A Realisation Of My Privilege


WHEN I was in class 2, I remember breaking the shower while trying to fix it in my direction. So, I immediately placed it in the shower holder and pretended as if nothing had happened. Mom thought it was the domestic worker (Suman) at fault there, and I let her take the blame. I was frightened about the consequences of my action. But who knew that I would be carrying the guilt for 18 years?

Every time I met Suman and we exchanged greetings, guilt engulfed me. There was nothing I could do once Suman was fired for frequently breaking things and lying about it. Little did my family know that it was me all along!

Most of us end up blaming others – and more often than not, the voiceless – for our mistakes.

I never imagined the amount of discrimination minorities in our country faced, mainly because we’ve been brought up accepting the normalization of inequality and injustice at an early age.

 We choose to look away every time a beggar knocks on our car window,
We choose to look away every time an injured person lies on the road,
We choose to look away every time we come across a person of lower caste,
We choose to look away as if the problem doesn’t relate to us.
Until when will we choose to look away?

As I worked in a competitive work environment, I always wanted a break. Don’t we all?
Incentives, bonus, designations – they lure us into this trap of being “settled”
But there are more world problems we need to address than just being “settled”,
People are dying of hunger,
People are dying of war,
People are dying, but we’re okay with it as long as the problem doesn’t relate to us.
Until when will we choose to look away?

We feel a slight discomfort while cleaning our own toilets,
But we have normalised manual scavenging
We want equality,
But don’t wish to give up our privileges,
We want green cities,
But we don’t wish to do anything about it.

Someone rightly quoted:
“We were all humans until,
Race disconnected us,
Religion separated us,
Politics divided us,
And wealth classified us.”

As I choose what I wish to have for dinner,
There are communities who teach themselves to not stay hungry,
As I choose my mode of transportation to work,
There are children who walk miles to get education,
As I educate myself about my rights and duties,
There are those who don’t know about their existence.
And as I learnt that the dead have tombstones,
There were a million homeless who lived without a roof on their head.

So, until when will we choose to look away?
Until when will we choose to be indifferent?
Until when?

(This article was posted on the Indian School of Development Management blog on October 11, 2017.)

IMG_1766Wyonna D’Souza formerly worked as Programme Manager at The Prahlad Kakar School of Branding and Entrepreneurship and has been Speaker Curator at TEDxGateway. She is currently a student of  the Post Graduate Programme in Development Leadership at ISDM in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.


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2 thoughts on “A Realisation Of My Privilege

  1. Very well written!
    I feel generally we give an excuse for our indifference as Helplessness.
    There is room for change, only we need to take that step!

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