The curse of sheltering

The curse of sheltering

Synopsis : In any system patriarchal or not where the male child is favored over the female leads to sheltering the child that inhibits the growth of his personality and his resolve to overcome his obstacles in life. This is the sin that should be avoided.

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Source : Google photo (https://pittsburghquarterly.com/between-the-issues/item/1590-a-pampered-generation.html )

I often end up discussing why some people succeed in life while others don’t, growing up under the same circumstances and come to the conclusion that while we may be genetically similar to our siblings, we are different from each other temperamentally  or otherwise making us go in different directions in our individual life.

My friend who comes from a somewhat similar background like mine hit the nail on the head when he said that the failures come from the curse of sheltering in the patriarchal system where the sons are favored over daughters and are given wide latitude meaning a lot of slack in doing whatever they want and are sheltered by the parents and the elders. I have written about the patriarchal system in India in one of my blogs that may be worth reading to understand why they do what they do even if it does not make sense.

If you see the old Bengali style of buildings, you will notice that they all have a common feature that is a narrow veranda (called rock) in front of their houses with  cement benches at both ends. You will also notice the vagabonds and loafers who occupy these benches all day long where they smoke and gossip while whistling at young women passing by and making running commentaries on their dress among other things.

The girls know these vagabonds well and are used to their insulting remarks and cat calling so they cover up their breasts some more and trot off at a greater speed just to avoid them. The vagabonds who have nothing better to do the whole day thus spend their time and constantly demand for tea and things to eat that the obedient women folks in the house keep on sending because these loafers are sheltered. As boys they can do nothing wrong that may include cat calling or eve teasing as it is called in India because perhaps the girls are wearing short miniskirts or low cut blouses that show a bit of cleavage inviting such teasing. Now good girls do not go around looking like sluts, do they?

I have written in my blogs that eve teasing is a form of social disapproval of western dresses, tight fitting clothes that are too revealing among other things so these so called self-appointed guardians of the society pass their time criticizing others while doing absolutely nothing with their own lives. They do not have to because they are sheltered.

I know a case when the son went to the next town and did not return as planned because he got delayed due to some reason, you could not have imagined the agony it caused among the women folks who wondered if they should go to the police and report a missing person or perhaps check with the hospitals if the son had an accident of some sort. You could see their joy when he returned a day or two later saying that he could not finish his errands there so got a bit delayed. The son was over 40 years old but he could be even older. It did not matter.

This is perhaps an extreme example of sheltering that they practice in their patriarchal system I now call a curse because it does not allow the sons to develop their own personality and the will to break out and do something useful in their life. Rare is a person who stands up to his parents and declares what he wants to do with his life because being the baby of the family has its advantages. Who does not like pampering?

It is like a drug that makes a person dependent on others. He does not have to learn to cook or even make a pot of tea that he is so fond of or wash his own clothes because everything is done for him by his mother or sisters or grandmother who are the worst offenders. They say that they do it out of love but do not realize its pernicious effect on the personality of the person so pampered that makes him spineless and totally dependent on others whom he takes for granted and expects them to serve him.

Why then the girls fare so badly and why boys pick on them constantly? Why the rules are so strict for girls and not for boys for the same offence? It is because of the patriarchal system that is purely tribal in nature and perpetuates the myth that boys are better than girls because girls are considered a liability by the parents. They have to get married off and leave the family while the boys are expected to stay at home and look after the olds in their hour of need.

Now this attitude is slowly changing because girls are getting education and good jobs and look after the parents, build them a house, buy them a car and other comforts of life so they are shattering the myth that they are inferior to boys.

They are also fighting back when accosted by the vagabonds who continue to tease them relentlessly and often beat up the cowards to teach them a lesson or two while the on lookers just gawk. They are the courageous one who take the matter into their own hands because the society does nothing to protect them.

I have written about the two girls who beat up a taxi driver badly in the Philippines who wanted to rape them but they knew karate and put it to good use. Not all women learn martial art so they silently suffer the harassment and cover up their breasts some more and trot instead of walking.

