REBEL FOR GOOD

Sab gussa karte hain, main ghar chod ke jaa raha hun” (everyone scolds me, I am leaving the house) are the lines of an old advertisement where a 4 year old is sitting grumpily in a railway station, with his small bag, but returns home when his postman uncle tells him that his mother has prepared jalebis (a special sweets). We often hear such cute stories of little rebels and let go because they are too small to understand and follow their impulses.

I always preferred to go with the rules until I realised something good can also happen when you break the rules. When I was in Class X, two of our classmates went to play during the transition time, after the bell rang for another period. They came back to the class as soon as the next teacher entered. She got angry, obviously, and punished them. To my surprise, the whole class retaliated and everyone wanted the teacher either to let those two go or punish the whole class. I, along with my best friend failed to agree with our classmates as we felt that those two boys were at fault. However, our teacher got pleased with the unity of our class and withdrew the punishment. That day I realised that it’s perfectly all right if some rules are broken, provided there shouldn’t be any negative implication on anyone. 

During teenage, many times I opposed my parents, fought with them when scolded for being out late with friends after the 8’o clock deadline, for wearing clothes which they felt inappropriate,  for not getting permissions when I needed and for other whole lot of things.

Rebelling against my parents for the love of my life was one of the least things in my mind. I had earlier agreed to their rule of arranged marriage, but the destiny couldn’t find a suitable match for me. Later, when I found my eternal love, my parents opposed. Since I was confident of my choice, I continued to portray my conflicting views in front of their emotional saga, until they agreed for our match. Lo and behold, just after the engagement, they were more than happy with their son-in-law!

There is a ‘rebel’ in everyone of us and standing up against anything, for a good reason should be the mandate. One just has to remember the limits, lest to offend anyone.

BEING REBELLIOUS IS ONLY NATURAL

“As per the definition of rebellious, a rebellious person likes to challenge the authority and break the rules every now and then.”

Teenage is particularly connected with the word Rebellion. However, we need to understand what really happens at that age. Till the age of say 10 or 11, kids are used to being told what is needed to be done and how to conduct themselves in day to day life. Then suddenly around their 12th or 13th birthday, they start questioning everything that is told to them, they talk back, they even get violent and they want to do the exact opposite of what they have been told to do. 

Let us analyze what happens to other species on the planet. Animals, for example, leave the safe haven of their parents quite early; as soon as they have grown up enough to survive themselves. And for the sake of adaptation, it is really important they leave the safe home of their parents and mate with the beings away from them. 

Humans are too build in the same way. Physically, a teenager is grown up enough to survive himself / herself. They can take care of their food, clothing and shelter. To add to it, their hormones also drive them crazy to mate with the opposite gender. Comparing this to our animal kingdom, this is perfectly natural. If we lived like animals, teenagers would quietly leave their parents at the age of 12 or 14 and live their own lives. So, going by our animal instincts, teenagers are supposed to question the authority and step out of their houses so that adaptation can continue. So, what happens with teenagers is biologically ingrained in us for the sole purpose of adaptation and survival of our species. 

Now, what really have we humans messed up this nicely set up natural process. We have setup an adult age of 18 years. And typically a well-educated person starts earning only by 21 or 22 which means they need to depend financially on their parents and still live in that safe haven which they are physically and emotionally yearning to leave. 

One of my coaches once said – “It is absolutely normal for teenagers to think their parents are useless, rather it is important for their own growth. Only by questioning the traditions that their parents follow, will the kids identify with their own beliefs and personality. 

Slamming the doors, shouting at their parents, purposely creating issues for them, getting into addiction issues are all the signs of feeling unheard and misunderstood. Because they really want their parents to acknowledge the fact that they are growing up and can take decisions on their own. However, we parents out of love and fear for our kids – we still want to keep them inside our cocoon that we have built for them so carefully when they are ready and yearning to just fly away. 

When I was 17 years and just completed my 12th grade, I was super sure that I do not want to live with my parents at any cost. I wanted to leave them and live in the hostel and that was probably a very strong motivation to study really hard and get into an Engineering college. My dad was overprotective when it came to boys in my life. And since I was passing out of a convent girls school, I was eager to meet boys and experience that side of life. All hell broke loose, when after 1st year of my engineering – my dad discovered that I was happily enjoying all the attention I was getting from boys in college and was even interested in having a boyfriend. For a very long time, I felt extremely guilty about causing disappointment to my dad, it went away only when I realized that what I did was natural. I was about 18 and ready to experiment and experience life. 

