Be the Change

“Each of us is responsible for everything and to every human being”

Fyodor Dostoesky

Following the Katwa incident in Jammu Kashmir, hell broke loose in India. Protesters lining the streets, religious organizations trying to ignite fanaticism, political parties trying to capitalize on the situation, violent messages and blunt threats circulating in the media; everything is out of control. The country is growing into a dangerous ground of hatred and bloodshed.

The common people, who do not blindly follow any ideology, find themselves in a dilemma. They don’t know what to believe. People like myself feel the shock, pain and helplessness. But as the havoc subsides, I think it is time to ask the most important question:  ‘What can I do about it?’

It is not uncommon in these situations for the organizations, be it political, religious or any other, to blame each other. Though such accusations help their propaganda, it creates more confusion and instability in society.

Assuming Responsibility

If someone wants to put an end to these recurring atrocities, instead of pointless accusations, he should confront the aforementioned question. Assuming responsibility is a huge step.

It might sound absurd that a person in the southern part of India thinks he is responsible for the crime conducted thousands of kilometers away from him. But come to think of it, shouldn’t I be held a little bit responsible?

Social Consciousness

Psychologists attribute all the crimes and goodness as the direct result of ‘social consciousness‘; that is the mindset of the society. It is jealousy and polarization of money that causes theft; mistrust and hatred in the society that leads to murder and suicide;  misguided sexuality of the general public that results in rape and pedophilia. So to curb them, the social consciousness needs treatment.

Being a part of society, you and I are undoubtedly fuelling this collective mindset. So to change it, primarily we should change our own wrong attitudes and prejudices. Many great minds understood this long ago.

How great leaders influenced masses

In 1922, Gandhi fasted for five days assuming culpability of the Chauri Chaura police station burning as part of the Indian Independence struggle. He took up the responsibility and stated that he misjudged the readiness of India for a non-violent independence struggle. The Non-cooperation movement which brought India to the verge of independence was abandoned following this.

Recently, Pope Francis showed an example by apologizing to the victims of Rohingya crisis for the violence they had to endure. What prompted the Pope, who never had anything to do with the incident to take up the responsibility, while those who were actually responsible failed to do so?

The answer is that these great minds know how the social consciousness works. The society which consists of you and me has inadvertently fuelled the sins of our times. For example, in the post first world war Germany there was mistrust among the people about the efficiency of the government in force. People longed for someone who would take hard and fast action for the resurrection of their country. This social attitude combined with the resentment towards Jews resulted in the rise to power of  Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement.

Ripples of Social consciousness

We can see the social mindset playing a crucial part in many instances. It is noteworthy that rapes, farmer suicides, UFO sightings, and even stray dog attacks only spike at a particular time. Even though all the supporting reasons for this catastrophes are ever-present, why do these incidents happen as a chain?

The great philosopher and mystic Jiddu Krishnamurthy argue that society is the projection of our inner world. He taught that our thoughts and attitudes affect our surroundings. It is in this theory that the well-known ‘law of attraction’ is based. Two thousand years before Jesus put this into simple terms and proclaimed that it is your attitude that is the sin.

 “…if we can transform ourselves, bring about a radically different point of view in our daily existence, then perhaps we shall affect the world at large.…”.

J. Krishnamurty

Changing the mindset

Nowadays people have become unreachable islands with no love to bridge the gap in between. If we are ready to take the pain, we can change the scenario.

Negative emotions like hatred and jealousy need to be replaced with love and kindness, animalistic urges should be tamed and the outlook towards the world has to be altered.  Love and caring towards children and respect towards women will curb the occurrence of animalistic atrocities. Even random acts of kindness, simple gestures of love and generosity can positively affect our surroundings.

Let the goodness within us propagate and let it be the fragrance that spreads in the society. As Gandhi puts it,” Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

7 comments

  1. The basic instinct of a human being is to pass the buck and relieve themselves of the responsibility when something unpleasant happens. Assuming the responsibility of a bad situation to oneself and sharing the credit of a good situation to others is often remarked as a quality of a good leader as well. The very act of taking responsibility triggers us to ponder on ways to improve the situation and marks the start of a positive change.

    Profound and thought provoking writeup!!!

    • Thank you for those kind words. As you said, it is our basic instinct to run away from responsibility. But as it is with everything, the problem persists even if we ignore it. The sooner we turn and face it, the better.

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