We recently concluded the AIM Literary Festival with the theme, ‘Diversity in Publishing’. The day was full of presentations, debates, book launches and conversations around this theme, and gladly it was a very successful event.
Post-event, though, I could not let go of this thought on Diversity.
Amid the myriad hues of nature
Isn't it astonishing and embarrassing that we humans have so much in common, yet all we are trying to focus on is the one natural and beautiful difference? Look at nature around us. We relish the myriad colours that embellish the flowers, sea life, corals, and the animal kingdom, but when it comes to humans, why is there an uncomfortable air of acceptance? I mean, what are we expecting? Did we think that the human skin would be represented in just one colour when that intrinsic essence of nature is variety?
I repeatedly mentioned during a panel discussion at the festival that Diversity should be normalised, and I truly believe that! It's a normal and natural phenomenon and should be seen with that eye. The grave mistake that some humans made centuries ago to consider the colour of skin akin to social status is embarrassing enough, but for decades, we have been sucked into that whirlpool of deceit. That one mistake was highly damaging and reversed the mental evolution of the human mind, but the question arises; are the ones who are awakened and wise properly addressing this issue?
Nurture the seed of awakening
There is a saying in spiritual texts that I consciously embrace in my life. Ignore the seed of ignorance, and the flower will not flourish. Nurture the seed of awakening instead. I am not saying that we must ignore the problems that arise due to racial differentiation, but what if we treat offenders like attention-seeking and tantrum-making rude toddlers? We focus on the right and normal way of life instead of paying attention to every despicable act of disrespecting Diversity. What if we normalise Diversity to such an extent that the offender is eventually isolated and tired of making a noise that no one is listening to?
The world is gradually awakening. The shift in human consciousness is evident. People are more aware of how what they eat affects the natural harmony of life, the impact of their thoughts and words, and the power of human connection and love. More and more humans are diving into the depth of their souls to understand their immense power to self-heal and embrace their unique role in the eternal life cycle. This is the phenomenon that we must nurture. This is the flower that we must focus on.
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To restore global harmony
The more we put our collective energies into human evolution, the more we win the senseless battle of colour. The more we normalise humans as an equal part of the other living inhabitants occupying the earth, the more we shift our perception from limited beliefs to expansion. This journey and evolution must coexist and grow parallel to the practical steps we can take professionally and personally to embrace this normalcy of Diversity.
I appreciate that corporates and organisations are gradually trying to make their workplace a true reflection of the society that we live in. Still, I am appalled to see that it remains a check-box exercise for many. Embracing Diversity is not a key to raising your popularity votes; it's the means to balance the disrupted harmony of the world's order.
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India recently introduced the term Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The world is one family at the G20 summit. This term finds its mention in the Maha Upanishad. Isn't that concept that we must genuinely focus on? About how we are made from permutation and combination of the five elements of nature: Earth, Fire, Sun, Wind and Space. How can we allow a temporary name, a temporary existence, and a temporary identity to falsify that which is permanent- Nature!
In conclusion, I want to remind people that we must not look beyond one's skin colour. On the contrary, we must look at the beautiful variety and beauty life has designed around us and within us. We must appreciate this beauty and embrace it just like one would embrace the beauty of different flowers in a garden. Let's unlearn what we have learnt about Diversity from those who made a mistake and let us redefine this term and let it merge in our lives, our society, our work, our books, our education, and our ethics so finely that nothing about Diversity remains a part of our pain. Let us make it a part of our evolution.
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Ekta Bajaj is a writer, visual artist, motivational speaker and Co-Founder of the award-winning publishing company, Author In Me. She is also the author of the empowering book, 'The Voice of Kali' and co-author of 'Book of Affirmations for Children'. Her deep passion for storytelling and positive thinking has inspired her to research the ancient knowledge of Vedanta that provides a holistic approach towards developing mental and emotional strength.