Of all the people I have come across, and even more that I have heard and read of, the one thing that I know for sure is that no two of us are ‘totally’ the same. We are all different. Take two copies of a book and wrap them with different papers, they both are different! The thought brings me a cynical laughter that I attempt to control. We dwell in our own vanities, inside our own barriers of beliefs – some good, some not so good, and some dreadful, and among the last category, comes perhaps the sense of individuality that is backed by caste or creed.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I had a friend (I still have), who would easily and instinctively make out what caste a person belonged to, merely by looking at or talking to them. When mentioned, a nibble of information was passed on to me that one can make it out by the way the person carries himself/herself in general situations. So I took the challenge myself and started observing, and to my surprise, I did find that many people behaved and talked in a way as to show condescension towards others – They maintained their feeling of importance through showing, sometimes subtly and at times explicitly, that they belonged to an ‘upper’ caste. Dale Carnegie once said, “If you tell me how you get your feeling of importance, I’ll tell you what you are. That determines your character. That is the most significant thing about you.”
Now, what in heaven or earth did upper caste mean, I could not make out. All I could find out – through logic and history together – is that because the long gone grandfathers of their grandfathers were part of a senseless domination spree against everyone who did a work different from their own for making a living, they believed they are now part of the ‘upper’ caste. In this fast moving world where thoughts are being transformed as fast as time, where one is not even valued for what one was a decade ago but only for what one is now, I do not know whether to pity them.
Many people defend themselves that they are not part of the majority, but I have seen many such people change their stance when it came to them being the first person involved. Even today, more than ever, people reject love or sometimes even proper friendship on the basis of caste. Of course we may dismiss this saying that the mentioned people are backward and rural, but the truth is that they are urban people – people very well educated – people like you and me, moving around us – but nevertheless backward. Charles Daniels made people go crazy with his witty lyric: ‘What this world needs is a few more Rednecks’. Perhaps what it now needs is a lot more Freethinkers. Irony is that, while we are all collectively fighting for equality, we are on an individual level tending to disrupt our own fight.
And speaking of equality reveals very explicitly how absurdly hypocritical we are. We conduct rallies on Gender Equality. We gather at protests. But on the flipside, wherever we go, different queues and blocks of spaces bounded by fences differentiate the genders. Everyone likes to show off to others that they are noble and open thinkers while they fail to realize that everybody else is also just like them – We only like to advocate it, not adopt it.
One of my very recent experiences supports this fact. A college authority talks to students about gender equality, neutrality and zero discrimination, while on the other hand, students of the opposite gender are not even allowed to wait for a bus in the college bus stop together, much less exchange ideas and promote openness. When asked why some other relatively older men can wait alongside women while co-students shouldn’t, a security guard, much to my shock, said implicitly that they are already adults and not a potential problem to women!
A movement that was once started for a noble cause has turned into something entirely different, much like a failed experiment. The third wave of feminism has lost its vogue and its entire essence has been tampered, and people like us are the sole cause of it. The present day feminist ideologies resemble extremism, and are no longer about female emancipation but more about misandry, so much that a man making any emotional or physical move without a woman’s consent is termed abuse and asking for consent is construed harassment, as is happening in many universities in Canada in recent times.
Leave aside the massively biased laws all around the world that do not even make an attempt to hear a man’s version of any complaint lodged against him by a woman, or the media that highlights any cases where women accuse men, but do not even bring it to public notice when the accusation is proved false, what’s more is that any man trying to merely voice his opinion on Feminist extremism is accused, defamed and put behind the bars, without heeding even to the freedom of expression! What is it that we are essentially trying to do? Build a wall of hatred between men and women in the name of Feminism?
Of course we all know the dictionary definition of Feminism as the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes, but it is now turning to be no longer about equality anymore, but female dominance. I dare to venture upon saying that many of the so called Feminists of the present day have transformed the entire perception of Feminism just as ISIS has transformed the perception of Islam. We are able to fight the extremism and keep the peaceful principles of Islam alive due to support from the countries of the world, but sadly, the same countries are being blind to the extremism of the other side, and the entire Feminist ideological scenario is becoming more of a political game rather than a struggle for equality. In this scenario, we cannot take Feminism by its definition but by its actual current practical implications.
Sexist and discriminatory comments exist in our lives everywhere. Either genders make prejudiced comments against one another. For instance, a man may be termed sexist when he says that he ‘generally finds tall girls attractive’, but just because women cannot be sexist or reverse sexist simply because they lack the power to systematize their prejudice against men doesn’t really mean they aren’t, when a woman comments that she thinks ‘cool guys should not attempt to make an effort to know what girls think’, for this corresponds only to the sociological definition but sexism when it was coined was actually used in the sense of judging people by their sex when sex doesn’t matter.
All this brings us to the conclusion that there are issues from either genders, and hopefully now, the actual people who are really fighting for equality are identifying themselves as ‘Equalists’ rather than ‘Feminists’! Now logic brings us to a predicament. If we do believe that equality is possible and that we are working towards it, then let us be true to its goal wholeheartedly, and if we do not, then should we fight for it? Or should we be hypocrites betraying our own selves is a question that remains.