Thursday, October 02, 2008

"You must be the change you want to see in the world."

Happy Birthday Gandhi Ji - I am in the land of Gandhi and today is one of many bank holidays we have in India.

Gandhi is on every currency note in India, I have met several people in my 3 and1/2 years here, who follow his ways, living simply, non violent. etc. But overall with the westernization and economic growth my perception is that most of India has forgotten about Gandhi and his practices. Non violent protests do occur, as well as the violent ones. Friends and I attended a march in support of the rights of gay, lesbian, transgender persons last month - that was inspiring. We actually followed the route of Gandhi's "Quit India" campaign in Bombay.

I think the modern day India will struggle with how to grow, modernize yet keep the teachings of Gandhi alive. Certainly the greed and corruption present in India is not what Gandhi had in mind (although I am sure there are many un publicized events of his own life he is not proud of, he is human!), I am faced with such corruption constantly when working in the development sector. What is startling to me is the unabashedly use of corruption.

I met with a local Union leader a few weeks back, he is proud (displayed on 20 foot billboards outside his compound) of his work for the people. He has a school for girls, art program for tribals, medical camps, etc. etc. He is a unitarian minister and is pleased to display the several religious symbols in his office/sitting room (minus muslim, did not see any islamic symbols). When i asked if they used only non violence in there union protests and demonstrations he said of course yes, but I am aware at my own workplace his use of force with our management. Knocking a man off his motorcycle when outside our school/farm grounds, chasing our security gaurds and threatening to beat them and union members/employees ganging up and beating up a manager.

When I asked him about corruption, he straight faced told me, he tells his people it is ok to take money as long as you are not taking money that would go to the poor. Doesn't it all end up taking away from what would go to them? What is shocking is that corruption is accepted, almost expected. I certainly am not perfect, I am not trying to pass off judgement, but trying to give an example of how the country idolizes a man and his ideals yet does not follow them. I wonder how India will grow and develop without weeding out corruption.

It is easy enough to learn the game and how to bribe and be corrupt yourself, if you play along you too can get ahead. In the short term. That is part of the issue I find here, short sightedness. Looking at the immediate benefits versus planning for the future. I face it constantly in my work the challenge of planning for long term. Perhaps in a country that is young as far as ruling itself and is experiencing and has experienced so much poverty it is a challenge to think beyond your next meal, next month's rent, electric bill, water bill, etc...I certainly have come from a privileged background in those regards.

I am not naive to believe that India is the only corrupt nation in the world. Now we are faced with an onslaught of political games and messages in the US, where of course corruption is evident. On a different level almost legalized or at least rationalized by the legal system.

I think if there is a way the world can adopt some of Gandhi ji's teachings it would be a better place (yes, i am still an idealist!) .....I am posting a link to a video of his grandson speaking. Beyond the obvious dangers of physical violence which I detest and do not see a need for, he speaks of passive violence. Our attitudes. Being Positive. This message comes at a good time for me!


edson_dias said...

I think India will always struggle because of modernization. but thats not what I'm worried about. I'm more worried about our environment. If we don't conserve our forest now, I'm afread we'll only end up destroying ourselves in the name of modernization & development.
Oh. BTW Happy Gandhi jayanti to you

Anonymous said...

Define corruption, Stacie. Corruption is not only the lack of integrity, saying one thing and doing one thing is also corruption, of the mind so to speak. So one could also term you as 'corrupt'. How may I explain! When someone 'shows' that he/she came on the pretext of doing 'social work' and then gets into a live-in with a localite. Of course, the localite was not a nipple sucking toddler. But how many Indian men can get an Indian gurls to get to a live-in? Not many, still. But with a foreigner, its always easy, she just has to be comfortable with you and there, you can 'get' her. Indian cities not being kind to women add to their advantage and then the foreigner has white skin. Which Indian man does want that.
I do not know who is the innocent party here and who is guilty. My best perception is the man becomes corrupt first and he then makes the woman corrupt. Women by default are not corrupt. After all, why would a man want to get into a live-in? He, at his first glance knows what he wants from her - sex, friend, a companion or a wife. Sorry, if this portrays you in the bad light but so seems the case. You just might well have played to the stereotypes or general Indian perception of white women being loose. And I say this without having those little details of who did what and how did it start, how did it go and how did it break details. And though I may not be all correct, I don't think I'd be particularly wrong. Though women, I must say, have an in born advantage - whenever they are in trouble, they can always portray themselves as victims.
Gandhi's view on this was the institution of marriage, to avoid temptation and to remain faithful to one. Which for the west and the westerns doesn't seem to be the case and neither it does for many Indians. Take a clue and find someone you can be faithful to and he can be faithful to you. Only a woman is bestowed with the power of conquering a man.
Drop all the 'sexual freedom' shit. It's hogwash. And then you ain't 20 anymore, perhaps the biological clock is ticking as well? Move it gurl, you can do it.