What worries me is that when I hear pre-teens being rebellious. 9-10 year old cross questioning their parents, telling lies and getting into big problems. That needs to be understood. Why are kids growing up so early now? Why is the next generation maturing so early of their age? These are some of the pondering questions that trouble the parents today. 

As far as rebellious nature of teenagers is concerned, I think it is the duty of parents to be aware of what comes to them naturally and be a support for them instead of being control freaks. 

IS THE SEED OF REBELLION GERMINATING DEEP WITHIN ME?

Rebellion according to Wikipedia is – “A rebellion originates from a sentiment of indignation and disapproval of a situation and then manifests itself by the refusal to submit or to obey the authority responsible for this situation.”

Rebellion can be individual or collective, peaceful or violent, for a good cause or bad as well. But usually, the word rebellion termed as negative and bad which we are going to discuss about this week.

When God created this world and created human being, He taught the world either directly or through the nature that this universe has a chain of command which we human can’t just breach it or go against it. The consequence of which is deadly when we go against it. We humans may be the crown of His creation, but we are not the gods of it even though we try to play ‘god’ like the kids play teacher-teacher or mommy-mommy game. When we go against God’s direct instruction and try to substitute it with our own ideas then we rebel.

Let me give you an example to make things clear…

In our office, our boss called for a meeting and delegated the responsibilities to all for an upcoming one-day event. The event was on a Sunday and one of the colleagues said, “Sir, I won’t be coming as I have some other work”. We all laughed as we knew how my boss will react. He replied, “Have I given you any option to decide? It is an official event and if you won’t be partaking it then you may leave the work”. And we all agreed to him when he said that. The hesitating colleague had nothing to say afterwards but to take up responsibility which was assigned to him.

Was he happy with the boss? Yes, definitely, because he understood his fault of rebelling against his boss’s decision.

Did he enjoy the event on that Sunday? Yes, wholeheartedly, because he acknowledged the chain of command laid down in an office set up, instead of opposing it any further.

Rebellion always begins in the heart. And in the beginning, it is never violent or active that can be seen, but it remains unexpressed. When the fire smolders, it spreads everywhere to create havoc.

Children and teenagers’ rebel against their parents and teachers which has smaller effects on everyone’s life connected to them. Sometimes, this small sparks of rebellion of college students were flared by the politicians to cause devastation.

“This is my life; I want to live it as I want”

“I can marry anyone as I wish”

“I don’t care what others think”

“It is about my rights”

“I want it this way”

“Why should I listen to him”

All the above are the statements which depict nothing but pride and rebellion in a human heart which is the first sin we commit in our hearts against our parents, teachers, elders, superiors, authorities and against the author of this life, GOD. Our sinful natures do not allow us to bend down and bow to the authority of another or God. We want to be our own bosses, and that rebellion in the human heart is the root of all sin.

It is true that we have freedom to choose according to our own wishes. But can we allow full liberty to someone who has bad temper, who is on the verge of destroying self and all around him? No, right? Then how can we cry about certain prohibitions as curbing our rights? Isn’t that cry, a cry of rebellion or trespassing?

“Rebellion is trespassing”
(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

Every human heart has the seed of rebellion germinating deep within. So I can’t justify that by saying, “I am not revolting“. My heart knows, I am already revolting against something deep within myself. But remember, whenever it happens, we need to let it pass through a scanner before working on it or trying to fan it further. A scanner might be your best friend who is wiser than you, an elder who is more experienced than you, your teacher who understands the right and wrong better than you… Or look to God by just saying a few words of prayer like this – “Oh true God! Help me to understand whether my desire is right or wrong… Give me the right direction and let me know how to go about it”. Trust me, I have been doing this for last 44 years in my life and was never disappointed even though sometimes things are bleak and dark for me. Though I refer, ‘the Bible’ for the clarity of my mind and conscience.

So, friends! I know it is a preachy article, but not a lie. Do not flare up the flames of rebellion in your heart. Pray for guidance.

Stay Blessed!

WHAT HAVE I DONE ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE IN A PERSONAL LEVEL?

