Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On Images and Sounds

I have spoken number of times with Mr. Praveen Pawar of RedR India (Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief) over the phone. The simplicity and the softness of his voice always showed that he may be a very young man and physically thin and straight... Or at least that is the size of consultants of RedR India I have come to know since cyclone Aila, and even before. On 8 November 2009, Praveen was coming for the first time to facilitate a training on Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction for field practioners of various non-profit organizations working with the State Inter Agency Group. I was waiting for a thin man coming from the airport, and I was supposed to take him to UNICEF, and then drop him at the hotel. But I was amazed by a huge man (for Indian standards), although young (in his late thirties).

I didn't expect that. Did I work on my own preconceived images? Where did I get this presumption from? Am I prejudiced by the "sound" of his voice? How often, harmless prejudices creep in, and can lead to harmful prejudices that can destroy relationships, persons and communities. Images can be imagery. Sounds may not actually tell a thing.

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