Social realities
Editorial

Social realities

February 14, 2020

Days of a distant past, one may have to surmise based on anecdotes, chronicles, folklore, literary outputs of writers, fables, proverbs, scriptures, sculptures and even conjecture, seem to have been marked by people living in harmony while engaging themselves on a few pursuits such as agriculture, spiritual studies, trading and protecting territory from aliens bent on grabbing riches and land. The headcount in different regions of the then subcontinent being a fraction of its present number, the living space for both human beings and denizens of the forest may have facilitated sustaining both respectable distance among the life forms and access to their basic needs, particularly food, water and shelter. In the long-drawn process leading to villages expanding to towns first and cities later on the counts of their area of territory and head count, the profile of the inhabitants mainly covering their ways of life witnessed a metamorphosis which has continued to this and the pace of that change has only moved into the acceleration mode. Both outlook to life in general and none-too-happy mutual relationship among people in villages, towns and cities, thanks to the steadily increasing density of their residents, have led to life’s compulsions that hardly anybody can manage.

Invoking divinity, the sage pointed out that human beings distinguished themselves into four sections based on their calling (without one section treading on the toes of other sections). Call it evolution or whatever, the presumably happy sections forsook their callings triggering the all-too-familiar negative attributes of jealousy, disaffection, ill feeling, superiority complex and so on hurting pleasant social realities.

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Digging into the past days, one more factor impacting mutual relationship in general and social conduct of citizens in particular looms large, namely the portrayal of kings as divinity in real life (Raja pratyaksha devata), marked by both respect for and trust in the authority of royalty. Now that monarchy has moved into the pages of history and the public image of the contemporary ruling class, culled out of the population as elected representatives, being what it is, asking for revival of societal order of the distant past is a tall order. The air is thick with the public speakers berating the caste system in the open but using their position in posts of authority adhering to the same system, pulling wool over the eyes of people as it were, is there for all to witness.

Another dichotomy in the conduct of the ruling class is making statements favouring inclusive society to achieve equality while conducting themselves in the style of feudal lords. That exactly is the ongoing social reality.

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