It took around 6 months for me to learn Bengali. As I slowly tried to pick up few words, I was amazed to hear them using Onyay (injustice) for a wrong doing. For example, to say – “I have wronged you, please forgive me” they say, “I have done injustice, please forgive me”. And I quite admired the use of the word injustice in the place of wrong doing. Wrong doing sounds casual whereas the word injustice explains the gravity of the matter.

My point here by saying this is, not exercising justice or doing injustice is a character deeply rooted within us because of our sinful nature. God is a God of Justice and He always cares for the poor and needy. He is always keen and interested in human beings needing social justice. But unfortunately, we human, on the contrary being bestowed with various responsibilities to do justice, fail to do so. Because of our fallen nature and selfishness, we struggle to do justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.

All through the week my co-writers have raised issues concerning social justice by giving so many examples and narrating different case studies of social injustice that has been taking place in our country and abroad. But I want to think differently. I want to take up the responsibility on myself. I want to ask myself, whether I have looked into the matter of social justice when I was given an opportunity? What have I done to bring social justice or justice in the life of a particular person?

Blaming the government and the political leaders is very easy. Going in a procession protesting against a law or injustice is easier. But have I shown mercy to the person desperately needing my mercy at a particular time? Or have I thought that this is mine, my family needs this, I can’t give it to someone else, outsider? Trust me, by doing so, I blocked the process of distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society, in the life of a person.

When I exercise justice in my daily life, it will spread to my family members, then my community, then it will spread to the country at large. Let me give you an example… Let’s think about the pre-independence era when all the Indians were under the British rule, losing all our rights. If the freedom fighters would not have come forward in the fear of being beaten and killed then we would not have seen independence today and would not have celebrated 71st Republic day this year on 26th January 2020, which is tomorrow. If they would not have selflessly stood against the social injustice in their personal lives, they could not have spread the fire of social justice across the country.

If I am unable to bring justice in my family then how can I expect it in the bigger sphere, like in the society or country?

In closing, I want to quote two scripture portion where we are commanded to do justice…

Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

If we just follow this in our daily life we will surely see justice happening all around.

Stay Blessed!

JUSTICE FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVES…

A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man’s nature – opposition to it is his love of justice. These principles are an eternal antagonism; and when brought into collision so fiercely, as slavery extension brings them, shocks and throes and convulsions must ceaselessly follow.

Abraham Lincoln

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.

Albert Einstein

Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.

Helen Keller

Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment.

Mahatma Gandhi

DON’T WE DESERVE GOOD LEADERS?

In 2015, I came across a very stupid statement by a person from political fraternity.  He said, “Chinese food, jeans and mobile phones are the reasons behind increasing sexual violence/ rapes in India“. That had me in splits 🤣. On another occasion a head of regional political party said “boys will be boys“, following the increasing rate of sexual crimes. That was cringeworthy and repulsive but not “just it”.  Unfortunately a never ending string of such hateful, controversial, insensitive and senseless comments blaming the victims rather than the culprits are a part and parcel of the politician resumes in India. And our politicians make good comedians too 😁. Let me quote few more politicians (funny statements) before I put across my agenda to pen this article:

“Rings could be banned as if it goes missing, it might cause unnecessary problems. Flowers, I am sure, would not be banned. Anklets should be banned, they can affect boys’ studies and concentration, the clinking sound of anklets distracts boys.” “Civil and not mechanical engineers should apply for civil services.” 

“Darwin’s theory of evolution is scientifically wrong… nobody including our ancestors have said in written or oral that they saw an ape turning into a man.”

“You will get jaundice if you attend rallies of other parties.” 

(Source: different news papers)

They are just very few drops from the murky waters (better read gutters as in that of drainage systems) of ignorance and stupidity our politicians are diving and swimming in.  From outraging the modesty of a woman with their below the belt comments to making a complete fool of themselves with their idiotic statements our politicians have done everything.

So coming to my purpose of writing this article – vent out my frustration, can’t state out more elaborately than this. We are a country of population of over 130 billion who believe in the constitution of our country that confers it the power of democracy.  It awarded us the right to choose among the candidates to be our representatives on national and international podiums and these are the people we chose?

It would be very interesting to know that in India if you are planning to apply for the least possible office job in any government department the candidate must have minimum set of educational qualifications, aptitude, age bar is set after which you are not eligible to apply and a plethora of different examinations to filter the right person for the right job. It’s for the  entry level I am talking about. I myself have given examinations (that I flunked to say the least 🤣). But the handful people we chose to be our leaders – have we ever checked their credentials to be in that position we put them in?

