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A basic human need is to reject others

January 2, 2007

The last few days the newspapers have been full of the suicide of young Srikant Mallepallu. Not just young, but studying in India’s most prestigious educational institution – IIT.
All sorts of reasons are being given for the suicide – ranging from Srikant’s inability to cope with the workload at IIT and inability to be accepted by his class-mates to his Internet addiction.
That struck me. Internet addiction. X-Men, Manga, anime, blogs and chatting was Srikant’s life. He was on the computer until the wee hours of the morning. These activities of his were blamed for his poor grades…but anyone who escapes into the internet world does it only for one reason: to fulfill a human being’s very basic need – a sense of belonging. What I am saying is nothing new…Abraham Maslow said it years maslow_1_1.jpgago. The need to belong is just a little less important than our physiological needs. This means that once a human being has sufficient food, water and shelter – he craves for a sense of belonging. This need happens to be more important than the need to achieve.
In our heart of hearts we all know this…but do we do anything about it? It’s easier to grab a burger if you’re starving. If you are starving for company what do you do?
The need to reject others is strongly entrenched in human beings
Loneliness doesn’t have a simple answer because it is not dependent on just you. And that other might find it far easier to share his burger rather than himself. His need to reject may be far greater than his need to share himself at that point of time.
Human beings find all kinds to reasons to reject others. Social status, background, language, accent, race, grades, looks, manner, religion, sexual preferences, dress, colour, weight, intelligence or simply because of the person is new in the neighbourhood…
Poor Srikant. He was rejected not just because he was a ‘reservation’ candidate (he got admission into IIT because he was of a particular caste, not on merit) but also because of the intellectual snobbery prevalent on the IIT campus. Those with low grades are considered intellectually inferior (which is bullshit) and thus looked down upon. So here was a boy who was unable to walk into an inner circle. Probably his other inner circle (family) might have rejected him if he had not made it through IIT and/or had not got a good job offer. It has been reported that while his other class-mates had bagged several job offers, he had none.
There are too many people like Srikant in this modern world of ours. And there is one sure place to find them…on the internet.
Does Maslow’s Need Hierachy need to be re-drawn?
On the face of it, it looks like Maslow forgot something. This need that human beings have to reject others just so that they get to feel superior and exclusive. I am guilty too. I firmly reject those whom I believe to be dishonest or hypocritical or just plain immoral. They will never ever get into my inner circle. In fact I go a step further. I think my method of filtration is the best. I reject those who use other methods of filtration…like social status or caste or a million other things.
Naturally, Maslow couldn’t have missed this. This need is too important. And by studying his hierarchy of needs a little more closely…I got it. The need for rejection is right there – hidden under all those words in that green band. It says: ‘Self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others.’
Ofcourse. Rejection of others and moving around in “exclusive” circles increases one’s self-esteem – in a perverted way.

Related Reading: Suicide rates of the world and why people kill themselves
Some reasons for the high suicide rate in India
Some tips on how you can help people manage their depression and grief
Humans like forming ghettos
About Euthanasia – where it’s legal

15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2007 2:42 am

    they take life too hard 😦

  2. January 3, 2007 10:58 pm

    Hi! I wrote an article on a modified maslows sometime ago. This is about blogging and is called ‘Schizo’s Hierarchy of Blog-Geeks
    Or, “How Maslow would have categorized Bloggers.”
    Here is a link.


  3. January 4, 2007 1:55 pm

    hi nita…the article is thought provoking…yes, there are people who fiercely guard their inner circle, at the cost of making someone else feel rejected…guess we all need to define our own parameters of what’s “in” and what’s not, and simply ignore those who won’t or don’t value us for who we are…but that’s always easier said than done.

  4. January 5, 2007 3:44 pm

    Aloness is most common in IITs where people are pretty busy that they dont care about others . But in that also , a person can get 2 or 3 friends who can move along even though the person is not studying well , of what ever caste , status he is ..

    In this case , the guy has developed some inferiority complex in himself , not being able to compete well , do well in IITs which is all IIT is about .One has to constanly prove and study well in this premier institutes .

    I am sure we are going to see few more srikants in this present reservation system , where a person can’t compete well to the level these institutes .

  5. January 17, 2007 1:28 am

    Nice blog, and part social crusade.

    I agree with the previous comment that even in IIT, as everywhere else, a person will surely find other likeminded people. So many people exist in IIT who can’t stand most other people.

    This kid clearly had a lousy self-esteem, and must have felt the humiliation so much that he decided to die. I don’t think this is a ‘need’ to reject others, just loneliness and relief. One cannot expect people to go out of their way to help someone who just does not want to be helped. In a way, he had already ceased existing in the real world by his total immersion online. But even so, he must surely have had some friends. The boredom must have got to him.

