Archive | July, 2015

The General Apathy

31 Jul

       The world has been engulfed with a self-centred perspective where ‘I’ has become dominant and ‘We’ has turned into a subdued principle. This is manifested into the various exploitations that affect us may it be social, political or environmental.  


      We are becoming competitive day by day where the idea of self-development is interpreted in terms of monetary achievements. As we must have observed, the disparity between the rich and the poor is widening and the former prefers maintaining the hierarchy and exploits the latter. Since, Capitalism and consumerism are complementary hence the capitalists by increasing the cost of living create proletariats, who for satisfying needs and fulfilling greed, would work for them to buy the products of their labour. This is very apathetic as the bourgeoisie simply want to become superior and subordinate the people belonging to the lower strata. In a very Marxist sense, we need to channel a revolution by removing the false consciousness of living in a good world.


       Social apathy in India is not just because of classist views but also because of casteist prejudices. Here historically, those who were poor also were people belonging to the lower castes thus they were victims of double exploitation. I agree that there has been a shift in the situation now but that is mainly congregated in the urban populace but in the rural locations this is still vivid. It certainly is a shame on the political system if caste still is a dominant principle after so many years of independence and reservation policy. However, it may also be apathetic when we deny someone the right to education or employment by the accident of belonging to an upper caste or a majority religion but lack financial strength whereas those who reap the benefit of the reservation policy may also be economically strong.


      Women are also susceptible to being exploited because of the hierarchy initiated by the patriarchal setup which culminates into incidents like the Nirbhaya rape case or incestuous sexual assaults or eve-teasing etc. This patriarchy is insinuated by the various social institutions especially family where there is mostly a segregation of females from an early age and religion which divulges different codes of conduct for both women and men where the former faces immense amount of restriction. For instance, menstruating women are not permitted into places of worship believing that they would affect the purity of it. Even, politically, to exercise control over a particular region the mechanism that is mostly used is to exploit the body of a woman or to use rape as a weapon in war. The other victims are the persons belonging to a minority religion. I presume that there can be a prominent change if we stand, as John Rawls says, behind a “Veil of ignorance” from where all the attributes of class, caste, sex, gender, religion etc. would be absent.



John Rawls

          Political apathy can be understood firstly through the treatment of the first world countries over the others. For example, USA for its desire to acquire the oils reserves in the Middle East is strategically conquering the countries by creating internal strife and then appearing as a messiah to solve it for the sake of human rights. Also, such powerful nations try to economically subdue the lesser developed ones in terms of various aids and infrastructural support. Secondly, through the politicization of any religion; generally, to gain power political parties ascribe to religious sentiments for acquiring votes. In India, for instance, the Babri Masjid demolition was a sinister act of the BJP-VHP alliance for the support of the Hindu populace and for the flourishing of Hindutva or we have politicians making hate speeches against a particular religious group.


  To understand environmental apathy, let’s imagine ourselves to be part of a web of life where each component has an individual and an inter-relational role to play and through these various functions we develop a harmony. However, futile components should be replaced or removed for a smooth channel but if one component becomes dominant then there would be a chaos. For instance, mining in the Niligiri Hills by Vedanta Resources has caused ecological imbalance also, displacement of the tribal; at the same time we cannot deny that raw materials are essential for industrial production for which mining is necessary but there should be a limit set up which can be best done by self-regulation. Another example would be the excessive use of plastics by us humans which is certainly harming our surroundings. All this human-centrism will definitely lead to environmental degradation and it has begun. Here, the Kantian idea of treating others as an ‘end in themselves’ should be viewed in a broader context consisting all of nature’s creation as we are just a part of the ‘Whole’.


      The people who are worst hit by this attitude are the youth. It may be so because of the constant exposure to the apathetic adults or by inheritance but I seriously doubt whether attitudes can be transferred through genes. We merely live in the shroud of consumerism that we limit our purview to brands, goods and fashion and forget to notice the serious socio-political concerns. The ‘chalta hai’ way of life which has engulfed our generation prevents us from looking beyond our selves until something affects us directly. However, revolutions can only come forth when the youngsters become conscious regarding the various corruptions around and determine to change as we are supposedly the most energetic ones. So guys, let’s rise up and transmute from being apolitical to political and set an example by treating people of lower and higher status with sameness and fighting for social justice similarly.


      To conclude, apathy has become a part and parcel of our lives and it is detaching us from our responsibility towards our fellow beings also making us exploit them. Thus, we are required to imbibe empathy for a better and harmonious living.


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