Yes, Together We Can
by (Capt) Ravi K Mahajan
4. The POWER of ONE – YOU
That ONE is YOU. ONE of 1.21 Billion Indians.
Unleash Your POWER.
Do you know your power, how powerful you are? The POWER OF YOU or THE POWER OF ONE! Perhaps, you have never thought about it. You may always think that you are just one of 1.21 billion. What can I do? Who will listen to me? My feelings are mine alone. Even if I try, who will come with me or support my viewpoint? So, since I am alone and can’t do much, let me leave the things as they are, being run by others. After all, things as they are, are not my concern alone. There are so many others too, who are seeing like me. Supposing I try something, but find no support, I will only make a fool of myself and a laughing stock. So there is no point. Leave the things as they are and carry on.
Sole purpose of writing this article is to show you your powers. I call it THE POWER OF ONE or THE POWER OF YOU. The idea is to make you realize the enormous power which you alone can wield. A Chinese saying goes thus ‘Journey of a thousand miles, begins with the first step’. Famous saying is self explanatory. Same way, every great leader in this world, whom millions followed, was just one to start with. He was a visionary and made others to visualize, what was possible and within human power to achieve. What could be achieved and accomplished collectively? So, people rallied around him, to see their dreams come true. From one, you can become ten, hundred, thousand, ten thousand or lac or even more.
But that power will come to you, only when you are prepared to act. Only action is in your hand, not the results. But when you act in good faith, even when alone to start with, much can be achieved and much can be done. Remember, to start with, everyone was alone, even Gandhi ji, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Lenin or Mao Tse Zhung, anyone. You must have the courage of conviction, willpower in you to start anything all alone. Others will follow and support you. If, what you are doing is right and is for collective good, I can assure you dear reader, that you will always have many others to follow you, be with you in your endeavour for general good. It should not be a selfish pursuit. It should be for overall general good.
Your first step attaining that power through action, will be to express yourself - your anguish, your frustration, your disappointment or the feeling you get, when you buy some attractively packed but found a sub-standard, overpriced item, instead. After having paid the full value, only when you use the item, you realize that you have been cheated. Many times, such items are advertised through your favorite stars. Do not leave the matter to rest, take some action. Go to the seller, inform him about the sub-standard product, send a mail to the manufacturer company. Even if seller says, he cannot do anything or gives you a rounded reply, doesn’t matter.
When any such product is in the market, lots of people buy it. What you have felt about the product being sub-standard and overpriced, many others will also feel the same. If, like you, everyone comes and retorts at the seller or send mail to the manufacturer, they will have to either withdraw the product from the market or will not supply the product in future. In both the cases, you are doing much needed social service or giving a lead. Though as thought initially, that you are only one and were disinclined to take any action, but there are so many like you and even if a few take action, as suggested, you become part of a movement for general good. You have unleashed the power of One on the wrong doer.
You must unleash that power on anyone who has wronged you. Do it honestly but do it nevertheless. Unfortunately, we all are in the habit of grabbing any opportunity to impress others, but NOT EXPRESS honestly. Get into the habit of expressing your honest opinion, where ever you are. Also, always be ready and eager to express your Gratitude, Joy, Appreciation or Optimism. Never leave such positive things left unsaid. Expressing yourself honestly, gives lots of weight to your personality and power to you. So, whenever you also feel cheated or taken for a ride, always express yourself honestly to the person or the organization. Never hold yourself back.
The idea of writing this book came to my mind, when I felt outraged and cheated by the rampant corruption and greed in our political class and other high and mighty, who are supposed to be our rulers, civilian and defense officials, of course, with the connivance of unscrupulous business persons. And we see public helplessly watching this plunder of national wealth by anyone who can. They are literally robbing us with no one seem to be capable of doing anything. It is not only the looting of money and wealth, imagine how much bad name and shame, the sort of corruption indulged in, brings to the very name ‘Indian’.