    As a product of the system myself, it is my opinion that though intellectual snobbery does exist (and why not?), it is not so hopelessly stratified that people have to rank themselves according to their perceived mental ability (or any such equivalent). Intellectuality is recognized, admired, appreciated, but we (of course, exceptions do exist) do not form a cabal. Social relationships are formed not just by intellectual grouping, but also by a sort of emotional grouping, based on one’s tastes, preferences, habits, etc.

  6. February 15, 2008 1:42 pm

    rejecting others gives him a form of security…
    by eliminating people who are unlike him, he is left with people who are like him… hence its easier to be a part of that group and excel….
    plus people are more likely trust fellows who r like them…..

    hence i would say that by rejecting others, you are only proving that Maslow’s law is applicable even today

  7. February 15, 2008 3:21 pm

    Ankur, firstly I wish you had commented on the fresh post, not this one! I haven’t replied to a single comment here 😳 which was what I used to do in the early days, when I was not used to blogging. Also, this post wasn’t that well writtten.
    But to reply to your comment, I agree that rejecting others gives a person some sort of secure feeling about his own worth. But let me reiterate that Maslow didn’t say it – I did! 🙂

  8. February 15, 2008 6:30 pm

    :)) so when r u publishing Nita’s Law

  9. May 13, 2008 3:19 pm

    The suicide of young srikant shows that even today the cast system is living in our society even in the young minds , though it is not as visible as in
    the past.Even now friendship are made on the basis of taste, manners , studies , politics etc ….. and at last but not the least ‘caste’ .
    The reservation system has been introduced into our education system to bring the low caste people who has been rejected from education in the past so that every one would get education and every people in INDIA get educated and our nation would prosper.

  10. July 24, 2008 3:48 pm

    I have observed the lives of IIT students at a close range. One thing we observed is that at present the social environment in IIT (which had changed radically in the past 6 years) is such that the students all have pc in their rooms. They spend a huge amount of time surfing net, porn (a humongous amount is freely available on their intranet), play videogames, or socialize (preferably with opposite gender) on social networking sites.
    They don’t spend good “chill out” time with real friends in the campus, but have a lot of online friends. Their circle lacks the camaraderie that the older guys used to have, and a daily amount of post-college or post-dinner chit-chat or “laugh time” is a great stress buster. The new kids are always moaning about the system or something or the other when they do gather together. They don’t have real friends who can provide support (even tacit support matters), and online friends are little help especially if they are not in the same boat.
    I always felt this change, which is one of the direct observable effect of free high speed net access all the time to very young adults. After college or lab hours, everyone is locked up inside their rooms, all alone, with their pc’s.. I somehow think it is not healthy!

  11. November 13, 2009 12:39 am

    To reject others is not a basic human need but basic inhuman behavior in the broken up communities that we are living in today.

    Thank you for your blogging on these subjects. These things are happening in all spheres of society. Did you see the 23 suicides in France’s telecom company?

  12. jodes permalink
    January 4, 2010 6:12 pm

    This hit a real cord for me. Thaks for taking the time to put it on the web. I really struggle with acceptance and belonging and was looking for some images of belonging when i stombled accross this site. I am also guilty of rejecting others for one reason or another. I will definatley rethink

  13. Diva Parekh permalink
    February 24, 2011 7:12 pm

    hellow, this is siya and diva – two year 8th students from dais. we were searching for information regrading suicide rates in india and luckily we found this blog… i must say that it was amazing and we found exactly what were looking for. your analysis of the matter was impressively meticulous.
    we’re just going to use the statistics and take some hints from the analysis
    thanking you
    s & d
    our teacher will also appreciate this 😛

  14. June 9, 2011 5:41 pm

    As Einstein, no less (someone who I am sure dealt with “inner circle” issues in his time and yet did not commit suicide…surprised?) once said and I quote: “the significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”.

    My dear Nita, evidently you are trying to solve the problems of the mind using psychology (which is, after all, the creation of the mind itself). You will be in knots forever my dear Nita (Maslow and/or any of his uncles will not be able to help you and you’ll reinvent his story which still be another invention someone else will reinvent down the infinitum!!

    I don’t know why (well I actually do) but sometimes we humans have an innate tendency to look over the fence and not in your own back yard first! It seems to be rampant among the modern convent educated Indians today!

    Look up the work of spiritual scientists of the Vedic heritage, you’ll quickly see that in Vedanta the “explanation doesn’t need much explanation” and has held true for thousands of years! Anyway, you seem to be a spirited person with an inquiring mind who should visit other like-minded thinkers at the web portal ( sometime, you never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll take away!


  1. Human Rights Quote (86): Human Rights and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs « P.A.P. Blog - Politics, Art and Philosophy

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