Right Time To Discard Discrimination
VOL. 05, NO. 19, April 20, 2012 (Baishakh 08, 2069)]
BY ABHISEKH ADHIKARI
Humans have discriminated humans on pretexts ranging from race to caste and class, posing a challenge to realizing equality for everyone. The society has always taught segregation. There are always insiders and outsiders. The resources have always been scarce for the greed of the human beings and thus discrimination has always prevailed. When the state has been powerful the rulers have always exploited the subjects.
Nepal has been no different. For centuries, caste system has prevailed. The laws made in Nepal by the rulers excluded people on the basis of birth and work. The society followed the trend and it became the custom. The original idea, however, looks different and was glorified in the past. No matter how useful the caste system was in the past, it has been seen as a crime against human dignity now. It has lost all its utility and can only be condemned.
Nepali society is in transition. There is a tussle between different spheres in every person's life. A person lives like something, preaches like something else, behaves differently at work and at home. He/she is fighting at home or at work and with his/her conscience. With the support and sensitization from different national and foreign actors, Nepalese are being sensitive in behaving with other people.
Laws are being legislated with opportunities for dalits, marginalized groups and women (deprived communities). However, there are concerns that they are not sufficient. Old laws have to be made sensitive as well. We cannot wait for time to play the role while we sit idly looking at the discriminatory laws. If discrimination has any place, it has to be positive discrimination for the benefit of deprived class of people. With the aim of reforming, old laws should give way to new ones, which are sensitive to the concerns of dalits, and marginalized groups.
The laws cannot remain at the status quo. There has to be some benefit for the deprived communities. For them to be able to compete with others, historical injustices have to be undone. The playing field has to be evened so that the players can compete. Deprived communities have to be empowered and made independent to stand on their own feet, live life full of dignity and rise above public torture and humiliation. As Dr. Bipin Adhikari a constitutional expert says,"The deprived communities have to be the administrators themselves of their rights, only then can change be possible."
The importance of the subject lies in the fact that every human being is equal by birth. He/she is unique but the uniqueness should not be exploited and discriminated. Historically, people have exploited the uniqueness. There has been movement of people across continents like never before and the lessons we learn is that the diversity has to be preserved to make life exciting, pleasing and wonderful. Discrimination against human beings based on their birth and work is a crime against human dignity. Every iota of it has to be eradicated. To save our face in the eyes of future generations we have to undo the wrong we have committed. This is the right time to do anything and save ourselves from humiliation and embarrassment.
The subject can never be more important when there has been a realization by the people who are deprived. People are raising their voices and are aware of injustices that have been done to them. The communities which have been enjoying at the deprived people's cost have also realized and are aware of the means of benefits they are enjoying. They are embarrassed. Both are looking for an outlet to undo the historical injustices. There has to be an upliftment of the morale of the people, some space has to be given to deprived communities in the legislations and empower them. Law as a device of social engineering will never be so effective as it will be now for the upliftment of the historically neglected people based on their birth and work they carried out.
A wrong has to be righted. A wrong cannot be carried on with because many people have trodden the same path. When awareness is there about any wrong that one is doing, his/her conscience will not allow to do more wrong. A wrong has to be remedied and there is no alternative to it. There will not be a better opportunity to uplift the historically deprived people when they are aware that they have been the victims of state, laws and society. It's easy to help those who have realization and awareness of their woes. It's easy to help those who are ready to help themselves. There has not been a better time in Nepal than at present where the realization has come to the deprived communities that they have been historically ill treated. They have been asserting their rights and there is already momentum in the country and outside the country as well.
The whole emphasis should be in helping those who have been deprived and discriminated historically. There are actors who are playing their role with limited resources. They are looking for every resource they can to capitalize on. There are international organizations which are ready to help as well. They have the experience and they want to share it. They can train deprived people to raise voices, bargain and negotiate their rights. The world has been a witness to the eradication of apartheid. The inimical feelings have not subdued completely but there are efforts made from every corner to enjoy the diversity that the world has been able to produce. Racism had always been an issue in America and Europe. Sporadic incidences of racism can still be seen in these continents. However, good lessons have been learned there. The consciousness of average people has definitely risen in these continents and the feelings of equality and fraternity can be an example for a third world country like Nepal as well.