' Being the Change...

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Being the Change...
By Melissa Nazareth

October 30, 2011

Iím not a fan of Ranbir Kapoor and probably the only movie I could bear him in was Wake Up Sid. What a movie that was! I could watch that Bollywood flick a million times over for a million reasons, one of them being Ayeshaís (Konkona Senís character in the movie) house. I love how the movie depicts an anxious but brave and talented young lady from Kolkatta coming to Mumbai and getting herself a house of her own. The whole transformation of the house into a home is another piece of heaven all together. The minute details like the yellow wall with its photo frames, the grandfather sofa in one corner of the house, the lacy curtains dancing as the breeze rushes through the small window, the big dry bathroom where Ayesha sits and writes to her hearts content; all of it make the home such a beautiful personal space, a sanctum sanctorum of sorts. 

Abraham Maslow categorizes shelter as one of manís physiological needs and rightly so. Isnít oneís home a sacred and safe space to which one can return each day-end thus feeling a sense of security and belongingness? Guardian figures, our homes are, and they make us feel like would a foetus in its motherís womb. If for any reason, this protective hand had to be moved away from over our heads, one canít even imagine the emotional and physical vulnerability that one would experience.
The recently proposed move to set up Greater Talacauvery which would allegedly expose 2.20 lakh people in 120 villages to a potential threat of displacement immensely perturbed me. Conservation and protection of nature are important though definitely not at the cost of natureís children- you and me. Moreover, the exemption of major estates owned by powerful individuals in these tracts of land from the purview of the project compels one to analyse the sentiment behind claims for conservation and protection. Why does it always have to boil down to the economically challenged strata of society bearing the brunt of all actions? 

Assuming that the project is executed, what could be a possible solution to the main cause of insecurity which is rehabilitation? Rehabilitation is an emotionally grueling process in itself. The fear attached to the lack of assurance that the displaced would be sheltered further aggravates the insecurity. The general reaction to such a situation would be pointing fingers at the government. Yes, the government is responsible for public good; but isnít the government a representative body? Doesnít the government represent you and me? So arenít we as responsible as the government is to take small steps in ensuring public good? Iím not, in any way, trying to free our leaders of their responsibilities. Nor am I denying that as the citizens of the country every penny that is earned by the sweat of our brow is paid to the government as taxes in order to insure and ensure our security and well being. That said may be there is a moral angle to the whole situation. A small contribution from each one of us could definitely make a difference to those in need. The more we have the more we ought to give. May be the Gandhian Principle of Trusteeship needs to manifest beyond black and white. It is easier said that done, given the menace of corruption, but definitely worth a try. 

So how do we come into the picture? There are so many NGOs that fight for the rights of the underprivileged and for victims of injustice. The least we could do is reach out to the people in need through such established platforms. It may cost us a small fraction of the whole that we enjoy but it could change the whole life of that small fraction of the society that we live in!


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Comments on this article
Dexter Britto, Mangalore/AucklandTuesday, November 01, 2011
Very interesting and well-researched write-up , Melissa.

Your article is an eye-opener and you have rightly emphasised on the fact that protection of nature and the need to see that people are not displaced are factors which should be considered before any major proposals.

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