Now let us see how damaging this sheltering and pampering of boys can be and how it prevents them to literally grow up and develop the desire to accept challenges and overcome them to succeed in life. The pampering is really like a drug that makes you lazy and without any initiative because everything is done for you. You live in a comfort zone that you are terribly afraid to break out of.

Recently we had a visitor from India who spent a month with us and promptly demanded a cup of tea after arriving from the airport. We do not drink tea and do not know how to make a good cup but I still tried . He said that the tea was not well made so he will now teach me how to make a good cup of tea. He came from his sheltered life where others made tea for him whenever he wanted or they knew his routine and made a pot of tea anyway just in case.

He had travelled to a foreign country for the first time and out of his comfort zone where he did not have to do anything because there were others to serve him. He therefore had a culture shock and was eager to go back to his sheltered life where he felt more comfortable.

To venture out of your comfort zone and do something extraordinary involves risks that can be frightening at first but those who do it learn that nothing is gained unless you try hard and are willing to take disappointments and the prospect of failure. I knew that I was perhaps taking a risk by going to Vietnam during the war when I was only 22 but I had a great deal of faith in myself and I trusted those who in Vietnam protected me. I took many risks that I will not write about here but you may read about them in my biography elsewhere.

This willingness to accept challenges no matter what they are in life is what sets those apart from the vagabonds who have nothing better to do with their lives than just sitting in the veranda and criticizing the women passing  by. My playmates in our lane did not finish high school so live in poverty and look far older than their age but they were the victim of sheltering. They do not want to talk to me or even see me because they feel inferior and are perhaps ashamed. This inferiority complex is like tuberculosis that eats away at your lungs until you can’t breathe anymore. It destroys your personality that never develops to the point when you could take some drastic decisions in your life.

Life is never meant to be easy for those who dare. It throws many obstacles at you to test your mettle and then rewards you profusely for your tenacity to succeed. Many top CEOs were refused jobs by hundreds of employers. Many famous authors were refused by the publishers who did not believe in them until one brave person saw the talent and accepted it. Many people did not believe that a person with disability could climb Mt. Everest until he did and many did not believe that a young girl of 15 could sail around the world alone until she did.

So it is easy to ignore a person who has such potential because accepting him or her is a challenge they cannot take due to the risk involved.

Once Bill Gates still struggling with his company and the payroll offered few shares to his janitor instead of pay saying that someday those shares will be worth a fortune. The janitor believed in him and he is now a millionaire. But how many of us have such faith?

This is I believe a key word here called faith. If your parents have faith in you and encourage you to take tough exams that you fail the first time but still encourage you, it goes a long way to help you develop your own personality and self-confidence. They do not pamper their sons but expect them to learn to face challenges and accept them and overcome them.

There is no shame in taking a part time job of washing dishes or cleaning the classrooms to earn some money to pay for your education when you do not have a scholarship and no one to support you in a foreign country but many do it  and get their education like I did.

There is no shame in being self-reliant but it takes courage and a very strong determination to overcome such obstacles by taking whatever job comes your way. A pampered kid is scared to death when he faces such challenges and promptly backs out to go back to his comfort zone.

Many  were given the chance to work in Vietnam during the war but they all backed out because they were sheltered and their parents would not let them go.

Now I want to write about courageous girls who also took matters into their own hands and succeeded in life. One girl in our neighborhood got married to a fellow through the arranged marriage system and became a widow a year later when her husband died of a spine injury leaving her pregnant. It was a very unfortunate thing to happen to anyone let alone a very young girl like her but she did not wallow in self-pity and took a job in a faraway place to raise her son by herself. I call that girl courageous and with a strong will.

Another girl who had a very high IQ got married also through the arranged way and one day ran away from her very abusive husband and asked for divorce that was granted. She now lives in England with her second husband who is a very nice person so together they have made a new life themselves.

I know many such cases where they show courage and the will to succeed no matter what the obstacle. I think women have more courage and develop the strong personality because they are less sheltered. To grow up as a girl in a patriarchal society is tough by itself so perhaps it is a blessing that it makes women tougher than men.

