Guest Blog from Ian Forber-Pratt

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I'm excited to post a guest blog from my brother, Ian Forber-Pratt who is doing some amazing work in India. We both were adopted from India, and he sold everything he owned and moved overseas last May. As I am sure you will see from his post, he is living his passion and dream. He is the founder of Foster Care India. Quite simply, his mission is to develop the first ever state/govt supported foster care system WITHIN India. Foster Care India will work with the state when abuse/ neglect is suspected to give the children temporary care. Reunification with the family will always be the primary goal with the safety of the child at the forefront of every decision. The plan is to use Udaiupur as a pilot and then expand throughout all of India. This is social change in action. And here is my brother's recent blog...

It's not that easy... or is it?

"A friend of mine walked into my house yesterday and couldn’t believe how warm it was. It took me a moment to realize that his surprise was relational to his experience; it's warm in my home because there are no solid walls where he lives.

This and many other daily events cause me to think about privilege in society. I’ve realized that although here in India, I see such stark differences in how people are treated on a day-to-day basis, this different treatment happens everywhere, at all times, with unforgivable consistency.

So the question is, how can a small blog post help to change social stratification? Luckily, I’m 100% sure that it can. I am constantly humbled by this country and the people here. Just like a drop of water adds to a bucket full of water, I feel it’s my duty to share every day stories from India with people who might share the stories with others.

I’ve seen people without any privilege in society triumph, I’ve seen people abuse power and I’ve seen people with privilege do their part to equal the playing field. A woman I know has a very well respected father in the community. She is also a leader in the community and therefore is often in government offices applying for things and trying to move her own work forward. She does not use her father’s name although the mere mention of him could open every door. She chooses to level society in her own small way. This is the type of change I see as sustainable and effective. For example, in a small conversation she mentioned to me that this is her practice. Now I’m writing it in this blog. Hopefully someone will read this and think more about how they use or don’t use their privilege. And the word will spread.

As the previous example shows, positive people are abound. However, to me it is sadly clear that the undercurrents of “difference” often dictate actions in society that are far deeper than words can reach. In my every day life, some of my friends often feel weary about spending time with others who are of a lower social stature. Those of a lower social class or caste are left outside when others are drinking chai inside. The people who exclude are not bad people. They are a product of centuries of stratified society. Even those who question the "balance" and act accordingly often feel trapped by the societal pressures of tradition. How to break this cycle? So I talk about unequally, I challenge people's thinking and I often take a stand, but sometimes it doesn’t work. I know that before all these trips to India, as I sat in America looking abroad, the answer was easy: just demand that things are equal. This demand should be in the form of sitting outside with the rickshaw driver or demanding he is let into the court house. But here’s the problem, it’s not that easy. Or is it?

I wonder what people think about this topic? If you have a moment please respond to this post. My hope is that this post stimulates dialogue. What is your experience with standing up for equality in society? "

I, too, hope this post stimulates some dialogue. Thanks Ian for doing all that you are doing to make the world a better place!

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