Do you Have a Social Conscience

I was in a comfortable zone doing my daily chores complaining about the lines in queues for drawing your money from the bank and a zillion other things, when I was rudely jolted out my comfort zone. I was reading Arundhati Roy’s “Broken Republic “and I freely admit that I have never been moved to this extent. It left me questioning our natural comfort zones and our daily life but, do we ask the important question “Have I made a difference in somebody else’s life “?

When young, most of us must have attended the almost mandatory blood donation camps, helping out a friend in an accident or some such situations. Since winning the Booker prize, Arundhati Roy has spent almost 15 years in the pursuit of justice for social causes like protesting against the building of big dams, rights of tribals and against companies extracting minerals at a horrendous environmental cost. Her book highlights the plights of the tribals in the mid-Indian forest belt in  Madhya Pradesh, portions of West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Orissa. She explains how the tribals have been systematically marginalized, brutalized and finally abandoned, all in the name of development. I first read about her when she fought on behalf of the Narmada Andolan protests and her then articles in the Outlook were like a series of master-writing examples. The depth of her involvement can be gauged by her voluminous information she presents to buttress her arguments. Most of the information has been collected personally, hiking through jungles and unfriendly terrain meeting key people to gauge the ground reality. Hats off to one who can spend so much time on the upliftment of the under-privileged like the tribals, instead of a comfortable life.

I guess there are many small ways you can help. In one of my previous articles I had written about a man working in a small company, who always fed two elderly people every day as a tribute to his parents. In another instance, a retired man collected excess food from marriages and functions and distributed it to the poor. I also remember a man who voluntarily helps in disposing of dead bodies for poor people who can’t afford the cost of burial. Recently, I read about an orderly who takes critically injured people to the hospital and the case of the victim on Jayamahal road almost cut into two, is fresh in my mind. There was a case of a prosperous doctor from Bangalore who used to practice in the countryside during the weekends caring for the needy.

There was a movie called “Pay it Forward “ starring  Haley Joel Osment which showcases the example of a young boy who initiates a simple example of doing something for two people instead of thanking his benefactor and each person to carry this message forward to two people and so on. You can imagine the beneficial chain reaction resulting out of this. This is one of the few times I feel how nice it would be, if such things happen in the real world. Fortunately for me, I still see many examples of selfless work around me and this keeps me really buoyed up to face many challenges. I have spoken to many people doing such work and what came up was ‘a deep sense of satisfaction ‘with no thought of reward.

If any of the readers come across such self-less work, do write to me and I will try to include it in my future articles.

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