In the month of January 2010, I got opportunities to visit and speak in well-known institutions like that of Jadavpur University of Kolkata, Nehru Centre, SNDT University, St. Xavier’s College and Tata Institute of Social Sciences of Mumbai on topics related to culture, education, and globalization and youth. As usual, an open and comprehensive discussion took place after every lecture of mine. Questions were asked by the audiences and I replied each and every of them. It was a great satisfaction that none of the audiences was disappointed by any of my replies. Moreover, what I myself have learnt from the course of debates and discussions raised after my lectures is that, it is necessary for a speaker to express his views in a simple and clear manner. Besides this, he should also convey certain rays of hopes to the hearts of audiences. For, along with efforts hope is essential for progress and to achieve goal in life.
During the course of discussions raised after my lectures, the most of the questions asked were related to equality in one way or the other. As we know, equality is derived from the word ‘equal’. It is used at different levels in different walks of life. From the word–meaning and concept viewpoint it has been defined and analyzed differently in the East and the West both. It has been a subject of explanation and analysis in social, political, economic, cultural and academic spheres.
In every age, ancient, medieval, contemporary or modern, thinkers and scholars of repute have said a lot about equality. It doesn’t matter what particular school of thought they belonged to. They may represent individualism, liberalism or Marxism, or their ideas may be supportive to democracy. All of these not only have made equality an essential part of their thoughts, but discussed and wrote enough about it. They expressed their views regarding gender-equality, class and colour-equality, and even discussed it in context of morality. What conclusion we can draw from this all is that equality occupies an important place in human life. It is not the least important than any other concept related to man’s life. Particularly from the viewpoint of concept, it is important and noteworthy like that of freedom and right.
As far as the question of my individual view of equality is concerned, I believe that no two people can be equal. Not a single example in the entire human history is available to prove equality between the two at any level including intellectual and physical, or in any of the spheres. Moreover, no one can be made equal to the other. Reason is quite clear. For the development of personality individual virtues, capability, intellect, interest, longing, skill, sincerity and understanding along with a sense of accountability play important role. They are not in the same amount in two people. Therefore, equality between the two is not only difficult but impossible.
But, even then the words ‘equal’ and ‘equality’ are not meaningless; they are meaningful. Despite being the subject of refinement and analysis in prevailing circumstances of space, they are important. In this regard the following two things are of the utmost importance:
- To see others as equal at individual level and to be ready to treat others with equality; and
- To ascertain equal opportunities to each and everyone to rise.
The first includes moral and social duty of an individual while the second includes the responsibility of power and authority that frame, accord and protect law and justice. These two are as important today as they were in the past. Moreover, these two will also remain significant forever.
- Ravindra Kumar