An American tourist (well, that is what the visa was given for) was killed by indigenous people as he pointed out to them that they were living an unholy version of life. These indigenous people have shunned contact with the outer world for a very long time and intend to keep it that way. With a million versions of how to live in the land called India, they were not introduced to conversion as all versions of life was accepted around the region.
This “white man’s burden” is frankly horrendous and primitive, yet the privileged world rarely acknowledges it. Is it really that hard to understand? My mother, my motherland, my mother tongue, my religious beliefs etc. — shouldn’t they belong in my individual personal space? If I or for that matter any other person uses any form of force or enticement to ask you to give up your mother, your language, your religion, your land or anything that is yours, and adopt that of another person — don’t you see it as being wrong? Who gives the right to expect that their expectations are valid and humane? Surely, we can’t miss the fact that at the core of such an expectation — to ask one to leave one’s own, is an insult as it presumes that mine is better than yours.
For the sake of a discussion, let us assume I (and most people) genuinely believe my mother is better than yours. Would it still give me the ethical right to ask you to accept mine in place of yours? What would one say if I call out someone preventing me from asking you to discard your mother for mine as ‘intolerant’?
In mathematics, science or technology one can look at new knowledge and come to an understanding by deriving or by any other form of deductible proofs, and when you arrive at a different idea from a previously held one, there is no offense involved. However, when it is a religious belief or cultural practice which is subjective, it cannot really be imposed on another person.
To be frank, even in the case of utilising a technology, it never needs to be imposed. When a lift is installed in a building that only had staircases, people may continue to use the stairs for personal reasons. The usage of the lift will not be based on an external force or enticement, rather on it’s usefulness and convenience. People would choose to use the lift. And therein lies the crux of the matter – choice. Attempting to bring a ‘better’ way of life must be presented with choice.
Soliciting support to one’s belief must be looked down upon, even if it is for money and certainly be stopped if it stems from the notion that my beliefs are better than yours. This change will allow respect for the differences that each has from the other.