Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Common man: a silent spectator of marching time

Abraham Lincoln once said “God must love the common man, he made so many of them”. All of us hear so much about this “Aam Aadmi” but I wonder who really this common man is?

Writers and film makers have shown us different faces of ‘common man’. R. K. Laxman sketched ‘The Common Man’ for over a half of a century in Times of India, This Dhoti clad old man    silently witnessed all the action and represented the aspirations, fears and conflicts of the average Indian. Anusha Rizvi wrote and directed “Peepli Live” which showed another version of common man in form of Budhiya Manikpuri, the hapless farmer, who finds himself considering suicide as an escape from the debt trap. This film was inspired from a classic of Frank Capra named meet John doe where a common unemployed man portrayed by legendary Gary cooper announces to commit suicide to make story for the media. In the film ‘The Wednesday’, we saw an heartening transformation of common man in form of Naseerudin Shah who decides to cleanse the system and single handedly eliminates four most wanted terrorists in a methodical way. (Click here for a clip uploaded by me ). Now, which face of that is a reality is a mystery that needs to be resolved?

This common man who is deprived of any connection to system and those in power ,  is used as currency by our politicians who weep crocodile tears for him but never really bother to alleviate his misery. Is there anything more to this faceless entity , that is used as a ladder to climb to the top and when apex is reached people forget all the steps they trampled under the feet. Emptiness and hunger of common man has been the route to prosperity for many but sadly the common man has remained empty and hungry.

Kaleidoscope of extremities has all the colors but which one is really prominent is really a puzzle. Isn’t it surprising that a man who, in premises of his house is a compassionate father, a caring brother and a sensitive husband becomes part a faceless mob that is prepared to throw stones and even take life of many who are just like him. That same person in comfort of his cozy drawing room condemns apartheid in Africa, talks about global village and ‘one universe’ but when he enters the polling booth transforms into a fanatic and votes on the basis of cast and religion. Moved by the misery and state of affairs around him he sometimes shouts slogans and swears to remove corruption from root but when he attains power he becomes the part of same corrupt structure and sets himself free by putting all the blame on social and political system. Truly amazing that when this axe enters the forest, one of the trees can always identify that, 'The handle was one of us'. This double faced hypocrisy is all around, isn’t it surprising that,
How a minority
Reaching majority,
Seizing authority,
Hates a minority!

In my humble opinion, common man is nothing more than a term that has no connection with social or financial status of persons. Everyone who lives his life solely on convenience without any firm principle and values is ‘just common’ nothing more than part of herd. Such persons just punch in the clock; no excitement, no enthusiasm, no creativity. This burn out comes because of lack of individualism and thought. Such a person treads blindly on path of faith and such Faith is a terribly powerful thing -- to have and to lose. It has sent men into battle for centuries, it has ripped families’ apart, driven wedges through friendships and has made us to choose run of the mill sort people of no character as our leaders.

 There is something in each one of us which can set us apart from common, there is fire in each one of us but its purpose and intensity is different. Every man who thinks ,experiments and questions   rather than just hears, reads and believes is uncommon .The need of hour is to find a purpose for one’s life and embark upon it to transform from ordinary to exceptional.

Why are you here, on this earth? That is one question every individually needs to answer to one self.  But in seeking to answer this question, keep in mind the words of Sir Lawrence Olivier, who said: "If you truly want to change your world, my friend, you must change your thinking.”


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