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"Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in."
- Napoleon Bonaparte

India begins with “I” – i.e. ME….

There is so much wrong but "NO ONE" is doing anything about it..sounds familiar...??

We all hear this on our daily life. Any meeting, party, casual chat or discussion about nation and society starts with the familiar cynical complaints about various issues and problems facing the nation and how come ‘NO-ONE’ is doing anything about it.

This got me thinking – Who are we talking about – this ‘NO ONE’...who is he? The politician, bureaucrat, judge, journalist, common man... you, ME... This article is trying to demystify this ‘NO ONE’ Character...

Many of my friends and colleagues often complain and look frustrated about so many things going wrong while nothing is being done to rectify and no one seems to be bothered. They also mention about the good experience they had when they lived or travelled outside India and how everyone followed the rules and did their bit of social and civic responsibility. Majority of them seem to have good intentions and some are even willing to do their bit but do not know where to begin. They feel so overwhelmed with the problems that they can not think of a starting point.

They think of ‘WHOLE SOLUTION’ and feel helpless without realizing that ‘WHOLE is made of PARTS’.

As we engage in the discussion and when I ask them as to what are they doing to solve these problems, most of them draw a blank. The common refrain is “WHAT CAN ONE MAN DO” or “I AM DOING MY PART BY PAYING MY TAXES”. I agree with both the statements and but they are only partially true.

Yes, it is true that one man can not solve all the problems – say removing corruption from society or educate every child or fix all broken roads, but ONE MAN can still do lots of SMALL THINGS and if each of this ONE MAN does these SMALL THINGS, the SUM-TOTAL will be very LARGE.

To understand as to ‘WHAT THIS ONE MAN CAN DO’, lets begin by asking some simple questions -

How often do we call our local municipality office to inform them about a leaking water pipe wasting precious drinking water?

Do we ask our maids as to if and where do their kids go to school?

Do we stop to take care of an accident victim and take him to the hospital or we just ignore for fear of being questioned by police?

Do we bother to interfere when we see an eve teasing incident or just ignore it for fear of confronting the offending party?

Have we ever advised a car owner whose kids throw empty chips packets on the road from a moving car?

Do we volunteer to clean our neighbourhood park or add to the mess by dumping our own garbage in the corner of the park?

The list can go on and on....

These are just some examples of our social and civic responsibilities which we encounter and mostly ignore in our everyday life?
Can we call ourselves responsible citizens if the answer to the above questions is 'NO'.

All of this and more can be done by this ‘ONE MAN’

I will illustrate this with one real life example -

Our local government school has implemented Mid Day Meal, which is mandatory as per central government directive. On a casual visit we noticed that 2 out of 3 teachers were involved in cooking the meals, where as some kids were helping them with cutting of vegetables etc. Further inquiry revealed that the cook who is paid only Rs. 600 by the government has refused to work for such a paltry sum and since it is mandatory to provide mid-day meal, teachers had no option but to cook meal which took more than 30% of their working hours. We called the cook and promised her extra Rs. 1,400 per month. We also hired one cleaning helper to make sure that teachers and students do not waste their time in cooking meals. All this was done from community donations and is working very well for past one year.

Now lets look at this ‘ONE MAN’, who is he??

It is ‘YOU’, it is ‘ME’, it is ‘US’... this is the power of this ‘ONE MAN’ which can change this nation.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want”.

Just imagine, if we all start doing these small acts of our responsibility towards our society, our nation, how nice things will look around us.

I hope this article will get you thinking. I look forward to your comments.

Please visit this space again for more on this ‘ONE MAN’...to be continued...

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