“Where anyone could be anything…”

Originally I had intended this post to be a movie review about the recent Disney anime release, Zootopia, but now I guess I’d rather stick to the part that I liked most about the movie (I’ll get to it shortly). The movie centres on a fictional city, Zootopia, whose motto is ‘Where anyone could be anything’. In this city, every animal (the movie is about them!) is encouraged to take up any job of its choice. But this cute little bunny, Judy Hopps, takes the motto a little too seriously. Ever since she was a kid, Judy wanted to be a police officer and so she works real hard to get there. But as she thinks she has finally  achieved her longtime dream, her real problems start.

Now. the movie is awesome no doubt and I may do a review sometime later, but this post is about the idea that when it comes to career choices, every individual has the right to pursue whatever direction he/she wishes to. The Indian constitution guarantees to its citizens ‘Equality of status and of opportunity’ (as stated in the preamble) but a task can not be achieved just by the mention of it.

In ancient India, all individuals were divided into four groups based on their professions, Brahmin (priests), Kshatriya(aristocrats or the ruling and governing class), Vaishya(agriculturists and other traders) and Shudra (those occupied in labour intensive jobs). The exact stratification and whether it was actually practised remain debatable. The holy scripture Rig Veda briefly mentions them but as an idea. The more detailed version is provided in Manu Smriti, an ancient legal text of Hinduism.

A much more elaborate and well planned version of the four-category classification system is provided by Amish Tripathi in his first book, Immortals of Meluha, of the Shiva trilogy. His works are not based on any ancient records found, rather they are modified or, in my perspective, more rational versions of Hindu mythology. He talks about a similar categorisation system in his fictional land of Ancient India, Meluha. The classification Amish talks about is very fair and justifiable but has one catch. The catch is that all the citizens of Meluha have to give up their children as soon as they are born. All the children are sent to a place, similar to a Gurukul, where the child is taken care of and provided with education as well as various vocational courses as per his/her choice and aptitude. This way, every child is ensured a uniform and impartial system of education and has the right to choose his/her profession accordingly. He/she qualifies for the job as per his/her abilities and qualifications. Later on, at a certain age (around 16 I guess, it has been a long time since I read the book), the child is up for adoption. A family in the same business as the child has chosen takes him/her in as their own. This system can help in breaking away from the caste stigma that a child born to a farmer must be a farmer and so on. But then, giving away your just born baby is not that easy. Anyway, Amish just presented his imagination.

Whether it is Meluha or Zootopia, a world where anyone can be anything is my idea of a perfect place! It takes a lot of courage to take up an unconventional or offbeat profession and the circumstances are not always favourable. For starters, convincing your family is a huge feat, especially here in India. But with changing times, more and more people are getting comfortable with the idea of their sons or daughters becoming a photographer or a writer or a chef or an artist (and not a doctor or an engineer). I, for one, am gonna let my kids do whatever they wish to (lol that is after I finish college, get a job, get married, etc etc…)! 😉

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11 thoughts on ““Where anyone could be anything…”

  1. Wonderful read!! I love how you were inspired by the movie to relate to your own life. I think you did a beautiful job of sharing the detailed information about the how the system works in India while still making it interesting for the reader who has no previous knowledge. Lovely ready.

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  2. Where anyone could be anything? It’s possible only in a world where money doesn’t rule, and people aren’t bound by commitments towards family and loved ones. When someone is hungry, all they would need is food – wouldn’t matter if it is organic or junk. But when someone is hungry and has lot of money to spend and has no commitment to feed anyone else, that person would be more inclined to have lavish food and make all healthy choices. If you can sacrifice the hunger of your body for the hunger of your soul, well and good. Else one should just carry on and worry not till they become something :). Just a perspective; would be glad to get a counter that can show a different dimension. But, lemme say it was a good write up.

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    1. I do not completely agree with that though most of it is true but it also differs from person to person. For example, when a person is in the formative years of his/her life, like the teenage or early adulthood, not many are under any kind of pressure to support a family or feed others, though there are many who face immense pressures and yet do very well in life. And so, what I believe is at least once (actually more than once) you get a chance in your life to do what you really wanna do… follow your hearts desire. Sure, there will be things to pull you back and keep you down but you gotta fight those, mostly it’s just your own ill-founded fears.

      As for the money-ruled and corrupt world, I do agree on this one. But even in developing countries like mine, corruption can sure help a few undeserving but it can’t definitely keep out those who deserve it!

      And thank you for offering an alternative perspective 🙂 Looking forward to hearing more from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Agree on most of the points. it’s like two sides of the same coin. You toss it up and you wish for one side knowing that there always would be the other side – you just got lucky or unlucky based on what you went for.

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