JUSTICE – A SERVICE

‘Is being compassionate, wrong?’ – you ask

Does justice need to wear a mask?

Is begging for alms always deceptive?

Should you shut your eyes and be imperceptive?

 

Standing for justice,

Is never a task simple,

Road blocks and red lights,

Along the way are ample.

 

Should you dare to stop an unjust mob outrage,

Be willing to face their heightened enrage,

Should you decide to raise your voice for justice,

Be prepared for criticisms from your family and society.

 

With such a tight grip has injustice held,

The hands of one and all,

That ’tis hard to be dispelled,

By just a simple call.

 

How many slogans and protests,

Would it take for mankind to get rid of this pest?

Is the human conscience so dead that,

That justice seems to be such a far cry?

 

Justice against crime,

Seems to be coated with slime,

Is it not our duty prime,

To ensure justice sublime?

 

In a world where injustice looms large,

At every corner and every street,

Lets not mutely watch,

And our chests simply beat.

 

Rise up, aware one,

Speak up against injustice,

Take care to practise justice,

In doing so, you would render a noble service.

 

IS THE MOB JUSTICE JUSTIFIED?

Hello Everyone,

Recently I saw a news clipping which brought forth the news of a mentally ill woman lynched to death by village people on the basis of suspicion that she has kidnapped a child. I emphasize on the word “suspicion“.  There was no proof whatsoever.

This is not something out of the blue.  Such lynchings have become more or less a routine.  People get killed by the mob because of their eating preferences (read beef), their religious beliefs, their voice being voiced (example: a young auto driver killed because he asked two men not to urinate in public, Reference: Times of India news site).

Reason behind this brutality:  Being hurt!  Yes people get brutalised by people because the later set of crowd gets hurt, I mean  when their religious sentiment gets hurt they don the robe of anger;  when their ego gets hurt on being pointed out they let their emotion flow with the blood of innocents.  And suspicion plays a pivotal role in such atrocities. People are losing their confidence in the slow judicial system; patience is pedestal.  Under such circumstances a slightest streak of provocation leads to news headlines for the next day which says “Mob lynched…..”.

Saddening part is that the ire of mob vanishes without a trace when it actually matters.  When a girl gets molested or eve-teased or a defenseless is being troubled in full public glare no one bothers to raise a voice because everyone is worried about the fury of few preparators of the crime.  But they forget if few can be powerful then how much more power they collectively as a mob would have.  If suspicion can motivate a mob to kill someone then why not a mob be motivated enough to take a right decision to oppose something which is evidently wrong and something not based on suspicion or instigation. Note: opposing doesn’t mean killing here.

My question:  I understand very well how sentimental one can be when it comes to sensitive issues like religion especially in a country like India but agitation based on clueless accusations leading to brutality can leave a family devastated and sobbing for life.  What if there is a fallout of the very base of suspicion that led to the fury.  Can lives be given back?  And why no one is feared of law and order and thinks twice before taking it into own hands.   Is it the failure of governance that they are assured of the mob power.  How justified is it?

As my friend Kuljeet mentioned  two days ago in her article “Salad Bowl Folks!” we have many more issues to deal with  collectively rather than passing verdicts in a fit of rage under the disguise of “Mob”.

GIVING WHEN IT PINCHES

‘Giving out of abundance’ is what most people gladly do if they have the heart to give. But, how many give in the face of scarcity?

The first picture that comes to the mind on hearing the word ‘giving’ is money. We immediately conjure a picture of handing out finances to a person in need. Yes, rendering financial help to others is an integral part of giving. But, it’s not always about money. Giving also involves two other precious resources – love and time.

When our granaries are full, we won’t hesitate giving a pound of grain to someone in need. But when what we have is just enough for us for today, would we still be generous in extending that helping hand? When our schedules are so hectic that we hardly have time to rest, would we offer our presence to someone who needs us? When we ourselves feel rejected and unwanted would we be able to embrace someone who is in need for love and warmth?

These are higher order ideals and are easier said than done!

Once Jesus Christ sat watching people put their offerings in the synagogue treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Giving in times of abundance involves only a desire and a decision to give. But, giving when it pinches entails a deep sacrifice and it never goes unblessed!

ATTITUDE OF GIVING

This incident happened a month and half ago, that really forced me to think about attitude of giving –  Why do we give and what shall be given ?

We were in a meeting, when one of my colleagues walked in and announced that our lab technician’s mom met with an accident, had a brain injury and a huge sum is needed for her operation. Many of us donated what we can.  Few of us had been to the hospital; her condition was not very good. What happened the next day irritated me to the core.

A person who contributed only 100 Rupees(roughly 1.5 dollars), backed up his action of not being able to help saying that there is wedding of his cousin’s, came to office after spending his precious time at a parlor spending thousands of rupees. He was screaming out loud of how excited he is about the wedding while all of us were discussing about mom’s medical condition. Well, I don’t want him to be spoiling his joy but one can be more sensible.

There was no need for that person to give a reason the day before, as to why he couldn’t help, yet he did so, but why? Did he really have an intention to help? There were a couple of questions on my mind after this.

