Imagine wearing short skirts and make-up to school, dating and even kissing openly, being a girl and walking around the town at 9, living in a neighbourhood with absolutely clean streets. Amazing, huh?
I had grown up watching all kinds of American Teen shows- ‘Gossip girl,’ ‘One Tree Hill,’ ‘OC,’ etc. To me, the American dream was the ultimate Utopia. And I wasn’t so wrong in that. It must be beautiful. But its beauty and luxury was all that I was exposed to. I wasn’t exposed to TV shows that talked about racism in America; I didn’t know if sexism could even exist in a country like that, I didn’t know that it has the largest per capita carbon emissions in the world. I didn’t know all of that and that was because, most of us are plagued by a single perspective.
There are certain chosen lenses that we are exposed to as children and as we grow up we tend to stick to a particular lens as it becomes an integral part of our ego and we would do anything to defend it. Now to cite another example, say your parents lost everything they had in a riot. They are Muslims and those who caused them harm were Hindus. Now, your parents will always blame the cause of their poverty as an act of ‘Hindus’ and not ‘humans.’ So you grow up in a miserly poor family and more you struggle, the more you hate Hindus.
This is how communal hatred, gender biasness, racism and most forms of oppression are carried on. We stick to certain perspectives even if they’re old school.
One of the reasons, why this is so prevalent, because in our country (not to mention that the same doesn’t happen in other countries), is that we are not allowed to even think of other perspectives. Our country, our textbooks, our schools have regarded Gandhi as an ‘ideal’ being. While, Gandhi was a visionary and he did pave the path for India’s independence, he did have his own flaws just like most humans. But that part of him is never discussed, shutting us up to stick to only one ‘version’ of a multi-dynamic human.
In Delhi University, an important essay, ‘300 Ramayana’ by AK Ramanujan was deleted off the syllabus as it was considered ‘inappropriate.’ The essay contained 300 different tellings of Ramayana across the subcontinent, many of which contradicted the Valmiki version.
My point here is that limiting perspectives has become an integral part of both education and media in our country. Our openness to perspectives breaks the general limits set by stereotypes. But to do so, we all have to be daring and experimental in our ways. The more we accept the given formulated age-old perspective, the less we create space for innovation. And truth be told, we all have some space in our lives where that change can be made. It can be our jobs, meetings, colleges, schools and most importantly homes.
So let’s all browse the internet, looking for myth-breaking articles videos or books, nourish ourselves, challenge ourselves, and when we are done with that- we challenge others to do the same. The idea isn't not to give up your beliefs and ideas but to challenge them. It is to add more colours rather than just your favourite colour.
Much like all plagues, the plague of single perspective will continue to stay unless we realise the deadly effects of it. In our country, the deadly effects have been communal riots, caste and class discrimination
and even rapes.