The famous case of bandit queen that I wrote about in a blog is quite astonishing where an illiterate girl of 18 who was gang raped by no less than 20 men in her village took revenge later on them by shooting them all dead. The whole country applauded her except the policemen for her courage and determination to get justice this way when no one would help her.

Now I am not suggesting that every wronged person should take such drastic measure but I wrote that millions of women who suffer daily such ignominy applauded such courage and wished they too had it.

In conclusion I just want to say that if you are sheltering your children then you are doing more harm than good to them even if you do it out of your love for them. You should think of what they will become when you are no longer around to shelter them.

It reminds me of the famous song by Johnny Cash called The boy named Sue where a boy was named Sue by his father that he hated and grew up tough and mean fighting everyone who mocked him. One day he caught up with his father in a beer joint and had a big fight with him when he asked why he named him Sue? His father said that it was to make him tough and strong to prepare for his life when he was no longer around. He finally understood his father and forgave him and hugged him.

But you don’t have to name your boy Sue. Just don’t shelter him and pamper him .Treat your daughter fairly and be impartial. To prefer boys over girls is a sin millions commit everyday so wake up and walk away from such tribal practice that produces spineless citizens who watch a girl being molested and do nothing.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

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We are only custodians

Synopsis: We accumulate things all our lives and do not know what to do with them when we die yet we are reluctant to part with the material things due to sentimental reasons. We must realize that we really do not own anything in life and are only custodians for the next generation.

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Source : Google photo

I loved the very clever advertisement of the Blancpain watches. It said that you never really own a Blancpain but are its custodian for the generations to come. How true!

It got me to thinking seriously what it all meant and how it applies to all we claim to own or dream of owning someday. Some people collect cars while others collect 1500 pairs of shoes. Some brag about their latest 60 inch OLED curved TV and several houses while others show off their collection of watches that may include Blancpain. Some fill their house with trinkets and toys while others claim that they have the largest collection of Beetles or Elvis paraphernalia.

Rarely I come to read about someone collecting a million books for his massive library although I am sure there are people who have spent their fortunes on such a collection that can be passed on to the next generation.

I know that some people line up their book shelves with leather bound volumes of Louis Lamour or Law books that they never really get to read but they look good on shelves to impress people. Do people collect things really to impress others or do they do it for self-satisfaction? May be it is a bit of both.

One woman said that her grandfather collected cars in large numbers that are rusting under the sky and covered with weeds and bat shit so people were very surprised when they found out that all the cars rusting away were classic cars that were new when bought and had never run. The keys were still in the ignition but the field rats and other animals had nested under the plush leather seats making Swiss cheese out of it and the white wall tires were all flat.

The granddaughter thought that they were all junks and should have been sold for scraps but was very surprised when the news spread and people showed up to buy these cars that were rare collector’s items and paid huge amount of money for them. In Many countries, such cars are restored to their original glory and driven with great pride. Imagine what price the original Mercedes Benz of Hitler would fetch today?

One fellow half buried many brand new Cadillacs in sand somewhere in the United States that people stop to look at and wonder if the fellow was a madman. Perhaps he was or had no next of kin to give the cars to or he was plain dumb and did not know what to do with his money. So people do all sorts of crazy things with their accumulated things when they know that they are about to croak.

The habit of accumulating all sorts of things is a very ancient practice. The Egyptian Pharaohs made sure that they had a fancy tomb decorated with the history of their achievements written on the walls and their body was preserved for eternity and kept in massive stone sarcophagi. The living relatives and the court people then filled the burial chamber with priceless artifacts of gold, silver, copper, ivory, alabaster, ebony etc. The tomb of Tutan Khamen contained so much treasure that it took many months to properly catalog them all and are now exhibited in museums. But the Pharaohs did not mean it to be found because it was meant for their afterlife but the thieves got to them first and looted many such tombs.

A Chinese King buried thousands of terracotta soldiers, horses and chariots to protect him in his afterlife but it was accidentally found and is now open to public to look at. His tomb has never been opened so no one knows what treasures are buried there.

