Sunday 30 June 2013

Change demands you, every day!

Whether it is the so called ‘Man-made natural disaster’ of Uttarakhand (India) or the death and illness spread through water contamination at the NCERT campus (Delhi, India) and in a garment factory (Ashulia, Bangladesh), or the incessant incidences of rapes, murder, road accidents, building collapses, fires and theft, these are symptoms of people and systems not aware, capable or willing to deliver desired performance at the end where it truly matters. If these were isolated incidents we can ignore them, but the widespread and repeated failure to deliver the most crucial civilised society outcomes should make us question the way our attitudes, capabilities and culture have been shaped. At the core of this remains our inability to take responsibility for our society and the change we want to see in it. Disasters happen and will continue to happen; the measure of civilised society is how much we have progressed to keep at bay avoidable tragedies. Apart from the throngs of mere spectators, many of us rise to the occasion when tragedy strikes and pride ourselves on our sacrifices and efforts towards rescue and rehabilitation, but how many of the same people lull back into meaningless hedonistic and selfish pursuits, failing to keep to the course in daily life of working towards valuable goals that contribute to a safe and progressive society. In daily life we not only lose focus, but are often unwilling to work to improve ourselves and our surrounding. More so we are unwilling to develop a deeper understanding and better perspective of progress and development. We are too caught up in sensationalism and diversions created by vested interests, laid low by our own indolence and underpinnings of carefully preserved ignorance.
From the education system that fails to build relevant perspective, to work place that sacrifices holistic development for short termism and a society where we get ahead as much by denying others opportunities as we do by prevarication; we are a timid lot that does not have the courage to admit one’s own lack of capability and ignorance. We revel in the heady feeling derived from increasing wealth, position and power; finding it easy to be arm chair critics and expert commentators, vehement in defending our own parochial views and limited actions, than doing an honest day’s work, not as the proverbial mules but as authentic, principled and reflective beings, who are willing to look inwards as much as they are willing to explore the world to gain perspective, knowledge and capabilities.
Most of us ‘haves’ are unwilling to change our ways of being, our biases, and affiliations; knowing or denying that it confers advantages to a select few at the omission of the majority others, just because we are part of that group. In fact we are only too happy and want more, whether driven by our insecurities or avarice. Not only that, we also find it easy to blame others whether the ‘have-mores’ or the ‘have-nots’ for most of the ills. The ‘haves’ need to realise that it’s them who mostly determine the policies, systems, procedures and guidelines that govern and shape conditions in which the ‘have-nots’ live, operate and develop their aspirations and capabilities. Also when you blame the ‘have-mores’ just consider whether they are only a reflection of your own ways of being albeit a little more successful in their own aspirations.
It has already been too late for many, but it may be worth for us to still act to consider real alternatives, before we end up living in a lawless, degenerated, depressive and anarchic society; to muster courage to back realisations with decisive action; to know and do better than what we have become used to; where required to go against the grain of established practices; relinquish the comfort of the known to embrace the unknown; armed with authenticity and the will to discover true progress. How often and how closer to home do disasters have to hit, for us to reconsider and question our ways of being?