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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spare some change, please.

I've diagnosed the problem the world has.

It's intolerance.

One faith cannot stand the beliefs of another, one sex cannot tolerate what they think are the shortcomings of the other, one generation cannot tolerate the difference in thinking another generation has, one class cannot tolerate the difference in living standards another has, one country has issues with another's policies, one leader has issues with another's ideologies, one region cannot bring itself to accept the uniqueness of another region ... and it all spirals downward from there.

And slowly, it creeps into the hearts of individuas and to a point where two of them can not stand each other for any combination of the above differences. And it goes further. One will have issues with the fact that he/she thinks/percieves the other is richer/smarter/happier/better placed/luckier/better looking/just any crap that may somehow be compared.

And so it starts. Two neighbours who cannot get along. A couple that splits up because of their apparently irreconcilable differences*. A family feud that begins because of some miscommunication and ends in the family's splitting ways and never speaking to each other again. The classic saas-bahu power-struggle. The classic battle between the sexes. A fight for a seat on the train/bus ... a yelling match at the airport to get a better seat. Outdoing the Joneses/Sharmas/Kulkarnis/Iyers/and every other surname from all 26 states and all 7 continents if you please. A cat-fight for the senior position at work that involves back-biting and underhand tactics. Taking bribes to become richer quicker. Jumping queues and giving bribes to somehow feel you have the upper hand over everyone else standing in line. Domestic violence.

And it goes on to become a power struggle to share resources, to corner the market, to be the first state/country to achieve something. It becomes a blind fury of regionalism, class struggles, political differences, religious differences, communal unrest, a rich Vs the poor struggle and before you know it, entire nations are warring with each other.

So I propound that we do something to stop it becoming a problem that huge. We start at the grass root level. That we start by being the change we want to see**. Let us all remember a certain 'manoos' as being the paragon of intolerance and strive to be different, by:
1] Accepting ourselves firstly, our own shortcomings and best qualities and making use of the latter while trying to overcome the former.
2] Accepting what is better in others and if not lauding them for it, acknowledging that they perhaps deserve something, anything, whatever thing, for being better than us. Which means no dirty tricks to get something that isn't rightfully yours. No jumping queues. No offering bribes. No accepting bribes. Following rules. No doing anything that would add to your shortcomings.
3] Keeping mum when you have nothing nice to say about something/someone. Even if you don't agree with their opinions. Everyone is allowed an opinion and everyone is allowed a healthy debate to exchange ideas. But to try and forcibly change someone's beliefs and opinions is not acceptable. Things like not passing personal comments, not saying snide things meant to hurt someone, not spreading vicious gossip that would be to someone's detriment. Not criticising.

Let's start by being a bit more tolerant of others around us. Changing ourselves is easy. When it's for ourselves and the beneficiaries are us. But just as we do random acts of charity and kindness, can we make things better for all of us, for the world, by sparing some of that change.

It is a very garbled post and my thoughts aren't really clear. I know what I said is perfect only in theory. I know there will still be people who will do their best to undo all the good a bunch of well-meaning good hearted people can accomplish. I will still advocate my views though. Because it's possible to make things different even if in the smallest degree. Pennies add up to big amounts over time. Spare some change, please.

*I am not implying that all couples who split up don't try hard enough. I know of several cases where parting simply was the way it had to be. But I am addressing what seems to be a tredn lately, among people to simply call it quits because they cannot be arsed to sit down, talk, sort their differences and come to a mutual agreement.
** That's probably the one thing I think Gandhi said that made sense. The rest ... I feign ignorance as my excuse for the time being.


  1. rightly said. a tad idealistic but if great men did not have visions we wouldn't have seen any history being made.

  2. nice.
    things we ALL need to r'ber.

  3. now to post my usual irrelevant comment:
    chutta maangne ka achcha tareeka hai yeh. i see u've been working on our victoria plan. birdie doing hula... blogging for spare change...
    bherry nice it is being! :D

  4. you are asking angelic behavior DDD.
    Those who can already do the stuff u say. Those who dont- well its easier to try to out do the sharmas/iyers/ etc than to say no thanks.
    now how else did we get into this economic crisis?

  5. somebody's pissed off today!!
    Relax, the world will resolve itself :)

  6. All very nice ideas. Very difficult to practice me thinks. But the real question is, why so much gyaan for us today?

  7. aheli5:13 AM

    duuuude, you're pulling gossip out of the equation?? That's unfair and i need to bring you back from London to change your mind ;)

  8. Anonymous7:18 PM

    hey..nice post. Probably what you have said, unknowingly, Gandhi has said something similar. More than just being the change. I am quoting the last lines from one of his letters that I read in a book.
    "It is not necessary for toleration that I must approve of what I tolerate. I heartily dislike liquor-drinking, meat eating and smoking; but I tolerate all these in Hindus, Muhammadans, and Christians, even as I expect them to tolerate my total abstinence from all these, although they may dislike it. All our quarrels have arisen from each wanting to force the other to his view."
    Wow!! so, you think like Kudos.
    If you may like, this is from a book called Mahatma Gandhi, His life and Ideas by Charles F. Andrews. It basically contains a lot of letters written by Gandhi.

  9. Definitely, we should be the change we wanna see. I too believe that we all can make a difference by taking small baby steps - saying no to bribes, keeping our surroundings clean, not littering and many more that you rightly point out.

  10. INTOLERANCE is the word!

    Great post. And my current post is also abt the consequences of INTOLERANCE.


  11. As many people said, nothing wrong at all but a bit idealist view.

    Just to play Devil's advocate, it is hard to be tolerant when people around you are piling up the stereotypes and ignorance, right?

  12. live and let die..