  1. Is parlor more important than saving someone’s life?
  2. If, supposedly, the same would have happened in the so called “leader-ship team”, he would have done his best to get an impression. (this happened earlier, not my speculation in anyway)

Sometimes people only help for creating false impression of being empathetic. Giving should always be done plentifully, liberally, and faithfully. It should never be carried out with a sinister design or out of respect of persons. Unfortunately, many today give out of a selfish motive, seeking to further their own influence or prosperity, many will not give unless they get some tangible gift in return. 

Believe it or not, your attitude toward giving can say a lot about you. It speaks volumes about the condition of your heart.  It determines what kind of an “eye” you have and how much you are willing do it on your own for the betterment of someone else, someone totally unrelated. Some people are born to serve, that comes naturally to them, but some are inspired by others like family, friends, community etc.

Giving should be voluntary and cheerful. It must be prompted by the heart and not by the head or human reasoning. We should not allow self-interests, pride, corrupt passions, stinginess, and greed to hinder the noble cause of giving. The fulfillment and joy of giving can make us complete. 

Why should we give ?  – It is highly satisfying to see the fruits of what we as humans can do, together we can, and we only can change this world.

What shall we give? – Anything ranging from food, shelter, service, a listening ear, time, money.. there are literally no limits or hard rules.

Attitude of giving is a life style. Don’t undermine the value of what you can do for others, even the smallest of acts can make a life turn around for better.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE

I stopped reading the newspaper long time back. With the news full of scams, murders, rapes and corruption, it makes all of us feel helpless and resigned. “Nothing can change this country” – we say and get on with our daily routines. This feeling of resignation makes us blind. It makes us somebody who is only ready to blame and not take any responsibility. It makes us blame the authorities, government, neighbours, schools, colleges and youngsters – basically everybody other than the people living under our own houses.

As a kid, I saw my father make a difference to a small community when he first started a waste management program. I saw him work hard, toil his days only in educating people about segregating waste. That step of his was a huge inspiration for me. Waste segregation not only made our colony cleaner but it helped those poor rag-pickers who got clean dry waste to be recycled. He changed a few lives and inspired many.

I grew up and came to Bangalore. I joined a few NGO’s. I soon found that here work was being done even at a bigger scale. Providing learning skills to underprivileged kids, teaching English and Computers to underprivileged kids, working on waste segregation at a much larger scale, basic sex education to kids and working against child sexual abuse – I have largely touched these areas while working with many people. I realised that world is full of passionate and enthusiastic people who are not resigned but all ready to make a difference at their own scale.

I belong to a sikh family and in Sikhism, we are taught to do “Seva” (service) to the mankind. There have been times in my childhood when I used to go with my parents and sister to a gurudwara (Sikh temple) just to do seva there. It could be anything – polishing shoes of the people who have come to visit, serving food to those who have to come to eat, clean and sweep the whole area, etc. As a kid, I used to enjoy it because there were other kids and my sister and we used to have loads of fun. As I grew older, I learnt more and more the importance of it. I was a school topper and a vice captain because of it there might have been a bit of arrogance in me. But as the Sunday arrived and I polished shoes of those strangers and served food to those who are not even fortunate to go to a private school – the experience brought me to the right level of humility.

This is what art of giving is all about. It about feeling humble and feeling human. I have gone to old age homes for volunteering and the feeling that I get after an old lady says that she wished her daughter was like me – is worth a million dollars. It touches you right through. It is the perfect way of forgetting all of your petty problems in life and believe that there are indeed a million people who need you. As part of a program, I have taught English to young college kids (from lesser privileged backgrounds) with the intention to help them look for a job for themselves. Even today when I get a call from one of my students telling me that she got placed in another company as an accountant – I feel special.

I read somewhere – the right time to do service is just anytime but the best time to do service is when you are at the highest point in your life. Just when you got that promotion or you got a 40% hike or you bought that villa you always wanted to buy or you bought that super expensive sports car – that is the time when you should sign up for a program and volunteer to help those who are in a need. Donating money is also service but not an effective service, because you can never keep track of your money. And by donating money you will never get a feeling of giving. You must give your TIME. And when you spend time in service while being at your highest highs – you will be brought back to ground and humility. You will know in reality of what kind of sufferings people go through and that happiness is not that promotion, villa or car. Happiness is being in touch with the real souls.

It is easy to sit at home and blame the government or the authorities for not doing what you expect. It is very difficult to take it up in your hands and do the bit of your contribution. I loved what Aamir Khan said in Satyamev Jayate, he said that there are a billion burning issues in this country called India… child labour, infanticides, waste hazards, child sexual abuses, etc. Just take up one issue that is close to your heart and try to make a difference to it. If you are really passionate about it, you will go to just any level to get that issue eradicated from our society. And the best part is that in the process you will inspire many more to join you and take your mission forward with you. You will realise just how many people are willing to work on it – they are just waiting for the right leaders. You don’t have to be politician or a policy maker to make a difference. Just get out of your comfortable homes and start working on that one issue that is close to your heart. In a country of 1 billion people, even if 10% of us take up a cause and a mission to bring about a change, corrupt politicians will be weakened.

There are a lot of people who are doing a lot for their society, who have made it a mission of their lives to make a difference to the people who are not even related to them. Some of them are known by a few people in their colonies, other in their states and some go on to win noble prizes for that. It depends what scale do you want to work on? Start small and get inspired!