He walked by the side of the road, hoping for a lift. It was a long way into town to get to college. Finally, double cabin jeep pulled aside and offered him a ride.
As they went along the road, the driver, a landlord, asked about the man- who was he, where was he from. The boy told him his name was Kanjee. He was in his first year of college and was from the Bheel caste. The driver then told him that if he was Bheel, he would need to sit in the back of the jeep as he belonged to a low scheduled caste. Kanjee calmly said that he would not move to the back, but that if the driver felt strongly about it he could pull over and Kanjee would get another lift. The driver pulled off and Kanjee did just that.
Almost twenty years later Kanjee is an educated lawyer, a well-known social activist, working in a top level position at an NGO, has close connections with many politicians and change-makers, and is highly respected in Sindh. Kanjee heard that in one of the villages a girl had been gang raped and so he wanted to travel to see the family to offer his condolences for their pain. When he arrived, as is the custom for a person of great respect, the landlord bent down and knelt before Kanjee as he entered the village. Kanjee realized that it was the same man who had refused to allow him to ride in the front of his vehicle so many years ago. Yet Kanjee’s humility kept him from making this fact aware to the older man. While he was visiting the family this same man brought Kanjee a drink and gave it to him with his own hand- something you might only do if you thought yourself inferior to the person. As he was leaving, the man even showed Kanjee to his car and opened the door for him.
As Kanjee told this story, he said he shares it because he wants it to be an example and an encouragement. “Nothing changed- not my circumstances, my caste, my family. But I changed my activities, my thoughts, my contacts, and with that I changed myself and people’s response to me.” Kanjee said that with God’s help he has become a new person. He hopes that everyone will see they have power and ability to change their own lives if they will only try.
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