Comically, ironically and sadly for a person to be a politician in India there are no set of qualifications that they must possess.  We have school dropouts as our leaders, the list is so long that I am unable to mention it in this small article 😛 . Few of them never even went to school to begin with. What a shame! On contrary the ability to mobilise the mob mentality, criminal background, nepotism, talking big (only talking mind you 😁), pulling wool out of innocent voters in the name of decade(s) old issues of poverty & unemployment – these are the qualifications that makes out a great recipe for a great politician in India. Livid ? But that’s the truth.

Over 70 years many regulations imposed and passed as laws but one law (or set of laws) that I would recommend or say love to see being reinforced : Transparency as to what is your qualification to lead us:

  • Graduation is the minimum educational requirement for anyone willing to contest elections
  • Minimum age bar be 25 and retirement at the age of 65. We need young blood and ideas to come in and contribute. Interesting fact: Finland has the youngest prime minister –  Sanna Marin, 34 years old where as…. just fill in the blanks 😁
  • No criminal record. No person holding even single criminal case against him/ her should be allowed to enter the assembly. They should have the same parameters of judging just as any other person vying for a government job is judged upon.
  • VIP culture should be done away with – I know I am wishing too much 😁.
  • Surnames shouldn’t be the passport for wishful portfolios without any proven track record of work. Kingdoms and dynasties are gone but trails are still lingering on. Political clout is just another business for decades now. Proven track record of work at grass root levels should be made mandatory.  It would only infuse confidence of people  about their leadership and future.
  • Do away with undue subsidies and freebies. Every hike in salary politicians demand for they should be made accountable for it’s out of the taxes we pay they are getting paid.

Though these points seem superficial for a country like India but completely need of the hour. Our politicians (majority) are smart (read scrupulous) enough to divide us and make us concentrate on issues other than development or even instigate hate.  And in this process they are steering clear of any accountability.  And when questioned they either play blame game or have another controversy ready to heat up the TRP markets.  Also given that India is being looked upon by the world don’t we deserve good leaders who work with clear conscience and talk some sense. What say?

BRIBE, THE GREATEST CHALLENGE AGAINST JUSTICE

The moment a child is born, he or she is taught about what is good and what is bad. The child gets to know various things from its parents and teachers. Once the child is old enough to gain knowledge on its own through various mediums he or she comes to know of various laws and rules. This happens with all of us. While growing in maturity, we get exposed to things that are acceptable and unacceptable in our society. But then, what goes wrong when someone commits a heinous crime just to satisfy his or her ego. 

The incident which I am going to mention in this story, happened a few years ago in my hometown. Property dispute is not an alien concept in this country. People are often seen fighting with each other and conspiring to shun down their opponents. In my neighboring village two families were involved in a similar case. They were trying their best to win the case and satisfy their so-called reputation. Now let us call the families as family 1 and family 2. The head of the family 2 decided of doing something that would teach a life lesson to family 1. For this, they kidnapped the youngest boy of family 1 and killed him mercilessly. The mother, on the other hand, was searching for her son like anything. Her instincts told her something is not right as nobody couldn’t find her son. 

Four days later, the corpse was found near the village pond and the parents cried bitterly feeling traumatized. For them, their whole world literally went upside down. But for family 2, it was a gala time as they had taught a lesson to their opponent.

Anyways, a case was registered as family 1 had doubts on family 2. But then family 2 took the help of influential people in the area. The case was eventually closed and family 1 was given some bribe to shut their mouth. The whole village was shocked by this incident. The conclusion was when we came to know, ‘the entire system is corrupt‘. The policemen too knew that family 2 plotted the murder  and should have been punished. But they went on to settle the case by accepting bribe from them. 

Think about a scenario where every single case is dealt in such a manner. No doubt we have an impressive judiciary system with laws to curb criminal activities but what’s the point when one can use their influence and money to challenge the judiciary system and bent the law for themselves… Is the law and judiciary system so weak that money and influence can overpower it and let the culprit roam freely? People may think that it is better to let bygones be bygones. But is this right? There are several cases in our country that are manipulated and closed with the power of money. No wonder ours is an independent nation and is developing at a fast pace, but then there are still some dark areas upon which we need to focus.  

Friends! This hush money is standing as a wall against justice, which we all need to break with force. Are you ready to do so?