A fiction by American author Mark Twain set in the period of 1547. The story articulates around two teenagers Tom Canty (poor lad) and Prince Edward who happened to be identical in appearance. Tom Canty being the pauper deprived of social just and annoyed by his abusive father always desired to live a life like Prince.
One day, he encountered the Prince in his royal palace and both shared their experiences of life.
Finally, as a jest they decided to switch clothes. But as soon as Prince leaves the Palace the guards believed him to be the pauper and threw him out into the street. The Prince’s life became miserable as the world behaved rude and nastily. The situation worsened when he told others that he is actually the Prince. The people mocked, ridiculed and even attacked the Prince. On the other hand despite Tom’s denial to be Prince, the King thought that his son has gone mad and lost memory. Every royal service & help was made available to the false Prince in the hope that he regains his statement.
The story although marks the unfair and barbaric justice system of London (in 1547), but in fact depicts our modern days culture. Surely, we dwell in a strange world where people are judged by their appearance rather than intellect. Majority would agree to the fact and may have been victim of the very derisory mentality of our society. Take an example of product branding. Multinationals through massive advertisement campaigns have inculcated a sense of inferiority complex in our minds. As a result in a consumer world of today the collective cognition of our society has drifted outrageously flaunty. We are inclined to spend as per the desire and pressure of people surrounding us but due to our own choice or purchasing power.
Common questions posed are what brand are you wearing? From where have you purchased? This fact is not confined only to the branding but persons following religion are also not spared. What comes to the mind at a first glance when you see a man with a beard? Fanatic, fundamentalist or may have links with terrorism. Similarly, women in veil (burqa) are considered oppressed and subjugated.
It is not confined only to the faith or fashion items but anyone who goes against the custom is looked down upon, ridiculed and ostracized. There is a dire need to discourage criticism and appreciate the differences. We need to be tolerant to what and how others behave.