I remember the story told to us in 5th standard by our teacher about an ailing farmer who gave a bundle of sticks to his four sons one by one to break it. Each one of them tried but couldn’t break the bundle of sticks. Then the farmer untied the bundle of sticks and asked his sons to break the sticks now. In no time, all the sticks were broken one by one by the sons. Then the ailing farmer told his sons that nobody can harm you till you are united but anyone can defeat you if you are not united or keep fighting among yourself.
I am sure many of us would have heard this very common story. But the problem is how many of us actually follow it. And there are some people I know who follow it but only to attain their limited purpose. I know my friend Ashok Bamal who stays in a village on the outskirts of Rohtak. He and his three brothers all stay together in the same house and their children totaling about 12 are school/college going now and are highly united among themselves. Nobody in the village can afford to take any 'panga' with them. Bamal family is famous even in the nearby villages for their unity. My hats off to Bamal family.
But the contribution of Bamal family at the village level is minimal. The participation of their family members in village sports, cleanliness programs or even helping some poor families from the village is negligible. They didn’t participate even in the “Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao (Teach the Girl Child and Save the Girl Child)” campaign to support the girl child that was launched throughout Haryana. This shows their indifference to their contribution and commitment at the society level. I have a feeling that even if this family sees some robbers in the adjacent house, they may just close their eyes and pretend as if they didn’t see anything. This family is highly united but only within their small selfish world.
I have another friend, Ramesh Bamal who is not related to Ashok Bamal but he will be ready to help anyone even in the middle of the night. He will stand by you, support you and help you without expecting anything in return. He stands united not only within his small family but even with the larger family of the village folks. In fact, Ramesh Bamal stands out wherever he is. Even if he is travelling by train and he sees some miscreants trying to trouble a young girl or some anti-social elements trying to harass the passengers, he will stand up and even coax the other inactive and inert passengers to get up and take the cudgels with the miscreants. Such people unite the good people around them wherever they are for the sake of the society.
They raise the definition of their family to society level and even to the national level. This is what makes a great society. The problem with the sober people is their silence. They don’t open their mouth. They don’t dare to even call a spade a spade. They are too decent to even express their dissent with the trouble makers. Though in large numbers, these decent people stand disunited in front of just a handful of 'goonda' elements who will be totally united. There are people always and everywhere and in all times who seek an opportunity to divide the society in the name of caste, creed, race, religion or even language.
I fail to understand why we can’t think ourselves as Indians first. Why can’t we stand united as Indians everywhere and always? That shall make our India stronger and a super power in the world. Why some people have to oppose even singing of our National Anthem “Jan Gan Man ....” and National Song “Vande Matram….” I fail to understand why some political parties flourish in some local pockets when they follow the highly narrow agenda based on some caste or sub caste or even sub sub-caste. Why their followers forget that they are Indians first and then anything else? Somewhere as a society, as a nation we have failed.
Even in the corporate world, there is a great stress on unity and team bonding to cultivate mutual trust and team spirit. The teams that are united will have minimal inter-personal conflicts and will take their company to great heights through greater productivity and ownership mentality. The sports team that plays as a united entity with the war cry ‘We Can! We Can!” does wonders in the sports field. While the best of the players in a team if don’t play like a team and they have personal agenda, they are bound to perform badly.
It is perfectly all right to be united at nuclear family level and then the larger family level. But then we should be united at village level, district level and even at state level also. We can be fully united within our brothers and sisters of our caste and religion. There is nothing wrong in that. But that unity should at no level come in the way of unity at our national level.
In fact, I am glad that we belong to a nation that has given the philosophy of “Universal Brotherhood” to the whole world. Our philosophy talks of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam” meaning that the whole world is one family. We recite mantras from Vedas, “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhina, Sarve Santu Niramaya …” meaning let all be comfortable and let all people have no illness ….” The Indian philosophy, the Sanatan philosophy, the Vedic philosophy is all encompassing, all embracing.
With such a beautiful philosophy as our guiding light, there is no scope for differences leading to unnecessary fights. Our culture accepts difference of opinion also. Our philosophy gives us the freedom to question each and everything, understand fully and only then accept it or reject it. Let there be dialogue, let there be exchange of views with full respect to the contrary view also. But this should not lead us to hatred or disrespect for anyone and that may lead us to a disunited society which will always be vulnerable to onslaught from the foreign invaders. We as a nation must learn from the mistakes of our forefathers at some point of time in the history when our kings were disunited and mere spectators when a neighbouring king was being attacked by a foreign invader.
Let us resolve to stand united as a nation, as a strong nation so that we can spread the message of “Universal Brotherhood” without any fear from any quarter.
VK Jaitly is a motivational speaker, a consultant, a coach, a writer and a mentor for the corporate world. He is an ex IITian with 35 years of experience in corporate, academics and defence. His workshops on ‘Business Excellence thru People (BEP)’ have been highly acclaimed for increasing productivity and profitability of organizations.
Jaitly has a number of articles to his credit and has delivered lectures/ presentations at National and International forums and has travelled across the globe. He had been the Leader for an All India Motor Cycle Rally and was Oi/C for a Car Rally from Kanyakumari to Delhi. He loves to trek, plays Golf. His first motivational book ‘We Can! We Can!’ has been getting very good reviews.