Since childhood, I have been told that Man is a social animal and he needs a society to live and grow in. Human civilization also began with people forming groups and making a living, through collective effort. All these instances are self-evident in proving that society is a must for an individual to grow. So I have always had this belief instilled in me, that society is a good and essential place for the growth and development of an individual.These axiomatic beliefs are widely accepted and to a great extent, truly so.
But when I grew up and started observing the society around me, and the impact it has had on the lives of my generation and several others preceding mine – the answer I got really shook the basic foundation of my belief system. Society, earlier, was the most essential component of the growth of its people, but has now lost its vitality and is declining rapidly. And the most alarming thing is that it has now been reduced to a mere hindrance in the growth of an individual. It has now just become a tool to prevent people from becoming, saying and doing what they actually want. What a contradiction! The thing that came into existence for the growth of people, has become people’s worst enemy.
Let me trace back to the fateful time when I was brought out in this world. I do not remember it, but I heard that they were all so happy. Especially because I was a boy and hence a fixed deposit in other words, I guess. Gradually, I started growing up and attached myself to the fabrics of society. I was taught, in school and at home, the difference between right and wrong, rich and poor, and moral and immoral. I imbibed all such teachings very diligently and started forming the foundation of my own morality.
I understood that greed, jealousy, hate and anger are all sins and life lived with honesty, in the service of others is only worth living. These were the things I learnt from various books and their interpretation and implementation by great people. So I grew up in my fairy tale, with the firm conviction that I would live my whole life on such principles and ethics.
But when I entered the school of life, I found myself confused and betrayed. This was because everything I had learnt and followed till date, started looking vague and useless. Everything seemed to be laid upon some strange principles and I was lost in this completely different world. Hence my so-called ‘mentors’ started conditioning me, so that I could become a better ‘product’ in this market. They made me believe that things like ‘honesty is the best policy’ look better on answer sheets, and strictly need to be forgotten for a better life. Truthfulness and sacrifice should be left for Gandhi ji. And manipulating the results is better than working hard for it. Money should be the top priority, and anything required to achieve it is fair.
I tried to sustain my ideas, but the blow was too strong. I saw my peers getting succumbed to such blows, and leading a so-called luxurious life. I was tempted too. But something inside me was still alive, that never stopped questioning them and they never liked it. They started deciding subjects I should study, the field I should make a career in, people I should be in contact with, and ideals that I should have in my life. Initially, I thought they really cared for me, but I was wrong. They wanted to mould me into a ‘better product’ so that the market could appreciate them and me too. And I realized it, when I saw so-called educated people, forcing their children into studying something else,while they were very passionate and interested in other fields. What made them do so? Their concern for their child, or their own greed or false pride? I fail to understand.
I realize their callousness when I see society abusing and discarding honest people, only because of their honesty. According to my society, they lack a ‘pragmatic attitude’. They can’t take bribes, can’t do forgery and can’t manipulate people, and hence they are not fit to live in this society. I feel disgusted when I see people tempting their children and family members to take bribes because it is accepted by everyone. We see honest people being maimed, tortured and killed, and nobody even sheds a tear for them.
Maybe because they don’t belong to this society where honesty and truthfulness is strictly prohibited. Look at the status of women in our society. I live in a society where even so called educated and affluent people ask for dowry to flaunt their status. I live in a society that considers their sons a fixed deposits and their daughters a burden. People provide best quality of education to their children, and when they are educated enough which is particularly marked by the job they get, they are auctioned in market. What is the meaning and worth of education, if after all, one is still to be sold in a market? Can we see that our education is producing ‘murderers’ wrapped in different categories of certificates?
The purpose of education is not only to get a nice job, nice salary, nice life and a nice wife. If knowledge cannot liberate one’s mind, then it’s futile. And to a great extent, we have failed to impart that kind of knowledge. But our society is very happy and content with this kind of education system, because it helps in producing a higher breed of ‘products’and helps them play this sinful game in their ‘market’. Why does an IAS officer, a minister or a learned person become corrupt? Because our society makes them so, by inculcating in them false values and ethics. A system has been built where its almost impossible to be honest and true. That system is followed and worshipped by our society.
They boast about the superiority of our civilization. But are we really civilized?
We are a society that has the highest rate of female infanticide cases, where women still are prisoners ,where a rape survivor is treated worse than the rapists,where the chasm between rich and poor is the widest, where corruption is at its peak, and where thousands of people are still killed in the name of God. Just think – are we really civilized?
I hate this society that divides people on the basis of caste, creed, religion, sex and adopts a biased approach towards the less privileged ones.
At last when the dark clouds are hovering in the sky, I want to love my society. I want it to change itself fundamentally. I want to inculcate in my society, the ideals that I learned in books. I want to believe and make others believe that life lived in the service of others is only worth living. I want to live in a society that is formed, by the people and for people, not against it. I want to live in a society where they let their children follow their hearts, where women are not mere an object of lust, where girls are not a burden but a parallel force of development, where they don’t bring up their children, only to later sell them in a ‘market’, where they learn to respect and love everything. And I want to live in a society where honesty and truthfulness drive its growth, not selfishness and greed. I want to live in a society where we would find god in every soul. And then eventually, I want to cry out loud and say that I love my society. But right now, it doesn’t seem so.