Yesterday when we were going out, in the car Rhea asked a question to my daughter Priya. She said, “Is it our flags birthday today?” It was not a simple question. Priya said, “No, it is our constitution’ s birthday!” For a five-year-old, the next inevitable question was what the constitution is? Priya said, “It is a rule book for all of us.” Rhea then asked, “Did Bappa write the rule book?” Bappa is the Marathi word for God.
In childhood, everything is very straightforward, that includes life. Good things in life happen because of God, and the bad things occur because of the demons. They define everything as 0 & 1; things are either black or white. There are no shades of grey. Childhood naivety is responsible for a comfortable life. For kids, there are no complexities. When life is good, they laugh when it is sad, they cry.
But adult life is tricky and where everything is in shades of grey. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a book representing today’s times. For the benefit of those who are not aware of this book here is the link.
This book is about sex, control, wealth and combination thereof. Wealth is about ownership. The concept of ownership started ten thousand years back when humans started organised farming. With farming, the nomadic tribes began to settle into areas near the water, rivers or lakes. Many settlements also started near the sea, but the drinking water was a problem initially.
With the ownership started the issues of controls. In other species like monkeys, rules were mainly about leadership and females. There were no other assets; hence things were and still are simple. But today humans need to control the area, then the city, state and nation. Further people want to control other countries. Controls are taken to get natural assets.
I was just trying to imagine a naïve world, as seen through the child’s eyes. Life would be simple. Children can play, chat with each other. There are no language barriers; they don’t have territory issues. We should use Google Earth, metaphorically. When we open Google Earth and see our home, we can get to know the house distinctly when we zoom in. Start zooming out. First, we see our colony, then the area, then the city.
Further zooming shows us the state where we live, then the nation. As we zoom further, we see our continent — finally, the whole earth. What is the meaning of this change? These images take us away from the barriers we have created, the barriers crash. We go away from our small abode and are taken far away from the language spoken. Finally from the geography of our nation and the continent. We need to rewrite the Bappa’s Rules, as seen from Google earth as there are unnecessary barriers. We need to think out of the box. We should become naïve like small kids.
If you think that Pramod is trying to visualise utopia because I am trying to say something impossible; no sir! It has already happened to some extent in our world. What is the European Union (EU) after all? EU was born in 1993. Most of the European nations joined the EU or agreed to be part of the EU and share the same rules, currency, visa and so on. They have managed to remove the artificial barriers. A couple of years back when we took an Alpine tour, we started in Germany, went to Austria, then to Italy.
Further, we travelled to Switzerland, again to Italy and back to Switzerland. Finally, we took our flight back home from Frankfurt in Germany. No border checks, no customs inspection, we could use the same currency Euro in most of the places.
When a big continent like Europe can survive using naïve rules where they tried to remove many artificial barriers, I am sure other nations can also work to remove the obstacles. There are problems in the EU, but questions had been worse when there were more barriers. Imagine a world free of passports, visas, x-ray machines and so on! There are problems galore like terrorism, refugees who made it necessary to create such complex systems.
When she was younger, Rhea had asked me one question in a Mandir. “How does the Bappa know when I ask him to make me wise, in Marathi? Does he understand all languages?” Bappa or God is our creation. He does not bother about barriers; he understands every language in the world. We know him as God, Jesus, Mohamad. The different species look different; some fly, some are underwater. Some are two-legged, most are four-legged. Except for humans, all other species follow nature’s rules. They die when they die. Nobody takes them to hospitals. Birth and death are natural processes and should be accepted as they come. I am sure some of the species must be feeling sad when one of them dies.
In many cases, when their time has come to go, they only go away from the clan and die.
Which constitution or the rules are the correct rules or better rules? Bappa’s Constitution or the nations’ constitution? A good idea will be to have a mix of the two the way EU manages their affairs. The nation should follow local rules for running the nation and God’s laws for international relations. Writing these two lines is quite simple, and bringing them into practice will be tough.
Coming to the naivety of 50 years back, what has changed in the social fabric? In India, there used to regular riots between people of different religions, the number of riots have come down. But the social atmosphere, these days, is always either tense or very tense! In the United States, African Americans were not allowed to take part in beauty pageants. There used to be open discrimination till late ’60 s of the last centuries. Discrimination has reduced somewhat, but I feel that people have become subtle, they have not changed. The coarseness in the Americas is on the rise for the last few years. The stressed social fabric of current times is due to jingoistic social media and political atmosphere both in India and the USA.
Galloping technology is supposed to bring ease of living, but it also brings in a significant gap in rich and poor! Besides the usual reasons for a socially tense atmosphere, this divide of haves and have nots is going to add to the stress — all the more reason why Bappa’s Constitution will make more sense.
Let us all pray to him in any language (he will understand) to bring naivety back to our society. Pray to Him to teach us to improve ourselves so we can remove disparity, hate and barriers!
Rhea, to me, Bappa’s rules are always right!