I placed my thumb against the scanner and went through the airport immigration. In times of biometrics, the finger print as a means to identification, access and security is increasingly commonplace. If I were to rewind several years ago, in many Bollywood films and in everyday life, a term ‘angootha chaap’ (thumb print) which was to actually denote identity, was scornfully referred to as illiterate with the inability to sign one’s name and attached with shame, and commonly mouthed by the sneer of the privileged upper lip. Now, the action of the technology based thumb print, as against the traditional stamp pad has neutralized this divide, making everybody effectively ‘angootha chaap’, giving the thumb print a chance to reclaim its position as a means of identity without prejudice. As a rule of thumb, it would be well advised to rethink terms that somehow tend to find their way into an implied divide, even if they originally were not thought of or meant to be one. I tend to come across the terms ‘foreign worker’ and ‘foreign talent’ quite often. In a world of expatriates, the term ‘foreign worker’ typically suggests an unskilled worker and generally associated as migrant workers in the construction industry. The term ‘foreign talent’ – an executive, professional, manager or techie, places itself in another bracket of being ‘talented’ in a specific field. The common word ‘foreign’ holds good, however the words ‘worker’ and ‘talent’ could be possibly reconsidered to mean the same thing irrespective of the occupation or education. Each one, in my view, comes with a ‘talent’ unique to their abilities. ‘The Third World’ is another term, though working towards rebranding itself to the status of ‘The Developing World’, still sees frequent reference to a country being poor, non-industrialised, technologically behind or limited in education. The term though was coined for a completely different purpose. The Third World was originally defined as a set of countries that were not aligned to either the NATO or the Communist Bloc. ‘The First World’ holds the torch of being a part of the developed world. Though originally meant to be ‘the capitalist’ bloc as against the ‘communist bloc’ of The Second World. The definitions shifted, based on the economic status rather than the geopolitical one. The words First, Second and Third were not created in a hierarchy to stand on any podium. Just like in the case of the then divisive ‘angootha chaap’, it may be well served to give a thumbs up to all things that can break down these ‘terms of divisions’.

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