Churning of the Ocean: The Universal Template for Social Inequality


Over the last few weeks, across the globe we hear the desperate cries of #BlackLivesMatter. A more sensitive generation, across different races, cultures, varied socio-economic strata are acknowledging the fact that off all human races, the Africans and African origins continue to have the least social acceptance.

We need to use this moment of time in history to restructure the template of social inequality to social equality. What template you ask? Well, no matter what country, culture, religion, which generation, there is always the oppressor and the oppressed. This seems so universal; this social science has the same absoluteness as any of the pure sciences. And guess what, it is followed to the T. The Indian mythological story of ‘Churning of the Ocean’ is that template.

The mythological gods and demons are pretty much humans who constantly succumb to the cardinal sins due to their misuse and abuse of certain privileges they have. The trinity Gods are also humans with very great but limiting power, but because of their faculties they really are the game changers. The Gods are benevolent if you ‘only’ know how to appease them. And they all operate in a codependent eco system. Remove the religious lore attached to them, they represent any and every society there has ever been, including this day.

The lore stripped of its theological philosophy goes like this:

The gods wanted to unearth the pot of eternal nectar buried deep in the ocean. So, they seek the Gods to  show them the way. The Gods gives them their blessing and tell them to Churn the Ocean. A mountain becomes the churn stick and a serpent becomes the churn rope. One of the God also takes the form of a turtle on whose shell the mountain rests, lest it sinks. Even with all these resources, the Gods and gods could not Churn the Ocean all by themselves. They needed the help of the demons who the gods disdain. They had to on-board them. There was also an additional catch. The serpent would spit venom during the churning process, so the gods had to also trick the demons to hold the side that had the serpent head.

The demons were lured into the deal by the gods, by being promised to get a fair share of the nectar. With the Gods also blessing the endeavor, and in whose benevolence the demons also live, saw that they had nothing to lose really. If things worked as per plan, they’d get a portion of the nectar. The naïve demons fell in the trap and held onto the serpent on the head side to Churn the Ocean.

The serpent started spitting venom. Caught unaware, the demons endured it, to work towards getting their part of the nectar and not really questioning the discomforts. Then came all kind of wonderous things that got divided by the gods and Gods largely. The demons perplexed by the wonders, did not even question on the distribution of these and still had their eye only on what was promised to them, a portion of the nectar. Also, what came from the process was a lethal poison that would destroy all existence. So, the gods quickly seeked a God to save them, yet again. So, the God obliged and drank the poison, and the churning continued. Finally came out the pot of nectar.

The Hindu Goddess of wealth Laxshmi, who goes onto become the consort of Vishnu, comes from this churning of the ocean. This depiction of the Goddess is a common representation in many Hindu households, like mine. One of the tools, normalising the class divide.

The demons were alerted on the fact that they were cheated. They raged in anger and were ready to put up a fight. But this time, the gods were strengthened by the nectar and could easily defeat the demons. The demons who before the Churning of the Ocean had nothing to lose and were powerful to defend themselves, had everything to lose if they did not retract from the fight. So, they gave in. Accepted whatever benevolence the God may choose to show, in this newly altered world.

Now replace the Gods with venture capitalists and philanthropists , gods with entrepreneurs, demons with slaves and laborers, pot of nectar with profits, the mountain with capital resources, the tortoise with risk appetite, venom spitting serpent with unfavorable working conditions, poison with losses, the wonders unearthed with benefits and secured living conditions, the alluring diplomat with a new philanthropy program, the demon disguised as god with blue collars progressing to become white collars, severing the head of the demon with George Floyd!

Do you still believe that we should trend #AllLivesMatter instead of #BlackLivesMatter?

Repeating myself, we need to use this moment of time in history to restructure the template of social inequality to social equality. Let off our rage and pent up anger in forms of peaceful protests. But after that, we need to engage in a constant conversation with the Billionaires, Philanthropists, Governments, Policy Makers, Civil Right Organizations, Trade Unions, etc. We need to keep the pressure on, on the people who control and make the system. The people who have the maverick intelligence, brave character and personality, with billion dollars in their accounts, running global enterprises, power in their signature to change this template once for all. Only if this template changes, where there are no Gods, gods and demons can we celebrate #AllLivesMatter.

Martin Luther King did just that. He altered the template significantly with his ‘Civil Rights Movement’, and as Hasan Minaj says ‘he CCed the whole world on it’. Other revolutionaries across the world also have significantly altered the template. But there still is an unforgiving amount of work to be done.

For the third time I am saying this: We need to use this moment of time in history to restructure the template of social inequality to social equality.

We need to do this, so that no one ever has to say, ‘I CAN’T BREATHE!’

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