The recently-trending #MeToo campaign has gained wide popularity on social media these days. Unfortunately, this campaign, which aims to show the magnitude of sexual atrocities that people are facing throughout the world, is limited only to an elite group that has access to social media. On the other hand, there’s a significant population in this country which has no access to internet services and hence remains oblivious to what this #MeToo campaign is all about.
It is at this point, while I try to think about how to explain this concept to people around me, that I understand the helplessness of poor Newton Kumar from “Newton”, while he was trying to explain to people belonging to the tribal community that voting will allow them to choose their leaders, who would then help in their development. Apparently, the benefits that the newly-elected leader would provide them were better roads, infrastructure, employment, etc.
It is only when one of the concerned tribal asks whether voting would benefit them by raising the price of tendu patta (tendu leaves), do we realise how blind and directionless we are in our approach to national development – and how insensitive we are about the needs of our people. Owing to the same geographical and social conditions around me, I could not help but relate to this situation.
Are we really addressing what our people are seeking?
For half of the country, the answer might be a yes – but for the other half, it is a big no.
How can we expect a person who can hardly meet their requirements of daily food to understand someone’s necessity of free internet services? How can we expect a girl who has no access to basic needs like sanitary napkins to participate in a campaign on sexual rights?
People in our country are still lacking the basic requirements of health, education, sanitation, housing, finances and food. This is indeed a big majority of people who are facing an equally big set of challenges.
The country seems to be divided by these different needs – and the gap between the groups thus created is a wide one. As such, one cannot truly imagine what the needs of the others are, let alone understand them. The definition of ‘development’ will ultimately seek different destinations for these groups. And these differences need to be understood.
Through this article, I am not trying to underestimate anybody’s concern. My point is that it should be remembered that we cannot sustain any kind of development when half of our population is not even aware of what the other half seeks. And the greatest resistance to any development that the country demands will be offered by that part of country that does nothing to achieve it.
The part that lags behind will be a burden to the rest of the country, that does not want to be dragged down in its quest to reach the desired destination. This is where the whole country needs to unite as a whole. And for this, the wide gap that exists between the groups needs to be overcome.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.