Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
Bias is a belief we hold for or against someone for a trait he or she has. It has nothing to do with the person's behaviour. Often a negative bias is just a constricted view leading to a bad impression. What we hear from others, guides us to maintain distance or treat a person or group differently.
There are many biases prevailing in our country. They may be against a different gender, people of different castes, different religions or from different states and speaking different languages. This operates in families, communities, schools or work places. The list is endless.
If you ask me, I would like India to be unshackled from these few biases.
1 Bias against girls: India prays to the Goddess and preys on the girls. We have an unusually high rate of incest, sexual abuse and rapes of young girls. They are scared to move freely on our streets.
Their birth is mourned like a death in some communities. No wonder we have a poor sex ratio. They are greatly undervalued and treated like a burden. Girls face differential behaviour in education, household chores, future expectations and property inheritance. I would like to see India free of this bias.
2 Bias against the Bahu: In many families there are biases whether the daughter in law should work or not, when to have kids, how much housework she does. Major decisions of her life are influenced by others. Each and every member of the in-laws family making judgements on the daughter in law, is very suffocating. It is the root cause of altercation and discord. We have surveys saying Indian women are among the most unhappy. We see a high proportion of abuse, violence cases, and dowry deaths. May this Independence Day make these women independent to exercise their choices.
3 Bias against skin colour: The skin colour Indian racism is deeply rooted and has link with Vedic distinctions between fair Aryans and dark Dravidians. Given our genetic make-up, it is not possible to dictate the skin colour of our choice, even for our children. A dark-complexioned person may not be seen as an ideal candidate for marriage. A recent suicide by a young girl in West Bengal proves how humiliating it is for people to be repeatedly downgraded for skin colour.
4 Bias against special children and their families:Treating these kids with fear and contempt is the cruelest thing against humanity. Unless we understand and include them in our daily lives we cannot remove these biases.
5 Racial bias against North Eastern people: We Indians like to think racism exists only in the West and see themselves as victims of bias against the brown people/Asians. We fail to see our own attitudes towards people from the country's North-East
There are several incidents that can prove that young people from North-east remain isolated from main stream communities. The mysterious death of Loitam Richard in Bangalore, the murder of Ramchanphy Hongray in New Delhi, the suicide by Dana Sangma. These three individuals had a “particular” physical appearance, a common origin and were seen as outsiders in the places they died. Their deaths a symptom of the pervasive racial discrimination that Northeastern students and professionals face in metropolitan India.
Only when we unite on these fronts and act like one unified entity, we are going to progress as a nation. The best way families can teach young children to be free of these biases is by shaking them off themselves. By being role models. Include them and encourage our children to forge their relationships irrespective of the gender, marital status, skin colour or origin of the person. Accept differences and celebrate them.