Thursday, March 03, 2005

Two to Tango

Yesterday, I noted a street sign displaying the sign --> to indicate a turn. Just below the sign, a longish statement read: "Insaniyat ki khidmat ke liye lagaya gaya." [Translation: Erected for the service of humanity].

This simple line cried for credit - I thought it involved a certain exhibitionism. I smiled inwardly at the thought. This signboard, indeed, was a tragi-comic representation of our society: we want to do good, and we know that good must not be publicized. It's just plain bad manners - besides, it must be a way of life, not something that requires shouting. On the other hand, we know that our society is slow to appreciate or identify those who do small good.

I was having dinner with family one day when the thought struck me: what a blessing to have dinner with a decent set of human beings! After all there are families where the girl child is served the last of bones of the meal. Here I was, with men of my family passing on the better parts of food to me. This is the kind of good that is invisible to most of us. We do not thank not acknowledge - not even see this good - until someone has to shout: "Hey, I did this for the service of womankind!!" And then a feminist of the wrong kind* would think, "What a display of machismo!"

* It can be any kind that's not the right kind. In this context, I mean some uninitiated feminists who just have to be against men. I decry any school of thought that is based simply on opposition, without understanding the cause of the opposition. And indeed, having a right cause. If my theory of conflict resolution is anywhere near being correct, I suggest that most conflicts are only ego-based and can solved if we step out of the realm of ego.


  1. Dear Ramla - I agree but only up to a point. Would you rather that there were no sign and someone died in an accident at that intersection?

    It's sort of like how it's fashionable to diss Christian missionaries. Somehow, their charitable work is diminished because they're hoping to bring a few more idiots to Christ.

    Bottom line: would you rather that I did nothing, or that I gave to charity and bragged about it? (The ideal--charity without bragging--is not an option.)

    *Love* your blog. And there's no wrong kind of feminist.

  2. Faraz - thanks for your continued encouragement. :)

    Zia - you are correct. Perhaps I have not explained well. Yours own is my whole point: the lack of proactive appreciation from society makes the do-gooders shout for credit and attention. If only we said, "Thank you, tell me when you need MY help next time," would such people not have to bring our attention to their good deeds.

    P.S. I think all kinds of -isms have some "wrong" followers. These are people who do not understand the basic soul & purpose of that philosophy, but instead just wear its label. I am wary of the superficial followers of any school of thought.

  3. Okay Ramla, you have a student here! *grins* I loved that lizard post. Made me think.
    Anyway, you mentioned you need help with blog tools. What kind of? You can drop me an e-mail ( or carry on a conversation here.