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Is “Equality Of Opportunity” Enough Today?

Let me first clarify by saying that this article is not a criticism of the idea of equality. Nor do I intend to promote elitism. What I am trying to impose here is that the way we perceive equality and the ways recognised to achieve it may sometimes need rethinking.

The preamble to our constitution mentions that “Equality of opportunity” for all the citizens is one of the primary goals of our constitution. Our fundamental rights and consequent articles further reinstall this philosophy. The constitution provides various ways to achieve these goals in the forms of Fundamental rights as well as the Directive Principles of state policy. If someone has to judge our nation on the basis of the principles and provision directed in our constitution they might not find any problem. In fact, they might find these provisions more than adequate to establish a nation based on equality and prosperity.

But the reality is completely different. Which has been exposed considerably during the recent pandemic. More apparent in the case of the migrant labourer. They were left in a complete state of apathy when the nationwide lockdown was announced. There were no jobs, no food and of course no attention from both the centre and respective state governments. Under such circumstance, most of them decide to come back to their native states and now there was no transportation for their avail.

Who is responsible for her death? Could this be avoided? Was everything done to avoid such a situation? The child might not be able to ask these, but do you know who should be asking these questions? Our conscience. And it should not stop till we are assured that enough has been done to avoid future recurrence of such incidents.

Meanwhile, when this was happening we were also seeing some people being airlifted from foreign nations.

What is the difference between these two sets of ‘migrants’ you may ask!

Why some people were being assisted to reach their home safely while some were left to die on the roads?

Is it because of the fact that one could pay a premium fee for their rescue while the other couldn’t?

Under such scenarios, a question arises whether the constitutional guarantee of “equality of opportunity” serving its purpose?

Or should we strive for “opportunity of quality” instead?

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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