We cherish the luxuries provided to us, but this luxury and status, the sense of security as Maslow puts forward in his Hierarchy, often comes with privilege and ignorance of your surroundings and the basic needs of people around us. But what we amiss is the bigger picture, the conglomerate of nature and nurture.
We have been using the word ‘privilege‘ for a long time now without actually realizing the factual meaning behind it and rather misusing this term quite often. But in fact, how the heavy consumption of this word in our fashioned slang affects our life is beyond one’s imagination.
Privileges like that of being born into a rich family, of coming from an elite background, of having powerful contacts, etc are often associated with what we call today as nepotism. Deriving its roots from an Italian word and taking us back to the 14th century where this term originated, nepotism in some way resembles the biological phenomenon of Natural Selection, closely paying attention to selection not being random but rather planned with the same influence, on nature and nurtured man, and claiming the age-old tradition; ‘may the best man survive‘. Human civilization has been ingrained with deep-rooted nepotism which still exists in distinct forms. It is entwined within history, in the present and our future.
It is said that there is no shortcut to success, but nepotism defies this verbatim. If you look around closely, you might realize that at least two out of ten people have figured the ‘easy way out’, alongside keeping it a secret and maintaining the tradition of their kin. I can’t remember the first time I heard the word nepotism, but I am quite sure it was about Bollywood. Famous for item songs, and family names, Bollywood certainly has a moderate number of gems in the name of nepotism. But this industry is just another star student being the teacher’s favourite and getting all the undeserved attention. Politics, judiciary, sports, and even the private sector are not far behind. It’s just that Bollywood, like an easy target, is often criticized.
In light of the recent case, the death of Sushant Singh Rajput by suicide, people who knew nepotism only by the name of celebrity kids are using it in their lunch gossips. It indeed is disappointing to see how the only discourse towards this problem is hatred that people feel towards others. Using it as a propaganda and bullying actors in the name of nepotism with dislikes and apparent boycott is what we have come across as a solution to nepotism. How fair is it to boycott upcoming movies in the name of justice? In the year 2020, hashtags are the real trend and the virtual movement has become a way of venting.
Given current circumstances, where all of us are told to be the best version of ourselves and to enhance our skills, the Indian politicians have and are still striving to, do their best before elections to have this hierarchical domination prevailing in the facade of the best candidate. The corporate sector promotes their known people to better positions than someone who might be deserving of that. Nepotism, as mentioned before, is not a new grown phenomenon, but the sudden upsurge of backlash and calling out nepotism is new. With the simple thinking that the insiders are the only one worthy of trust and therefore forming an unspeakable bond that would continue the enrichment of legacy, failing to notice that blood and DNA might account for good and similar genetics but not pure talent, can be duplicated into the same hierarchy, with living examples of many who seek talent and achieve the unachievable perfectionism. Isn’t this a consequence of nepotism?
The pressure of just achieving something where every single person is giving us a cut-throat competition in life turns even worse in the life of children nurtured by authoritarian parents. The constant need of these parents to make their child successful just increases the mental pressure on them leading to unimaginable repercussions for the child. The not so ‘entitled kids’ who have no way out but to just listen to their parents succumb to this pressure sometimes in ways that they shouldn’t. But can we blame all of this on nepotism? Nepotism does create hurdles in the way of those who deserve equal opportunity, that is giving way to those who already know it. But this is not in any way an excuse to bully those who had it easy, because firstly, we aren’t the judge of what is easy and what is not. Success is not just in a name, it addresses skills and talent which not everybody simply inherits. To state, this doesn’t give others the right to enforce the so-called perfectionist behaviour on those who are just hanging in there. Rather, why don’t we tell others, that “who you are, now, is the best version of yourself”, and that however old school it may sound, “there is no substitute for hard work“?
But with all due justice, nepotism is indeed unfair. It causes a severe impact on people in different lines with different sets of challenges but facing the same phenomenon of deteriorating self-worth. It creates a sense of injustice, more insecurities and people start questioning their qualities, intellect and talents. Everyone has the right to stand a fair chance in all professional fields but the phenomenon of nepotism is truly a hurdle in that way to success. Also, the majority of people who lose this race and are affected the most are from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Nepotism operates in all social classes, but benefits decline when we move down the social-class ladder. It’s not about whether nepotism should be treated as an unscrupulous occurrence, but rather it is merely about equal fairness that is missing in our society regarding economic opportunities for those who are in dire need of it. This practice in literal sense disturbs the economic system of a country, especially a developing one, then abiding by conforming to societal norms and fighting even basic resources. Therefore, the blame is not just on nepotism but the culture which encourages and facilitates this. The toxicity where anything less than a 90 percent is considered a failure, where children are forced to become what their parents want them to, and if not, they again are questioned on their entitlement and worth. It is agonizing to see that every little thing we do is embedded in our society, culture, and gender, and we do nothing but conform to these norms.
The debate might start and end with nepotism, but beneath the immediate layers of favouritism and partiality, there lies the bigger demon of the cruel way in which our society functions on paths it created for its children and in how it reprimands those who dare to make their own.
Aashita Batra is a student pursuing Psychology from Jamia Millia Islamia.
Edited by: Varda Ahmad
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.