Mother Teresa is supposed to have said, ” I will walk with you if you change the name of the rally you are holding. I don’t walk for anti-war protests, I walk for Pro-Peace“.
I might have re-phrased it a bit. But as far as I’m concerned this whole protest culture, streaming across from the Gulf of Mexico’s BP Oil spill, to wikileaks- inspired Arab Spring revolutions, and now in India as Anti-Corruption movement and soon to erupt across South China is supposedly brewed up by access to social media and social networking, and definitely attributed as popular and mass appeal by traditional media, is fast losing appeal. (sorry, got carried away in that long sentence!!)
As it should! It’s like this. The more you shout and scream of stuff you dont like, the larger in life, the stuff you protest against gets. And that keeps people, society, economies from fulfilling their destiny. Am assuming that most people would like a better life style, and societies feel safer and secure, and economies less risky and more wealth- generating.
Am sorry, I really dont get how being anti- something, actually stops it from getting bigger and more loathsome. I would rather be pro- the opposite. And I don’t believe am mis-representing Gandhi, who is attributed with creating most innovative styles of peaceful and non-violent protests. I believe the core principle of non-violent protest is Satyagraha- quest for Truth. And that I don’t think comes from stopping the wheels of progress. I would rather posit that, it comes from changing the intent by holding firm on the steering wheel and changing direction.
and that unfortunately, isn’t happening!
The opportunity then is to consider the opposite! Is it better to have leader-less revolutions as in Tunisia, Egypt, soon Bahrain, Syria and Libya, and civil society, along with judiciary and media activism going against the grain of democracy in India, or rather bring in the change from inside? To Quote Gandhi, “Be the Change, you want to see in the world”. Gandhi’s world vision, based on frugality and thrift, clashed against the world, which then and now, is hurtling along the path of human aspiration – an ancient Athenian motto, now adopted by the International Olympic Committee-
Citius, Altius, Fortius- Faster, Higher, Stronger.
Herein lies the rub! It starts by assuming that all resources are finite, the sun will die out, fossil fuels run out, not enough food to eat, so on and so forth. What if, we actually pondered and realized that Human Aspiration works better with being Pro-.
Green revolutions have kept millions in india from starving because it made good economic sense to fertilize farms with ammonium nitrate, use better seeds, pesticides, and get better yields. The energy paradigm has already shifted three times in the last 200 years- from brake horse power to steam torque to internal combustion and jet propulsion.
And its already on its way beyond. That doesn’t happen when you say NO! to horses, or coal and steam, but say YES! To gasoline, and then safe nuclear fuel, rocket fuel, now to Hydro-fuel, and solar.
Same story with the issue of bringing “Black Money” Indian for undeclared wealth, back from Swiss banks to India. One guru says that will equate the lowly Indian Rupee to the Mighty Dollar. The man doesn’t realize, its exactly the current exchange rate, which brings cash into his devotees’ wallets and his donations.
Its all about the mindset! If we flipped the original assumption- from scarcity to abundance, from competition to creativity, the whole basis of the Anti- movements would disappear, IMHO.
Interestingly, the flip would probably be that the folks who are currently siphoning off, would invest more in the effort to spur more creativity, which in turn would give them better returns for their undeclared stash, while creating more fulfilling lives, safer societies, and stronger economies.
Think about it! Am thinking of going PRO- the opposite of all ANTI- as in Anti- corruption becomes Pro-Efficient, inclusive governance. Can think of a million other causes which would benefit if only we went PRO-!!