Stacie said...

grrr, i typed out a comment and got an error msg bX-w90v67
hmph, will try again when i have a better connection.

Stacie said...

Funny that whoever commented on my post is someone who knows me, at least somewhat to know my living situation for the past 3 years. Odd that someone who does know me would not express these feelings in person or at least not comment under anon. Yet they feel free to post information about my private life on the net.
If you really knew me well enough you would know that of course I am corrupt, this post did not intend to state otherwise. I sometimes post things I find personally inspiring, and as I am on a constant journey to be a better person or improve myself (although I do NOT think a live-in reltationship or partnership is morally wrong for me) I wanted to share my feelings and the information. So as in my path to become a less corrupt human being in physical or mental acts, I found the words of Gandhi’s grandson encouraging.
Most of what I post here has some personal relevance and I simply want to share what touches me. I am not clearly communicating if it appears to come across as preachy. I am the last to judge! ha! Grew up with enough of that around me to know it is not beneficial to anyone.
I assume you anon are Indian, have not seen anyone but an Indian use ‘gurls’ in their vocabulary. You do sound judgemental, I am aware that my lifestyle is not acceptable to Indian standards or expectations of traditional relationships. Me and my partner certainly have had non traditional relationships or experiences in our relationship in the past and we felt this arrangement worked just fine. But a lesson I have learned in life, in my aged years you so rightly pointed out! ha!
I can not please everyone. I have tried in the past, to please others. I am sure my relatives (western in fact!) would not approve of my ‘live-in’ situation. If I am not hurting anyone or myself, I think how I choose to live my life is my choice. Finding out what I want and what pleases me is hard enough without worrying about pleasing everyone else and fitting under their moral umbrella.
Your coment sounds like you have been hurt or have been angered by foreign girls. I don’t think generalizing is a fair or wise thing to do.

edson_dias said...

This is in response to the petty comment by Anonymous
I remembered a short story I once had written after I read this petty comment. It's a story about a rabbit who wanted to get on a island but didn't know how to. so the rabbit blamed everyone & everything else for it's failure to get on the island. the water is too cold... I will drown.. etc. You ( Anonymous ) are like the rabbit. you seem to blame the author of this blog for something that you'd rather be but can't. The comment that you made clearly reflects your complex. Perhaps you have resigned to your destiny. Accepted your faith. Some of us choose the path we wish to live irrespective of what our families or society thinks. It's an individual choice that we make. Others like you just follow main stream because it's safe or for whatever other reason.
I think you are just frustrated because of your lack of self confidence & you are guiding your anger towards stacy. GROW UP . Get a life. Stop making excuses for your failure by claiming you are not white skinned. & how foreigners have it easy & all that crap. I'm sure foreigners have their own set of problems living in this country.
Step out in the open instead of living inside a dark Anonymous cabin in that narrow head of you for a change.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, before anything else, if the comment hurt you.
I will write a detailed message again and will try to be more rational.


Stacie said...

not so hurtful, as shocking. If this is about fair white skinned having an easier time of it in India, I would not debate that. I do get this automatic respect (surprisingly, due to british rule and all..but that could be a debate for another post)

Anon's post seemed more personal. So it makes me wonder who I have angered, I don't like to keep enemies!!

But as I posted before, it is hard enough to know what I want in life and what makes me happy versus trying to please others. Impossible. Obviously i have offended you in some way, and you are choosing a public forum for discussing rather than personally coming to me. That is your choice, not much I can do about it.

Anonymous said...

There IS no way to 'come' to you. I would have done that if I had the option. However, I do agree a public area like this not the best way to talk things that are personal. So try and list your e-mail on your profile, it might help. I have been wanting post another message but have refrained. MayI say again, the anger/hatred is directed towards an idea and your decision to accept it. You can't hate a 'person' considering the fact that you've been regular at their blog for more than a year (?) now. Could you kindly send a 'hi' to this e-mail? >>>


Stacie said...

did you just make up an email id? blue love?

ha! ok, well thought my email was accessible on my profile, but is not and can't seem to change it at the moment.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving the ID such a deep though. You think 'love like deep blue sky' could also gel with those two words? Have used it for ages...

Anonymous said...

'thought' rather