Greet Diversity as it is a Gift from God: Diversity comes in different forms. We are happy to share elements that touch Human Diversity with special focus on India which is known for its beauty in Unity in Diversity.
Unity in Diversity by OFBJP Convener
Diversity exists in every Family: God has made each one of us unique. God decides our families. Each member in the family has different characteristics such as different strength, different weakness, different skills, different personality so that it helps the family unit to support each other. We all know that within the same family children born to the same parents are not the same. We all know that couples who come together to share their lives are not the same.
Gender Diversity has been the core of Indian Society: India is one of the rare countries where female Godess like Laxmi, Saraswati etc. are worshipped. Indian history books are filled with female role models such as Rani of Jhansi, Sarojini Naidu etc. who were admired for their womanhood. India is a front runner in executing Gender Equality as the highest offices of Prime Minister and President have already seen woman. Today Indian women form the highest percentage of women commercial pilots in the world. Indian Government continues to put “Women First” under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is counted among the top 10 leaders in the world. India continues to see women play a vital role as Ministers. In India, the Defence Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Textile Minister, the Drinking water & Sanitating Minister, the Food Processing Minister etc. all are woman. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) which is India’s equivalent of NASA and known to conduct satellite launches appointed Ritu Karidhal, Deputy Operations Director, Mars Orbiter Mission along with several renowned women scientists who took India into space and broke several stereotypes that rocket science is a male domain. Indian women are present in all walks of life and are doing extremely well in areas such as Defence, Security, Scientific world, Medicine, Nursing, Healing, Engineering, Teaching, Entertainment, Journalism and the list can go on. Women Entrepreneurs such as Indu Jain, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Naina Lal Kidwai, Vandana Luthra etc. continue to be role models in the corporate world. Women continue to excel in different sports like tennis, badminton, boxing, swimming, wrestling etc. Some of the top women sports players are Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, MC Mary Kom, Bula Choudhury, Geeta Phogat etc. Many developed countries face challenges on several topics such as Woman equality, Women Independence, Women Rehabilitation, Woman protection, Woman Development, Women empowerment and Woman growth. India which is about 79 times bigger than Netherlands in sq km is also confronted by these challenges. The Indian Government continues to address these challenges via several programs such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao program, Women Helpline Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Swadhar Greh, Ujjawala Scheme, Mahila E-Haat, One stop centre Scheme etc. Indian citizens are setting up a new norm for Woman Safety Matters. Indians have taken to streets to protest and address crimes like rape and gang rape which is covered by world media. We are told “Many western countries don’t like to accept that rapes occur and suppress it and it goes unreported”. It is sad and unfortunate reality as suffering in silence is victimising the victim further and never addressing the problem.
India can be a role model to the world for Generation Diversity: Generation Diversity is deeply rooted in Indian culture and many countries can learn from India. It is extremely normal in India for Elderly parents to live together with their children and grandchildren. In some households you have four generations living together. Elderly people are taken care by the children. It is extremely normal in India to seek blessings from the Elderly by touching their feet. Many people in India learn to agree to what the Elderly say as a mark of respect even if they disagree. I know several other countries have different customs and traditions to show respect to their Elderly. We all know with age comes a certain outlook, behaviour and challenge which needs to be tackled well. It is important that the Elderly generations don’t feels isolated or lonely. It is important that generation gap does not hinder the ability to engage across generations.
Cultural Diversity is India’s Identity to the world: India is recognised for delicious variety of food, colourful traditional dresses, different languages & dialects, different accents, different festivals, different economics, different lifestyles, different architecture, different appearances & features, different physical abilities, different colour of the skin, different traditions & customs, different qualities, different caste, different creed, different religions (Sikhism, Jainism Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Zoroastrian) etc. A lot of people from the different countries visit India to learn different forms and names of Gods and understand how freedom of spiritual democracy exists in India. India is a secular country hence it is normal to respect all cultures & religions. We are certain that it is the attitude of openness, acceptance, respect and tolerance by every Indian which keeps the country glued together and enables the people to live in peace and harmony. Across the world, Indians are known to not only respect Indian Diversity but also World Diversity. It is common for Indians to go out of their way to ensure every foreigner is treated well with highest hospitality as we believe in Atithi Devo Bhava which means “The guest is equivalent to God”. We believe there will be no conflicts or tensions if this believe was practiced across the world.
