by Hejje A N.
NATURE IS SIMPLE BUT CULTURE IS CRUCIAL
When I was young, the guests who came to our house used to talk that I had a dark complexion than my parents. I could not understand those conversations during those times. After a few years, my younger sister was born, she was very fair. People started comparing me and my sister. They used to tell me that I was dark and my sister was fair. I started feeling bad. My parents told me that it doesn’t matter whether someone is dark or fair; it’s the kindness that matters. They told us that the eyeball is black in color but if it were white we all would look like ghosts..! After that pep talk; I started feeling that color doesn’t matter even though my friends still tease me about that.
Then I started thinking about the colors present in nature. Such pleasant colors please the eye. Shades of green, yellow, brown, blue, and black. Even the soil is of different colors in various places.
In our home, we rear native chickens. I have observed that even they are also of a variety of colors. Black colored hens also have light shades of other colors. I don’t know whether Bio-Scientists have been able to recognize these infinite colors. I’ve seen that on Sundays our neighbors bring chicken from poultry houses which are completely white in color.
I asked my dad why the chicken they bring is pure white, and why is our chicken colorful? My dad said ‘during the First World War soldiers needed more meat, so European scientists developed special chicken breeds which would grow in three to four weeks’. I doubt; as European scientists developed this breed they are in white color. If African black scientists had discovered this breed in which color they would have been!?
Gradually, I overcame the ill feeling I had about my dark complexion. But I still think about why people discriminate on the basis of color. I find there was a long history of this kind of discrimination when I read the book ‘Letters from a father to his daughter’ by Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. The history of discrimination is also written in my social textbooks.
But I think, the moment man opens his eyes he sees colors around him. Then how can he tell one color is superior to the other? Why can’t he understand the diversity of nature? If he understands the way nature works his many problems will be solved. But he fails to do so.
Understanding nature is simple. But understanding the mindset of Society is crucial.