Why does the world we live in not seem any different from what we it was 20-30 years ago. Of course, the quality of life has improved. We now live far more comfortably than our parents and grand-parents used to, we no longer have to sweat in unbearable heat, shiver in freezing cold, wait for the appointment letter to arrive by India Post and in some cases, die waiting for it. Yes, we have far more amenities than our fathers and their fathers, but have we got anywhere as a society. It was though that with scientific growth, the standards which the society operates on will improve as well. Education and literacy were thought to be the foundation stones of a morally guided society. But is this really true? Today we have a society of educated men and women who spend a good amount of time social networking and helping their friends out on Facebook to cultivate a virtual farm, yet looking the other way when they see an accident victim bleeding on the road. We have a populace who understands math and science, can speak language to fluency, but is has a moral compass akin to Jack Sparrow’s fabled compass: it doesn’t point north, only points to what we desire most. So I ask, does education provide a sound moral compass? Or have we been rendered so morally bankrupt that even the best of education can’t help us?
The plight of being Mahatma
If Mahatma Gandhi had not passed away in 1948, I believe he would have stood against printing his face on currency, or naming every other street and colony M G Road or M G Housing Society. He would also have banished people from putting his posters up as backdrops for political/apolitical rallies. I wouldn’t go so far as to assume he would disagree with the so-called Gandhians of today, but I believe he’s chuckling in heaven as he looks down upon all of them. The sad truth of the Indian society is that it is mired in a deep trench of hypocrisy. We condone corruption, take out mass rallies to protest it and do everything we can to pretend that we give a damn. Yet when we are caught by a cop for speeding, or breaking a traffic signal, we do all in our power to bribe our way out of it. At the time of filing taxes every year, we try to cheat the government in one way or another. A businessman does not want the politician to be corrupt, yet he would cheat on his taxes and try to bribe the politician to make sure his projects are all cleared. Does the fear of capital punishment stop a murderer? If not, how would a fear of fine stop a corrupt bureaucrat? More poignantly, are we not a nation of bribe givers more than one of bribe takers? Introspection before action is what the Mahatma recommended, yet to his followers of the day, this lesson seems to be completely lost.