Would you choose justice or equality? Let’s see this through. Equality. Whenever this word comes up, I am immediately taken back to ‘Animal farm’ by George Orwell, one of my favourites. He so wonderfully stated that some animals are more equal than others. Equality as an idea is quite far fetched for a country like India that is laden with casteism, hierarchies and undertones in everyday life that don’t make equality a distant future, it sure hurts me to say that. Here, in this majestic country which we belong to, ‘we’ believe that the privileges that we enjoy as individuals because we were born in a particular section is our birth right, that these are quite inalienable much like our fundamental rights. Quite in contrast, we spot a lovely dichotomy. We fail to acknowledge the beauty of chance. How could it be our birth right when it was solely because you were lucky enough to be born in the family that you were, it entitles you to their property and share and all those materialistic things that one craves for. It doesn’t entitle you to superimpose your standing in the society.
A by-product of equality is reservation in India as of now. Now hundreds of people like me, who aren’t looking for a vote bank, would say that this concept ruins that of equality. Keeping in mind that yes, upliftment of the downtrodden is of utmost importance. Without it, we wouldn’t reach anywhere. But my proposition would be to enrich people and provide them with sincere educational facilities during primary and secondary stages. By reserving seats per se, we tend to send out the message that one is weak, that one needs such supplements to stand somewhere in the society, leave a mark on society, to achieve whatever one might want to. If the base level is clear then one would fight on the basis of merit, fight and prove that reservation doesn’t have to be. Reserving seats, moreover, serves as a discouraging factor for all the others who, after having met with reservation, now start to believe that hard-work doesn’t necessarily mean success. That ‘some are more equal than others’, that the way is paved up for a few. Feelings of inequality stem up in the society and somewhere justice lacks. Here’s when justice comes to play. Where ever there is inequality, injustice would be a given.
The human mind that is always in a state of chaos crops up to be in two frames of mind. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t break in too. Hence, the contradictory statements follow. This would also be the leftist in me that pours. If equality in a society means having a classless society where socialism prevails, everyone gets their fair share and none go home disappointed or deprived or discriminated, it would be the most ideal form of society. Then you have justice as well as equality sitting on a bench, hand in hand, being the best of friends. The rich would understandably have issues, their argument being that it is their hard earned money, totally valid. But what about the greater good? What about getting rid of the evil of inequality that is so deeply rooted and so prevalent? What then would you do? Would you rather have 10,000 men equivalent to one, or would you have everyone at par? My answer is pretty clear in which I see justice and equality, both.
I’m sorry to have asked such a trick question, the ‘e’ with which justice ends is the same ‘e’ with which equality begins, there is no separating both.
The author, Ahana Singh Rathore, is pursuing BA at Sophia College, Mumbai.