By Sanket Sheth:
Scene 1: A man is attending a social gathering. Dancing to the tunes of music he slowly starts stripping all his clothes. After a period, he is all bare. Considering the presence of ladies and children, the hosts of the party immediately ask him to put his clothes on. When he is reluctant to in all his drunken behaviour, he is ousted immediately. The result was that this behaviour got very few invitations for him henceforth.
Scene 2: A man with his vehicle on crossroads. He is without helmet and the brakes are not working. The cops immediately pull him up. Instead of compelling to the rules, he starts quarrelling with the cops. Somehow, due to influence he had, he manages to escape without paying any fine. When he gives an account of this incident to his friends, all of them laud him.
Compare scene 1 and scene 2. At first instance there seems to be minimal analogy. But if we retrospect, it’s quite the same. Baring all and breaking traffic rules is the violation of the penal code though under different acts. But stripping in public is also a social offence. It immediately invites public criticism. But breaking traffic rules is not. Hence it is openly violated. It concludes that people fear breaking social codes of conduct. A man does not fear a prison or a fine but he apprehends public criticism and getting booted out from the social community which consequent after a visit to the prison.
The rampant corruption in our country is not due to some venal citizenry but the environment that is built by all of us. Today a person respects command from the house he owns, a car he drives, a suit that he wears etc. As a result, an adolescent who has just stepped into his college life thinks the same way. He starts minting money in the most unlawful way by stealing a piece of cake in all the events that he organizes in his college life. If this is the foundation, we cannot build the right architecture. Fresh graduates who aspire to become IAS, IPS to get the cream kickback are the worst of all.
For instance, Late Dr. Vikram Sarabhai commanded respect in his times as well as today. But we don’t adore him for the house he lived in or the car he drove. He was respected for his contribution towards the society. His great contributions to the field of science, technology and management made him The Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. A man shouldn’t be respected for what he gathers but for what he gives to the society from his accrual. Accrual of money and wealth is a scalar, only when used for the society gives it the right direction making it a vector quantity.
When the media puts up footage or headlines as to how high profile criminals get away from the clutches of the law, we are only creating a bad impression on our young minds. In scene 1, hadn’t the man been stopped, the children would have got inspired from that. In the coming time, they may find it as legitimate to bare and replicate it. Criticizing the wrong act is as important as commending the good one. In scene 2, if the incident was described to his son in a lauding manner, he would be inspired to do the same.
I remember a time not before two decades when if any allegations were made on ministers or officials, they immediately used to come up with the offer for resigning. Compare that with today, where even after being proved guilty by the agencies, the functionaries are not ready to give up. That’s how much brazen we have become. This is where the ambiance comes into picture.
When we encounter someone who has defied law, we should look down upon them instead of applauding his influence in getting away from the law. This is where the slogan: “Youth is the true resource of the country” can be realized. Right from the college life or professional life, when we encounter anybody defying the law, we should confront them. If we don’t set the foot right in our foundation age, we will never build a strong architecture. Just a few days back, I read of an incident where an Indian family on holiday in some European country was humiliated and prosecuted under law because they left the food in their plates in the hotel. And here we consider leaving water taps open, throwing wastes on the road, not switching off lights and fans as something cool. Wasting time and resources is never cool. It is a despicable stupidity.
We should build an ambiance where doing right things invites appreciation and wrong things invite a strong criticism. For if one person tries, it inspires the set of people surrounding him, which in turn can inspire another circles of people surrounding those people. One person cannot change the country on his own and neither should one do. But leading only its peers on the right way is one’s responsibility. When magazines come out with their power list, they often forget one criteria and that is inspiration. Powerful people are not those who possess hefty bank accounts, boasting high capacity in institution but are those who have inspired millions by their lofty character. If one goes by this definition, I see very few names on the power list of magazines.
Since last few years, we have somehow built the mentality of not stopping the people from indulging into the wrong act. It is termed as managing one’s business. But it is a flawed concept. Whenever someone is acting against the interest of the institution or the country, it is our right and duty to stop him. We have somehow forgotten the concept of ownership. Very few educational institutions in the country teach the concept of ownership. One of them is IIT-GN where during my internship I had the chance to listen to the welcome speech of its director during the frosh orientation. He said: “This institution is as much yours as is mine. To take care of it and see that it rises is your concern today and even after you graduate.” This applies equally to all of us. The country is in need of moral guardians. Police, government and army cannot do everything. They can perform in its full capacity only when we co-operate with them. How can we expect them to find out a handful of terrorists or naxalites in a country of 1.2 billion people? If we see something unlawful it is our duty to inform them and co-operate. Only then we can lead a safe and peaceful life.
Most of the readers of this article will be my friends in their early twenties. We are yet to start our professional life or the vicious circle where one’s concern is buying the most expensive car and home. Let’s create an ambience of our own where along with all the material comforts we count “CONTRIBUTION TO THE SOCIETY” as a virtue and take into consideration while judging the status of the person. Only when we build such an atmosphere, co-operative environment and fair market to do business we will be truly called the “SUPER POWER” of the world.
P.S: One can contribute to the society in three ways:
1) Material: You give away the resources (Example: Land, Money, Other Resources). This is positive degree of contribution.
2) Teach: There is a famous saying “Don’t give me the fish to eat. It will help me for one day. Teach me to fish and it’ll help everyday” Teaching, guiding or showing an appropriate path for a better living is a comparative degree of contribution which is higher than the first form.
3) Inspire: When one becomes inspirational like Gandhiji, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Dr. Kalam etc., he is serving to the society in the superlative way. It is the highest form of contribution.