'Discrimination on basis of faith can lead to unstable happiness'

Robert Waldinger opined against any type of polarisation or ghettoization; his comment came amid reports of people being discriminated against due to their religion or eating habits even in an otherwise cosmopolitan like Mumbai emerged.

PTIUpdated: Thursday, October 06, 2022, 10:58 AM IST
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Erecting walls of exclusion in housing apartments creates a sense of happiness which is 'unstable', and cannot help in maintaining the wellbeing of a person, a Harvard university professor has said.

In the comments that come amid a raft of reports about people being discriminated against on the basis of their faith or eating habits even in an otherwise cosmopolitan city like Mumbai, Robert Waldinger opined against any kind of polarisation or ghettoisation.

"We can wall ourselves off. But it's unstable because it decreases understanding of people who are different and have different habits and different beliefs," Waldinger, who is the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said.

"So the more we wall ourselves off,the less likely we're gonna be, I think (in) long term, we're going to be able to maintain those walls and maintain our wellbeing. That's why this polarisation is so worrying," he told PTI, answering a specificquestion on whether the discriminatory practices can lead to happiness.

Despite a lot of criticism of such practices, there are often reports of Muslims or meat eaters finding it difficultto get apartments onrent or for sale because of their beliefs and choices.

The previous state government had also warned the realty developers against following such practices. Waldinger said polarisation usually happens in times of social upheaval where people turn on each other, and cited the experiences during the pandemic as a case in point where people got frightened and began "finding enemies".

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