Is Your Good Deed Leading To A Bad Impact?

Posted on June 21, 2011 in Society

By Srishti Chauhan:

While the entire Northern part of India suffers from unendurable heat, with temperatures soaring up to more than 40 degree Celsius, one thing not gone unnoticed is the sudden influx of people with their heart set on doing some good for the society. Indeed, we are talking about those groups of people who set up small stalls on the pavement and stop ongoing buses, pedestrians and other people to give them a glass of ‘refreshingly cool water or Roohafsa’.

This act will seem like a good deed done by these people- and indeed, that might be the force driving them to supply drinkables to the parched throats roaming around on Delhi streets. However, the fact that post this particularly compassionate task, these people have no qualms about all the left-behind numerous disposal glasses strewn on the roads. It might not have struck them that maybe a better idea would be to keep a huge dustbin near their stall and insist people to throw their used glasses in those bins. Or maybe it just didn’t matter that the MCD employee who would do the early morning cleaning up would have to work doubly hard to keep the street half as clean.

What I certainly am not doing is demeaning these practices as futile and irrelevant to the society. Sure, I would love a glass of cool drinking water on a hot day when I’ve been travelling in buses or walking for hours. Yet, I would choose to look at this from a wider perspective. All activities done in the name of good leave behind a not-so-good imprint on the society. There are many examples- though I would give you only some to prove my point.

Remember the protest march held for Jessica Lall at India gate? Hardly anybody can deny that the march was held for good reasons. A murderer was freely roaming the streets and frequenting night clubs, and he had to be stopped. No one denies that. Nevertheless, the mess of banners and placards and flags left behind at India gate had a different story to tell. Had I been from a different country on my visit to India, the image I would have taken back with me would have been only slightly better than an eye sore.

Similarly, the traffic crisis caused by protest marches do little more than irritate the general public and make them wish that it’s better to tolerate the not-so-good ways of the government that to bear the insufferable ways of the protestors. Again, how would you like if you’re stuck in a traffic jam for hours because people demanding more security by the police force chose to make their displeasure felt by blocking the roads? This is exactly what happened when Radhika Tanwar was shot dead on the foot over bridge in Satya Niketan in Delhi.

What I mean to put across is that an endeavor that you pursue will have good effects- but, at the same time it will have bad effects. We must realize that minimizing the unpleasant effects and understanding the importance of what should be done where is important.

An anecdote from ancient scriptures proves my point. After his demise, a priest- who had diligently prayed to God every day- never pocketing any money and never doing anything immoral -was being taken to hell. At this, he raised a hue and cry about how a man as deserving of heaven as anybody could possibly ever become, was being taken to hell. At this God told him, “What you did was indeed correct from your standpoint. I, however, don’t see it this way. Every day when you rang the bells in the temple, you were disturbing people sleeping nearby. You were disturbing students whose exams were approaching. You were disturbing people with headaches that are triggered by shill noises. Yet, you say what you did was correct?”

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