Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An unstable society thanks to risk aversion?

This was the first news I read and it depressed me. Why should they have felt:
Everyday a new man would come and chase us. They would pass lewd remarks and offer us phone numbers.
The people around us would stare as if we had done something wrong.
 I have not done anything wrong to bring shame to my family.
Both shared a dream: a life in America, a world removed from Rohtak.
Why couldn't they just shrug off the idiots? Why should their dreams and hopes be migration and escape to the US?

Here are some memories triggered in my mind:

  • Years ago, a friend said that after returning from US, he decided that he was not going to get married in a traditional way. He said that if he told of his efforts, we would be rolling on the floor with laughter while he is still licking his wounds. (He finally asked his parents to find him a wife.)
  • I tried to convince our principal that we should have a formal welcome and introduction of new students. He did not agree. Ragging had to be avoided. The college had no ragging; however, there was minimal interaction between the students across years. (To be fair, if I had to take the decision, I too may have opted for the safe option as the press and publicity with any ragging incident, real or presumed, would have been intolerable)
  • A colleague who looked and dressed like a student, sat on a bus with a new student. She was terrified! He relaxed her by telling her that he was faculty member. But is such a fear reasonable at all in any society?
  • A school principal mentioned about his efforts to convert a boys only school to coed. He told us that the behaviour of some students from the school when they went to 11th class was uncivilized. He felt that it was the first time many of the teen boys were interacting with girls and just did not know how! (I expect that the behavioural problems of teen boys  would be considerably worse outside Goa.) He failed to get the school converted.
We cannot protect our children from all danger or harm. They need to learn to handle and cope with life. As the following talk by Jeremy Rifkin mentions empathy would not exist in Utopia! Or we can learn from the biography of Gautama Buddha:
Despite his father's efforts to hide from him the sick, aged and suffering, Siddhartha was said to have seen an old man. When his charioteer Channa explained to him that all people grew old, the prince went on further trips beyond the palace. On these he encountered a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. These depressed him, and he initially strove to overcome aging, sickness, and death by living the life of an ascetic.

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