Pransu Raj Kaushik
Recently, a frail 60- year old woman was beheaded at Bhimajuli for being an alleged witch and was blamed by the illiterate villagers of being responsible for the many diseases afflicting them. As usual, the electronic media from all the relevant television channels camped out there and reported ‘live’ with claims of exclusive reporting. Discussions were held in the ‘expert talk shows’ and it was concluded that the illiteracy of the villagers was to be blamed for the killing. Some even suggested that the State Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was to be blamed. Passing the buck, blaming others, finding scapegoats are quintessential characteristics that have afflicted us Indians since long and have seeped into our character in such a manner that even if we do not do well in our studies or professiol fields, we tend to blame others for that.
How can Tarun Gogoi be blamed for the individual and stray killing in the me of sorcery? There is no doubt that the basic infrastructure including health and educatiol facilities should be provided by the government, but isn’t it the responsibility of society as well, to educate itself in basic logical thinking? It is not that Bhimajuli is some jungle dwelling in a remote Amazonian area; it is a well connected place having access to the basic minimum amenities. What we need to blame is our outlook, our fear of honest criticism and lack of boldness in calling a bluff.
After the PDP-BJP led government assumed office at Jammu and Kashmir, there have been many instances of protestors displaying Pakistani and ISIS flags quite openly. While keeping in mind the delicate intricacies of the accession of J&K to the India union and the controversy surrounding it, the display of Pakistani flags by sympathizers is not an exception as it has kept on happening since long. But, how can the government of the day be tolerant and ïve enough to allow the display of the ISIS flag? Why have the so-called ‘gymkha club activists’ been maintaining a stoic silence instead of voicing their concerns in this regard? The reason it seems for them being hesitant to air their views freely is that they are wary of being termed as ‘commul’. It is this lack of boldness in calling a bluff a bluff that needs to be blamed for us being not brave or honest enough in our views.
A society is built on its intellectual capabilities, and the work of intellectuals gives an identity to it. But it is unfortute that at present times there is a miniscule class of ‘self proclaimed intellectuals’ who are being rather ïve or being influenced by rrow thought process. Being a strong believer in the saying- “To err is human”, I strongly feel that these neo-intellectuals being human as well are not above the average and inherent characteristics that a society is identified with. At least in these present demanding age, lack of honest and incorruptible intellectual thought is a further cause of the various ills prevalent in the society. A Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a Baba Amte or a Vinoba Bhave is a rarity in these times. They were the ones who swam against the tide and changed the course of the tide to follow them, they did not just sit in the comfort of their houses with plump posts and ormental degrees, and offered easy and loaded snippets and comments; they acted with brave intentions.
There are also some overnight and self- renowned writers in society whose writings are intended to be an epitome of righteousness, but lamentably, such a writer in reality might be a rather poor reflection of what righteousness and morality is all about. In this regard I would like to quote an interesting story about Prophet Muhammad. The story (if I remember it correctly) was about an old lady bringing her grandchild, who was a voracious ‘sweet eater’ to the Prophet so as to request the Prophet to advice the child not to eat too much sweets as it was an unhealthy practice. The Prophet without saying anything to the kid, asked the old lady to come again after a few more days and bring along her grandchild as well. After a few days the lady again came to the Prophet and this time, Holy Muhammed patted the child and asked him to avoid sweets. When the lady asked the Holy Prophet as to why did He not advice the same on their first visit, He replied that He Himself had a sweet tooth and so, thought it improper to advice someone about something which He Himself did not follow. So, after quitting His own wrong habit, He was in a position and morally higher ground to advice the same to the child. This is what the norm should be, ‘Practice before Preaching’.
Life is too short to be cobwebbed in blame games and counter arguments about what wrongs afflict others, of how others are responsible for all the ‘ills’ and ‘wrongs’ in our lives and so on. What we need is an honest assessment of our own self and to be brave and patriotic enough to accept any ‘truth’ head on and not be shy or be fearful about it. Criticism should be neutral and free flowing, and not be bound in shackles. An honest assessment and acceptance of an event today will lead to a safer and secure tomorrow.