Sunday, January 26, 2014

The world is the country

I think of this on every 'national day' we celebrate. Why is it that a great majority of us have only a passionate yet fleeting consciousness of patriotism on that single day? Why aren't we, or I should say why couldn't we, be simple humanitarians with a constant and continuous feeling of well-being of the world as a whole? Why can the world be not one country? Why haven't we learnt from all the wars of division and conquest that have only made the world worse? Why is it that as the population grows, we become more factional? What are we doing in the name of 'global growth and progress'? What has happened to the countless years of toil of great humanitarians' efforts to make the world a better place? Why haven't we learned as much as we ought to have from any of them? And most of all, why haven't we paid heed to undeniable proofs of evolution that we all have a common origin? (To be more precise, the seven billion of us came from just about 50000 or so, somewhere in Central Africa a few millennia ago.) If our evolving rationality and a growing sense of oneness (at least in the last two decades or so) has got anything to do with our progress, we should have long discarded the so-called glorious wars of conquest that have taken place over thousands of years. We should have unlearned a great deal of what we learned from history. At least, the growing sense over the last few years of ensuing disasters for the world as a whole - resource crunch, climate change, global warming, natural calamities, economic crises - should have brought us closer together and not more divisive. Why has none of this happened?

Today India celebrates its 65th Republic Day. And what a stupendous way we've come to in all these years, particularly the last twenty! I grew up fascinated by the nationalistic and patriotic feelings (what's the difference between the two, by the way?) that found way to our hearts throughout our childhood and adolescent years. Hell, I myself went very close to becoming an 'officer' of the armed forces, driven by an insatiable passion to 'serve my country'. 5 years from that time, I thank my rationality to have prevailed over my passion. And that has also opened my mind to a limitless possibility of 'global oneness' if we act. I have definitely become a better 'simple humanitarian' on the path to global peace than a 'strict officer' overflowing with misplaced ideals of patriotism. Of what good am I if I were to hold vengeance for the atrocities the British committed to India in the 1900's, and not help my British friend now because of that? Am I making the world a better place to be? Why do even the most rational of patriots never get this? Will they still be patriots if they get this? Why do I still hear my generation simmering with anger of 'Look where we are because of what this or that country did to us?'. Could they not think what their sons and daughters might think of them too - 'Look where we are because of the greed, stupidity, divisiveness, plunder (and so on) of my father's generation?

All said well, the question remains: have we acted? I think that the only concern for anyone wanting to change the world is this: it can be done only one bit at a time, and it is going to take a lot of time - a great lot of it - to make a difference. That is a repetitive lesson from history - Lincoln, Gandhi, Mandela, Mother Theresa, to name a few. Am I wrong in thinking that if they had lived for some more years, they would have expanded their struggle to the world as a whole, what they first started off within their respective countries? Also, if it is logical and true, simply because of the 'strength in numbers', that a millions-fold magnitude of common men is an invulnerable force in front of a small set of absurd politicians and rulers, then why has the lot of common men not been able to overthrow tyrannical, stupid and divisive politicians, and their politics with them? Why has this not happened as often as it should have? Why have there been only one Gandhi and Mandela and Mother Theresa in a hundred years?  Why have we, the common men, not 'thought through' the crisis humanity as a whole is in and acted on it? Why are the lots of us still buying in to 'the greatest nation on earth', 'the most developed country on earth', 'the best country to live in' etc., and not thinking about 'the greatest world we could ever live in', or, 'the best time to live in the world'? Why is the country always greater than the world? If this is turned on its head, we will definitely be proven right that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

I'd rather be a simple and evolving humanitarian than a passionate patriot. To me, the world is the country that I'm a citizen of. I hope I live up to it as long as I last here.

Rajaji

P.S: This is one of the strangest and overly optimistic posts I have ever written!

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