People read stories of struggle, sacrifice and hard work and call them inspirational.
These stories do not inspire me. Maybe it’s because I can relate to these stories – but not the way the protagonists are portrayed.
These stories are inspiring for some people because they show how the protagonist overcame countless hurdles in life and achieved their goal.
But I see these stories are the stories of oppression, subjugation and persecution.
These stories are not inspiring at all.
These stories mock me. They mock me for being poor. They mock me for being illiterate. They mock me for my inability to stop the privileged from portraying my life the way they want. They mock me and say that I deserve nothing more than being a bedtime inspirational story for some rich kid born with a silver spoon.
The story of a daughter taking her father home by riding a bicycle for 200 kilometres does not inspire me. The story of a man who spent 30 years in prison for a crime he never committed but kept on fighting for ‘justice’ does not inspire me. The story of a farmer who spends his whole life in misery but does alright, even as the privileged exploit him, does not inspire me.
These are not stories of inspiration. These are stories of oppression, discrimination and subjugation. They tell me how easily people who are responsible for making the system better can evade their responsibilities. They are accountable to none.
This must end.
We, the poor, weak, marginalised and oppressed, need to find inspiration beyond the stories of our oppression. We must question those romanticising our oppression by turning it into a story and selling it as a book that only the privileged have access to. We have to find inspiration beyond the stories of a prince who struggles to accomplish tasks organised by his father to prove that he is capable of ruling every one of us.
It’s time that we reclaim our stories from the privileged. Tell them the real story – and not one decorated in the unblemished skin of their protagonists and their colourful dresses. Tell them how ugly and monstrous life can be when it comes to earning basic bread and butter. Tell them how it’s easy to pass a game to become a ruler, and how difficult it can be to find something to eat when you are starving.
So that they can understand that these stories are not inspiring at all.
Mohd Imran is the Founder of Indian Society for Legal Research. You can email him at email@example.com
Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty