the lenses of women and vice-versa?
It is these lenses and perspectives that need to be included. And to do so, a conscious effort must be made. The society is used to functioning in a one colour mind-set. I see the world red, you see the world blue and someone else sees it white. We stick to our colours for so long that we believe that the world can be seen through only these colours. And by doing so, we miss out on a rainbow.