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May 17, 2007

Posted by K in Abstract Ramblings, Diary, Life, Reviews/Rants.

I haven’t felt strongly about any issue for about a year now. I used to be the sort of person that had a (strong) opinion about everything under the sun. But in the past year or so, I haven’t chosen to take a stand on anything, publicly. I have felt more and more that my standards are mine alone and cannot be expected to be the standards agreed to by others.

The very idea of taking a stand lost its appeal, because it seemed to me that there cannot be any ‘right’ stand, and to even assume there is one, is an act of intellectual snobbery.

I have had my fight with intellectual snobbery. I have fought to keep away from it, but I know, and it kills me to know, that I slip into it too often for my liking.

Everytime I got angry or simply could not believe when people made what were, according to me, insensitive comments, I twisted myself up into knots. The insensitivity of the comments incensed me, but what right had I to assume I was right? What makes my way of thinking, or even the ‘sensitized’ people’s way of thinking the ‘right’ way? How can I ‘fight’ for the right way, when there may not be any? What is ‘right’ becomes entirely subjective. I have no right over another’s life unless they invite me into it.

Yesterday forced me to confront my thinking after a long time. Recently I had had a glimpse of the murky world that lies ‘outside’, the politics, and one’s helplessness to do something to correct a wrong. And how the one who steps out to remedy the situation has to go it alone, and with chances there will be hell to pay.

I wasn’t proud of the way I reacted. I was anxious and scared, and ashamed of myself for being so. I tried to ask myself why. Why was I anxious, was it because I was afraid to stand up to the truth? Was I afraid to stick my neck out? I’m not sure I have the answer. But I think it is largely because I don’t know whether I’m in the right completely.But then I question myself, do technicalities matter? They do, if the only system of justice is the man-made court of law. I am not an atheist; I have faith in another system. Does that make me an escapist? Where is the line between human agency and faith in god?

Yesterday made things a little clearer. Somethings are just wrong.

I witnessed something so disgusting that I was angry after a long long time. I saw how someone utilised one of the many things that are wrong in the world as a prop. As a convenient means to attain a selfish end. It angered me to see the casual way it was used to garner sympathy. The attempt to manipulate sickened me. And it really angered me to see how the person did not see that there were emotions involved on the part of other people. I’m not being very articulate, but this is one of those times when words completely fail me.

The heartlessness aside, the toying with a serious problem is a thing of concern. Matlabi people cause a lot of needless stumbling blocks in the world. They take advantage of steps taken to put things right.

Take the anti-dowry law, for instance. I was really happy when the strong law came to be passed; to know that if a woman complained of dowry harassment, her husband and in-laws could immediately be put behind bars. Until I found out how many women file false complaints.

Why do people do this? Do they not realise how harmful their lying and trivialisation of a serious issue can be? How much do people like this set back attempts to take human society forward? A skewed system of Newton’s third law seems to operate here…for every action taken to right a wrong there will be a reaction that as good as cancels the action.



1. pallavi - May 17, 2007

i shall attempt to comment on this post in parts ,i mean the parts that i have registered in my head
the deal about intellectual snobbery i guess is something that we need to conciously work at ,its very heartening to see it put down so well and i can tell you very honestly that you do it much less if at all than some of the people i know ,including myself .
i however also feel that there are just some things which are right and wrong ,like peole getting killed anywhere irrespective of the politicl affliations ,social and economic standing or even criminal backgrounds .the value of life is something that i always place at the highest point .in matters like these i find my self having xtremely strong opinions ,maybe the way i personally put them across is something that i need to work on and i also totally understand when you say how easily ones personal beliefs along with the privelege of a good education and other resources can become collapsible with intellectual snobbery .
the socond part is to do with the matlabi poeple and iam so glad that we spoke about it today and managed to see how in our particualr case in a convoluted way things turned out to be nice hahaha
and the third part which absolutely ought to figure here is that i cannot thank you enough for all the support and helping me see the right thing and not letting me get disillusioned even after all this
love you 🙂

2. sporadicblogger - May 17, 2007

That is a very helpful comment. It helped me put things in perspective.
Yes, I realise, I too feel strongly about the human element-about lives being lost, about intentional causing of pain, about basic things like not having enough money for medical aid etc.

I do not so much care for affiliations, and which school of thought one person belongs to. And it confuses me. I probably have it screwed on
wrong in my head. College teaches you to care muchly for schools of thought, doesn’t it? Intellectual pursuit to change the world.

And you, ofcourse, are one of those people the world cannot do without 🙂

Thanks for the comment.

3. pallavi - May 17, 2007

yaa i totally agree with you when you say college teaches us to care too much about schools f thought and i also feel that too much political theory at the deepest level severs one from the human element ,i mean why at the end of the day are poeple willing to sacrifice their lives in revolutions ? it is beacsue exploitation upsets them ,but attaching the whole ‘hoity toity’ fanfare of fancy books ,fancier authors (though maybe helpful to people who can understand them and more importantly access them) puts me off a little bit .its a great thing to learn of course but i like you feel its important to also be concious tpo not let that translate in to any degree of condescension which unfortubately happens way too often

4. sporadicblogger - May 17, 2007

Who are the people sacrificing their lives at revolutions, that is also something I wonder at. Something that really discourages me is that in most protest rallies, atleast those that I have seen, the bulk of the protestors seem to be made up of those who seem to have been paid to lend their presence.

I need to re-investigate my role in society. Its high time 🙂

5. anonymouse - May 18, 2007

Hmmm, here’s a couple of points:

a) Always stand up for what you think is right.
b) Always be ready to accept that you are wrong.

As to why people try to cheat, that is simply the calculation that the benefit to them personally outweighs the cost to the community they live in. Yet another situation where the majority will lose because of the actions of a few.

As for changing other people’s lives, you can’t. The only thing you can do for a lot of people is just to be there when they need it. Sometimes you won’t be able to be there for them. Whatever you do will never appear to be enough. Accept it. Don’t stop trying though.

Being anxious and scared is not wrong. There is no need to feel ashamed about it. The only time you can be ashamed is if you let the fear rule you and don’t stick your neck out for the values you believe in.

You will have to bear the consequences of your actions. There will always be hell to pay. Choosing not to act is still a choice. There is always a cost associated with your choice. TANSTAAFL.

The people who revolt are not the people at protest rallies. Revolution is the final option, for those who have nothing to lose. When death is a better choice than life, making death meaningful is still relevant to human dignity.

My standards are mine alone. I don’t expect you to know them, to value them, or even to consider them. But those are some of the things I refuse to compromise on.

Be unreasonable. You will pay for it. But you may end up changing the world.

The choice is yours. Good luck.

6. pallavi - May 18, 2007

going by what protest rallies have become today ,i feel no surprise at our disillusionment but like anonymouse says i dont think people who actually bring about revolutions and turnaround things are solely the kinds that we see in mouthing slogans that they themselves hardly understand .in a country like ours where poeple have so many divergent concerns and motivations there have been and will be different sorts of revolutions …and yes WE ,i guess ,need to constantly r ever changing role in society .:)

7. pr3rna - May 18, 2007

Welcome to the real world Sporadic. There are double standards everywhere,still there is lots of good in the world. As you age you see the ugly face of the world but you have to live and live happily.

8. Indrani - May 18, 2007

The post was… something. And it struck very close home 🙂

9. Keshav - May 19, 2007

i put my wife in jail! :fist:

10. bharati - May 28, 2007

sorry even if your wife kills you she will be treated as a good person who did right thing so forget about putting wife into jail .

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