It was rather disturbing to see this on the news today. We all know that government is considering the total sanitation campaign with all seriousness and they are being quite aggressive about it. It is really a great move considering how basic a necessity this sanitation is and also how important it is to educate the public on the same.
As we know, the issue of open defecation centres around the village areas and the slums where development hasn’t reached the end user yet. At places where it is hard enough to lead a daily life, it is harder to think on issues of sanitation and the government is considering an all out campaign to educate public on it and also provide a few developmental incentives which is a great initiative.
Although we are appreciative of all this, it was quite a shocker to see the posters used for the sanitation campaign. The whole issue is that a poster of a dalit family is being used to promote the need for toilets and better sanitation. Apparently the family had no idea that the poster was being used for that. NDTV report says that the photograph was taken for census and was used for this purpose and naturally the family has taken offence to it and tearing down the posters it can find. One can only imagine the plight and shock the family might have had when they would have seen this.
What makes us wonder is the sense of privacy in a country like ours. I do understand that when the population is so huge and the resources are limited, the sense of privacy and sensitivity take the back seat and development mostly means infrastructural. The social aspect of development comes in the later stage.
However we cannot talk of development unless we look at it an inclusive and a holistic way. We cannot take the sense of privacy granted. I mean this might be a bit of a extreme case of hurting the sensitivity of people but most times it so happens that photographs are taken without permission of people. Being in the tourism sector, I have had the opportunity to see a lot of people from developed nations and interact closely with them. Something I have seen very openly about them is that they make sure that they take permissions before taking a picture.
I am not saying it is a great moral to live by. It is the most basic thing to do. And we all do it, we take permission of people, esp the educated ones or the ones in the fame circle and request a picture with them and we openly flaunt them on our social circles. Then we also see a few people who share the pictures of beggars or people going through tougher situations in life and it makes me wonder whether adequate permissions were taken before these photographs? Was it so easy to take it for granted that they were the poor ones and there was no one who was going to question them?
Is the issue of sensitivity based on a fear of action and insensitivity on impunity? And if that is the case, isn’t it a clear case of oppression?
I guess the answer is quite clear, oppression does happen in very simple things around us and the more we shy away from that or shun these, the more it is going to stay!
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