Must We?

Here’s a down-to-bones homeless destitute happily sharing his morsels with a dog!

Once-in-a-decade moment captured.

But the caption that follows…spoils the meal for us.

“Look at these without the riches – they may lack in possessions, but they have a fund of covet-able virtues…only they!” That’s what it means to say.

The purpose seems to be to sound a clarion call to our latent better selves Nothing wrong with that. But the word ‘only’ was unwarranted I thought. A generalization blown away in a mere breath.

However it is well in line with the detestable practice so prevalent in Tamizh writing – or, is it Indian at large? – to put something or someone down while extolling the virtues of something or someone else.

Is it a mere literary style, perfectly legitimate, for staging a little drama of provocation or something deeper – an odious expression of a hidden streak of envy, though harmless in itself, in the psyche of a class in the society proudly distinct from the ‘have-not’s and enviously not made it yet to have’s?

Is it a national trait to compare and contrast? Can’t we appreciate. enjoy life without…


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