I was standing at Andheri station, awaiting my train when the latest issue of “The Week” caught my eye. The cover story was one covering Mr.Ajeet Singh,a great social activist who is working on the elimination of child prostitution. However, this article is not about him but rather about something he said.”Nobody Wants A Bhagat Singh In Their Home!”. This statement really intrigued me to no extent. Being born and brought up in an urban environment and a modern family, I have never faced any form of restrictions in helping people out. But Mr. Singh’s statement has cruelly revealed the so called “pedestrian population” of India. It is the face of India which is still grovelling in the dirt of myths, baseless culture, illiteracy, gender bias and caste based discrimination. It saddens me to say that our nation which is bustling with an ever increasing populous is burdened by outdated and redundant social customs which leaves us at a total blockade in terms of growth. Although the remarkable anti corruption programmes in recent times have definitely taken a step in the required positive direction, our minstrels will always be shackled to the sands of time due to the stubborn will of our nation to stick to old traditions. So the question arises, “How Can We Change?”.I say we do so by changing ourselves and the ones near us. Let’s have the courage to stand up and say what is right or wrong. It may be something as trivial as asking your parents not to hire a house help who is underage or may be protesting the arrest of an innocent citizen who is just fighting for his rights. The magnitude of our involvement does not matter. People may mock us and cite the contrary but in fact the truth as I believe it is, can be explained by a small event from the life of our ex-president, Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam.
As all of us know, he loved children and always will. I always keep a track of his events and speeches because he is one of those few people who really inspire me from the bottom of my heart. Anyway, at a school event in Ahemdabad, a cocky seventeen year old smugly asked him,” Sir, as a student all my time is gone in either studies or running errands. When you say I should plant trees, do you suggest I stop studies or running errands for my parents?”Dr.Kalam smiled and replied “Son, what do you do when you want to relax?”Taken aback by this sudden change in the subject, the boy replied, “I go for walks with my friends.”Broadening his smile, he said “Then, my son you just need to do one thing: Carry a handful of seeds and drop them near any area which you wish to see as green.”Dismayed, the boy quickly replied, “But Sir, how will I water them, fertilise them or take care of them?”.Dr.Kalam solemnly replied, “Leave that to nature. If you plant 50 seeds, at least 5 will grow naturally! You will know that you have done your bit at least!”This simple hypothesis is what I apply to my life. Let’s all do our bit and more if we can to see a better society.
Let me end with one of my own personal experiences. Once a pair of old uncles from my community had come over and coincidently it was when Anna Hazare ji was fasting for the Jan Lokpal Bill. Just before departing, the topic of discussion was corruption (inevitably).At the door one of them said, “Corruption ka kuch bhi bolo sikhate toh hum hi hain na ghar pe(call corruption whatever you want, but at the end of the day, it’s we who teach it at home!)”.I said nothing but just before I shut the door, I proudly said, “Uncle jo bhi ho,mere mummy-papa ne toh kabhi nahin sikhaya(Uncle, whatever it may be, my parents never taught me that)” and slammed the door.