One after one, scams surface after regular intervals, inflicted on the nation by those in power. It seems to be free for all. Imagine from a ‘poor’ country like ours’, wealth in trillions is stolen and stashed away in foreign banks and other tax heavens, while millions here go hungry. ‘Those in power’, does not mean only the ruling political class, but anyone having the opportunity to steal or plunder, be it a politician, bureaucrat, defense officer or a business person. General feeling among the people is, what can I do? People feel outraged, anguished and cheated, in state of total helplessness, but mostly do not express or act, since they feel they are alone.
It is not only the corruption or greed which is so bad, it is the acceptance of both by the people as a routine thing, to be forgotten after sometime because, the latest scam undermines the previous one. Lesson on ‘Corruption and Greed’ suggests you and your group, as to what you can and must do, within the purview of the laws of the land, to liberate our country from these vultures. You need to put your imagination to work as to what all you can do. You are all powerful if you express yourself and act.
I have a very strong notion, that we Indians are capable of performing much better, than what we actually see in reality. If we improve ourselves, as per the various lessons in this book, inspire and motivate others whom we touch, nothing is impossible with us. Unfortunately, in all the ‘good’ parameters in world surveys, we are somewhere near the bottom, and in all the ‘bad’ parameters, we are somewhere on the top. We are very capable of better collective performance, if stress on developing these qualities, thinking collective, teamwork and cooperation, is given in our homes and in our schools. It is within our hands and in the realm of possibilities to change all that.
Only thing I would like to tell you, assure you dear reader, that you are not alone. There are millions who feel like you do, insulted, helpless, humiliated or disrespected. It is only because you do not take any action or express yourself, that perpetrators have become so bold, not only inflicting on you, the loss of your wealth but also loss of your honour and self respect. You must unleash THE POWER ON ONE on all those unscrupulous elements. If you do not, then the perpetrators will be emboldened and plunder shall continue, to rob you, your children, everyone. Do not leave them, thinking what you alone can do? Just ACT AND EXPRESS. When you do that, you will have people in millions for company. Just be bold to Act and Express. Just put your imagination to work. You are all powerful and can do so many things. Just do it.
Two years back, 26/11 happened to India. Ten terrorists, loaded with weapons and ammunition of all hue and cry, kept the whole country of more than a billion, to ransom for almost 60 hours. For the ardent TV serial watchers, which most of us have become, it was a live serial with all the ingredients of spot entertainment. Most outrageous thing to watch was, with hundreds of TV cameras installed all around the venues, to give the millions of TV lovers, minute by minute description, of what was happening, which was seen or being conveyed to terrorists’ handlers from across the border. Every movement and action of the security forces, was being televised live as if a great show was going on for the benefit of millions of our TV crazy viewers.
In my opinion, it was the most unfortunate and reprehensible spectacle of how we work. In any such operation, what is most important, is the secrecy and surprise element. But here, without least regard for the lives of our police and security persons, everything was being shown and discussed on the TV, so that our TV hungry public have their fill. Authorities also, along with public, were more keen, how the event is being televised, rather than how operation is handled. Enough has been written and televised about the whole unfortunate sixty hours in the life of our country. I shall not go into that. My point here is totally different.
Just one example. What puzzles me most is, that though there were only two terrorists in hotel Taj with couple of thousands or more people ‘trapped’ inside the hotel, none dared to challenge two terrorists. We could only helplessly watch the hotel going on fire, smoke coming out and sound of fire. It’s a known fact that everyone feels insecure in darkness. Terrorists also would have felt the same. If someone had tried, taken the lead, terrorists could have been trapped in one small area of the hotel by throwing the furniture and other material all around them, which was there in abundance in the hotel. That one person was not there, because we all look towards the government and paid security services for our safety and security and protect our lives. We expect paid police or security persons to die saving our lives. And once that police or security personnel has done his job of saving our lives and honour, live or dead, we dump him and forget about him. His family is given a pittance for the one who laid his life saving us, our honour and self respect. Volumes can be written about such things happening.
My point here is that if one or few people had tried to do something, instead most people going under the tables, there might have been a different tail to tell. I am sure if that one person had been there amongst those ‘trapped’, and taken some initiative, many would have followed him and may be, there might have been a totally different tail to tell about 26/11.
