The time is ripe for inculcating value based education and disciplined life in our youth. We are reluctant to address the problems that exist in our society. We allow some filmmaker to portray us in the most vulgar and derogatory manner as in the movie Dum Maro Dum where our women were sought to be shown as cheaper than alcohol and which further portrayed Goa’s Catholics having a free lifestyle; that our Government and law keepers turn a Nelson’s eye to the illegal activities going on in the State and much more like all policemen are corrupt, that our youth live a free life style and get trapped into smuggling drugs for easy money. To top it all that we are sussegad.
The height of this is that our people not only take it lying down but defend the makers of this trash that perpetuates a wrong impression of Goa and its inhabitants. We invite trouble and give it a rocking chair to sit on. Now, it is time to take stock of what ails us as Goans and make sincere efforts to wipe out the evils that afflict us.
There are deadly sins that are eating into the fabric of our society. I am not speaking about the sins that one confesses but about those which plague us. We are afflicted by the sin of avarice, cruelty, hypocrisy, malice and moral cowardice. These are the evils that colour our attitude to life.
The first evil is avarice. The dictionary describes avarice as reprehensible acquisitiveness. We are in a rat race to acquire more human wants that are limitless. Avarice is limited by our bodies, our capacity to actually hoard or consume. Leo Tolstoy in his How Much Land Does A Man Need portrayed the result of great greed that takes a man to his grave.
Gautam Buddha has said that desire is the root cause of all evil. Desire is the drive -nothing is ever enough. If belongings/wealth defines human happiness, then sorrow would disappear from the face of the earth, but it is very much there. Instead of enjoying each day, we postpone our happiness and instead work ourselves to the bone because we desire more than what we need. This also makes people indulge in anti social behavior. Permissions for casinos, dance bars, human trafficking and other illegal activities are the outcome of man’s desire for money beyond his requirement.
The second deadly sin is cruelty. Cruelty to animals has motivated human beings to protect, nurture and care for them. Then why is there no sensitivity to the emotional, physical, psychological cruelty we cause to other human beings around us specially the vulnerable section?
Cruelty comes in degrees of severity and heartlessness. Fighting someone cruel is more difficult than fighting a psychopath. A psychopath is often spontaneous, mindless but a villain is bolstered by intent and is fully aware of his actions and consequences. Being saintly is not the alternative. Some politicians and so called good doers pose as social workers. We cannot hold the world to ransom by random acts of kindness to cover up for our cruelty. If cruelty is a sin, so is faked piety.
The third evil is the sin of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy’s other name is double standard. Maybe we can forgive a hypocrite in private but we definitely cannot forgive the sins of hypocrisy in politics especially when our public officers and elected representatives commit them. This is an age of negative campaigning and mudslinging. We expect our politicians to be transparent and consistent. Transparency has gone with the wind. Those who preach values, religious convictions or moral uprightness in public surely have it coming when they stray from that path in private. Is it not the hypocrisy of those in power that invites drug peddlers, casino owners, dance bars, builders, and traffickers giving the State a bad name?
Malice is the purest form of evil, taking pleasure in the discomfort of another. We start a whisper campaign against a colleague to get him fired because he considers himself above the occasional coffee run or because he is a sincere worker and so considered a threat by those who have no desire to work hard. If we can really hurt someone – an insult to really cut them to the core, then we will use it at the slightest provocation. Generally people who work for a cause are also targets of malicious people. We will be insinuating nasty stories about anyone who is well thought of in society. We make it our business to be cruel and vicious and get a kick out of even the bleakest situation. One who stoops to malice gets a perverted joy from the pain the act has caused to another.
Moral cowardice is the worst evil. It is at the top of the list as far as human sin is concerned. Confucius has said: “to know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice.” A person, who by choice avoids danger lacks courage, is craven dastardly and a milk sop. This is physical cowardice. Worse than physical cowardice is moral cowardice. Cowards are weak, fearful, wet and worthless. When fear grips them, when confronted with failure they cannot respond, retaliate or rise up to respond. But the moral coward has a choice. He knows what is right or wrong and he chooses wrong. The moral coward justifies his decision with more lies, arrogance and malicious forethought. Everyone in our society is getting infected by moral cowardice.
The time has come to look inwards and change. Can we rise to the occasion?