Friday, April 9, 2010
The tapestry of our lives
Ramesh Ramanathan brings about a very important thought in this piece in Mint. Few days back I wrote about the contradictions that define our lives. He brings about the contradiction of the need to provide for one's family and the hundreds of challenges thrown up by a market driven economy and at the same the the phenomenal amount of work to be done in public life where markets can't reach.
I liked the metaphor of seeing society in the form of a fabric whose threads need to be tied up by each generation. Some of those tapestries are in a haywire shape like say in Afghanistan, Iraq where no one would choose to relocate to while some of the tapestries would be very fine like in a lot of developed countries. The choice before an individual is to see which of this social tapestry does one want to align oneself with. Do you choose to contribute to the tapestry of your own environment where lots of people have contributed several years of their lives since independence or would you like to experience the silkiness of the fabric of the nations whose work has also been done by several generations of toil.
The key point is that both the aspects have to be balanced. You can't afford to ignore the challenges of social life, problems and try to choose only one's private pursuits. The problems that plague our judiciary, politics, human development indicators are our very own. If we choose to define the boundary of our lives on the basis of our own loved ones, we will never see a bright future. Or we may never know where are we pushing our own lives in the process. There is a serious limitation in pure self interest.
I would say this is particularly important for those people who have the acumen and rigour to contribute in the more challenging domain of public life where the fruits of action are determined on altogether different principles. Things have never remained as they are if no one acts on them. For example rights for homosexuals would not have been granted in the country had the intelligensia chosen to avoid the difficult arguments, or for that matter the efforts of thousands of black leaders under several decades of repression.
The silver lining is 'no contribution is small'.