New & Noteworthy
Division and inclusion.
Division is present throughout the world. Here in India, it goes back centuries in the most distinctive form, caste. Walls too are present everywhere - from Israel to Mexico. President Donald Trump wants to build a wall to separate Mexico and the USA. Israel has built walls to separate itself from Palestine. These leaders claim that building walls are preventing major wars but if we look at the research provided by ‘theguardian.com’, it seems Mexicans have been living both in America and in Mexico for decades without having any trouble. So one wonders, why build walls to separate people if they pose no threat to the countries?
This global divide is caused by different mindsets in the world. Different people have different opinions about different circumstances and these opinions cause a major rift in the unity of people. Some believe that women should not be educated while others, that blacks are inferior to whites. A major difference between the USA and the USSR caused an ideological war, that of communism and capitalism. The division of Germany into West and East is another example.
Even though there are divides, the world over, people have also destroyed both mental and physical boundaries. Take the Berlin wall for example. This wall had divided people for so long but in the year 1989, people destroyed it. Nowadays there, people are more open-minded. There are other examples of progress too. For example, now the girl child is more widely accepted, supported and even educated. In certain pockets racial discrimination too has come down making it a better place.
This is what Ms Urvashi Butalia brought out through her interactions with us on 24th February. She rightly said referring to Pakistan, ‘You can't consider a country an enemy’. Ms Butalia argued that Pakistanis look like us, in so many ways live and think like us, how can we call them ‘the enemy’? This is a man-made border and a fictitious enemy. Supposedly Pakistan became home to Muslims, and India to Hindus during partition. People were told that their only identity was their religion and the other religion was their enemy. Similarly, the Northeast borders were created during British rule. Many of us label people from the Northeast as foreigners and Nagaland once demanded independence from India. So often two different communities seem unable to live together but why? Surely, the real solution is not to live apart but to live together.
We concluded Borders aren't always bad; it’s a question of how they are viewed and written about. Perspectives and opinions are often one-sided and prejudiced. Needless to say leaders could definitely play a positive role in bringing people together but the questions remains: do we as ordinary citizens have absolutely no control over how we view those on the other side of our own borders?
Udai Taneja & Rishab Menon