Updated: Sep 14
Prejudice is poisonous, and it makes even the most intelligent people act in ways that look illogical and non-sensible to others.
“Histories” by Manognya Bethapudi tells the story of a doctor judging a patient for her bias in having daughters and later realising her mistake.
It was that time when the headlines screamed of feticide of the female child in Beed district of Maharashtra and during such turbulent times when girls were brutally murdered in their mother’s uterus, we were sitting around in the department and talking about the prejudices, discrimination and ignorance of the rural and illiterate folk. In comes Savitribai, the patient allotted to us for history taking.
She looked just like the rest of them, those ignorant fools we were just cursing for killing unborn girls. She was old, withered, in pain and thus started with her long spiel of complaints. By the time we reached the family history, we were pretty sure what her diagnosis might be and we were just going through the motions. She told us that she had 4 children, three daughters and one son.
I scorned mentally and slotted her to be one of those people who kept trying for a son instead of choosing to have a small family. But she didn’t stop at that, maybe my disgusted expression pushed her on. I really don’t know but she went on to explain how happy she was with her daughters, how hardworking they were, how much they studied and how proud she was of her daughters and as if this wasn’t enough she told us that she would gladly exchange her wayward son for another daughter. And that was when I realised my folly. I was so prejudiced that I couldn’t take people for what they were and assumed that because she was old, ignorant and illiterate.
I presumed that she must have prized her son more than her daughters. How wrong was I! Prejudice prevented me from forming a rapport with my patient but the old lady in all her wisdom helped me realise my mistake. But this is just one incident, there are countless others in my fledgeling career and I’m guessing there will be many more in the years to come because while we attempt to take their history and learn about their ailments they end up teaching us life lessons.
This opinion is available in paperback & ebook.