The Evolution Of Human Rights & Their Relevance Today

  • 11 Dec 2020

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The Evolution Of Human Rights & Their Relevance Today

“The rights of today have the ability to become the problems of tomorrow.”- Kapil Gupta

Human rights have always been a debatable topic. What is right today might not be right tomorrow. What is right for you might not be right for the person who is next to you. Then how do you decide whether the rights that were set up by UDHR (Universal Declaration Of Human Rights) 70 years ago still hold true today? 

Rights and wrongs are time centric and situational. There is no absolute right or wrong, much rather, it is relative. Polygyny was practiced for a long time across the globe but is extremely frowned upon in the modern world. But what most people miss out on is context.

Our population has grown rapidly from 1 billion people in the 1800s to 7 billion + people in just 200 odd years. Back then, women had no other choice but to marry anybody that they could lay their hands on because they had a dearth of options. The male to female ratio was astronomical and not marrying at the behest of finding a man who’d only keep one wife would be nothing but a practical joke. 

200 years ago, a major chunk of the female strata was nothing but homemakers whose identity were tied to their male counterparts and if not married at the right time, they were subjected to humiliation, ridicule and were supposed to live their lives without an ounce of pleasure.

If offered a choice, what would you choose? A life full of ridicule or sharing your husband with other women? The answer will always be the latter. 

Keeping contexts in mind, let’s take into account the problem of child labour. Tell me, why is a child working 14 hours a day to act in a film socially and lawfully acceptable but if the same child is working at a chai tapri to make ends meet, suddenly it becomes a human rights issue?

Is it because the idea of being a showstopper is glorified but working as a waiter is frowned upon?

So it begs the question, are human rights relevant today? 

Well, to be honest, human rights are a mix of constant evolution in the society so whatever was put together 70 years ago will not make as much sense today. In a country where people are still fighting for reservations after 73 years of independence, human rights are more of a political issue that is utilised by politicians to fill up their vote banks. 

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