They were very rich people who did whatever they wanted but we the ordinary people who are not rich also have this penchant for accumulation of all manner of things that may or may not have any value. There are very sick people who accumulate garbage in their house that stinks up their place but can’t get rid of them.

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Source : Google photo of what some people accumulate

I wrote a blog called What is minimalism in which I extolled the virtue of minimalism practiced by the Japanese. They find beauty in clean and very spartan rooms with minimum decorations and furniture. It was also practiced by the Shakers in the United States and the Amish people also believe in their basic simplicity because they do not think that collecting all sorts of junks is what improves the quality of their life.

We do not take anything with us when we croak although the Pharaohs believed otherwise. Had they known about the thieves, they perhaps would have changed their mind.

There was a time in Europe when the common people did not believe in banks and buried their coins in secret places that have remained hidden centuries later although once in a rare while someone with a metal detector finds a jackpot of such treasure trove in the fields. Some were so paranoid that their wealth will be taken away from them if the King knew who by the way was always short of money that they buried and died without telling anyone about it.

Some became senile and forgot where they kept their money. There was an old widow in Benares who hid her money in her mattresses, behind the photo frames and many such places and forgot about them but her servant was a very resourceful person who could smell money from a mile so eventually he benefited from the forgotten hidden wealth of the old woman.

I know some animals are just like that old woman who bury the bones or acorns in the forest and promptly forget about them so hiding or burying precious things is after all an animal instinct in some people who become very paranoid because they are afraid to lose what they have and do not want to share it with anyone. They are also blessed with poor memory so if you manage to get a job as a servant in their house, you may hit the jackpot someday.

This matter of accumulating junks all our lives is a subject that made me do some serious thinking so one day I decided to give away all my slides on rice insect pests, their control and many scientific books, theses and even my slide projector to an agricultural university where the students may benefit from it. It was just sitting here and collecting dust so at least I was able to give it away to those who may use them.

The contagion of giving things away took hold of my lovely wife who started giving away tons of books to school libraries and even to the kids in the neighborhood so now we do not have to breathe the dust while dusting them.

There is a story I must mention here.

There was a king called Harsha Vardhana who lived in the 6th or 7th century in India. He made Kannauj his capital in the present state of Uttar Pradesh and he was known as the most generous king who gave away all his treasure during the Maha Kumbha Mela in Allahabad that is still held there every 12th year since antiquity.

The King came to Allahabad with all his treasure and gave it away to the poor pilgrims but people still came so he gave away his ornaments one by one and lastly he gave away his clothes and he stood naked so his queen put a shawl around him and they went home happily. The miracle was that in 12 years he was back again with more treasures to give away.

Now you do not have to be a king to give away what you have. You can give away the material things you have accumulated so that others may make use of them but you can also give your time, your knowledge, your care and concern to those who need it most. It is more valuable than the material things.

I revere teachers who dedicate their lives to teaching and make you more knowledgeable. I revere saintly people who teach you meditation so that you achieve inner peace. I respect people who give you a part time job so that you can earn your tuition to pay for your education. I respect my parents for teaching me the value of honesty and discipline that has served me so well all my life.

I respect the artist who teaches you how to paint or dance or sing or play violin. Such gifts money cannot buy but are more appreciated. Behind every gift stands a generous person who has a big heart and is compassionate.

If you feel that you have made a few people happy with your gift that has in some way made them better persons then your gift has served its purpose. We after all is said and done do not own anything, not even a Blancpain. We are just the custodians for the next generation.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

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Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

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A child is the father of man

Synopsis : A child is the father of the future generation and is responsible to pass on the values he has learned from his father. The values he teaches the next generation determines the rise or the decline of the society so he has a serious responsibility.

A child is the father of man

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Source : Google photo

When we were students in high school, one of the essay topics was The child is the father of man. Our teachers did not really explain what it all meant and expected us to write an essay on a topic that we did not understand well so we avoided such topic and wrote essay on something else like favorite national hero or something else. Essay writing was a part of our curriculum in High School so we prepared on a few popular topics that were the favorites of the examiners so often students hit the jackpot if the topics turned out to be the ones they prepared for.

