Who are the untouchables??
Over the centuries ,there have been many debates, interpretations, conflicts about touchable and the Untouchables; However, decisions and rituals observed never attempted to arrive at a consensus to mitigate change in some one’s distressing situation.
This write-up is on the current situation ,which is trying to bring the entire humanity under only one parameter-“HUMAN BEINGS”. (even if this thinking is felt to BE ONLY temporary)
That, to achive shift in the perception, we had to wait for this date is an irony as well as a grim truth!! Yet , there appears no other way except to accept the truth. People from diverse society have reached that point of shift , willingly or otherwise.
My personal experience a few days back;
I walked over to the foot path vegetable vendor; He shouted ! “hello! Hang on, stay there !Stop right there in the circle! Don’t cross it! What do you need, how much? Tell me, I will give.”
For a moment, I was taken aback and shocked at the tone and attitude of the vendor!
“Alas!! Am I Untouchable!!??!”
Although it took a moment for me to come out of the irritation, I was immediately satisfied with his behavior in the current situation!
Even after reaching home the same incident totally preoccupied my mind.
Yes! During our school days, when we returned from school , tired and out of energy, grand ma or Mother would either force or direct us with a loving order; With an unwilling mind, we would wash hands, feet, face and change our dress. Each one of us were provided with our own plates and tumblers. Before serving food , it was mandatory to wash hands and use our own plate and tumbler. Later, we had to wash the plate and tumbler and keep it in the designated place for next use.
Did WE!! Who had been accustomed to such unlimited good childhood practices fall prey to the so called modern practices & etiquette, as feelings crept in making us feel ashamed of continuing the age old practices and to dump them under the lame excuse of unscientific, illogical, blind rituals?. Our so called busy schedule further justified our feelings and made us to feel to that we are modern.
Every modern parent took pride in the fact that , by not imposing family traditions they have been more liberal with their children and have afforded them with the utmost freedom. always !
However, the feeling of self-defeat was very much within us, as we knew the values of the old good practices but could not impose it or pass on to the next generation due to our so called busy schedule and short of time to explain and answer their queries to their satisfaction.
It really is a period, that cannot be identified with a definite accurate timing!! Because, it is not a change that was accustomed or adopted overnight.!!!
It is a diluted ritual adopted over a period of time slowly but steadily.
But! We had a hard-hit on all these feelings forcing to relook and re think; . . ”No! Our forefathers had so much scientific forethoughts but may be they did not want to explain it adequately nor entertain any question/reasoning; Probably they wanted us to learn and explore on our own as we grew.
But, when did we start realising this? this thought process we can surely fix the accurate time frame!!!
Yes, that accurate time started recently , when the so called or at least portrayed as an evil called invasion of CORONA – the deadliest virus started spreading across the Globe.
Now the realisation started!!!
While the visual and print media devoted more time on this pandemic, the social networking sites were abuzz with the same corona pandemic but strikingly started recalling our forgotten and given up old practices which were the same as anti-corona protective measures now advised
Thus, Singing and praising the practices of our ancestors!
Suddenly groups started discussing on the old given up practices and exchanging their views.
Has this made us to feel guilty again? When we are reminded repeatedly about the same age old practice/mere rituals by our own children through distant education ( in the sense they are away from us geographically and advise and insist us to follow the newly prescribed anti corona practices during their repeated online interactions). This is a question to which we must answer ourselves honestly!
From the sudden enlightenment , the blur of the forgotten ritual – the confusion, the ambiguity of identifying the so called touchable and the Untouchables! is now cleared.
As a result – we are untouchables to many,and for us they are more so…. (it is a totally reciprocal situation)
All right! How is this going to end and where?
As our Kannada renowned poet DVG said:
hosa chiguru haLE bEru kUDiralu mara sogasu|
hosa yukti haLe tatvadoDagUDe dharma||
RuShivaakyadoDane vijnaanakale mELavise|
jasavu janajIvanake — maMkutimma
A blunt translation of above verse is :
”old roots and new shoots enhance the elegance of a Tree ;
Righteous practice is a culmination of Old principles with new approach ;
The integration of Science with old wise words enhances the value of the life “.
When we adopt this principle into our life style and move forward, it’s not just CORONA, even any most feared epidemic shall surrender to us. There is no doubt in it.
But, such a decision should not be a temporary one, it should rather be an integral part of our changed lives! Only then ,surely the victory against any such disease is ours!
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Illustration by Radhika Krishna
Read the original kannada version here