On Value of Human Life (in Society)

P Society

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In a country as populated as India, the demographics change the way the economy, the market, the society or the nation works. The society is perceived differently by other nations(developed ones and the ones which are backward) . However, the society too perceives itself peculiarly in a no clear fashion. The understanding of the economists,the educationists, the socialists, the businessmen and the leaders is inadequate and their limited observation gives them a false impression of the society. The products which a business executive thinks will sell may not sell at all. A low-budget film may get loads of revenues than loads of reviews. The schooling system which works for a less populated country can never be implemented here. The traffic control can never be achieved, the nature conservation program may not work as planned, and so many other direct or indirect problems which arise due to large masses. The ideals which were the pillars of the culture and traditions lose their significance, the vices which were the taboo become the order of the day.

The one thing that changes everything is the population. The reason India  marches forward with highest growth rate after China is population which is the cause India still lags behind other nations in literacy rate, poverty etc. The population is as much a blessing as a bane. The new children born everyday ensure the future of the country and demand that present resources be devoted for them. The feature film Peepli Live produced by Aamir Khan struck a chord of agony in my heart. I was aghast to see the conditions of the poor farmers who commit suicide to save their families from extinction. The value of a life doesn’t have a significant meaning in such a crowded nation. But probably we are under-rating this value so much so that the humanness in us is reduced to an absolute zero.

When a person dies, does it affect the society? A drop doesn’t count much for the ocean after all. The society gives importance to his life or not, it makes a huge difference to his family.  So if the society doesn’t regard the value of life, then what does it stand for ?. Society represents the individuals. It establishes their life security, job security and food security. If these were not ensured, why would an individual work for a society. Society has lost its singular purpose of being the support for the individual. In this globalized world, where connections are not made by hand but by Internet, where transactions between people take place in terms of online payments, where people are forever engrossed in a competitive race to cut the rivals out of the market or company or institution, the term society falls short of its meaning. It has achieved so many dimensions that a social activist today needs to look into the problems very deeply. The water at the surface is entirely different from water at the bottom of the pond.

Then if we look at how we try to solve the current problems of society, we have the R word for it, the so-called “revolution”. When the number of suffering people reaches a critical mass, a revolution begins.  The 100th monkey phenomenon may well apply to all the problems in more than 100 crore population country. Interestingly, the meaning of revolution is understood by very few people. The majority of the masses don’t actually know what they are suffering with. They just want to fight and see a change in the society. They don’t know that their revolt might do good or not. As expected, in few years or decades, the society returns to the messy situation as it was before. The peace after the revolution just lasts a while.

It is still disheartening that when the farmer suicides are reaching shamefully high numbers, very less has been done for their benefit. The policies drawn by the government allocate enormous amount of tax-payers money  which equal huge chunks of ice.  These chunks after passing over a thousands of hands, trickle down to few water drops.The tiny tidbit that the victim gets is insufficient to go above his troubles. When Mohammad Yunus started with the concept of microcredit, the banks refused him any capital arguing that the poor are not creditworthy. But instead , Yunus found them to be quite credible and creditable. ( In fact, they are more honest than selfish and greedy businessmen from Wall Street. ) He started his own Grameen Bank(Village Bank) which became very successful over a decade and has inspired such projects in 40 countries world over. Grameen bank and its founder, Mohammad Yunus were awarded Nobel Peace Prize for inspiring socioeconomic development from the bottom of the pyramid.

Conclusion : The large society that we live in cannot survive with revolutions again and again. People revolt and then go back to ignorance. How many times have we raised hue and cry over corruption or farmer suicides ? How many times the peace or the goal achieved after the furore last ? We need to correct the problems when they are at the bud. The problems that look too simple assume humongous proportions as they propagate through different classes of society and then emerge as causes for revolutions. Let us not mistake ourselves, these revolutions don’t show that we are progressing. These revolutions just mean that we are awakening to the house fire after it has gone beyond control. They mean that we are repeating our mistakes now and then and realize them as if they were a revelation. They just show that we are in vicious circle and not on a forward path. If the society or a powerful section of society doesn’t care for individuals, then we have a problem. A little drop may not mean anything for the ocean, but the ocean is made up of little drops after all. Wake up once and remain awake, march forward !!

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