After all these years I look back and start thinking what it really meant and why we failed to understand the deeper meaning of such innocuous words when we were so young. The fault lies with our teachers who did not teach us the deeper meaning perhaps because they did not take the topic seriously enough to warrant a thorough analysis but expected us to write an essay on it. We were only 15 years old and had just crossed the threshold of childhood into early adolescence and did not know deep philosophical meanings of words at that time.

A child one day grows up to be the father of the future generation of mankind so what he brings forth as knowledge that he passes onto the next generation is of paramount importance to the future of us all.

A society is built upon the learned values, experience and morals that we learn from our ancestors who have learned them from theirs. This tradition of passing on the knowledge, values, morality, the power of discernment and the ability to separate right from wrong and follow the path of virtue is what makes the foundation of a moral and just society. Those who fail to learn from the child of yesterday all the knowledge and values he has to offer often end up in a generation that does not value education and develops no ability to discern right from wrong. This leads to the decay of moral values that we see almost everywhere now. With the decay of moral values comes the immorality and dishonesty that later degenerates into moral, ethical and spiritual corruption.

Recently I read the news that in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India; more than 900000 students abandoned their high school exams which is a Board exam. A few million students all over the state take the same exam given by the State under strict rules that punishes cheaters and expels them from the exam centers.

This time the State authorities installed CCTV cameras in all exam centers to catch the cheaters so more than 900000 would be cheaters were discouraged to take part who decided to stay away rather than getting caught. The scale of this sort of corruption in students so young was very shocking although I knew that during our time there were a few cheaters as well but not so many.

The success rate of passing the High School Board Exam then was about 35% meaning 65% examinees failed so they tried again the following year. We were happy to pass it in our first attempt because we had prepared ourselves well and coached by our teachers intensively on how to write legibly and how to answer a question in 30 minutes or less including all the sub questions. Many questions had sub questions that we were drilled into paying great attention to.

Now due to the high tech cell phones, many students can send the questions to someone outside and get the answers so cell phones are strictly banned in all examination rooms. I knew that girls were as good at cheating as boys and often were caught doing so and expelled so this sort of corruption is spreading among very young people  causing alarm making us wonder what sort of families they come from. What have their parents taught them? Are they also corrupt? Girls who cheated in exams were caught looking at the underside of the hem of their saris where they had glued some answers.

As we pass the high school, the exams get tougher in college but with the help of good teachers, we learn our subjects and pass them too. It is known that the non-cheaters who pass their high school exams in one shot rarely fail later on in college exams because they are diligent in their studies so they prepare themselves well. Many students graduate with honors and go on to higher studies like I did and keep an impeccable record of honesty and hard work to achieve success.

This quality of honesty, diligence and hard work becomes their ticket to success in life. Some become great teachers, scientists and scholars who then teach the next generation to be honest, diligent and hard working.

So the child is the father of man because it is from him the man of the next generation comes and learns everything from. He learns honesty, truthfulness, compassion, fearlessness, empathy, hard work, diligence, bravery, justice, fairness, dignity, self-respect etc. You will notice that I mentioned honesty first because I believe that this trait is the foundation on which a good person can build his life. An honest person is a good person who easily learns all other things I mentioned above so he can’t go wrong in his life.

He earns respect from everyone and people from all walks of life come to help him when he needs it because everyone values an honest person even if he is poor and struggling especially if he is poor and struggling. But a dishonest person is tainted for life because people know that he cannot be depended upon and will let people down.

Now we see so many dishonest and immoral people who attain high offices through cheating, lying and outright fraud that makes us wonder what has happened to all the good values and why so many abandon them and choose to be bad. If 900000 students were ready to cheat in their exams in order to pass it then what sort of people they would become later in their lives and what they will teach their children?

A civilization rises and falls due to its values so when the values are corrupted then it speeds up the process of decay and eventual decline of their society. The history books are full of such stories but we are poor in remembering history or learning from it.

