In Search of Community – Away from Caste and Gender Discrimination


What is a community? What makes one group a community? These are important questions. The caste system is an antithesis to the community. It reduces human beings to the enclosed classes and there is no social endosmosis, no associated life and no shared experience and no shared sense of purpose. Human beings become human beings in their intrinsic relationships and transactions with other human beings. Human beings do not have isolated minds and isolated consciousnesses.

It is a human need to be in communion with others. It is this communion that makes a human a human, and human being removed from a society of humans is abstract and does not exist. This is one of the cruelties of the caste system that it reduces human beings to artificial compartments and makes them live in those hierarchical apartments with no doors and windows and no steps to go higher or lower in the tower of the caste system.

The human freedom is grounded in the feeling and living in the community. How do we imagine a free human being? Someone who can do anything? We have many concepts of freedoms, but the intrinsic freedom is a freedom to cultivate higher and higher possibilities for human beings. These possibilities are wrongly attributed to the material well being.

Yes, it is important to have health and wealth to be able to have the basic conditions for higher human growth, but life focused on only the “material” well being will be a great loss when the possibilities to cultivate human consciousness are limitless. Human beings try to communicate with other human beings. They at times cooperate and very many times compete, but of the cooperation and competition, the cooperation has brought us where we are at this juncture of time. The human consciousness is embedded and embodied.

The way we perceive the world is filtered through a lot of lenses, and not just the lens of “flight or fight” as evident in the animal world. We do know that the living beings have intelligence, sometimes, completely different than what humans are capable of. For example, there are some path-breaking studies on how Octopus might be thinking and how the thinking based on “touch” might be offering them altogether different intelligence. What is intelligence after all? It is the ability to think of unknown through known and then bringing unknown in the realm of known through the process of continuously guiding consciousness in both the directions.

Read -  [Transcript] Dr. Ambedkar Speaks on M.K. Gandhi and Poona Pact (BBC Radio) - 1955

We are born, grow, and die in the company of other human beings. But this company of human beings is not always beneficial to each other, sometimes this company of human beings is detrimental to what is human. Therefore, the quest of community is the quest of a human association that makes human beings at ease and at love with each other. They do not feel threatened or exploited in the company of each other. They feel safe, secure, and loved in the company of each other. They strive together towards something higher, the higher possibilities of new associations and new friendships. This communion is not confined to a limited group of people, though it may begin with a limited group of people, it has a natural propensity to grow and grow beyond itself and embrace every being that comes into contact with it.

The over rationalisation though important for human survival, it is not enough. the rationalisation has yielded so much good for human beings, but it has also reduced to human beings to religions based on speculations, territories based on nationalism, and islands of cultures and languages.

The cultivation of the universal love is not a rational process, but it is an emotive process and it has the capacity to bring human emotions that have sustained humanity to the full range and full possibilities. It is not easy to create such a community, but there are mechanisms that can create such a community and its development can be ensured through various processes.

In this community of human beings, the two sexes will not be reduced to just sexes but will relate with each other on the human level. The gulf that patriarchy creates between the sexes reduces the limitless possibilities between the two sexes. The community must not be dominated by the single sex but must embrace every being.

But we know that this is ideal, in order to make an ideal a reality, we must practice the mechanism, the cultivation of awareness of our own self and that of others, the cultivation of love towards ourselves and towards others. There is a joy in the community. There is a joy in friendships. There is a joy in higher human communication and association.

Author – Mangesh Dahiwale, Human Rights Activist

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