Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ripples, we need

Recently, I watched "Welcome to Sajjanpur" and found it a worth-watching flick. Curiosity drove me to look at the reviews by critics as well as users. Critics, well they all were unanimous about the performance of the film's cast and crew. They all held positive opinions just like me so I decided to stop reading any more of them. However, in context of user reviews, I found a very strange phenomenon. They all were divided into two groups with very different opinions. According to one viewer-class, this movie is very realistic and almost correctly pointed out the issues in villages. The other viewer-class was however saying that it was an unbearable movie, with obsolete issues (of 70s). The reasons behind the nature of second review, as I see, are rooted in the environment around us. Most of us don't realize that progress of metros has not been replicated in villages to complete extent and this is not just about progress, but also about the lifestyle and beliefs. Issues like widow remarriage, casteism, etc. may appear obsolete to us but they are still relevant in the context of villages.

The big problem with today's youth is that they are not bothered about things which indirectly affect them. It's not about the motive of going to cinema hall (entertainment) rather the real reason is that most of us want to receive only those messages which fit into our thought process. Rang De Basanti struck a chord with us, because modern youth can relate with these issues; however we can't feel similar empathy for other issues which don't concern us directly. Doesn't this indicate about our conditional morality! We ignore things which don't concern us directly bur fail to realize their impact on not only us but also on the whole society, whether in direct or indirect sense. This basic thinking is leading us nowhere but deeper in the well of immorality. This is also the basic reason why the society-divide is increasing day-by-day.

What seems is that if we are not careful, our society will rip itself from the inside out. We are definitely under attack every day as our morals and ways of life are being challenged. The most important reason for this is the lack of good moral leadership.  If the leaders and influencers of the upcoming generation can teach and live a good example, we can provide a good life for future generations. Who are these leaders? Who are these influencers? Who can be the champions? Of course the leaders of nations, the popular icons (music, sports, film etc), parents and teachers, and then last, every individual. Though I would like the highlight and dwell on roles needed to be played by parents, I will talk about the last and most important champion of moral reform, the "individuals" themselves. 

It's important to not to just cultivate our own gardens, and live in a comfortable family life, but also to participate in shaping the courses that govern our collective thought: and to have a say in the 'collective destiny' of humankind.  People need to be good and to be the cause of something that will better society as a whole. To put it this way, it's not just being simply good, it's about being good for something.

To have enough influence to create a moral change, we need the individuals themselves to have the drive.  This drive is something that cannot be forced or impressed upon any individual.  Moral reform of the country is a big movement.  If the individual is not deeply committed to the cause, it will not last, nor will it have to drive to push the much needed moral change. It takes conviction brought upon by the individual's free will.

Possibly these agents of moral change, these champions, maybe a minority when they begin but history testifies about the influence and end results of minority movements. Most freedom struggles, be it Indian or American, were a minority movements, and a minority movement is all it takes to make a nation aware of a problem.  It can be likened to the ripple in the pond.  All it needs is one starting ripple, and it will spread much farther than it started. And as Robert Kennedy once said,

"Each time a man (or woman) stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope."

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