13

“Before criticizing a man, walk a mile in his shoes”

When a small town boy leaves his hometown to pursue his higher studies, loads of aspirations go with him. These aspirations are not only his – it has been the dream of his father who took a loan to fund his coaching for the IIT’s preparation, a mother who dreams of his son bringing her a saree after getting placed, a brother who thinks of joining one of the IIT’s soon after he joins, taking the necessary guidance for the preparation. The whole community feels proud of this boy when he makes it to the rank list – thinking that if this boy can do it, their son can too. Everyone except from some stray elements. These are the ones who now realize that this guy doesn’t deserve this seat.

They shout all around the colony how he had cheated in the exam, how he belongs to a particular reserved category and hence got the seat, how he didn’t deserve it because he was a weaker student than their son. Little do they realize that it requires sheer hardwork to crack it through, little do they realize that it costed him those kilos he gained while sitting and preparing on the chair the whole day calculating those sums, little do they realize that he didn’t play holi for preparing for the next test while their son was was roaming around with colors in his palms. Little do they realize that getting that “reserved seat” required hard work too.  They certainly needed to take a walk in his shoes before criticizing him- at least a mile ahead.

So the question arises WHY? Why do we criticize people? Is it a human nature, or a characteristic of a self that is inherited due to our surrounding? Is it really natural to criticize someone? What are the reasons we criticize someone? Shouldn’t we look forth, ahead on time or may back in time to understand the context of his misery, ideology, self belief, that we criticize it too often too soon? Let us look into the different aspects and reasoning behind this nature of ours.

One aspect of criticizing someone is being judgmental. We live in a society that judges the well-off and that judges the poor. The society- to an extent-is always judgmental. Now is it worth judging someone after a short span, maybe a meeting or so? Of course not! During our graduation, we judge the people who come from a small town. We judge him for his shaggy clothes and his “native tone”. The act of criticism being our way of “backbitching” about him, certainly not on his face because we consider him of a different league altogether. But do we realise that maybe he comes from an extremely poor background, that maybe the money we spend for a time of dinner in a fine dine- he spends only that much for the whole month as his pocket money? There must be some reason he doesn’t buy new clothes, that he doesn’t celebrate his birthdays, that he doesn’t eat out except for the college mess. Little do we try to know why he got this “tone” of his- maybe this was the first time he was out of his village.

We live in a patriarchal society. A society which judges a single mother for being single, without his husband, and also being judgmental to her meeting with a male who takes her to dinner on weekends. But do we try to walk a mile in her shoes before criticizing her of not abiding to the “social norms” as they say it. Maybe he lost her husband who was fighting for the country on the border, or maybe his husband was an unsocial sociopath who beat her up and hence she being an independent women decided to part her ways. Maybe she has her aspirations too and hence she doesn’t rely solely on her husband giving her concessions, may be she is meeting that new male because she has realized that he may keep her happier and also look after her child.

A different aspect of criticizing is when our ideologies don’t match. A right winger liberal capitalist type may criticize a left winger socialist who revolts and compels the government for the freebies- the food people are denied of, the education they are deprived of- just because they cannot afford it. It’s easy to say that he doesn’t wish to work and that he is being a “pseudo-socialist”, but may be he has been through all this struggle himself. Maybe he was denied the job he deserved as the industrialists had took away his land promising him the growth. Maybe he had to go through the same plight that the people he is fighting for now are going through.

Different case studies show how the negligence and radicalization of the youth that takes place have been subject to mass inattention and laxity. We judge how terrorist are from a particular religion, but we never see what was the reason he left the country and joined a terrorist organisation, only to get killed sometime after. Same goes for the naxalis.

Another type of criticism is when we criticize someone even though we cannot do the same work we are criticizing him/her for. When Yuvraj Singh couldn’t perform in the WT20 worldcup final against Srilanka back in 2014, people criticized him for not being able to finish the match for the country. They threw stones at his house and criticized him. Most of the people who criticized him are those who mustn’t have even played a match in their locality’s corridor! Did we ever think how the guy, who had won it for the country not once but twice, must have felt after this loss? We cannot judge someone, for something we are not an expertise in. There must be some untold reasons and scenarios that he/she couldn’t perform.