Diversity in the Workplace is essential: Many Indians are often asked by colleagues “How Indians have excellent analytical skills?”. We usually tell them that Indian Diversity helps in our brain development. Most Indians naturally analyse a topic or situation in different ways and different languages thus come up with several solutions to one problem. We believe it is because of Diversity we have different fashions, products, services, solutions etc. We believes Diversity is a need for every organisation who wants to grow. The local convener is known to have established a network called FUSION within ING after the split of Bank and Insurance. This was welcome by all leaders across ING. She was elected as Chairman of Diversity Network. During this period, she worked passionately on Diversity, on top of her job without any extra salary as she was intrinsically motivated. She focused on promoting a culture of inclusion, promoting women leadership, ensuring to create an environment where skills, experience, expertise across generations could be understood and leveraged.
The World is more beautiful because of Diversity: The array of diversity exists in every nation irrespective of size. Many Dutch friends while introducing another Dutch friend from different part of Netherlands felt the need to emphasise on the fact that they are from Friesland or any other part of Netherlands to emphasize on the difference. Many Indians have worked with several nationalities and lived in several cosmopolitan cities. After seeing so many beautiful cultures, we believe, every culture has plenty of beautiful things to teach us if we are open to learning. We recommend not to judge eastern world with western pair of eyes and vice versa. The spectrum of Human Diversity is wider than we can image. In addition to what is already stated, it also includes different ethnicity, different profession, different education, different expression, different expectation, different seniority, different opinions, different perception, different work styles, different teaching styles, different curriculum, different behaviour, different skills, different intelligence, different personality, different values, different emotional quotient, different sexual orientation, etc. It is important for all of us to be aware about the existence of these Diversity to treat it normal. If the intentions is to bridge, the divides can never break us. Every culture has plenty of beautiful things to teach us, only if we are open to learning. To avoid unconscious biasness, we recommend not to judge eastern world with western pair of eyes and vice versa.
Be Careful of Damage to Diversity: Irrespective of nationality and origin there are good and bad people around the world. These bad individuals are usually shallow thinkers, possessing inferiority complex, jealousy, ego, greedy, power hungry, dishonest, unethical, selfish and usually intellectually poor. These individuals use diversity to bring down people by dividing people by creating rumours, gossip, misunderstanding, comparison, competition, tension, hate etc. It is normal for such people for boxing people and they knowingly or unknowingly possess unknowing possess prejudice and biasness. People must be intelligent enough to first recognise these human vices and then stand up against all kinds of human vices to protect the “Good over Evil”. Each citizen must try to protect Diversity by standing up against prejudice attitude, action and behaviour irrespective where they live in the world. Diversity must not be condemned as it creates hostilities, sometimes, beyond repair however individuals who derive pleasure and gain out of a CONFLICT must be strongly condemned.
Essence of Diversity: Diversity is a NEED and not a CHOICE. We owe peace and harmony to our future generations. It is important that we all learn how to live happily across all generations. It is becoming more and more obvious to learn the art of co-existence in multicultural environment and the art to live together with our Diversity. Moving forwards, all pillars of Society such as Schools, Universities, Government, Institutions, Organisations, Media, Religious bodies etc. must create awareness to encourage people to avoid stereotyping and boxing people, avoid awkward comments, avoid prejudiced behaviour and situation which could cause tensions or stress, focus on integration and orientation so that no one feels isolated, focus on family and not individualism, focus on dialogue to avoid misinterpretation, focus on genuine face to face or online meeting to avoid miscommunication, focus on ethical mediation to avoid intensification of clashes, etc.
Diversity is the Art of thinking independently together: Indians are raised to believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which is means “the world is one family”. Being Indian by heart and global by spirit, this attitude has helped us to integrate and orient ourselves to the various diversities and avoid unconscious bias. In India we believe in Ekta mein Akhandta which means “Unity is our Strength”. This is the reason with all these diversities we still stay as ONE Indian community in the Netherlands.
Our message to all expat and Dutch community living in the Netherlands is the mantra of true Happiness and Harmony is “Unity in Diversity” and this can be achieved if we all promise to pledge the following:
To treat each one as FAMILY,
To instil OPENNNESS,
To ACCEPT each one’s uniqueness,
To be good listeners to UNDERSTAND the rationale of each ones outlook,
To RESPECT our Differences and EMBRACE it with positivity,
To not to let our judgements and emotion limit our LEARNING,
To ensure everyone around us feels INCLUSIVE and SECURE,
To APPRECIATE the different ways of thinking and give space to each one to be themselves,
To be FLEXIBLE, ADAPTABLE, TOLERANT and FORGIVING ,
We conclude by saying if we all take the responsibility then being unique or same will be celebrated and cherished. Diversity will be welcomed, appreciated and valued in all walks of life which will result in love, peace and harmony which is a legacy we leave behind for our next generation.