Yesterday I read that the most valuable passport in the world is that of Japan because its citizens can visit 187 countries without visa so what has made Japan so respected? Not too long ago it was a country that was devastated by the war where people had lost so much and had very little resources to fall back on except one. It is called the national character of Japan that is based on honesty, hard work and diligence that helped it rebuild the country and became the second most industrialized country in the world raising their living standard high.

Dishonesty, cheating and immoral values did not get them to where they are now so here is the lesson we can all learn from them. Someone came the other day  after visiting Japan and said that he was so impressed that Japanese were so clean and their cities, towns and villages are so clean. It is a part of their national character so no one throws garbage anywhere or spits out chewing gums on the street or banana peels that people may slip and fall on.

I saw it myself that every morning people came out of their houses and scrubbed the sidewalks in front of their house with soapy water so the entire block was thus cleaned in no time at all. Have you ever seen it anywhere in the world and wonder how Japan has risen so fast while others are mired in poverty, corruption and decay? It is called the national character that was not built in one day or year or few years. It has taken them thousands of years of hard work and learning from each passing generation their values that they proudly pass on to the next.

So the child is the father of the next generation and is responsible for what he teaches them. If he teaches them all the wrong things then you will have many more than 900000 students who will cheat in their exams and will become dishonest citizens who will speed up the decline of their society.

I often think of the Roman Empire that once stood at the pinnacle of power and prosperity where people enjoyed a quality of life and a pride in being a Roman and being the master of the world. If you visit Italy, you will see what remains of their glorious past in the ruins of coliseums and the Roman forum, in the massive ruins of the bath of Caracalla, in their arches and overhead aqueducts.

So why Roman Empire declined and why the present day Italy is in the sorry state it is now? I found the answers in the ancient Rome where corruption and immorality became widespread destroying the empire from within like termites eating away at the woodwork until nothing remained except the ruins for the stupid tourists to gawk at.

There was a fellow in ancient Rome who had several fire trucks or chariots that he used to put out fires but he always negotiated a high price for his services while the houses burned and people with it. No cry for help or pleadings to save the lives of people trapped inside a burning house made any impression on him until he exacted his price and only then allowed his workers to put the fire out.

He became very rich thus extorting money from desperate people because like Shylock he always wanted his pound of flesh so he was roundly hated and condemned but he did not care until he was transferred to a distant province by the Caesar who saw him as an embarrassment and got rid of him this way.

But his so called fame for his greed had spread far and wide in the Empire so one day people caught him doing the same, tied him up and poured red hot liquid gold down his throat  because he loved gold above anything else. The rot in the Empire had already set in that eventually brought it down.

Now the same country with such glorious past is home to ruthless mafia that controls almost every aspect of their life. The amount of corruption it breeds is beyond anything Romans had ever dreamed of. People at the FAO commissary down at the basement of their office walk out with huge bottles of tax free liquors and promptly sell them in the black market and reap enormous profits. They laughed at me because I was buying only some chocolates.

They say that more than 60% of the economy is underground meaning they do not pay any taxes. Young beautiful girls sell horrid pornographic magazines in their tobacco shops everywhere and prostitutes are numerous in many places. Most of the young men wear gold cross dangling from the thick gold chains on their necks while they pimp for the girls or sell fake Ray Bans and Gucci bags.

The decline sets in because their moral and ethical values have degenerated to a level that has gone past recovery. One friend told me recently that vendors of watermelons in India are injecting red colored water into the melons to make them look red inside but they source the water from canals full of e coli and other bacteria that spoils the melon quickly. They mix water in milk, cheat in weights and measures, mix cheaper and poor quality grains with more expensive ones , extract oil from nuts like cashews and almonds and then sell the nuts to unsuspecting buyers, remove crème from milk to sell separately and then sell the milk without the crème to make double profit.. The list of corruption is very long so where did it come from in a country like India that had such a glorious past?

It all comes down to values they have lost just like the Romans and the Egyptians so the child who was the father of man did not do his job well hence 900000 cheaters in the exams.