The fourth type of criticism is when we “criticizing without realizing the inclusive role”. For example, we may have heard people criticizing the government being an impotent in bringing in change through Swacch Bharat Abhiyan(SBM). Now, little do we realize that the government has already done his work by spreading awareness about importance of cleanliness, it requires the effort of all the individuals combined to make it a success. Criticism won’t do the work, working against the criticism would!

The fifth type of criticism is giving someone a “destructive” or “demoralizing” criticism. These are those people who know that they cannot perform better than someone and criticize the other only to demoralize them. Leave alone walking in their shoes, they already KNOW that they can win the game only by using the tricks of crook. We must try to ignore such type of people and their criticism. But won’t we get the same kind of people everywhere? We should rather skim through the good points of his criticism, the ones that can make us better and convert his destructive criticism into a “constructive” one.

We create bubbles in which we allow ourselves to settle into a comfort zone. When we are criticized, the illusion of this bubble is burst as we are forced to acknowledge that reality is far different to the world we have been inhabiting. Different people lash out in different ways, but these are varying responses to the same problem.It is only by forcing ourselves out of our comfort zones and accepting our limitations that we can learn to deal with criticism better.

Different people have different perspectives. The idea should be not to criticize someone, but instead walking in each other’s shoes, putting each other in the rival’s place, looking into all the positives and negatives, and coming up with a consensus that may be a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.

What further needs to be done? We should realize that being critical or giving a critical note to someone also wants us to expertise in that subject. Even if we aren’t an expert, the criticism should be a rational one and not because you have been asked for a criticism. We need to make sure we haven’t missed an aspect ourselves before concluding about someone or his/her something. Before we criticize a women who couldn’t abort her girl child, we should realize that she has developed a bond with her, before criticizing the government for being incompetent of implementing SBM, we need to put the wrapper we threw on the road into the dustbin,before judging the cricketer, we need to ask ourselves “Did he really want to loose himself?” , before judging someone of his clothes, we need to realize it wasn’t by “choice” but helping him would be our choice.

3

Are the best things in this world for free?

Imagine the best things that you can think of, that can give happiness in your life. Best things are certainly “variables” in today’s world. No “thing” in the world can bring us permanent happiness. “Things” in this case have a materialistic aspect. For some, this thing may be a Mercedes-Benz, for some it may be turning into the CEO of his own firm, some may have this thing for the next Iphone to be launched in the market or any new electronic device. But are these materialistic things for free? No. You pay for it. By physical strength, mental strength, your time, perseverance and patience that helps you earn those bucks, increase your bank account till it looks like your phone number.

So what is it that the quote wants to say? Let’s take a small example to understand this.

Armaan, a young boy, had always aspired of being an IAS since he was in 8th standard. He was very determined to achieve his dreams. He worked hard, each passing day, making sure that no stone left unturned. He was dedicated through out this process. Although destiny had something else in store for him. While the results came, he was shattered. He had flunked in the first stage itself. Obviously anyone who had given the exam with such a vigour and passion would be depressed. When he couldn’t clear, he thought his parents would scold him and his best friends would taunt him. Of course they all were disappointed. But they knew this wasn’t how they should be reacting. What they did was something different. They hugged him, told him to not loose hope, be patient, that they were with him in his bad time, motivated him to stay strong, laughed with him, so that he forgets all his worries for the time being. That next time there won’t be no next time.

Let’s see what all things we get in life for free :

parents love

Love : This is most important thing that one gets in life for free. One doesn’t require a hefty bank balance to get this. The love you get from a fan who follows your blogs is enough for you to have a smile on your face. Love from your parents? They come without a price. It is something which is not swayed by selfish desires.

faith family

Family and friends : Good friends and a great family is the biggest asset in life. A supportive friend, a mother’s care, who is awake till you come back from the club you went to lying your mom, a father who earn’s only to fulfill your wishes are something we get in life for free.

dreams are free

Dreams : Dreams are something which can never cost you. You can dream of becoming a pilot, an astronaut,a sailor, a wrestler or even the Prime Minister of your country. Only those who dream are the ones who succeed in life. So dream whatever you wish, whenever you wish, no matter of tough it is, no matter how awkward it is to tell someone what you dream about. In the end it’s youR choice, and nobody can point out if it’s wrong.

hope

Hope : When you have nothing to loose, you have hope. This is something you should never loose. Whenever your purpose is defeated, you hope for the best. If this isn’t how things go for you, prepare for the best and hope for the worst. But hope. It keeps you motivated. And it is the virtue of a winner in disguise.

dedication.jpg

Dedication: This is something which you won’t find at a grocery store for a few bucks. This is inherited from he environment you belong to. If you have passionate and dedicated people around you, you will feel motivated too. This would lead to your dedication.Simplifying it, it may even have been inherited from the human genetic evolution. You see, when you want to achieve something, you need to be dedicated enough to do that. The beauty of this is you have it in you already, just need to lighten it up.

