I was in 8th-grade when my history teacher read about the basic rights of an individual in a country. Equality was a fundamental right. No one should be discriminated on the basis of caste, religion, colour, gender or sexuality. Discrimination was abolished and freedom came to one and all after India had won her independence. Back then, the black hand of discrimination hadn’t touched my life.
A few years later, I started to notice discrimination seeping its way into my life. I could see it in the way people treated servants. I saw it in the way drivers were ignored. I saw it in the way the hunger of the poor mattered less than the hunger of the rich.
I hated it. I despised it. Every fabric of my being was repulsed with the society and its people. So I swore, I would never discriminate. And, I didn’t.
Years later, I fell in love. I fell in love with a man who intrigued me, who made me laugh. He understood boundaries and gave me my space. He didn’t try to cage me. He didn’t try to hurt me. Unlike most men I’d encountered to then, he cared for my mental well-being as much as my physical well-being. I felt loved.
And then, religion came into play. The mismatch of ours. His demand is that his entire family would be cast out, unless, his girl agreed to convert.
I found it stupid.
Any religion which demands to place itself above love is not worth following. I thought religion was supposed to teach people to love unconditionally. But he believed. His parents believed. His love for his parents was far greater than his love for me. When he came to me saying religion is our nemesis, I let go.
I’ve always believed love is above all. I’ve always believed love is the religion we should follow. Love, where the names of your parents, your colour, your gender, your religion or caste, shouldn’t matter.
I still believe in love. But is love really that weak to be broken and divided based on nothing but the will of a person? Or are people too weak for love?
He was a good guy, but he wasn’t the one for me. He made me see the world for exactly how it is.
After so much progression and evolution, we’re still stuck in the medieval era where people kill because of insignificant differences. Where you can’t love because you aren’t of a certain section. Because you don’t fit in a certain box. If they can’t cage you, they’ll kill you. The Witch Hunts are proof of that.
But, in the 21st century where man is preparing to live on Mars, its quite saddening to see this reality.
How difficult is it to build a world where we can simply love, and not hate. To love unconditionally. To accept. To make choices.
We are far from free, as I now clearly see.
Artwork by: Daniel Watts (@visionary_sea)
Written by: Vani Vinod ([email protected])