Giving new meaning

Imkong Walling

It is interesting how language evolve. Words become obsolete; vocabularies get coined, gradually becoming part of everyday parlance. Blame it on an inclination for political correctness or wanton distortion of word meanings for no apparent reason; words which were erstwhile uttered without much ado are today considered improper, insensitive or have found place in the backwaters of the slang domain.

 

Discrimination, a word certainly not of the slang domain, has been one that has over time come to be associated with partiality. A word that rings injustice every time it pops up has however another definition, as per the dictionary. This other definition of the word generally implies making sense of things or having an understanding of the distinction between things and ideas. It also has a third definition confined to the world of electronics.

 

The former of the three definitions with the implied ‘unfairness’ has though overshadowed the latter two finding greater mention in everyday speech, literature and the media. In the process, the word has become synonymous with anything biased – prejudices largely arising from the socio-cultural, economic and perceptual complexities of a given place and arguably gaining notoriety in the process.

 

Defining a person’s worth by employment has been a rather subtle form of the many variants of discrimination apparent almost everywhere on the planet. People holding a small job or not at all are often at the receiving end of such a form of discrimination.

 

The Naga society is also no stranger to such a form of favouritism.

 

Recently, the film/theatre group Dreamz Unlimited released a short film with an odd title. Titled ‘JOBism’, the short comedy was published in the group’s eponymous YouTube channel in October. It was accompanied by a brief synopsis – “This is a humorous take on how some parents treat their daughters’ boyfriend/friend according to their profession.”

 

The protagonists in the form of a conversation between a father and a prospective suitor (of his daughter) humorously bring to life an awkward situation, which many a would-be suitor would have experienced. The father mistakenly assume the suitor to be an EAC only to realise it stood for caretaker of a fictional private establishment called Eternity Academy or EAC (Eternity Academy Caretaker).  Check out the film @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGYzV0EXQ74&t=35s  here

 

Hilarious and on a serious note thought provoking, the comedy brings to notice once again the government job versus private employment conundrum. It also presents a clearly evident form of occupation-related favouritism/discrimination prevalent here yet a concern largely brushed aside.

 

One would be further pushed to ponder if it is personality that counts or the job a person holds. To quote a friend’s take on it, “Your worth is defined by the kind of job you have (or, don’t have) and we don’t really appreciate the values that go behind getting such a ‘good’ job or that somebody else is investing that same kind of hard work, passion and sacrifice into a career or livelihood that may not exactly be a ‘stable’ government job.”

 

According to the friend, marriages, arranged ones to be precise, are brokered based on compatibility on the job front. “A regular government job correlates to the eligibility of a person.”

 

Meanwhile, the creators of the comedy might well have, advertently or inadvertently, given new meaning, with a local twist, to a rarely heard ‘Jobism’ that has yet to find formal mention in the almanac of English words. The Urban Dictionary defines it as – “The belief that jobs are the only solution to poverty and other social problems.”

The writer is a Principal Correspondent at The Morung Express.
Comments can be sent to imkongwalls@gmail.com
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