(Republishing with permission. I received this via e-mail from a friend of mine. )
Dear, dear fellow countrymen!
No day could be more auspicious to share with you certain concerns regarding the coming elections which I and a few of my friends have in our minds keeping in view the future of our great country.
On the one hand, recalling our mastery in the software designing field in the last few years, our economic surge on the world scale, our winning the first-time gold and other medals at the last olympics and to top it all our taking the Hollywood world by storm today by winning 9 straight Oscars one is left in no doubt that the time of India to regain its ancient glory and be one of the leading countries of the world has arrived.
While on the other hand, from clouds of anarchy and instability in our neighbourhood made more monstrous by the possibility of nuclear weapons slipping into wrong hands leading even to the possibility of making the area an arena for a third world war, to the possibility of more and more Mumbai-like terrorist attacks as a consequence, to the almost uneducated, self-centered and criminal-like behaviour of most of our politicians sends a shiver down one’s spine as to whether this country can remain even united not to talk of its becoming great.
Any sensitive soul of India would have wept from his heart if not publically hearing sage-like speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s helpless words a few days ago cursing certain politicians for their unruly, goonda-like beahviour in the Lok Sabha.
“May you all be defeated,” he had lamented.
No doubt we are at the crossroads of history. Wise say such are the times to make or break something, somebody, an individual, a country, a nation.
Either we can think right thoughts, take right decisions and follow them with right actions and make our great country jump to a new level of awarenes and work-culture compatible with the great possibilities enumerated in paragraph first above, that is, of achieving its ancient glory and leading place in the comity of nations, or,we can let ourselves be taken over by lethargy, laid-back devil-may-care attitude or even worse, by our own local self-interests to let the things drift the way they are so long as they serve our own petty interests and behave as if nothing really worrysome is happening. With the inevitable result that sooner or later it will go the way of neighourhood, into anarchy, into divisions and ultimately into death as a country.
It is time to choose. It is time to choose almost between life and death as a country.
We, some friends, have made our choice. We have chosen life.
We have found ourselves unable to forget the India of yore, the India which gave birth to almost God-like gurus, rishis, munis, fakirs, saints, fighter-saints, kings and princes; the India which gave birth to Vedas, Upanishadas, Gitas and Granths full of wisdom derived from the wisdom-wells of all regions and religions, the India whose spiritual reach touched the godly heights of seeing all as One, indeed seeing all as God. While in the West one William Wordsworth talked of seeing the world in a grain of sand and was celebrated for that, here it is the reality for almost everybody thanks to it.
And so here we move further to choose what right thoughts to think, what right decisions to take, what right actions and work-culture to adopt and then share them with you. With the full hope that just as we have brought these words and thoughts right from our hearts, similarly, you too will follow them right from your heart, that is, with utmost earnestness, as if your very own life is at stake and not of some distant entity called country India.
Now below I will enumerate what right thoughts to think, what right decisions to make, what right actions to adopt for your kind consideration.
A. Right thoughts:
1. I am an Indian first and Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian etc later. No doubt I cannot forget my religion which is really the core of my being but for this very reason I will keep it strictly to myself. I will take it as my most secret pact with God. So that I will not take part in any of those religious affairs/activities in the open which will have the potential to harm my country in any way.
2. I am an Indian first and Utter Pardeshi, Punjabi, Haryanavi, Himachali, Bihari, Maharashtrian, Gujrati etc later. No doubt I cannot forget my state but I will think of my state only as a part of India and not in isolation. If I am really honest I am sure I will not face any difficulty in serving both equally well at all times.
3. I am an Indian first and my individual-self later. I recall that it was not always so and understand and accept the necessity of it being so now. Because extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures and moreover, I would better try to keep my country alive even at the cost of myself now rather than lose my country and make my life even more miserable alive than dead like Palestinian people later. By so doing I will at least be ensuring a home for my future generations not to forget the future generations of India.
