Tag: Rights

Death is not the biggest fear…

Death is not the biggest fear…

Death is a scary thought because it is a definitive end. We visualize that end and we are repulsed because we have so many unfulfilled dreams, so many wishes that we are sure will be realized if only we live. What we do not understand is the reality that, the real fear should be the realization that, what is yet to be achieved is not an accident but the result of us not risking enough to fulfill it. Even this understanding is comparatively superficial to the real fear that we are blissfully unaware of; being alive and expressing ourselves freely. We largely live a fearful life; fearful of expressing a minority view point; fearful of taking the side of your convictions; being afraid to stand up for the segregated, the marginalized, the deprived, the defenseless. In reality we are fearful but we fail to acknowledge it. Ask yourself this simple question ‘ Do I express myself freely, frankly, fearlessly on every issue that bothers me?’ You will realize that, subconsciously at times and deliberately most times, we hold back lest we are trolled, shadowed, shamed, stalked, assaulted, vilified, jailed or tortured by those who disagree with us.

Living is a risk; it carries the risk of us failing our potential; of us not standing up to be counted when the time comes; of cheating our conscious when it suits us; of us looking the other way when we should have stood by those in trouble; of telling blatant lies, white lies or being economical with the truth because the truth could hurt us; of being hypocrites, being insensitive, being inhuman and of being chameleons that change color to suit our survival. We do not risk living our real selves but live our lives to suit the world around. Can we honestly look in the mirror and look ourselves in the eye?

The fear of living, in day to day life, extends to us being fearful of skeletons tumbling out of our hidden closets; of pretending to be happy in relationships that have long ceased to exist; of doing jobs that we hate but cannot do without; of the demons of worry that beset us often; of losing loved ones; not fulfilling cherished dreams; of being made fun of or ridiculed; of having to pretend to be as rich, happy and successful as those around.

Yet, we have largely coped with these risks and that is what makes us reasonably successful. We have at times conquered our fears, occasionally learned to cope with it and sometimes succumbed to it. In our journey through life what makes us remain cheerful, optimistic and enthusiastic each day is not the absence of the fear of living but the presence of our sense of individuality, of knowing that we are an integral part of humanity and that each day has surprises that make our life love filled, fun filled and fulfilling.

Try these:           

  • Think of three occasions when you did not do, what on hindsight, you should have had the courage to do. How did you rationalize your failure to yourself? Would you have done things differently today of the same circumstances prevailed?
  • What were the three most courageous things you did, despite being aware of the consequences? Do you regret having lived by your convictions?
  • How do you deal with a person who is loud and self opinionated and gets very vocal with his/ her views when he/she sees you, because he/she knows you hold a completely dramatically opposite view point.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

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Our rights vs our interests

A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights. Napoleon Bonaparte

As a citizen of a democratic nation each one of us has the right to exercise his/ her franchise and vote in the elections. How many of us have diligently used this right without giving any excuses and voted responsibly? Similarly those eligible for pension are expected to personally go and collect their pension each month. Most of those eligible for pension are old and suffer from various ailments but their family members ensure that they are dutiful taken on the respective dates to collect the pension but the same people may not honor the wishes of these elder people to cast their vote during the elections. This might seem like a bizarre example but it clearly illustrates the stark reality and the naked truth about the approach of people with respect to their rights and their interests.

There is the inherent selfishness that governs the approach of most people to focus on their interests because they are directly affected by it. Rights on the other hand are conferred on us and we have the option to use it as and when we want though the underlying principle of the right is to empower the person to exercise his/ her right for both personal good but largely for the public good. Take the case of people at a railway platform. They have the right to take a platform ticket and avail of the facilities on the platform including using the benches put there to sit on it. While the honest citizen will diligently follow it, the unscrupulous ones will try to hoodwink the authorities and yet claim their right to the seats on the benches. Even more uncouth is the tendency of people to occupy one seat and use the other seat to keep their luggage on lest the luggage get soiled when kept on the floor or it is used to ensure personal privacy by not allowing another to sit on the adjacent seat.

Many of us may have observed the above happenings from afar but may never be directly concerned with such episodes and so we may have a smug feeling of relief that we are not guilty of such tendencies and that we will sacrifice our interests when we have to chose between our rights and our interests. The unfortunate reality is that each one of us is guilty of the crime of being self centered and selfish enough to put our personal interest far ahead of our rights. The most classic case is the fine line that distinguishes between avoiding paying taxes and evading taxes. We have the legitimate right to avoid paying taxes by utilizing the provisions of the law legitimately. Yet when we it comes to our own taxes if we perceive it to be still exorbitant, we would resort to conveniently interpreting the law, perhaps indulge in some dubious means to asses our taxes or simply fudge the returns with the ultimate aim of minimizing the tax burden.

On a more macro level, we as citizens are also guilty of being mute witnesses and turning a blind eye to despicable practices like the use of child labor ( denying them the right to freedom and education), cruelty to animals ( illegal use for animal testing of drugs being the biggest culprit), disparity in wage structure between women and men, denying fair wages to the marginalized and downtrodden  etc.  It is not that we practice it, but our refusal to stand up for their rights that makes us party to the crime of being focused on our interests without exercising our rights.

Remember: “Interest makes some people blind, and others quick-sighted”  Francis Beaumon

Try this:

  1. List out 3 of your pet social causes.  Now that you are interested in them outline how you will exercise your rights to ensure that you play an active role in making the social causes fructify and deliver results.
  2. Assuming you have the time and the inclination to use the Right To Information act (RTI), make a list of causes, public interest matters, areas of concern in which you would possibly use the act. What prevents you from invoking the provisions of the act for public good?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com