Over the past few days, as part of eye camp organization and conduct, we visited a village near our college campus and it turned out to be an eye opener of sorts. People sleeping on the streets, old men simply staring into oblivion, old women who listen to us simply because of the fact that some one actually talks to them, kids sharing their meal with hens, youth roaming aimlessly and in some cases passing lewd remarks...it paints a picture that does not augur well...
Major sections of the youth fraternity choose to look the other side when they come face to face with these men and women; Ignorance to them is really bliss. The great Indian success story, as we fathom it to be, has not touched these villagers at all. It has by passed them completely and with every passing day, is indeed widening the divide. As an example, I was talking to a 7th std Government school boy and he asked me, what Bangalore is famous for. He couldn't understand when I said "malls", as he interpreted it to be some vegetable. On the other hand, we have the children of the rich growing up solely on what is increasingly termed as "mall culture", a culture that encourages vulgar and obscene spending and justifies it in the name of "I earn, it is my money, I spend". What this kind of justification fails to account for is the fact that, obscene spending has its own cyclic effects and affects the ambitions of the communities of "aspirers" and "thrivers" (in marketing jargon) negatively.
We pass out of elite institutions with fancy degrees, go into big corporate houses, make money and forget about these people. The true test of a leader comes when he is able to make changes at the grass roots - touch the lives of people who need change the most and help them fashion it themselves. These villagers are a resigned lot; sometimes, trundling along in life with little hope in anything. It is our duty to inculcate in them, hope for the future.
As youngsters who have been privileged to be born into families that could afford to educate us, it is time, we, as educated citizens and as potential change agents, get in touch with a reality that is harsh and far removed from the glitzy mall culture.We can of course choose to look the other way too, but then, we will put our future generations in the grave threat of confronting an angry rebellion and would be letting go of an opportunity, where we could demonstrate our gratitude to the society. Every little drop counts and the first steps are always the hardest ones!
Thank you Karma Yoga!