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Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Statesman and the VIP!

My grandfather was the first VIP known to me.  All family celebrations and everything good and bad was blessed by him.  His children were the bread winners, but they brought in their economic contribution and he was the headman who ran the house.  Gifts to his grandchildren on their birthdays, even though, paid for by the parent, is passed on to the family headman to bless the child with.  Everyone waited for him to be present before a meal is served and consumed.  He was simply the leader to look up to with respect and reverence.   Every wedding invitation, including the ones of his younger brothers' children,  went out in his name.  There was no ill feeling that he was prioritized over others in the large joint family.  

The experienced elderly statesmen (the term is not gender specific), were competent leaders who managed relationships.  They were equanimous and acted as the fuse.  It will be fool hardy to believe that the "statesmen of the yore" were all exemplary and without any blemish!  Umpteen instances of blemishes can be cited, if we were to put it to debate.  But the larger good of the family and the society were at their heart.  The vast new opportunities and economic prosperity was always tempered with the traditional virtues and the common good of the extended family.  Of course, there were occasional tensions caused by the need for change and rebellion of a younger member of the family.  These were the tests that the statesmen passed by sheer grit or by superior sense of compromise.

The lesser fortunate members of the extended family were treated with compassion, owing to either goodness of other family members or the dictat of the elder statesman who upheld the traditions and ensured common good is not sacrificed in loud celebration of personal success.  There was a system of taking care of the sick among the family members.  Crisis of all nature was referred and resolved.   The younger lot stayed involved with their pursuit of professional activities, unhindered by the day-to-day incidents of hospitalization or extra attention to an errant child!  In short a well defined commune existed under the leadership of the statesmen.  

Cut to the present day, where joint families are anything but a fading memory, economic considerations have simply overtaken and colored our psyche.  Today's VIP's are those who are in a position of power generated by either economic might or political power.  So much so that the value system has been relegated to be subservient to economic priorities and political equations. The question is not one of right or wrong, it's one of social transformation post the demise of the statesman across all spheres of the society.   

As a society we have strongly clutched the philosophy of VIPism without upholding the qualities and values of prioritisation.  This is immensely manifest in the system of lowly gangsters, rapists, thieves and robbers claiming to be the new VIP's and the resultant chaos.  Our trials and tribulations as a society are clearly on account of our scepticism and it's time we took a stand and attain enlightenment.  Such enlightenment alone can preserve our freedom and peace.

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