On 26/11, at every place, where the terrorists struck, matter was totally left to the police or the security forces to handle, to tackle the terrorists. Time security forces took to act, made the terrorists more familiar with the areas of their operation and, of course, more bold. If even one or few had acted on their own in tackling the terrorists in whatever way they could, whole nation would not have been held at ransom by just ten terrorists for full sixty hours. A terrorist feels bold when he faces weakness, but is very vulnerable, when he is challenged and there was no challenge, only spinelessness.
Only when we, as one, are prepared to sacrifice individually, shall we be empowered. Otherwise, we shall always feel powerless, helpless watchers, hoping our Government would do something for us. Governments and those who run the governments, are all temporary. They shall come and go. We, the people, are permanent. We must do something ourselves, not always depend on the government agencies. When we as individuals, act and express, be rest assured, others would follow. And express does not mean we do so by words only. We also express by our actions and body language. Remember that most of the languages are not more than five thousand years old. Human species have existed for millions of years. During most of this time, they were expressing with body language and actions only. We must do the same.
A rich man has to defend his riches, otherwise his riches may be snatched away from him. He should be prepared to make sacrifices for that. If we, as individuals, are not prepared to sacrifice, we have no hope. And to make others understand that we are prepared to do that, we have to give proof, as often as we can. Proof to defend our riches or nation is that we are always ready for peaceful solutions but, if need be, we are prepared to defend our honour, which is part of our riches, with our life. Things are as simple as that.
At one time, Britain was called Great Britain because it ruled 71 countries. It was able to do that because its people were prepared to die for the crown. Now US! Why whole world accepts the hegemony of the US? Simply because they are prepared to die, defending their honour, as well as their riches. They are prepared to defend their riches by their peoples’ blood. Each of the 1.21 billion Indians must be ready to do that, to defend our country, our honour with blood, if need be. It is our responsibility and we as individuals, as citizens of this great nation, have to fulfill it. No one else can do it for us. Only we have to do it.
This lesson, ‘Power of one’, also deals with another important aspect of our life, which is being ‘lonely’. I do like to be in good company of close friends, but I also cherish my loneliness, whenever it is possible. I do make it possible everyday morning religiously. When, on my morning walk, I prefer being alone. I do not mix for chat or gossip with anyone. After that one hour of walking solitude, I sit alone doing my breathing exercise for half an hour. Though last half an hour is for myself alone, during my walk, for one hour, I review my life, analyze the people I have met, good memories, yesterday’s happenings and future planning.
This one and half hour builds my core, intrinsic self and value system, gives me direction for future course of life. I derive lots of power, wisdom, self-confidence, lift my self esteem from this 90 minutes of solitude, which also makes me feel good about myself. If ever I have any tension over something, I have always been able to unload that during this period and feel totally rejuvenated and refreshed. Result of this welcome solitude is that even otherwise, if I am alone during the day, I welcome being alone which gives me an opportunity to talk to myself and never get bored when alone, since I have a lot to talk to myself, weigh all pros and cons, and analyze events and people. I have been able to concentrate and focus my energies, to what I want to do, think better and clearly when I am alone. Since I utilize this time to focus and concentrate on the tasks ahead, I also get innovative ideas to do things which I might never had thought of doing or possible otherwise.
‘Power of one’ also includes old age. In this book, I have tried to make young people understand life in total, which also includes old age. When, in my twenties, thirties or forties, I never thought I would be sixty seven one day. But here I am. So will you be, whatever your present age. So always plan and mentally be prepared. Then you can really enjoy life. I consider a life well lived, only if you enjoy old age. Everyone enjoys being young but old age, being intrinsic part of life, must also be enjoyed as much as youth, may be in different ways.
