Monday, June 8, 2020

We are all human beings. Everything else is a label

The pandemic has had varying impacts on different people in different parts of the world. But at a basic level, we all, all of us on this planet, have felt like one. When we spoke to someone, maybe in our neighbourhood or thousands of miles away, there was one topic we related to: how we were coping. 

All of us shared a worry - about our health. We stayed at home, remembered to wash our hands frequently, wore masks, kept a safe distance from one another ... 

In the midst of all this, on May 25, a medieval show of brute force snuffs out the life of a man in front of a live video camera. 

In 2008, the chant "Yes, We Can", reverberated across the United States. On November 4 that year, while I was watching the concession speech of John McCain on a TV screen during dinner at a San Francisco restaurant, the enormity of the historic event was still sinking in. 

The dominant view among many people I spoke to was that it was not just about America getting its first African American president. It was also a symbolic break from the past in the way one looked at another person, and that too, when at stake was who the new president should be.

Twelve years later, one single incident sets the clock back, brings latent fissures and frustrations -- which many people think began building up since 2016 -- to the fore. Hundreds of thousands of people pour on to the streets in many cities across the globe, crying out, yet again, for a change.

'Black lives matter' is not just about the colour of the skin. It's about everyone who is marginalised, not just in the United States but all over the world. People are discriminated and victimised often because of reasons like nationality, the language one speaks, the food that one eats, the religion one practises, hierarchies in society, office ... the list goes on. 

These are nothing but mere labels. They don't really mean anything.

It doesn't matter which clock one looks at to know the time.
It doesn't matter what colour the umbrella is when it rains.
It doesn't matter what transport one takes to reach a destination in time.
It doesn't matter what movie one watches or what music one listens to in order to relax.
It doesn't matter what exercise one does to stay fit and healthy.
It doesn't matter what food one eats when hungry. 

We are all humans beings. 

Mercifully, it's not gloom and doom all around. There are many slivers of radiance shining through the clouds, spreading love, affection, kindness, compassion, generosity, and humility.

And thereby comes the hope of real change.


  1. Hari OM
    Succinct and pertinent. If all could simply see beyond the covers of that upon which they gaze... YAM xx

  2. If only Obama's election could have wiped away the centuries of discrimination. But those roots are way too deep. Our current reality is the backlash against his presidency. One of these days, we'll get it right. Alas, not quite yet.

  3. Simply brilliant! It just cannot be improved upon.You are echoing the voices of millions and millions of people across the world.The verse at the end is awesome.Thank you.

  4. I am reading a few books set in 19th Century India and I am shaken at the level and amount of discrimination that existed within our own society back then. Things are much better now - at least people are able to fight.

    Destination Infinity

  5. Beautiful! This is a lovely post. I like the way you say the protests are about all marginalised people. Well done!

  6. What a lovely post. I had hoped divisiveness would be a thing of the past by now. ~sigh~ All these big corporation CEOs are putting messages on their websites about solidarity with the black community. That's great, but why can't we all stand together as human beings, or at least United States citizens?

  7. Loved those lines that beautifully explained that we're all one and the same, irrespective of our labels. If only the world would understand that too.

  8. Such a warm and inspiring post and so true, at the end of the day we are all human and its so sad to see how labels have created so much of problems everywhere... to the extent of even killing people.. we hope for the day when there's a realization that labels were all created and there's nothing more valuable and precious than human life and even before we think of labels we are all children of the universe. Thank you for sharing:)

  9. Hi Pradeep - so right ... and as the others have said ... very well set out ... we are all humans. Take care and let's hope this continues without becoming disastrous ... I'm optimistic - all the best Hilary

  10. Well expressed, Pradeep. Oh, wishing for a time when we can indeed look beyond labels. But as you say, there are those slivers of radiance shining through, to give us hope and positivity

  11. Well said Pradeep..boils down to empathy for fellow living beings.. that's what many in the world lack.

  12. We miss Obama so badly, but as you said it's not just about US but also everywhere in the world, and it's very of concern. But I want to be like Hilary and be optimistic...

  13. Thank you for ending this post with the silver lining of hope Pradeep.
    Recently, while reading 'My Gita' by Devdutt Pattanaik, I came across the 'true' meaning of 'darshan'. According to the Gita, darshan is a state when one sees all (plants, elements, animals and humans) as a reflection of the Divine, hence the 'looking' is with empathy for all. In this state, the 'other' does not exist.
    I feel--Now, more than ever, we as a race need to embrace 'darshan'.

  14. Tolerance and empathy, if all people possess for others, the world would have been a paradise for living. If we look underneath the casing membrane of our body, all are one and the same with regard to parts and number, brain and brawn, bone and blood etc. Once the breath leaves us,all be cadavers. What for is this fight, what for this demarcation and what for this skin-colour prejudice? In the court of God( if one doesn't believe in-in the store of future incidents), similar or more experiences they will come across sooner or later. Pradeep, well-studied and well-said.Nice.

  15. Yes I agree this year is a mess and it teaches many things good and bad