“Come over to my house Bob,” my friend said over the phone, “and bring the family too! I want you to see my new home!”
We went over along with another couple he’d invited. The watchmen were polite and explained that there was a parking slot for visitor’s cars and directed us to the same.
“It’s got a swimming pool and club house, and I spend my evenings relaxing in the pool,” he said.
“It’s a huge place, you must have paid a bomb!” I said.
“No, we are tenants!” he said simply.
“And tenants are treated equally?” I asked surprised.
“Yes, of course,” he said, “If you look at the society bye laws, they have the same rights as the landlords!”
“But it’s never followed,” I said slowly, “Most housing societies in the city treat their tenants as second-class citizens!”
“In this society, by treating them equally, the tenants also feel a sense of pride and take pains to adhere to all the rules!” said my friend, “You would have noticed even the watchmen were polite to you, even though they knew you were coming to a tenant’s home!”
I nodded, and thought of our country, where suddenly a certain section of people belonging to faiths other than the main one, were being treated like second class citizens. A friend in Orissa had sent me a video of his church service being disrupted and ruffians from a fringe group not allowing them to worship, “Did you call the police?” I asked him.
“Yes,” he told me, “But what’s the use, they told me they could do nothing!”
And that is how the situation is in many parts of the country. There’s one law implemented for the majority and another for the others.
Well, I am sure, many in the majority community might be happy over this, but like the housing society I visited, to really become effective in managing a group or even a country, the leaders should be all inclusive.
You may please a portion of the people by being unfair, but finally, what will be missing will be a sense of positivity that’s sorely needed to move a nation forward.
In another housing society I know, owners of vehicles are given a parking sticker of a certain colour and tenants another. Why? To differentiate them. So that if the tenant has parked in a slot where he is not welcome, he can be treated unfairly. That’s why!
In Germany, the Jews were made to wear a star in public so they could be humiliated. In Iran, the same was done by the Shah. Well, soon Hitler and the Shah faded away.
For a country to move forward, learn to be inclusive. But the comparison ends here, because whether you belong to the majority or minority community, both are owners! However, I drove away from my friend’s housing society thinking that this is a portion of India, or Bharat we should emulate..!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at [email protected]