Life : You got your life for free, isn’t it? Unfortunately, some get numb and depressed when they lose something materialistic in life, liked a failed job, a failed exam or maybe a failed relationship. They try to end this life. News nowadays are filled with stuff about how students commit suicide for pity issues. We must realize that this life is given by the almighty, the immovable, the infinite. Thinking of ending this life as a human, we must think of those stray dogs who have no idea when will get proper food. At least we are lucky we have a better life then them, ain’t it?

the best 5.jpg

We saw that even though most of the things pointed out above can be bought for free, yet the secondary things accompanying it can cost you. For example : The smile on your face after reading a fan mail costed you those kilos that you gained while sitting on the chair and thinking for hours what to frame. Similarly, the smile that you owe to your family and friends after you have achieved something is something money can never buy. Dreams are something which doesn’t cost you, but achieving your dreams sure does. Hope is for free, but to make sure that hope is achieved comes with the price. Get you dedication in place and move ahead to get the “materialistic things” you had longed for.

What I personally can conclude from the topic is that hardwork is the only path towards achieving happiness. Clearly, today’s world is driven by materialistic desires, but at the same time, forgetting the importance of things in life that you get for free should be cherished too. Had Armaan not got a support system in the form of his friends and family, he wouldn’t have hit back hard. The point being, a person must be able to cherish those moments, those strengths, those shooting stars, that they get for free. We often don’t value the things which we get for free. We need to, so as to bring out the best in us.

0

Kyoto to Paris – Climate Deals: Is the Future of the World Safe?

Sankit is a 11 year old boy in the 6th standard. While he was at school, his teacher asked him to switch off the lights and fans while he left the class and students went to the playground to play. While the students were happy to get the free period, Sankit was curious to know why everybody at home or at school tells him to switch of the lights and fans while not in the room. He decided to ask the teacher.

“Sankit : Ma’am,why do we have to switch off the lights and fans when not in class?
Teacher : It’s because running them uses coal as fuel. Coal usage can lead to earth’s atmosphere rising by a degree, popularly known as global warming. Have you heard this term?
Sankit : In the news, but never understood what it meant. Can you tell the story behind it?
Of course Sankit, will Love to!”

“In the beginning of the 18th century, Industrial revolution started. Machines were run on coal and used in mass production. The way of living changed, and people started getting money and goods at cheaper prices as a result. Everyone was happy. As people started earning, more of them could now have better medical facilities and by 1800, the world population went up to 1 billion. But after some time, a physicist Thomas Fourier came up with this term called Greenhouse Gas. He said that the temperature of the earth can be augmented as the use of coal increased.This had resulted in the heat in the form of light to penetrate the earth’s atmosphere,as the carbon dioxide hence released due to coal usage was doing something called trapped radiation. Getting late ahead, invention of automobile took place, but it was found that the fuel used was further augmenting this temperature increase of the earth. The population had now grew to 2 billion and the usage of fossil fuels for various purposes increased”.

“Then ma’am, wasn’t any step taken to stop this? I mean you told us in the last class that these fossil fuels were limited, right?”

“Yes my child. Now after the leaders realised that Co2 was indeed resulting in global warming, the first UN environment conference, in Stockholm took place. Climate change hardly registered on the agenda, and it centred mostly on issues such as chemical pollution, atomic bomb testing and whaling. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was formed as a result. But later, world leaders came together with KYOTO PROTOCOL. The Kyoto Protocol implemented the objective of the UNFCCC to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. It was based on the Common But differentiated responsibilities(CBDR). Remember the time I said you about Industrial Revolution? The aim of this CBDR was to allow a greater carbon space to the emerging economies who also had to fight poverty by boosting their manufacturing sector, as the developed nations had already used a larger carbon space during Industrial Revolution. This Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 and entered into force in 2005.”

