ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dirty Minds

Nowhere does the habitual or characteristic mental attitude implied in the term “mindset” appear more debilitating than in the Indian outlook towards garbage.

No English word has perhaps seen such an inflationary career as “mindset.” The word has ricocheted in high-decibel TV hostilities, ponderous, sometimes anxious, statements from lawyers, judges and business managers, and in the routine disappointments expressed by the young. Everyone agrees that a mindset is a terrible thing to have: it is pejoratively associated with attitudes that are impervious to change. It conjures up images of cement–concrete that is too tough to break through. It is a block to more democratic and—dare one say—fluid or open processes.

The adjective that is perhaps most associated with “mindset” is “patriarchal.” In the outrage following the making of India’s Daughter, news anchors and feminists, lawyers and young women and men, all discovered the “patriarchal mindset” that lay behind the statements of defence lawyers, perpetrators of rape and assorted politicians. Not many had ideas about how—or whether—to change these mindsets. It is not as easy to put a positive spin on our mindsets as the writer Carol Dweck has done in an entire book devoted to the term, from “fixed” to “growth” mindsets.

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