Are you the child now who will one day become the man? What sort of man you will be when you grow up and what will you teach the next generation? Will you become responsible citizens who will collectively pull up your country by its boot straps like the Japanese or will you be the one that will bring it down with your corruption and immorality? The choice and the legacy are yours.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

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Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

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The voice of conscience

Synopsis: Those of us who have the voice of conscience often do not realize its power to bring about meaningful changes in our communities, our government and our country. This voice of conscience often has a price one has to  pay to be heard .Those who pay the price are not ordinary people but extraordinary ones who leave behind them a legacy that no one can match easily.

The voice of conscience

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Source : Google photo of Ai Wei Wei

Sages have always said that the inner voice of conscience is very powerful and helps guide the humanity in a positive way by speaking out against the wrong doers in this world. They represent all that is good in people and collectively can stand up against the evil forces that tend to dominate our societies everywhere.

It can often be the lone voice of a person who suffers in the hand of evil doers who want to suppress such voice because they are morbidly afraid of him. They recognize the power of good over evil so naturally they want to silence him, put him in jail for speaking out against them and silence the voice but as history tells us, they always fail because the world hears the pitiful lone voice from his jail cell.

Vir Savarkar was kept in isolation and tortured daily in his jail by his jailer in Andaman for speaking out against the British occupation of India and was prevented by his jailer to communicate with the outside world but they all failed. His doctor was sympathetic because he treated Savarkar with compassion each time he was ill-treated and agreed to smuggle out his notes to send to England where it came to light in the News Papers there.

The British authorities claimed that they knew nothing of what was going on inside the notorious jails of Andaman and ordered a thorough probe that resulted in the sacking of the cruel jailer to be replaced by one who treated the prisoners humanely and brought about many positive changes there including the release of Savarkar  who was then allowed to return home in India.

Such lone voices represent a very powerful force that the wrong doers are very afraid of and try their best to silence them but they do not know that the weak and fearful voices of oppressed are heard loud and clear everywhere and people galvanize into collective actions that result in the overthrow of brutal regimes and dictators.

Mandela never realized that his voice was heard everywhere and people all over the world clamored for his release that finally resulted in the end of apartheid and made South Africa free. Often it takes many years of incarceration and suffering before their voices are heard and people wake up to notice that a very wrongful detention of a courageous person like Mandela can no longer be ignored so they protested.

It was the lone voice of a beloved writer in France who wrote about the torture and detention of Djamila Boupacha that woke up people in France and forced De Gaulle to give Algeria its freedom although Djamila herself was detained and prevented from speaking out by her jailers.

When Netaji Bose was put under house arrest by the British, little did they know that one day he will be the cause of their downfall and leave India. Even Bose himself did not realize the power he had in his lean body that took on a mighty empire of England practically singlehandedly and brought it down to gain freedom for India. Such lone voices of conscience have a mettle that surpasses imagination and comprehension because they are not born to self-aggrandize and in fact are very simple and humble people.

If you look at the artist Ai Wei Wei, you cannot imagine how loudly his voice is heard around the world that his government tries so hard to suppress.

I call it the voice of conscience. Most decent, religious, honest, hardworking, selfless people have it and will speak out at the peril of their own safety because their conscience will not allow them to be silent so they speak out and pay the price.

The evil doers have always existed and will always exist because they take advantage of a situation and profit from it. If there is a political vacuum and chaos, they will quickly step in and take advantage because they do not have a conscience that guides them to do what is right. So an unelected person becomes the leader through military coup or voter’s fraud, intimidation and elimination of the opposition.

We see such persons even in so-called democratic countries where good people will not, cannot or may not come forward to become leaders so a vacuum is created that is then filled by the wrong people.

We see them in the local communities where bad people occupy position that gives them financial advantages so they start using the public money for their own use because they feel that they are not accountable.

In Haiti the Duvaliers used the public money as their own and bankrupted the economy until they were forced to leave. The same thing happened in Zimbabwe.

