Inequality is a constant phenomena in different parts of the world. When we can’t (and shouldn’t) make everything equal, some of the inequalities are unacceptable.
In the midst of many experiences of the recent days, I was thinking of the question of power. Definitely everybody does have some sort of power; but the power available to an individual varies based on innumerable conditions. Power is definitely connected to inequality too. All of them would agree (at least in public) that responsibility follows power. And many of them (not all) would subscribe to the fact that powerful should use their voices to become voice of the voiceless.
Thus in the midst of inequalities of various kinds (especially social, gender, economic, availability of resources). There could be 3 responses to inequalities
- I don’t care.
- Want to help them and do something for them. But I don’t find comfortable in loosing the power I hold due to inequality. [Charity is ok, not justice]
- Solidarity with the unequals and helping to create an equal society.
In reality, many of us would do take all the 3 responses at different moments of our life. When the first is extremely problematic (for a believer of justice/equality/love), the third is an awesome option. But the second needs a little discussion.
In the midst of inequalities, I feel that the privileged do have a responsibility to become the voice to the voiceless. (Here you are giving voice to their silent cries). This could be done through charity, empowerment initiatives, education and various forms of activism. Now as the empowerment progresses, the old voiceless starts speaking. Their voice becomes audible. This can lead to a tussle, a tussle where my power over them gets weakened. They are empowered. They can think for themselves, decide for themselves. I have to treat them as equal.
Institutions like the church and other religious organizations do face this struggle. When the laity is empowered (as in the case of church) even with the knowledge of scriptures (not any fundamentalist interpretations, but an authentic one) and with the knowledge of science and technology, the hierarchy cant (and shouldn’t) dictate to them. The power needs to be shared. The priest in a church may become the first among the equals (this is not a privilege, but more for administration).
Similar analogy could be used for the concept of reservation in India. It is given to certain groups of people so that they can equip themselves. It is also a remedial measure against the backwardness suffered by them. But the main aspect of reservation is EQUIPPING THEM. I think, we as a country has failed even after many years of reservation is because of the lack of investment in creating resources (educational, health, nutritional and others) for all sections of people, especially the vulnerable sections.
Thus the journey from inequality via various means of empowerment (training, reservation, etc) should lead to just and equitable society, which requires a readiness to share the power. It may be easier to empower, but difficult to share power. Without sharing of power, no justice is possible.
Inequality → Not a system of no differences/variations.
Inequality → Not a system where some charity alone is done
Inequality → Equitable Society
Inequality → Justice
Inequality → Sharing of Power