It was a lazy Saturday afternoon, I was teaching my son about the role of sense organs in the human body; how a sense organ sends signal to the brain, which is then carried to the respective muscles by the nervous system. Thus the brain needs inputs from the eyes, ears, tongue or nose about the surroundings, to react.
As a casual example I told my son, “Look, our eyes are the body’s window to the world. Unless our eyes see a man beating a child mercilessly they cannot send a signal to the brain to direct the body to move and save the child”. No sooner had I uttered the words, than they appeared frozen and suspended in the air, as if seeking affirmation before reaching the recipient.
What had started out as a science homework of my son, soon became an avalanche, filling the mind-canvass with thoughts of varying hues.
I wondered whether in the present social milieu, our brain would command us to stop a man committing the ghastly act of inflicting injury on a child. Would a common man really make an effort to consciously stop it? Or would he rather be a silent spectator, oblivious to the agony of the sufferer?
The reply to this question is obvious. Despite knowing that hitting is illegal, we would not dare, nay, not even bother to react to the situation. Our analytical mind, under the guise of ‘being practical’, would selfishly ask us to mind our own business, leaving others to their own troubles.
This reminds me of a remark or rather a suggestion given by a co-participant at a workshop on ‘Gender-Sensitization’. While discussing the issue of marital discord, the gentleman had remarked, rather defined the level at which, the parents of a married girl should interfere in her life – “when the violence got too much to take”. Implying that while a stray slap, punch or pushing around was acceptable, anything beyond that called for help.
It was a statement that completely put me off balance. By this statement, were we, the educated middle class, the so-called torch-bearer of traditions, ethics, and morality of our society, not advocating domestic violence? Most of us have witnessed domestic violence in some form or the other, but how many of us have actually taken steps to prevent it? And how many of us have thought about complaining against it? Haven’t we brushed them aside as a ‘personal issue’ of the sufferer? Have not our senses, our conscience and our inner voice really got subdued and diminished?
While we complain about the injustice being meted out to the people in this world, we forget that we ourselves are responsible, at some level. On the one hand we haggle over meagre fares with the rickshaw puller, while on the other we have no qualms on spending lavishly at a PVR. The insensitivity we show towards our senior citizens in buses, lifts and roads, the double standards we maintain about the well being of our own kids and that of our maid servant. In a man’s world, rules are made for both the genders, though its interpretation and application are made differently….leaving one gender at the mercy of the other…
In a world that is facing looming threats of terrorism -physical, chemical biological, even mental and the lack of sensitivity towards each other, we are sitting on ticking, live bombs. It is high time we realize that we are not differentiated by our religion, language, political boundary, faith but are united by the single thread of humanity, a small creation of one superpower. What we really need to do is to look inside ourselves and identify the real reason for our existence and to ponder over the fact that life is precious but fragile and during our limited stay on the face of this planet, it is just love for our fellow beings that would sustain us through the pains and sufferings of life.
Sense and Sensibility – Let’s Not Lose It.
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