Injustice is forcing its way into our daily lives. People with money power and influence can trouble women, grab the property of others and break any law they wish. They can hire goons to threaten and kill, and spend money to publish ugly lies to ruin the reputation of good people.
We tolerate their harshest demands even when we know they are wrong. We do not want to displease the big and powerful and draw their anger. We do not realize that our fear and inaction encourages such wrongdoers to do more harm. Their next victim could be us. The path of least resistance is easy. But easy is rarely the best. We may think, someone else is getting hurt because of injustice. It is not troubling me. So what do I gain by objecting?
Meanwhile, opportunists encourage and praise the wrongdoers, hoping to get favours. Powerful but unscrupulous people thus gain courage to misuse their power more, when they are not challenged. Wrongdoers grow into horrible monsters who cannot be controlled. As Rabindranath Tagore rightly said, those who commit injustice, and those who tolerate injustice, are equally despicable.
Power is not bad in itself. Powerful people are necessary to maintain order and bring progress in society. Strong and upright leaders like Gandhiji, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel worked to make India a free and strong democracy. The power of such leaders came from their belief in truth, virtues and justice. Millions of ordinary people supported their principles and increased their power before the world.
When power is used to bring positive change and benefit many people, we should support this. True leaders work sincerely for the common good. We must encourage them and gather public support to strengthen them. It is misuse of power that we need to be concerned about. Ordinary people need to unite and challenge when powerful people grab benefits for themselves and their cronies, while depriving many others. Power coming from greed, anger and deceit may seem to win at first. But we ordinary people can and must unite to protest and curb injustice. When powerful people make injustice the norm, resistance becomes duty. After all, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
As ordinary citizens, we can make a difference. We can lead by example in our community, workplace and family by following principles of justice and fair play. We can unite as a community to reprimand our peers for breaking rules or harming the interests of others. We should begin by believing that it is wrong to discriminate against others because of caste, religion, language or financial status. We should understand that lies spread forcefully do not become truth. When powerful forces instigate us to do anything, we should ask questions and be convinced. We must not blindly follow.
In the Lord Jagannath Temple in Puri, there is a statue of a lion, standing in victory over an elephant. This shows the dominance of buddhi over bal. Our ancient culture has always promoted the importance of buddhi, right and principled thinking over brute force. Raja in Sanskrit means he who pleases the people. Our democracy is based on the power of ordinary people. Let us remember the importance of our buddhi and make responsible and just choices in life.
(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)