Discrimination was not so bad a word during our growing-up years. In fact, there were questions that asked us to ‘discriminate between…’ and it was primarily about telling the differences between two or more kind of things. But now, there is so much woke-ism that the very word ‘discrimination’ means something bad. Even the dictionary lists this negative version as the first among the several definitions!

Can we live without discrimination? Impossible! The very nature of creation is discrimination, viveka. We need to know which part of us does the walking and which does the talking; we need to know that my talk is different from your talk; that my thoughts are different from your thoughts; that music is different from noise. We need to know that hearing (the gathering of vibrations) is done by the ears, but listening is a combined job of the auditory nerves and the part of brain responsible for the interpretation of the vibrations, not the ears. Then there are a host of realities based on size, shape, colour, texture, taste, sound, smells and so on. Unless we discriminate between all these, our brain will be unable to comprehend life! In fact, all learning based on our senses is based on our ability to discriminate, nothing else!

This being the reality, why did discrimination take on a bad connotation? Simply because English does not have an alternate word for something negative. OR, there is no equivalent to ‘Viveka’ in English.

So, what must be done? We have to do one of these two:

1. Use Viveka whenever we want to mean that. Viveka simply means comprehending a thing in the right way (out of the many ways of comprehending it). Why must there be a right way? Because all the other ways are either out of context, OR based on partial/incomplete understanding OR based on an absence of the background knowledge/experience required to understand it. Thus, they all become wrong. Hence we may use the term ‘viveka’ even in English at least within Bhārata.

2. Take a cue from the various ‘vegetarian’ preferences that are in use (lacto-vegetarian, ovo-vegetarian, vegan and so on…); use suitable prefixes with discrimination and use them accurately. I have listed a few below to illustrate. Do feel free to add more as you feel appropriate.

Discrimination: The bare distinction and presentation of two or more things as being different from one another.

For e.g., Examination question that asks a medical student to discriminate between the symptoms caused by a bacterial fever and a viral fever.

Comparative-discrimination: Stating the qualities that make one superior/inferior within a set of parameters to the others in the class of things, people or ideas.

For e.g., the comparative charts that help deciding in which motorcycle or website plan to buy and so on.

Qualifying-discrimination: The discrimination required to find out what or who qualify based on pre-set parameters.

For e.g., this can be used for QC, for providing rations for those who are below poverty line and so on.

Condescending-discrimination: The discrimination that is used solely with the intent to put down people, things, cultures and other categories of nouns by claiming that they are inferior.

For e.g., Racism, self-loathe of Bhāratīyas who are brought up on history written by those with anti-national interests and so on.

Non-discrimination: The kind of discrimination that is hard to actually discern in practical life.

For e.g., The kind of discrimination claimed to exist between bra-wearers and all-barers*, the kind of discrimination that she-males and he-women claim to be facing and so on (primarily in the West but this is slowly turning into a pandemic that must be nipped at the earliest; teachers have an important duty here).

*As gross as it sounds, these are realities present in the Western society!

Exploitative non-discrimination: The kind of discrimination that is used by people by exploiting the perceived non-discrimination.

For e.g., trans-males who compete and win in women’s sporting events and so on.

Let us make Viveka the core of our society’s intellect!

Jai Hind!