An Indian Civilizational Perspective

From 360 Degree to Work-Around Living – how did we reach here?

jugad.jpgIt is very interesting to watch how things are done in India and where we Indians run the show. We can get through any hardship to get to our destination. Often times, with very little resources and support. We came up with the cheapest car and with the cheapest computer and so much more. A villager can create a vehicle out of a generator from the tube well. We can do so many “work-arounds”. Not just that we can do these work arounds.. we can actually do them quite often. In fact, we live a life of work-arounds. We never live in the normal lane. We, as a nation and as a race have learnt to live a life and existence of “Work Arounds”. In Hindi we call it Jugaad!

When the road in a posh locality goes bad, the educated and the uber-rich drive past, using the side lane. If that also gets hit, we learn to even run our car on the side-walk or pavement. We can do anything!

When the office of the top IAS officer is dilapidated, he can somehow get his 5 ft by 5 ft cleaned up and perfumed and perform his work everyday including running his computer and internet to create documents that affect billions! When the latest wedding party has destroyed children’s only playground in the entire colony, the kids will play cricket around the crap left behind by the stupid organizers. The parents will tell the kids to not touch anything.

When a top engineer’s wife – who may be a doctor from a top institute cleans her house, she throws the garbage out to another’s path.

These are not disssociated acts. These are not random actions. These DEFINE India and Indians. These are symbolic of our Work-Around culture. IAS officer “work-arounds” the dilapidation… Rich “work-around” rotten road… Doctor lady work-arounds her house limits and her inconvenience.

At the expense of doing things the correct way, we do a great job of work around. The Vehicle by the villager using a generator is a great example of local brilliance, but it is a thoroughly unsafe thing to use for travel. Which the villagers use! The cheapest laptop may have been a great creation, but it never sold as a product!

There is a reason why things are done in a certain way. The COMPLETE way. There is a reason why a road should be built RIGHT. There is a reason why one shouldn’t drive on the sidewalk or a pavement EVEN if the road is not there. Doing so may show the “the show must go on” attitude, but it does so at the expense of “the show must have a stage to be even called a show!” realization!

It is obvious that we are not looking beyond ourselves. But the worst thing is that we are not even looking AT ourselves completely! We only look at the immediate and instant gratification of our senses. Not even looking beyond the gratification and life beyond 5 minutes. What if the Uber-rich stopped their cars collectively and called the MP they elected from their locality and said “Screw you, bastard! Get this thing repaired or we aint giving you a paisa next elections!!” What then? But why don’t they do it? Because getting to the next place – their work, their home etc is more important. The 5 minute gratification. No more is needed. That will do just fine!

Short term – VERY VERY short term sight totally divorced from anything beyond 5 minutes makes us create amazing work-arounds so we don’t have to deal with the burden of gratification that might have come at the point of 10 minutes and been far greater.

Now, contrast this to the Vedic Mantras – which speak of complete well being of an individual and not just ones ownself but of the entire nation, the world, and of the Universe! It is a complete well being – health, prosperity, spiritually, family wise – nothing is left out. Nothing. And no one is left out. Even the stars and moon are given blessings and prayers done for their well being. The vedic mantras reflect a complete living. There is no place for a work around. Everything has a certain way and it has to be done EXACTLY that way. Even the recitation is important. From breathing to eating to position of the devotee to the shape of the deity to the size of havan kund to the things to be placed. Nothing could be short circuited for the right effect.

There was no place for a work-around. One had to use every bit of one’s being – intellect, emotion, action, and life energies (Jnana, Bhakti, Karma, Kriya Yogas) to attain the highest and the mundane.

From that point of complete living – 360 degree Living – how did we, as a people, come to live such small lives? Only a portion of one’s own life is cared for. If I was selfish enough to care for myself – but COMPLETELY – at least one can blame it on selfish-ness. But we are not even selfish! We are working even against ourselves. We can hurt ourselves 10 minutes from now to have our gratification for next 5 minutes.

Something seems awfully wrong with this picture. Its so full of Jugaad / Work-Arounds that it stinks! I am left wondering where and how did the 360 degree living deteriorate into 1 degree living? Any thoughts?

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