Life is ‘Barring unforeseen circumstances’. You will get old one day. There is a reason why so much is written about old age in this book. It is because, I have seen enough people who have lived a very good life when young or middle age but they are miserable in old age. Some time ‘miseries are of their own making, sometimes circumstances make them so. In both the cases, one would fare better if one is mentally, physically and financially prepared for old age. I simply do not understand why people behave like the pigeon, who closes his eyes seeing a cat nearby, hoping cat will not see him. No, that’s not the way. ‘Always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst’, to get the best from life. Develop meaningful lasting relationships, be known as a giver not a taker, make good friends when young, treat people well, have no expectations even from your children, keep your money with you or your spouse, plan well anticipating all eventualities, pray and have faith in God. That’s how you can generate ‘Power of One’ even in ripe old age.
Now let me come to the point. Most old people complain of loneliness. Naturally so! They have lived in good company when young, doing business or profession, good family life and very entertaining and fulfilling social life. But now, they have retired, quit work, children are well settled but abroad or in other cities, and social circle might also have evaporated. Lucky, if both husband and wife are there, unlucky, if one has left. Now attacks loneliness. As old person, you feel left out, discarded, rejected. No one seems to have time for you.
Now is the time to show to the world ‘The Power of One’. Be happy with yourself, even if you are alone. Get up at your leisure, spend good time exercising, do yoga and deep breathing, have breakfast at your leisure, read paper and magazines, watch TV, write your memoirs or other events of life, play or teach the neighboring children and if any time is left, enjoy your solitude. Never have self pity, never blame anyone, never be angry or jealous, give something every day to someone who needs it, even if it is your time and wisdom. Enjoy being yourself. God made you to enjoy life. Do it. You are serving God before you become a part of Him.
In last fifty years, I have realized that when creating this universe, God has given some special potential to each species as well as to individuals. He has left it to us to capitalize on that potential. Lion is ferocious, giraffe and camel are so tall, deer is docile but a fast runner, elephant is so huge, Tendulkar can bat so well, Dhoni is a gifted leader, Vishwanathan Anand is a chess champion. Like them we all have some qualities in which we can excel. From younger age only, we must continuously strive to develop our power points which can be anything. Someone may be good in something but you are good at something else. Success in life is not when we compare with others but be your own judge. Do not let your potential or capabilities lie dormant in you. Identify them, act on them, practice on them and one day not far away, you will be best at them.
I have already written how the idea of writing this book came to my mind. Till about an year back, I had never imagined whether such a venture was within my capabilities. Though the idea got into my mind when I was recuperating in Hospital from my heart ailment, it was finalized during one of those mornings of solitude only, which pumped in so much of self confidence which I never thought, existed in me. But, once I started, it took some time, but as the time passed, I became more and more clear and definite in my mind as to what I must do. I have become more and more confident of myself. I just want to share my wisdom and learning with you. Nothing in life has given me more satisfaction or internal strength, then this totally new effort, writing this book, acting and expressing on what I think is right. It is said ‘You may be disappointed if you try and fail, but doomed if you don’t try’. So I must try, act and express. Being lonely daily, leaves me with lots of strength and confidence to things which otherwise do not seem possible.
We can become powerful, if each of the 1.21 billion Indians is empowered. It is when we refuse to accept things lying down. Keeping or remaining quite about things, only emboldens the perpetrators. Act in retaliation by expressing yourself in an honest and peaceful manner and unleash your power on those, who want to take away your wealth illegally or want to harm you in any other manner, be it Terrorism, Corruption or Strikes. Think and act, imagine what you can do and then act. But act you must. You will see lots of people joining you, because lots of them are there, who feel the same as you, but hesitate to express. Be bold. You are one person army and part of the 1.21 billion strong army of honourable citizens, who are prepared to die defending their honour, wealth and the very name INDIAN.
Howsoever Good or Accomplished you may be, room for improvement is always there. In fact, there is nothing in this world, which cannot be improved or done better. Make Self-Improvement a habit, a way of life with you. Observe others’ Good Points and incorporate in yourself.
Be slow of tongue but quick of eye.
Observe keenly, Think quick but Talk slow.
Always be cheerful. Work that is cheerfully done, is well done. Always do your Best. Both Human Body and Mind have Unlimited Potential. When stretched, you can do Wonders. Simply Do It.
EXCELLENCE is not found in being the Best.
IN DOING YOUR BEST.