So today I write about a strong force called the voice of conscience and try to understand why seemingly weak and oppressed people one day take a stand against evil and put their own lives in danger by speaking out. The journalists do it every day at the risk of their lives. Hundreds of such courageous people have been murdered in countries around the world who dared to expose the wrongdoers and paid the ultimate price with their lives.

Hundreds of simple people lined up to enter the salt works run by the British in India to be stopped at the gate by the guards who beat them with batons to crack their skulls but they kept on coming the whole day, such was their commitment to the nonviolent protest to liberate India from the tyranny of the British.

The peaceful protesters in Jalianwala Bagh in Amritsar were gunned down in cold blood by a British general who ordered the massacre and said that every bullet must count so more than 1600 bodies of men, women and children piled up causing a worldwide uproar and the British government was put to shame. My Lai massacre pales in comparison to such atrocities but the collective voice of conscience urged all Indians to continue to protest against the British rule that Bose channeled into armed resistance that scared the British to no end and left India.

This voice is present whenever something wrong is being done. People express this voice of conscience when they get a chance to vote and remove a bad person from the office but face many challenges in doing so. Bad people are not easy to remove through clean and honest election because they rig the process in their favor. Those who tend to benefit from a rigged election then become the ardent supporter of their leader who then appoints them to good positions to safeguard his own.

Just dole out generous compensation to all who support you, bribe the military, police and the judiciary and you can safely stay in power for a long time. If the constitution does not allow it then just change the constitution to make you a lifelong president. People do not count and the Ai Wei Weis are so few and rot in jail that the wrong doers feel omnipotent forever.

That is what Saddam Hussein thought but he was not the only one. There is a long list of evil people who thought that they could rule with impunity with no accountability but history has proven them all wrong.

It is because there is this tiny voice coming out of weak people that amplifies itself in silent jail cells and from the crowd of peaceful protesters facing the guns in Sharpeville or Jalianwala bagh that says that we the people with conscience cannot be silenced by guns and goons.

It is the same voice that brought out millions of people, old and young, men and women to the streets of America who protested the unjust war in Vietnam that put pressure on Nixon to withdraw the troops from there that speeded up the process of ending the war there.

People in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria  are also crying out in anguish but no one seems to care. If 60000 Americans did not die in Vietnam, they too would not have cared if people were killing each other so this voice of conscience is often tainted by self-interest. If Cronkite did not bring the war of Vietnam to their living rooms every night in graphic details including the death toll of Americans then people would not have cared what happened there.

So we the good people have a conscience that urges us on to do what is right not some of the time but all the time. This is why I respect the Green Peace people who are trying to so hard to protect the whales and other sea mammals. This is why I respect the Native Americans who are protesting the pipeline through their territories that is harmful to them. This why I salute Malala who took a bullet to prove that her cause of education for all is just and worth fighting for.

I salute all courageous reporters who risk daily their lives to report wrongdoings in their countries and so many end up dead. Who remembers them after a few weeks and months except their loved ones who mourn them for life?

The human conscience is a powerful tool to fight evil everywhere but often its power is underestimated by those who commit crimes and steal public money. No one believed that a simple housewife in a yellow dress could inspire millions to come out to topple a dictator here but it happened. It also happened in Haiti where I was at the time but not peacefully .

What we should all do is to listen to our conscience and try to understand what it tells you and have the courage to follow it up through peaceful means. The cowards will always back down in the end when they face such pure energy of the good in people so listen to your voice of conscience and try to make this world a better place not only for us but for the generations to come.

People may someday forget you and your own contributions but will never deny that the voice of conscience is something we should all strive to listen to.

 

Note :  My blogs are also available in French, Spanish, German and Japanese  languages at the following links as well as my biography:

Mes blogs en français.

Mis blogs en espagnol

Blogs von Anil in Deutsch

Blogs in Japanese

My blogs at Wix site

tumblr posts    

Blogger.com

Medium.com

Anil’s biography in English.

Biographie d’Anil en français

La biografía de anil en español.

Anil’s Biografie auf Deutsch

Anil’s biography in Japanese

Биография Анила по-русски

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