By Biraj Dixit :
‘Make hay while the sun shines.’ This simple advice about life full of opportunities coming right from our farms has marched through quite many twists and turns so much so that even the sun does not know what all people make while it shines or while it is still dark. People have learnt to make their hay with or without sun. Amazing, isn’t it? The little problem, however, is that when everybody is making hay, there is lot of hay. But more pertinent is the question as to who, then, is taking care of sowing, watering and removing the weeds? Of course, absurdity and human genius often go hand-in-hand but we must, as a society, think whether too much human genius is causing too much absurdity? Oh! But please do not read this only in context with the recent events in Maharashtra.
True, there was a lot of absurdity and human ingenuity and lots of hay with or without sun, but my context is much larger than what has come out of the genius of a few Maharashtra politicians. It is about the entire world of hay-seekers who do not bother to consider that their actions are diminishing even the mighty sun. And that such action will have consequences. In a far away country, the person sitting in its highest office may be removed from office for doing something he had always done. He bargained and his nation is now telling him that to bargain as head of an enterprise is quite different from bargaining as a head of nation. Countries after countries, nations after nations are facing protests with people marching against their governments. At an international climate summit, too, world leaders are being accused of ‘sleepwalking past the point of no return’ and ‘fiddling while the planet is burning.’
The planet, they mean, is paying for making too much hay! Recently during a conversation with a politician, the often repeated argument was made. “Why blame politicians when all other people in the entire world are behaving ditto (making hay)? Doctors operate for money, lawyers often work hard to undermine the spirit of law, and even teachers are looking only at monetary gains in their profession.” A fair question, a fair argument, it is. In a democracy, leaders are but public representatives. And how-so-heart-breaking it may be but it is a matter of fact that our politicians do represent us. They are embodiments of our collective spirit… or rather lack of it.
They, too, like us, have been churned out of a world where grabbing the opportunities with both hands and at the first instance is not just an adage but a way of life. Earlier, opportunities knocked at doors but now they are waylaid even before they take the first baby steps. So do our leaders gain their right of making enormous hay from us as natural progression? Are they leaders only because they are the fastest in the pack? And if our entire pack is rushing to make hay, how can one wolf blame the other? But most pertinently, who is sowing the seed, watering the plants and removing the weeds? As the pack is alive and racing, there must be some who have not joined the pack or the race.
There are some who are sowing the seeds, some who are watering the plant and some are indeed removing the weed. Or what will become of the human race? Some would say ‘we ourselves are doing all of it. Who else is there, anyway? We ourselves are sowing the seeds, watering the plant and removing the weeds and all this while racing with the pack.’ Of course, who else? But in the haste to accomplish all these are we achieving the goal or doing it just as another routine, heartless exercise? Let us hope, in our haste to do all the work and yet march with the pack we do not act thoughtlessly. Let us hope we are not sowing weeds and removing seeds… Or are we? Do we have the time to think? Bless those who have the will and the conviction to leave the pack and march on lonesome journeys to till the soil, sow the seed, water the plant and remove the weed. As they are not one of racing pack, they have all the time to think and nurture a future. They keep telling the world about the beautiful relationship hay enjoys with sun and how sun is the one thing you cannot overshadow. l