An Impractical Thought Salad

In one of my earlier columns, I talked about how it is important to change ourselves and our family, before we even think about it at a societal level. Let me amplify a little bit more on this topic. My thought on this matter, closely resembling a salad, would sound impractical to many, but I cannot help resharing it.

We have this saying: ‘Khuta pairingei etaogi, yaada hukle echagi, kuut yotle eigi’. This is more than enough to conclude how we are, naturally, a selfish being. We must admit it. As they say, if you accept your fault, you find lesser reason to commit another mistake in the future. With these practical theories and applications of psychology, let us restate we must learn to unlearn what we have learned by mistake. This is the first step we can take to change ourselves.

Now, let us take a look around. Domestic problems, just to take an example, are a front-page news in our society. Rivalry among siblings over petty matters like ‘ingkhol’, ‘mou masel khatnaba’, the classic ‘manem-mamou yaanadaba’ and of course, the various cases of adultery are almost suffocating. It is unbelievable how siblings took to arms just for a petty issue over ‘ingkhol’. How much change should we expect in such a society?

Nowadays, ‘sambal khaabi’ or ‘chekpal chansinbi’ is the order of the day. These days, finding a big ‘kolup’ of amiable families in Imphal area has become a matter of surprise. Forget the ‘kolup’, for personal and security matters, walls are even created among siblings. They know that these walls, physically and emotionally, bar them from one another, yet they do not hesitate building them higher.

I would cite it as one of the examples of a disintegrating society where love, respect and mutual co-operation cease to exist even among the siblings. Ironically, such families congregate together to form a leikai, which is another important section of our society.

Coming to the societal representatives, most of us know that there are various categories of babu-sahebs and the pseudo activists in our society, who talk so loud and big about bringing changes. All I know is that they do not bring any change so far but bundles and bundles of notes for themselves. Interestingly ironical!

Some of them are the big shots – the engineers, doctors, thikadaars, they are the talk of the town, while some of them the adorable lots for the public who (seem to) contribute their best to the welfare of the society (or at least they think so).

It is really tough to differentiate a ‘thikadaar’ from an activist and vice versa. The nature of ‘thika’ may differ but as they say, you call a spade a spade. ‘Thika’ is always ‘thika’ no matter which ‘thika’ it is about.

Be it the equally influential contractor or the activist, I cannot digest their double standard in their own personal matters. Some of them are cheap hypocrites who never give a damn about their own families. They talk about the welfare of ‘ema-eben’, while their own moms, wives and children are completely ignored. They would meddle up with the domestic affair of other homes. Their homes are, on the other hand, the classic examples of broken families.

I will relate a personal experience in this regard. I once went to Brindavan during my college days. It was the month of ‘Waakching’. We took shelter at Radha Kund. As compared to Ahmedabad or Delhi, Uttar Pradesh was freezing cold then. While we were strolling around Radha and Shyam Kund, we came across an Abok who was begging money on the street. There were many Aboks out there, but this one caught our sight. She did not even wear a sandal or warm clothes and was shivering. I questioned myself if religion is meant to torture oneself for no logical reasons. That was the very year in which my ardent fascination with Hinduism almost had its uncanny end.

No religion should encourage its followers to practice self-torture. It was more or less a self-torturing experience trying to find solace in the abode of the gods, loitering around in torn clothes on a freezing cold winter morning. Ironically, the sadhus and pandits worship in the most comfy way. Room heaters for winter, and air conditioners for summer – not a bad mode of worshipping, eh?

Coming back to the point, on being inquired, we found out that the abok’s son is one of the famous chief engineers in Imphal. I did not want to know who that engineer was, what appalled my heart was the sight of that old lady clad in torn clothes begging in the streets of Radha Kund. She came to Brindavan for a holy trip but was later abandoned by no one but her own family. By now, she must have already left for her heavenly abode but my heart still pains, thinking over how she might have cursed her own suffering days.

We desperately need some ideas and actions. Respecting the elders, shredding the greed of power and money (and ‘ingkhol’, of course), destroying the wall of misunderstanding and hatred among fellow beings, cherishing good relationship with one’s members of the family and bothering only about one’s own business. I believe, we can at least start with all these just for a trial or a beta version. Let us try if we can really do it. If we successfully fail, things will always be the same. So why bother?

This article was published on 24 Feb 2013
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