Aditi is an Economics and Government Major and is a Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She has been writing for the Opinion Section for the past four years. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] Her column Abstruse Musings appears in the Sun every alternate Monday.
Though I am in a different hemisphere altogether, I can still sense the frenzy of Orientation week that Ithaca bursts with every August. As a faithful columnist, an ardent alumna and a fervid fan of Cornell, I could not resist writing another column. It is kind of a plot twist after the tearful final column I wrote in May, but the Associate Editor pardoned my inconsistency. For those beginning their gamble on the Hill and for those worried about how fast their prescribed four years are flying, this may be important. After graduation, I took up a job as Research Associate in public policy in the developing world.
I have often dwelled on what my last column for The Sun would entail. Often, before falling asleep, I have constructed entire columns in my head. It’s a shame I did not write them down and gave into sleep instead. Because here I am, with so much to say and without a clue about where to begin. I guess this final edition of Abstruse Musings will be a brutally heartfelt and untempered reflection.
I wonder how my father would react if I informed him that he is an inspiring feminist. I wonder if he would buy that. I write this column both to let him and the world know how he has enabled me to challenge gender norms. I am an international student from India. At times, in my government classes at Cornell, professors show statistics about how my country is not necessarily the sanctum of gender equality. There are grim statistics about gender violence and recalcitrant gender discrimination norms which are very prevalent today.
Before spring break, I had a compelling dialogue about diversity at Cornell with trustees and Cornell alumni. It was almost a then-and-now assessment of how far Cornell has come with respect to diversity and inclusion. It had never occurred to me that there is so much value in looking at an intergenerational perspective on challenging issues. It helps those who are interested and invested understand how far we have come as a community. The dialogue was unequivocally thought-provoking considering it survived my Spring Break-induced amnesia and that I am still thinking about it.
The flipside of being aware and constantly thinking, questioning and critically analyzing everything we come across is the sheer anxiety it translates into. As someone who has struggled with a mind that does not believe in quietude, I have been thinking deeply of silence of late. Silence is powerful. Yes, it makes us uncomfortable but embracing silence makes a world of a difference. This is especially relevant in our microcosm on the Hill.
Karl Marx’s famous and, to an extent, hackneyed speech which describes religion as the “opiate of the masses” are pithy, profound and still captivate the world we live in today. However, there was more to what he said: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” His profound words are often brandished as an ideological weapon by atheists validating their belief. However, most people fail to note that Marx did concede the tremendous power of religion which brought societies together across the world. The word religion itself stems from the Latin word ‘religare’ which means to bind together, and it is applicable if we come to think of how churches have been the epicenter of life in several societies for decades.