A quote by Albert Einstein 'Before God, we are all equally wise, and equally foolish' perfectly defines that God has created all of us equal. It is only humans that have created inequality on the basis of class, gender, caste, etc. Inequality sneaked into human society in various forms at community and national levels traversing across various dimensions such as social, economic and political aspects.
In simple words, inequality is an uneven distribution of resources. For example, economic inequality is the result of uneven distribution of wealth; gender inequality is caused by uneven treatment of individuals based on gender. The same sense applies to racial inequality, political inequality and other such forms. But does having inequality alone pose problems in society?
As Thomas Jefferson says 'Dependence leads to subservience.
In ancient societies, men and women were treated equal, activities were evenly distributed and women were given dignity and respect. Uniformity was the main binding factor for unity in society. Perspectives also changed as humans evolved from primitive to modern society. As the activities were evenly managed in primitive societies, there was no scope for dependence to creep in. In modern society, because men are given more powers and freedom, they have high economic benefits, political gains and societal respect. On the other hand, women are considered biologically inferior and are socially forced to take low-end jobs, giving them low stratum status in society. The main problem surfaces because of the dependency of women on men and others in society. Not on a par treatment to women makes a condition unfortunate for women as they have to depend on others. A woman remains dependent on others from birth to death: She is dependent on her father in her childhood days for education, nutrition and health; when she reaches puberty age, her brother is there for safety and security reasons; after marriage, she is dependent on husband; and finally in her old age, she is dependent on sons. Britain set its foot in India with an aim to exploit the wealthy bird of gold. There existed many differences between India and Britain with regard to military advantage and technological advancements. However, the real problem arose when India became dependent on Britain for institutional changes, trade, agricultural development, etc. This led Britain to have complete control over India. It took 190 years to get freedom from Britain. In the modern and liberalised era, everyone is dependent on others for one need or the other: people depend on the government for welfare schemes and governance; nations depend on one other based on the 'Theory of comparative advantage' and the least developed and developing nations are forced to depend on the west for financial aids, capacity building and knowledge transfer. It is unfortunate that India is unable to eliminate dependency from various levels only results in poor socio-indicators. The recent Global Hunger Index prepared by IFPRI basically reveals the struggle that poor people are going through to fight malnourishment and poverty. Although the initiatives such as Integrated Child Development Scheme, and Mid-Day Meals are commendable steps by the government, it is also important to trace the targets efficiently, create jobs and improve their standard of living.
Inequality can also be seen in the form of the distribution of minerals, metals, water, etc. As we will be the most populous country in the next few years, the demand for resources to feed our population will also increase. To fulfil that increasing demand, it is required to establish a network of trade with other nations to make the population content. Our dependence on other countries in the Middle East for oil makes us vulnerable to price volatility due to conflicts in these nations. As India has abundant sunlight and inexhaustible resources of thorium, energy security can be achieved by using these natural resources. India's quest to explore nuclear energy got a boost after the incorporation of India into the international nuclear corporation and NSG. Low prices of solar PV cells and constant attempts by the government for parks are all commendable initiatives taken by the government to use solar energy more efficiently in future. Inequality also exists in non-humans. However, being dependent is not always bad as we live in an ecosystem where each specie is dependent on the other for survival. The food chain makes an important factor in the survival of all the species on the planet. Humans, who are part of the ecosystem, depend on plants, animals and decomposers for survival. Keystone Species play a crucial role in the way an ecosystem works. If it doesn't exist, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether. In some instances, although it is not possible to eliminate dependency, it could be minimised gradually. For example, Third World nations are reliant on international institutions and the west mainly for their economic development. Some of the initiatives to bring backward people and nations into the mainstream include US Development assistance, WHO role in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, Australia's aid program and India's capacity building and aid programs to developing Sub-Saharan African countries. India also cannot sustain and progress alone as it is reliant on France for solar technology, Germany for wind technology, Russia for military armaments and Gulf countries for oil. Although it is important to establish trade relations and exchanges in the era of globalisation, it is also the need of the hour to devise strategies to help deficit areas. For example, ISRO has done a commendable job in launching multiple satellites for other countries and developing reusable satellites and its own navigation system IRNSS. It is time that the Indian government address the issue of inequality in terms of wealth, gender, caste, etc. Education, skill development per market and domestic demand, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene are necessary to make India a developed country. Special attention should be paid to the vulnerable sections such as SCs, STs, Divyangs and the elderly. Initiatives such as Dalit capitalism, Reservation quota, Sugamya Abhiyan and pension schemes for old age have been undertaken to improve their standard of living. However, it is also important to monitor the progress of these schemes by devising a monitoring system. In addition, behavioural changes should also be brought into society to eradicate issues such as social stigmas on Dalits and violence against women.
'There is no dependence that can be sure but a dependence upon one's self. Overall, the culture of dependency should be reduced if not eliminated to ensure more freedom at all levels, which will be the perfect route to sustainable living.