Food for thought…
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change that does”.
This is a quote from a famous man. I dare not mention his name, fearing the knee-jerk reaction one would get from a section of our people who have already made our lives unliveable on the face of this earth.
No, this isn’t a puzzle or a riddle. It is a blatant truth that all those who possess sane heads over their shoulders need to accept and pull their ostrich heads out of the sands. In fact, burying our heads in sand for too long has made it metamorphosise into granite and we find it now impossible to pull our heads out without fracturing the cervical vertebrae. Not that I am making myself sound ambiguous out of fear or to look charismatic, but because the message is intended to those who have the willingness to grasp its essence. If others don’t get it—probably it wasn’t meant for them.
1400 and some years ago, Islam itself brought with it a huge change: from survival rights of a female baby to women’s rights to child’s rights to minority rights, and to human rights, in general. That was a huge change.
By ‘change’ I do not imply a revolution. It does not mean rebellion either. But yes, a change which is enough that the bend in the road does not become an end on the road, if we fail to take a turn.
Yesterday when I saw on TV, the much needed aid being distributed to the flood victims in Pakistan—my eyes couldn’t believe that I am alive enough to see this. Yes the aid was coming to the them, but certainly this is not how they deserve to receive it.
‘One plastic bag gave itself up when at least half a dozen needy angels pounced on it for the grab. As if this wasn’t enough—the flour spilled on the dusty road was so desperately being collected up by the kids that they chose to pick up even the straw and dirt in not letting an atom go waste. There were those relief workers with a big heart but small minds who did not have the common sense to bring water in individual containers. They poured water out of their jerry cans from the trucks to the people down below holding their shallow trays and polybags trying to catch every drop they could. And then in the pushing and pulling the poor souls drenched their bodies with it more than their throats. And that old lady who was trying to dip all her face into the polybag to get some sips without bothering if the bag and the water in it could smother her. Gosh, why don’t the poor come born with beaks?’
The truck moved ahead like a Pied Piper of Hamlin and the needy angels (no, they are not rats) ran obediently behind it trying to catch the goody bags thrown at them.
My heart too raced into a paroxysmal atrial tachycardia. I wish I had a cardiac arrest instead.
I wondered what stopped them from distributing the aid in a more dignified manner.
And then came the news report, wherein the myopic MNAs and MPAs who did show up in their constituencies, not to save people, but to save their own lands and properties. The smartest of this smart lot showed up in their constituencies only to breach the bunds toward the lesser smart ones. I couldn’t help but notice the glimmer of hopelessness with which these needy and desperate angels watched on, when these “people’s representatives’ cheered in their heart on saving their side, while deluging the other. Why were the peasants born with eyesight if their Feudal Lords were without vision? I wish I could go into an amblyopia before watching this news clip.
Alas, as if all this was just a trailer and the movie was yet to come. My misfortune that sitting half way across the globe I had to witness the Sialkot incident on TV. The barbarism of the perpetrators and the police wasn’t a surprise. What was heart shattering, instead, was the way those cool bystanders watched, as if Shahrukh Khan was shooting a scene for the next film. If I could, I would certainly want to sample what blood ran in their veins and biopsy their flesh and bones. I am sure each and all in the crowd had a Blackberry, a Nokia or a Motorola in top front pockets over their rib cages, devoid of a human heart. My heart missed a few beats. I wish it had decided not to beat again.
How I wish what my eyes were witnessing through TV were not real happenings in August 2010 but a reconstruction of the dark ages. We call this a civilised world, when even the cave men lived a more dignified life.
After all this do we still need to wait?
No, we need to change.
Yes not only do we need “a “ change and we need “to” change as well.
We need to change the faces that represent us and even if it requires a radical plastic surgery.
We need to change the way we disapprove of what we see on TV and whisper our complaints in our living rooms. And then move on to a soap serial on the next channel.
We need to change the way we shop till we drop and then hunt for a penny at the bottom of our purses, present it to the “cute boy” at the red light signal, driving back home with the feelgood feel of a philanthropist.
We need to change the way compassion pops up in our brains but fails to reach to our hands as if the floods swept away the bridge that transports the thoughts to actions.
We need to change the way we point a finger towards others without realising that the rest four are pointing and poking fun at us.
We need to change the way we look condescendingly at those who do not fit into our frame of faith and feel proud of ourselves.
Yes, we need to change our mindsets, our hearts, our philosophies and our lives. We need to come out of our cocoons and think beyond ourselves.
We need to change, to look at this world from the eyes of those millions who live a life not even a sewer rat would choose to live, if given an option.
Indeed, we need to change. Or we shall perish.
26 August 2010