Different people, different perspectives

by Shalmali Ghate
Scarlet Staff

Mark Twain in one of his great quotes said, “It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinions that makes horse races.”

It is so true that every person will have his own perception, be it about a situation, object, image or symbol. It is a wonderful thing to explore different messages a same situation or image can convey to different people.

However, if observed one can see that most of the opinions about a situation tend to be similar between people belonging to the same age group, geographical area, religion, gender or among those with similar qualities.

Oftentimes we remain inside our boundary of perceptions. It is always good to come out of it and explore different opinions of the people around. I am glad that one such opportunity came on my way, helping to broaden my opinion about one of the holy symbols of my country the “Swastika.”

On the 13 of November, a discussion session was conducted by the South Asian Students Association and Hillel on campus as a part of the different workshops held by ISA. The symbol “swastika “and the different messages conveyed through it was the topic for the discussion.

The conference started with presentations on the symbol swastika and the different ways in which the symbol is seen throughout the world. As a student from India, where swastika is one of the divine symbols of Hinduism, I was frightened to know about the negative thoughts about the symbol that other part of the world possessed.

It was an eye opening discussion which helped me to learn about the intensity of adverse effect the symbol had among people. In contrast, Clarkies from the western world were terrified to know how the symbol is a part of life among the South Asians.

Clarkies from Russia, Turkey, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and many other countries participated in the discussion. This was a great eye opening experience to all the participants which helped us to learn about different perspectives about the same symbol in different countries.

Challenging the conventional thinking was something that could be witnessed during the discussion session. I personally felt that events like this will truly help us to expand our horizons of thinking. This discussion can be a great illustration of the benefits of the huge diversity on campus.