Shed prejudice as you would a burden

Shed prejudice as you would a burden

Prejudice can be defined as a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason. Oliver Goldsmith, an Irish poet and essayist, rightly maintained that a prejudiced man was dangerous for the entire society. He liked to call himself a citizen of the world rather than of a particular region. There are a whole lot of prejudices, in the name of religion, caste, education, social status, etc. Nationalism is also a kind of prejudice. Goldsmith wanted us to rise above the narrow parameters of judging anyone’s nationalism or patriotism. He said that a true nationalist cannot hate nationalists of other countries. For him, a true nationalist welcomed others to one’s nation. The most dangerous threat to the peace of the world is pseudo-nationalists. They will leave their country in danger when they are needed the most. Goldsmith’s view was of a person who had travelled a lot and had experienced different cultures. He was curious to know why people loved their countries over others. In this perspective, let us examine our own position.
In India, the majority of the population is of Hindus. They consciously or consciously have made it their habit to judge every Muslim. In response, Muslims make up their mind that all Hindus are arrogant and believe that all Muslims are terrorists. However, terrorists are present in every community of the world. They are not specific to a single religion. It is where the harmful seeds of prejudices are sown that they sprout.
Patriotism is a necessary attribute of a citizen. But nationalism is to be avoided when it takes an extreme form. It is extreme nationalism that has resulted in the death of crores of people, destruction of property, environmental pollution, injury to billions, spreading of deadly diseases, etc.
A third prejudice relates to castes. The Brahmins among the Hindus and the Sayyids among the Muslims are supposed to be respected and to be made leaders. This is a distortion of both religion and humanity. A Brahmin can be a cheat while a Shudra can be honest. A Sayyid can be a deceitful person while a Dar can be ethically upright. But this mindset has been prevailing since long. It has hampered our progress. The best way of achieving success is to learn something from every person, state, country, nation, etc. Limitations are everywhere but the best way is to correct them. There is no logic in uttering things that have no basis and hurt the common good.
We come across these situations daily. It is painful when prejudiced people become our leaders. I find that we have miles to go to be like Oliver Goldsmith, who loved to be called a citizen of the world.

Sye[email protected]

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