I grew up in a middle class background and was surrounded by similar people where I lived. Whenever we used to read or see news about people from different backgrounds, for example, issues concerning farmers in our country or riots between ‘Our’ people and people of a different faith, we used to feel that we are much better off compared to ‘Those’ people.
I stepped outside college and got a job. My job involved travelling in various parts of the country for audit of accounting records of various clients. Whenever I met a person from my state in another state, I used to feel affinity for him as if he belonged to ‘My’ class and category, though within my state, I would perhaps have classified him under ‘Other’ class or ‘Those’ people.
Years later, I travelled to Europe and met a guy from one of my neighbor countries about which, we do not speak very respectfully. But this guy was quite helpful and enthusiastic. He chatted with us on how we Asians are conservative and have cherished values and culture compared to people from western countries. I was amused, though I do not fully agree with his views. The guy, who otherwise was fit to be categorized under ‘Those’ people, suddenly became part of my group with a change in place we met each other.
These experiences make me think about my true identity. Who do I belong to? Which is ‘my’ group? Who are ‘my’ people, and who are alien to me? Also, should I identify myself with language I speak or faith I follow or my nation… or, to stretch it further, the continent I come from?
Why is it that people who I thought to be from a different origin started resonating with me after I met them at a remote place?
Was my concept of ‘my’ people flawed then? Was it so narrow that it excluded people who are very much part of my life?
One of my friends had a funny experience. He travelled to USA for a work where he met a Chinese guy. The Chinese guy befriended him as both of them were Asians, while one of the Americans he met helped him a lot because he believed both were from European descent. That was because there is a popular belief that Aryans in India had migrated from Europe. Now which group should my friend have identified himself with? With Asian or European?
It is a common human tendency to form groups of people from like backgrounds. When such groups are formed, people from different backgrounds are treated as outsiders and looked at differently. Consider a change in situation, where people travel to a remote place and they meet some other people not part of their group, but from their original location. Here, parameter of commonality changes, new group is formed and these ‘other people’ also become part of the new group. With a change in situation, notion of like background also changes.
Man is a social animal and has always felt the need to associate himself with a group or ethnicity he can identify as his origin. Different civilizations originated in different parts of the world and there were conflicts between/ among these civilizations to prove their superiority over others. However, there have also been massive migrations of human races from their places of origins to various other parts of the world over last thousands of years and one cannot be absolutely sure about his or her original ethnicity. What we know for sure is that we all are human beings.
In the modern world, we identify ourselves with our nation, language or faith and it is natural to associate pride with this identity. However, this pride should not take over us so much that we forget basic human values and start demeaning people belonging to other identities; and yes, this very much applies to discrimination based on color of about 1 millimeter superficial layer that covers our bodies, namely our skin.
Technological advancements in last few decades have caused mankind across the globe come closer. However, this has still not removed walls existing among various civilizations. While creation of trust and confidence among all global communities has a long way to go, a positive step in that direction can certainly help in building trust with other people.
Of late, I am coming to understand that there is nothing called as ‘Our’ people or ‘Those’ people. If I can empathize with people in any part of the world, I will consider myself a true human being and will be glad that I found my true identity.
Author Notes: Hello All, I have written an e-book 'Diary of a Spy' which is available on Amazon Kindle world wide sites at most reasonable prices.
Diary of a Spy is a suspense thriller. Arthur is an intelligence agent who accidentally meets a pretty girl named Genie. To his surprise, she already knows not only his name but also about various assignments he handles in his job. While Arthur struggles to know her true identity, Genie has secret information in his assignments that even his team members do not have and gives him tips that help him in sorting out his intelligence assignments.
Who is Genie in reality and how does she know about Arthur and his assignments? Why does she help Arthur in his assignments and what kind of relations does she develop with Arthur? What is her mission? Is Arthur finally able to trace her identity? You will get answers to all these questions in the e-book. And yes, an unexpected end to the fiction will certainly blow your mind.