4. I would not blame anybody because of their past/past actions, but only because of their actions from now on. I will keep myself free from any depressing thoughts regarding past if any by constantly reminding myself of Lord Krishana’s words in Bhagvad Gita “What happened was for the good”. I know paradigm shifts in people’s awarenesses cannot be brought about by keeping them bound to their pasts. It is an experience really of the soul and for it to happen people’s souls will have to be set free of their pasts.
5. I will envision more and more role for youth in the future because I know that not only are they full of fresh energy but even more importantly, are free from the burdens of the past. Yet I will not allow this at the cost of respect for the elders, because I know that elders did no less in their own times to bring us to the state where we are now and where we can at least breathe, think and act freely.
6. I will prefer inner wealth of knowledge and wisdom over outer wealth of assets and luxuries. And so will expend far more energy on gaining the former compared to the latter.
7. I think it is time to be leaders unto ourselves and improve whatever things we want to improve rather than wait for the leaders from outside. I will have to be the leader at least for my small world around me myself. I am sure this way some day the whole of India will stand up on its own feet to improve things to really usher into a revolution from within.
B. Right Decisions:
1. I will take decisions concerning the coming elections and even later guided by the above-explained right thoughts. As a consequence, I will not caste my vote on the basis of my religion, region, self-interest or under the influence of anybody’s past. I will judge everybody what and how he is doing now.
2. I know I cannot decide about the goodness or badness of parties in general, especially the main parties and, moreover, know that there are good and bad people in all the parties. So I will choose the best available candidate from my area to caste my vote irrespective of to which party he/she belongs. I am sure good people in any party will do good/spread goodness all around while bad people will do/spread badness. I am sure going ahead my this decision will discourage parties from giving party tickets to bad people in future.
3. I will not be influenced by anybody’s money nor of muscle power and would keep in mind that nobody will be watching me while casting my vote so that I will caste my vote in favour of the person I have freely decided and not out of any fear.
4. I will neither make any vulgar display of outer wealth and luxuries myself nor appreciate anybody doing so. I will educate people to shun it in favour of inner wealth of knowledge and wisdom. I will not vote for the candidate who does such vulgar displays.
5. I have full faith in the ancient philosophy of India that everybody is wise from the core of his being so I will always stand by the idea of democracy even if sometimes its results may not look apparently that good. I am sure people’s inherent goodness/wisdom will show itself sooner or later.
C. Right Actions:
1. I will act as per the right thoughts and decisions given above.
2. I will acquaint more and more people of my area with the ideas contained in this paper even by publishing and distributing it if need be. However, for the time being I will take care not to fall into unnecessary confrontations with anybdoy to ensure my kind of people grow in numbers enough before we act more freely.
3. I will educate people as to the good points and bad points of candidates of my area and will urge them to vote for the good and comparatively honest candidate. I know it will be very difficult to find completely honest candidates so long as people have to spend money on elections and so, I will term comparatively honest candidates those candidates who collect money only for elections and not for making personal assets. I will not be easily swayed by the mere outer goodness and honesty of people because I know there are some people who look good and honest only because they are more clever at concealing their bad actions than others. I will go deeply into this aspect with my friends as time passes.
4. I will shun earning money or other perks by wrong means from now on myself.
5. I will shun giving or receiving favours.
6. I will not approach anybody/people in power for any personal gains.
7. I will work to the best of my ability, power and efficiency. I will do my best to remove the notion that “work to rule is like strike” from people’s minds. I will put greatest value on performance with honesty rather than on mere honesty.
8. I will set examples for people to follow and will patiently wait for them to follow on their own by overcoming their past prejudices/weaknesses step by step rather than force myself on them and expect immediate results. I know paradigm shifts are led at first only by a few people, not by crowds. Crowds will first have to be mentally prepared obviously by persuasion, by helping them understand certain things at their own pace, by motivation rather than by force. Force can be used only later on the exceptional few who prove themselves to be beyond reformation by persuasion or by any other means.
With this my dear dear countrymen, I close my paper. I earnestly hope that mother India shows you its inherent mysterious ‘light’ at this critical juncture which enlightens you enough to see the truth in the above words and gives you strength enough to follow them in true spirit.
contributed by Harbhajan Singh
Jai Ho, Jai Hind