The human brain has a high capacity to overcome problems and find solutions. It thinks differently given a chance. It feels the need to see in an innovative way of moving forward. How does this happen? It happens if you allow the child to be curious, questioning every small thing. Sometimes a parent is so fed up that she ends up telling the child, “Every why has no reply because the Sky is very high!” It is easy to suppress curiosity because you are busy; you do not know the answer or the child has asked an awkward question, say about sex! It is not the child who is awkward, but it is you! In today’s time when Google is around, finding an answer to anything is a matter of a few minutes. But we avoid it or do not try it.
Effects of intellectual freedom and curiosity are there to see in this world. The other day, I was watching an interview on India Today TV by Rajdeep Sardesai, and he was interviewing BMC Commissioner Mr Chahal. The problem was the availability of Ambulances in Mumbai. Some organisations or individuals own ambulances. In today’s times, their availability has become essential due to the pandemic. Mr Chahal explained an attractive solution. He approached Uber, who anyway is not highly active currently. He got hold of all the ambulances, ensured that there is a driver available all the time. Uber agreed to allow BMC to use their software. Anybody needing an Ambulance must access Uber app and simply order it. It is a classic example of Government-Private partnership.
The way Mr Chahal was ready with data, actions proposed, and actions already taken instilled a lot of confidence in viewers like me. Same Mr Sardesai, who was upset with the Government, which transferred the previous commissioner Mr Pardeshi. I am sure now Mr Sardesai must be feeling quite confident about the capabilities of Mr Chahal. Honestly, I was not satisfied with Mr Pardeshi.
Given below is a video about Naman Gupta and his organisation. Where ever we travel in the world, cities and places where we visitors go, are spic and span except for one thing. In each country and continent, one thing common is the cigarette butts thrown all over the place. Why it is so common is difficult to understand. But Naman Gupta decided that enough is enough. He decided that he needs to do something with this problem. He made a plan, formed an organisation and has been collecting and processing these butts- Code Efforts Private Limited. I will not go into the details of their operations. But Naman and his company are working with great zeal to correct the situation about cigarette butts. They have been doing this for the last four years- the company started in 2018. Their first problem was collecting these butts; they found an innovative solution. Friends, I leave it to you see the video and decide for yourself about the effort.
What Naman’s effort has done is to instil confidence in people like us that things are okay in this world. Somebody wants to do something and cares about our mother earth. That too, by doing something exciting like converting these butts into usable products. When we see apathy and disrespect about nature everywhere, these small beginnings give us confidence that things will improve in future.
Similar effort but on a much larger scale was started in Pune by Adar Poonawalla- CEO of Serum Institute in Pune. He pledged Rs.100/ crores to launch an initiative called http://adarpcleancity.com/
Adar Poonawalla founded the Clean city initiative in January 2015 with the sole purpose of improving the environment and waste management in the city of Pune his home base. He said “I am a proud Indian. My pride takes a hit when I look at our streets and roads compared to those of other more developed nations, and so instead of criticising any government, I decided to pledge 100 crores to pick up and manage our waste and garbage in the city of Pune. The waste and garbage not only is damaging our health and environment, but it is an embarrassment to foreigners and visitors who visit India. Today we have over 200 trucks/ machines and over 400 employees for managing this activity covering more than 600 km of roads in Pune (roughly 60% the city)”.
Such efforts take away our mind from the doomsday predictions about the world. There are people, and there will be more and more people who will come forward and make this earth a better place to live.
Historically, which personalities instilled confidence in us? It is said that during the second world war, Churchill had a high command on his oratory, and he instilled confidence in the British people. There is a joke on this subject. Churchill was taking a taxi to go to the studio to give his weekly speech to the nation. He waved to a cab. The driver stopped and said, “If you are going in the direction I live, I will take you. I have to listen to Churchill’s speech.” Churchill took out a One Pound note, a princely amount in those days. The driver said, “Hop in! If you are giving me a pound, to hell with Churchill!”
In every society, there is a goto group of people. In case of difficult times, calamities, disasters, this group of people simply starts working to help people. We are lucky to have two such groups in India. One is the Sikh Gurudwara Samiti, and the other is RSS. Both groups are a part of religions. Gurudwara Samiti is part of Sikhism, and RSS (Rashtriya Sahayak Sangh) is part of Hinduism. But surprisingly they are apolitical.
Gurudwaras have a tradition of Kar Seva. I have visited a few in Pune and the Golden Temple in Amritsar. While I neared the open space outside the temple, it was spic and span. There were volunteers around to pick up stuff thrown by you and me. They would discretely stand on the side and every fifteen minutes or so pick up stuff and clean the area. People told me that even if you throw something in front of them, they will never challenge you; they will simply clean the area. Their humility will change any nasty person who would behave indecently. Inside in an area, Prasad was offered to everybody in a Dron (a cup made of leaves). About fifty feet away, a person was standing with plastic bags to help people carry Dron. Mind you these are all volunteers who in real life could be industrialists, business owners or CEO’s of large companies. It is their way of giving back to society. Their Langars are famous for feeding every person who goes to Gurudwara irrespective of their caste, creed, sex and religion. During disasters, they run these Langars all over the world. I have read about the Langars run by them during the pandemic, in London and New York too!
See this interview by Barkha Dutt of RSS workers in Dharavi, Mumbai. These workers are helping the corporation of Mumbai to test the people for infection. There was a doctor, a physics professor, a chartered accountant, a businessman, a hawker in that group. All these people had taken a break from usual work to help the corporation, and thereby the nation. When asked by Dutt, “How come you are working here since your government is not here?” The simple answer was, “We do not help the governments, we help people.” RSS workers have rushed to areas in Kerala during the flood, to the eastern coast of India during the tsunami. They do not wait for someone’s instructions. Their organisation is such that volunteers simply gather together and travel to areas where help is needed.
Friends, with Gurudwara Samiti, RSS, Mr Chahal and Adar Poonawalla in our society rest assured that everything is going on well in this world. There will be blips, and there will be obstacles to surmount. Of course, there will Trumps of this world around. But goodness and keenness of these people will instil confidence in humanity. If all of us do some good work in our “personal” ecosystem, our mother earth will always look the way she has been! A great place to live!