Biting with the belly is typical of us only
WORDS WITHIN BY FIRDOUS SYED
The set of cultural values adhered and practised by a group of people largely shapes the outlook of the society thus making possible to understand the nature of that society. We in Kashmir consider ourselves cultured. Time has come to challenge this notion. Without sounding judgmental, (the idea is not to speak from any high moral pedestal, --- we are all part of the same tribe and nobody here can claim to be more upright than the rest), Kashmir presently only follows the Belly-culture. What’s the Belly-culture? Thinking with the belly and acting accordingly, rather precisely, is the Belly-culture.
Thinking with the belly? Well, most of the readers might be familiar with the Kashmiri saying--- Yeidh Seith Choup Hyoun---to bite with the belly. To bite with the belly is slang roughly meaning hitting below the belt--- cheap cunningness? This has found way into our idiom probably due to the reason that the sages of the past might have experienced such a characteristic in the people. Popular sayings are the refined thoughts; wisdom acquired through shared experience. This leads to a probable conclusion: the biting with the belly is only possible if people are capable of thinking with the belly also. Hardly surprising, we tend to think more with the belly than the brain. Just scratch the veneer of our civility, horribly we may discover that most of the times our actions, decisions and thinking processes are dictated by the whims of belly alone.
As we are aware of mind, heart and belly besides their ordinary organ functioning critical for human survival, respectively also helps to stimulate the intellectual, creative and emotional behaviours. Heart invokes passion. Thinking processes dictated by the mind, helps devise logic and rational behaviours. Belly thinking arouses greed, lust and highly self-centred attitude. For some this may sound to be too philosophical or even preposterous.
Psychiatrists and social scientists may ultimately help to define the complex and multilayered functions of the human psychology that should ideally be left to them. Here the endeavour is to cursorily understand the common social traits and the psychological processes which provide impetuous to the prevalent social decaying. It’s an effort to understand the social behaviour simply on the basis of actions and reactions; symptoms and causes. The deep, psychological and scientific analysis of the social behavioural patterns is beyond the comprehension of this writer.
What are the few of the symptoms those superficially may help us to understand the general social behaviour of our society. What are our core values? Exceptions are everywhere; these do not make a rule. Therefore we base our assumptions on the basis of the common practices. And again the assumptions are notional based upon personal experience and not derived from any survey or academic study. Are we an honest, hardworking, creative, intelligent, generous, meticulous, considerate, collectively conscience and morally empowered and upright society? These are the traits of a perfect society; readers have every right to reject this question on the basis of the fact that no society has ever been a perfect society. Every society is the amalgamation of good and bad people. And no individual for that matter can be a perfect human being, a person can be honest at the same time he/she can also be a lethargic. Similarly a person can be highly intelligent and creative, yet he/she also can be greedy and immoral. But let’s reverse the argument.
A society cannot attain perfection. It also cannot be fully imperfect. If there are few dishonest people there ought to be some honest also to keep the society functioning. And if majority is intellectually average as the case in all the societies, very few have to be intelligent and creative to keep guiding the society. If some in the society are cheat, corrupt and plunderers of natural resources’, there ought to be many scrupulous and lovers of the nature to maintain a fine balance between good and bad, evil and vice, conservation of the nature and destruction of the environment. Societies go astray but they have the inherent capacity to rejuvenate also. If the moral compass of a society remains always tilted towards the wrong perpetually, ultimately that society may find its place in the ruins of the history. Certainly the idea is not to visualise each and every member of the society as prefect or free from all wrongs and morally fully empowered. Yet it is critically important to judge the moral compass of a society that will help to understand whether a society is a healthy or unhealthy. This is the way how practical societies try to ascertain their social and moral standings. And the debate is not about perfect and imperfect that belongs to a more idealistic world. To which direction our moral compass is inclined, towards good or bad; right or wrong?
To declare that we are entirely bad people is highly inappropriate. In this society there still are some people who are thoroughly honest upright and dedicated. Moreover there also is no dearth of intelligent and educated people. And some also aspire for a change; thousands have sacrificed their lives on the basis of their conviction. Yet the question remains to which direction our moral compass is inclined? This question is not to be answered through an extremely divisive prognosis that majority of us is dishonest, greedy, and materialistic. We may also have caused irreparable destruction of the nature by our highly self-centred approach. Finger pointing triggers an unproductive debate of allegations and counter allegations, enough to derail the discussion. The riddle of our moral compass has to be resolved by asking ourselves a very basic question. In all our individualistic pursuits: education; employment; wealth creation; acquiring a social status; constructing palatial houses, we succeed most of the times. Some of us have reached the zenith and have served or are serving at the highest place in India, Pakistan, and United Nations or for that matter in United States. Individually we have immensely prospered; there is no comparison with what we were in 1947. There is no stopping when we set an individual goal. On the contrary we have invariably failed whenever we tried to achieve a collective goal.
Our quest for Azadi in modern times began in 1931. Since then we have sacrificed hundreds and thousands of precious lives, but we have failed again, again and alas again. In 1989 we committed ourselves to an armed struggle. We have not utterly failed but our bondage has deepened further. Just compare the quantum of autonomy and political weightage people of Kashmir had with the present hopeless situation. Some of us not prepared to introspect may have a readymade answer: since India and Pakistan two sovereign states on the basis of their military might are not ready to concede an inch, how come a battered and bruised Kashmir can win its freedom. We cannot force our will on two powerful states, apparently might be true. Actually subjugated nations have achieved freedom from mighty nations through grit and collective sacrifices. Grit and determination time and again we have displayed, what we lack is truly a collective effort. Why only Azadi, haven’t we failed in each and every of our collective effort undertaken in the past? Despite everybody feeling the need, could we usher in a movement of social reform? Were we able to reform our marriages? The more we criticise the extravagance, equally lavish, elaborate have turned out to be our marriages. Could we save the Dal and fast depleting forests? Even campaign against polythene has failed to produce results. Are we not intellectually a barren society, we were not even able to produce the collective narrative of our sacrifices and political aspirations. Because we are simply incapable of pooling an effort. Filling the belly expands the lust that kills the passions and constricts the rational thinking. Lust degenerates, passion recreates, and rational thinking leads to collective effort.
Dying Dal is the stark reflection of our collective failure. We cannot save the Dal can we achieve Azadi is the moot question. The hotel or houseboat owner culprit of dumping poisonous sewage directly into the Dal is responsible for the slow death of the Dal. Had this person been capable of applying his mind, he would have pooled his effort with others to preserve the Dal for the sake of posterity. And had he been passionate he would have put every effort to save the Dal , realising Dal to be the symbol of our collective identity. Since he thinks with his belly that’s the reason why mouth of his gutter opens directly in the Dal. ‘What to me’ is the standard behaviour, what happens to Kashmir is nobody’s concern, it’s a stinking mentality. That’s the reason why every aspect of our life is stinking, because we think with the belly, what degenerates in the end stinks only. To which direction our moral compass is inclined; do we still need to answer this question?
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Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 1 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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