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Which mask can hide the virus affecting our minds: Lakshmipathy Balaji on discrimination

Speaking up against racism, Former Indian cricketer Lakshmipathy Balaji has said nobody should be discriminated against on any grounds, be it children or adults.

Athletes across various sports have been speaking against racism following the death of an unarmed black man in the USA. Cricketers, including Chris Gayle and Daren Sammy, have also expressed outrage saying racism is also prevalent in the sport.

“At all levels be it school, college, or any industry for that matter there is a tendency among some people to target someone’s perceived weakness,” Balaji said in a chat show Homerun with AV with sports commentator Arun Venugopal.

“A bully goes after easy targets. There are plenty of rules and regulations that seek to prevent that. However, until and unless people of different classes, races, and nationality recognise the seriousness of the problem – like they have in the case of Covid-19 pandemic – this can’t be solved. The fear for our lives has led to greater emphasis on social hygiene. However, which mask can hide the virus [of racism and discrimination] that is affecting our minds?”

Balaji also talked about his growing up days and shared the time when he felt humiliated after failing in class 7. The former Indian pacer also said that children should not under pressure by parents for their performance in school.

“I was 12-13 when I was failed in class seven. If you ask me, repeating a class at a certain age can be incredibly humiliating. I felt it acutely because of social pressures and the realisation that I had let down my parents and caused embarrassment to them. That particular phase affected me a lot psychologically.

He added: “Luckily, my parents were able to accept the situation and handle it well. Otherwise, such social stigma and humiliation at such a young age could even lead to children taking extreme steps. I survived the phase thanks to my parents’ awareness, but not all parents have such awareness. So, please don’t discriminate anyone be it children or adults on any grounds.

“I don’t think failing someone in class seven is the right thing to do. To watch my parents suffer humiliation because I failed was truly difficult. It has been 25-26 years, but the scar hasn’t healed. Overcoming such humiliation, however, equipped me to cope with the different challenges in my career and life.”

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