As far as human nature is concerned, it tries to define the problem and it’s corresponding solution based on the way his/her preferences and understanding of the problem. At any point, while it is true that we cannot really say which definition and solution is right, we could at-least try our best to be rational and form our conclusions on basis of facts.
Let’s consider few cases.
- Traffic problems:We face traffic problems everyday and at every point in time, we blame government and police for that. If we think rationally, we would notice that the laws are already in place to enforce the lane discipline, Helmet and seatbelt usage etc. But the question is, do we follow them properly? Use of helmet or seatbelt is for our own safety but we still do not use them regularly. At this point, most people would claim that the cops should monitor and fine the rule breakers. But then, the reality is, people tend to wear helmet or seatbelt only when they notice that there is a police vehicle in front.On Mandovi Bridge, I notice this particular problem everyday. Whenever there is a traffic slowdown, people try to occupy the other lane completely without even a rational thought that this would simply convert it to traffic jam. At the end, we do get traffic jam AS EXPECTED.
- Social Equality: We know that this problem exists everywhere. In India, since we believe that law can help everywhere, we have reservation systems in place. Most claim that certain communities did get benefits out of these laws. But a conscious and rational observation would show us that majority of people are still suffering from social inequality. Remember the participant in the show “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, where he mentioned that his community is still not allowed in village temple. All this, while the required laws are in place.
- Criminal Activities: While the required law and enforcement agencies are in place, we still observe these cases around us.
- Eve teasing: This occurs everywhere and to almost every girl. Even though every brother knows that his sister has experienced this trouble, he would ignore such incidents when it happens to “some other girl” or he himself might get involved in eve teasing activities involving “some other girls”.
- Attack on parliament: We could literally say that the people involved in this have raped our national pride. As per the law, the criminal involved is already sentenced to death 8 years ago, but not yet executed.
Why am I talking about all these problems at this point in time? It’s because, all these observations bring about a larger picture. It highlights the true reality. Even though laws are in place, it has not helped in getting rid of any of these problems in first place. Now, what can we conclude with help of our rational thinking and observations?
As it could be seen, all these issues could be traced back to the individual behaviour or awareness towards social responsibility. Though we have required laws in place, we have not made any advances in raising the level of social awareness and building up of individual character.
Most of the schoolgirls face the problem if being teased by her own classmates. Most schools try to take strict actions and often follow strict punishments to avoid it. However, the problem continues. My father was principal of a school, which also happened to have such cases. However, he decided to try out a completely different solution.
While the strict actions and punishments were being taken against the students involved in teasing girls, he went ahead and started celebrating “Rakhi” festival with aim of raising the sense of brotherhood. In few days, it was noticed that it helped in making students realize their mistakes and thus, reduced the number of such cases dramatically.
When only the strict actions were being taken, students used to be careful only in school premises, but not when they used to be out of it. However, the effort to build up the character and sense of brotherhood in every boy and girl did help to handle the “out of school” cases as well.
Keep in mind, the laws can be broken and in most cases, they either help only after the incident has occurred or end up causing a bigger harm. For example, in order to make the best laws, we have only made the entire system so complicated, that a wise man has to think twice before going to court.
Law is not a medicine. Law is only a process. Following the law and order, is again an attribute of individual character or level of social awareness. Since we have failed at building up the character or social awareness, it’s pointless to ask for new laws.
Another best-known human nature is the ability to forget. Last year, there was a protest against corruption. It seemed as if we would definitely see some results. However, at this moment in present, I have no clue what happened to that protest or what’s going to happen next. There is a saying that time heals everything”. I would just add “including the good things” to it.
When there is a loss of individual character and lack of social awareness, the laws tend to be useless. This leads to a political advantage:
- First make an issue out of any incident to gain political benefits
- Once the issue starts affecting you as well, simply try to divert the issue with other related but less important thing, till the issue itself is forgotten. We are best at forgetting aren’t we?
Dealing with situations:
We can deal with situations either in reactive way or proper way. The reactive approach is often the result of instinct and can lead to unwanted outcomes. For example, the chance of a person getting drowned in water increases if he acts reactively. Similarly, a person beaten by snake can die before he could be treated due to his reactive actions (faster heart beats due to fear of death).
Thus we need to deal with situations in proper way. Unfortunately, we cannot think about proper way or provide proper help quickly. Thus, we should be in a position to handle the situation, till we identify a proper way, rather than being reactive.
When person is under medical emergency, First Aid is applied. If we happen to see it from other angle, we realize that it might sound stupid, as First Aid itself, does not save life. It is of no use to just apply First Aid and provide no medical aid. It just helps us in buying time before we provide the right help.
Similarly, in case of war, soldiers use a concept of cover fire. They are not aimed at a particular person, but help the group to relocate to a better location.
In martial arts, certain actions are followed only to confuse the opponent and divert his attention. Such techniques are to be followed in case the opponent is stronger as compared to you.
In industries, people try contract negotiation as a technique to buy time to properly understand the requirements and allocate team members.
Lets consider it from the perspective of the recent unfortunate and horrible rape incident in Delhi. People have been:
- Doing the March protest: Good way to unite people and express opinion, but such protests cannot be sustained.
- Asking for a new law: On what facts and rational thinking do we believe that it would help to “Solve” the problem.
- Discussing about what certain religious entity said about it: Isn’t it the easiest way of diverting people’s attention from the real problem? Ignoring all the efforts taken to raise individual character and social awareness by these entities, why spend time on discussing a “misunderstood” statement? It would not help in solving the problem but would indeed help political actions to be able to divert the attention.
Time has come to stop teaching others on what to do and what not to do. We all need to follow the path of proper enquiry to understand the world and the problems while increasing our individual character and level of social awareness. My new year’s resolution was not to change the world, but:
- To follow proper enquiry to learn from past and current issues
- Act myself whenever a thought comes to my mind saying “Somebody should do something now”.