“While this came into force, IPCC Report 2001 found “new and stronger evidence” that humanity’s emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause of the warming seen in the second half of the 20th Century, which later was confirmed to be 90% responsible for the increased emissions. Now do you get it why I told you to switch on those lights and fans?”

Till now we saw how since the 18th century, evidences around the world have been confirming that the world’s temperature is changing. The question arises, why do we even care if the temperature rises? How is it going to affect us? There is a scientific consensus that climate change is occurring, and that human activities are the primary driver.We have heard about the global warming song and dance: rising temperatures, melting ice caps and rising sea levels in the near future. But Earth’s changing climate is already wreaking havoc in some very weird ways. While it’s melting glaciers and creating more intense hurricanes, global warming also seems to be heating up forest fires, which leaves a vulnerable rural and tribal population, who are mostly dependent on forest for their food, fuel, medicine and what not. Rising seas and more extreme weather have the potential to damage irreplaceable sites. Floods attributed to global warming have already damaged a 600-year-old site, Sukhothai, which was once the capital of a Thai kingdom.

cyclone

A primary cause of a warmer planet’s carbon dioxide emissions is having effects that reach into space with a bizarre twist. Air in the atmosphere’s outermost layer is very thin, but air molecules still create drag that slows down satellites, requiring engineers to periodically boost them back into their proper orbits. Researchers have also found that many of the animals have moved to greater elevations, possibly due to changes in their habitat caused by global warming. Not only this, the rise in global temperature and hence the water bodies has seen a decrease in the number of phytoplankton, which has lead to the increase of unwanted populations under these bodies.

Some of the most uncommon and never thought of affects is the untimely sneezes and increased rates of asthma patient. Yes, you got it right, the global warming is to be blamed for this to some extent. As global warming brings an earlier start to spring, the early bird might not just get the worm. It might also get its genes passed on to the next generation. Because plants bloom earlier in the year, animals that wait until their usual time to migrate might miss out on all the food. We certainly don’t want more animals and birds getting extinct do we?

birds.

 

So, what’s actually happening? What are the steps being taken? Recently we saw the conclusion COP21 in Paris, a UNFCCC convention. The countries have come up with this long term goal of to make sure the temperature of the earth stays well below 2 degree centigrades.To achieve that goal, governments all around have pledged to stop the rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, and also target to limit the carbon emissions so that the period after 2050 may see man made emissions reduced enough to a level that is affordable and absorbable for both the oceans and forests.

Until recently, each country came up with this Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) keeping in mind the common but differentiated responsibility. But the fact that there is no penalty on the countries who miss the target draws suspicion. A legally binding agreement with penalties to the overshoots should be the need of the hour if we truly are determined about the climate change issue.

Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the developed nations to make sure subsequent technology transfer takes place to the developing nations so that they have it with them to make sure the INDC’s are achieved. The agreement also agreed upon the wealthier nations contributing a major amount of the funds and leading the way instead of abiding to the concept of “moving forward along“, as someone needs to lead the way in this struggle against climate change.

However, the question that still remains intact, are these deals really worth it? NGOs all over the world don’t seem happy.They welcome its aim to limit temperature rise to 1.5C if possible, a tightening of the previous 2C threshold for dangerous global warming. It sends a clear message that fossil fuels are on the way out, they say – although more action is needed to make the goal a reality. Environmental migrant are forced to migrate from or flee their home region due to sudden or long-term changes to their local environment, due to problems such as increased desertification, droughts and floods. Talks about them are yet to be incorporated.

 

drought

In a way, the way countries have been moving forward since the Kyoto Protocol to the recent COP21, our future generation seems to be a benefitter. But isn’t it our responsibility as a citizen of the WORLD and not only as a citizen of our respective countries to contribute our bit?

polar bear

The bell has rang, Sankit had now a new thing to flaunt about, he knew what global warming is now. This seed that has been sown now may make him a leader of the world in the coming years, where he and his country would be leading the way towards the fight against this climate change. When he gets home, he asked his mother who was planning to buy an Air Conditioner to check if it had 5 star rating, a mark of a environmentally safe appliance. He vowed to switch off his fans and light when not in use, to use blower when at the traffic light and also not to accelerate while he learns to ride a bike. The question remains, isn’t it supposed to be OUR responsibility as a whole to contribute? Can we vow to plant at least one tree a year? Can we use LED’s instead of bulbs? Can we be another Sankit?