Encountering Indian Stereotypes and Learning from the Kids
From SBI YFI Fellow Axita's diary:
I'll be living a year of my life in a community called Sadyampatti, near the tiny town of Ponnamravathi, about 250 kilometers from Madurai, Tamil Nadu. A significant year, in my opinion!
It's been three weeks since I went out into the field to interact with the local community, to become a part of it, to watch it, and to learn from it. And, I must add, the best of the encounters were when the kids were present.
Overcoming Language and Cultural Barriers
My coworker and I went to a neighboring school on an ordinary afternoon. Despite our best efforts to fit in, we end up imparting the enthusiastic and curious kids' Indian Stereotype vibes. Rather, we are more akin to entertainers to them. But we're not letting up so easily!
It's remarkable how conversation occurs even when we have nothing in common, including language, culture, and looks, aside from the fact that we're both people.
Being from the Himalayas, Hindi is the only tongue I know, which has earned me the moniker 'Hindi kaarng' among the locals. They, on the other hand, only comprehend Tamil. So they relate stories in Tamil about their country, people, education, friends, and other events.
They have a narrative for everything around them. They do try to teach me their language, only to snicker at my inept efforts and strange dialect, reinforcing the Indian Stereotype that Hindi speakers can't learn Tamil.
Also Read: The Nat Tribe – An Inspiring Story of Survival and Resilience
Experiencing the Education System and Selfie Craze
When I attend their school, I can sense their enthusiasm because it's their time to have fun! I recently took a tour of the school and spoke with the teachers, who are more like foster parents to these children because they take care of them all day, teaching them everything under the sun, feeding them, and finally packing and arranging their bags when it's time for them to leave.
Just as I was about to depart after gathering all of the information I needed, a group of kids congregated around me for a selfie (is there anyone in the world who hasn't been affected by the Indian Stereotypes of selfie craze?!).
I noticed a guy dragging a shy female towards me, saying something, and then giggling... I couldn't figure out what was going on. He then simply grasped my arm and her arm, bringing them close together and pointing. Then it struck me! I told them she was lovely and had lovely features. I could see a grin in her eyes. She did state that the kid is her friend, though he is a little annoying because he continues repeating that she will not marry because she is black. Wow!
I'm curious about where he received that Indian Stereotype.
The bottom line is that if you want to see the true world, look through the eyes of a kid. It will show you how lovely this seemingly flawed universe is, and how we, as humans, are destroying it.
Also Read: Know How You Can Bring Change and Development in Rural Society
How fast and effective we are in perpetuating Indian Stereotypes, passing judgment, and discriminating based on numerous but unfounded characteristics! Everyone desires an ideal person, most likely a Barbie or Superman! Let us all be more careful about what we educate the next generation. Let us make them more sensitive and aware of the importance of being compassionate, safeguarding their innocence, and contributing to making the world a better place.