Saturday, March 21, 2015

Rising out of Bullying

Bullying is an evil we may have all grown up with. Infact, it is a terrifying truth that plagues the society, where in a stronger person pulls a joke on a weaker person for not being like them, resulting in a repeated rut that drives the victim to depression.
As a child I was carefree, but a strong believer of equality. For me a fair person was in no way special than a friend with darker skin. I had brown skin myself, which gave a fair skinned friend of mine all the wrong reasons in the world to bully me. His mother was a fair skinned punjabi and father a dark skinned south Indian. This wasn't a deterrent for him and he went on bullying dark skinned people for being wrapped in browner membrane. I was fed on the perception that it was penurious to have brown skin. I decided to treat my skin to creams and charms like "Fair and Lovely" only to get into the good books of this fearless bully, but it didn't yield results. I remember hiding in the darker corridors of the school only to not come in the sight of  this bully who never got tired of addressing me as "Kalicharan".

From then on, I've not held fair skinned punjabis in high esteem, although not every fair skinned punjabi is a bully. For me a fair skinned Indian making fun of a darker skinned Indian is a doughty snob who can unblinkingly shame a darker skinned human for not living upto their impossible standards of  bottle-blonde beauty.
College was no different. My second year seniors treated me to a plethora of rude remarks during the 'friendly' ragging they subjected me to. Most of them thought that I had landed from south India, and kept referring to me as a "madrasan", until I decided to file a complaint against them.
This was the first time I took the reigns in my hands against bullying. Having browner skin than the rest of the lot, wasn't a sin and what astonished me the most was the attitude we had towards racism against Indians in the west. Our blood boils when Indians are mocked and tortured for having brown skin, but do we ever give a thought about the treatment that we mete out to our own fellow Indians.
Isn't it double standards, standing up against others, but trying to quietly brush under the carpet the racial intolerance weeding in our own backyard?
At a blogger meet, a few months ago, two of my friends from the north east shared their own anecdotes about being treated like foreigners in their own country. Many Indians refuse to recognize north east India as an integral part of the country. For them any person with Mongoloid features is a Chinese. 
How well can we justify each of these acts of xenophobia when everytime we hold candle light marches while proudly displaying our sentiments against ethnocentric patriotism?

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It is high time we realize that bullying anyone for being weaker is not cool. It bogs down the self esteem of a person driving them to the deeper annals of hatred and intolerance. 
Pulling a joke against someone for not being like you is called "Bullying". Recognize the symptoms of bullying in people around you, especially children and make sure that they are corrected at the right time and in the right manner, before it gets too late to make amends. 
We must tell our children that insulting others with mean words or teasing others for not being like us is not the sign of a being a good human being. Name calling someone else or gossiping about them by spreading rumors may some day come back to haunt us. For if we harass others and make them feel threatened then someone else, someday, who is drunk on power may do the same to us.

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And for everyone who has ever being bullied for being fat or for having a darker skin or have been thrust by someone else's definition of life, let us understand that the people who are trying to pull you down shall never reach the top, they shall always be one step below you.

Share your story about Bullying by using the #1000Speak hashtag or join the Facebook group 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion. You can also follow @1000Speak on Twitter or visit the 1000Speakblog to raise your voice against Bullying.

1 comment:

Sid @ said...

Amen to all your thoughts regarding this, Rinzu. Being bullied is a very horrible experience and one that tends to scar most for a lifetime. But yes, we can get through it by being stronger and raising future generations with a bit more tolerance.