It is to be noted, though we seldom do it, that we have little choice in the matter of selecting our parents. Similarly, the parents have no choice in the matter of selecting their off spring. There is no doubt that the children inherit the genes of their parents but they have absolutely no control over the innumerable permutations and combinations of genes that occur in the production of babies.
If we widen the circle a little, we find that we have not chosen our siblings either and yet we are stuck with them. Same is the case with all our relatives whether from the father’s side or from the mother’s. It appears, though, that we have some liberty of choosing our friends and (in some cases) also the spouses. But we choose them only from the people around us not from the whole world.
The people around us constitute a very negligible fraction of the entire population of the world. Thus our choice of friends and spouses is also so limited that we can hardly call it a choice. In short, we have little or no choice in the matter of selecting our parents, children, siblings, relatives or even friends and spouses. Nevertheless, we have to get along with them, willy nilly. Sometimes we do it consciously and sometimes unconsciously. For getting along, we have to make adjustments.
The others do it, as well, to get along with us. It is always a two-way traffic. The adjustments seem to be involuntary in as much as we get used to them right from our childhood. It is wrong to think, and also impracticable, that the other fellow should always adjust himself or herself to suit your convenience. You need to go half the way before you can expect the others to cover the other half. There are, however, two exceptions to this general rule. In the case of parents and children relationship, the traffic has to be ‘one way’. You are not supposed to expect your parents to make adjustments to suit your convenience. You have to cover the entire distance to meet their requirements without asking them to take a single step. It is so not because there is any reason behind it but because God and His Holy Prophet (PBUH) have so directed.
The other relationship, where the general rule is voluntarily broken, is love. [Here by ‘love’ I mean love without a trace of lust]. For the sake of the beloved, you are even willing to walk an extra mile without your beloved taking a single step. The parents-children relationship may also involve a similar emotion in which case the children deserve to be congratulated.
Let us now divert our attention to institutions. I have not written about the individuals in vain. The institutions, in general, and the political parties, in particular, may not be as helpless as individuals in the matter of selecting their partners but they still have to make a lot of adjustments to get along with the other institutions or parties. In the matter of making adjustments, however, the political parties are not completely free, contrary to the general belief.
One of the hosts on the several TV channels presently on the air, has been heard to say that politics is a game. I would like to point out that politics is not a game. Politics is a serious business. It is a great responsibility. It is meant to serve people not rule them. It calls for sacrifice not self-aggrandisement. A politician while making adjustments should at least remain within two boundaries – moral and legal. Moral boundaries are determined by the faith one professes. Legal boundaries are laid down by the law of the land. Regardless of what political party you belong to, if you are a true politician, you are not supposed to cross these two boundaries, should the heavens fall.
Whether at the individual level or the collective level, the process of decision-making must always involve a principle. This principle may, however, vary from person to person from group to group or from organisation to organisation. For example, if a decision requires you to make a choice between life and honour, one person may prefer honour to life while another’s choice may be just the opposite.
Another example may be that of black mail. If you are being black mailed into doing something you do not like, my advice would be, “never surrender, come what may.” But another person may think it is advisable to surrender for the time being. However, I would adhere to my own bits of advice. Honour is more important than life; and there is no end to blackmail if you once surrender. Every decision has to be based on some principle other than the principle of survival. No body is going to live forever. Therefore the excuse of avoiding the possibility of death is not a valid excuse.
Courtesy: The Nation, 10/4/2008