A few years ago when I was in Delhi, a girl from Bihar (who was unaware of my Marathi identity) told me, “Marathi people are the worst. You see what Raj Thackeray is doing. They hate Hindi speakers.” I did not argue with her and generally I avoid arguing on such senseless topics.
Later when I went to Mumbai on an official trip, a Marathi auto rickshaw driver told me that people from Bihar have spoiled the entire environment in Mumbai.
During another auto rickshaw journey, I was told that, “it is actually the people from UP (Uttar Pradesh) that are rude and involved in crimes and not the people from Bihar. Bihar guys are generally well mannered and blamed unnecessarily.”
A very common story of four blind men is the best example in how quickly people generalize things based on their experience. Once four blind men touched different parts of an elephant and each one described the elephant based on the part they touched. Although none of them was telling a lie but their description was partial. It was based on the respective parts they touched and not the whole elephant.
People do not hesitate in generalizing anything but that generalization is based on what they have read, heard or faced. In general, it is their experience and it is not necessary that their experience is completely true.
Experience is also subjective. It also depends on how you react to particular situations. It can also be limited based on your interaction with the people. It also depends on how much you have read history. It depends on your upbringing, surroundings, thought process etc. If it depends on so many things, can it be true for everyone?
For example, someone once asked me, “ye North Indians ko problem kya hai agar South Indians hath se khate hain to” (what problem do the North Indians have if South Indians eat by hand)”. For that person North India meant any Indian state other than five South Indian states although this is not true (please see map of India to realize what could be North India actually).
I suggested him that instead of criticizing them he should better learn to face those people who make fun of his eating by hand or if he can’t, he could just avoid having friendship with them. I told him that many people in many states eat by hand. This is not special to South India. I have seen many people in West Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand etc. who eat by hand.
Recently people are making fun of the word Baba like every Baba is a corrupt religious figure but there have been people like Baba Amte, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Babasaheb Purandare, Sai Baba, and many others who devoted their lives for great cause.
Baba means differently to different people. Some call their father as Baba, some call their grandfather a Baba and some call the kids as Baba. Religious figure is also called Baba with respect. Any older person may also be called a Baba although the word Uncle has been prevalent for some years now.
Generalizing is what leads to several issues in the society. People listen to news channels or read whatever newspapers/books and start hating each other.
There could be numerous issues in the country (Hindi – Non-Hindi, Hindu – Muslim, Brahmin – Non-Brahmin, Upper Caste – Lower Caste, North Indian – South Indian, Tamil – Telugu/Kannada, Marathi – Gujarati, Veg. – Non Veg. or whatever others you may know) but the truth is - Good and bad people are there in every part of the society. This is how the world is.
The above mentioned are just few examples but if you dig deeper, there would come more issues. Within Marathi, Bengali, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jain, South Indians, North Indians etc. you may find further generalizations and criticisms.
Thus, generalization is also subjective based on who is discussing with whom. A Madurai cab driver told me that people in Chennai and Coimbatore are the worst. On the other hand someone in Chennai told me that people in Madurai are rowdies. Who was telling the truth? No one. They were telling what they knew or what they had experienced. It was subjective. Anyone with different experience might not agree.
Instead of criticizing each other based on generalizations, one should accept that everyone has good and bad qualities. To hate someone just because he/she is from other section is not justified (in my personal opinion).
Author - Archit
लाभस्तेषां जयस्तेषां कुतस्तेषां पराजयः I येषामिन्दीवरश्यामो हृदयस्थो जनार्दनः II