Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Collective Fate

What does the dictionary do actually? Does it provide us with only the literal meaning of a word—which implies the theoretical aspect? Or is it capable of providing us with the correct picture: i.e., the implication(s) of the word(s) by conveying to us the essence of the word? The latter implies practical manifestation, on this physical plane.

To me the two things are more often different, than being same. The dictionary fails to take into account the physical implications of words—the implications are not invariant; are rather just the reverse. The implications and hence interpretation(s) depend entirely on the momentary issues and situations engulfing us. How we react, decides the impact and implications—which might be juxtaposed to the desired effect and ‘intended’ implications of the dictionary. Many a times this juxtaposition is an outcome of intentional distortion and misinterpretation of a word—manipulation it is, hence avoidable. Though there does arise situation when the undesired outcomes cannot be avoided, being totally out of our control.

I do not intend to demean the dictionary. I do not have the audacity to do so. Neither I am blind to its indispensable utility, given the immeasurable extent to which it helps us and in the process enriches us. We human beings would have been devoid of expression, but for it.

What I want to contest is the interpretation and implications of words. The way we interpret a word is not necessarily in congruence with the literal meaning recorded in the dictionary. Actually when the dictionary was compiled, the extent to which the meanings would be manipulated was not known! Otherwise the allowances would have been made, that I am sure of, with multitude of synonyms incorporated for the purpose!

The implied meanings of the word are all relative and not absolute. The environment shapes them.

There are many words (in my average vocabulary), which fit the bill. But the two words that draw me most are Secular and Independence—as must be evident from my earlier blogs. Here, though, I would restrict myself to the latter only.

There couldn’t be a greater misnomer than Independence. Independence doesn’t exist—that is in purest form. What is Independence? It is actually Inter-dependence……as reflected in ‘In Dependence’. The country became Independent from the foreigners but what did it get in return? Dependence on the intentions of the countrymen for a proper functioning—we are actually at the mercy of our own countrymen (read: politicians).

Shiv Khera has rightly said, “Freedom is not Free”. And to it I add, “There is nothing called Absolute freedom. Had it been so we would have been Absolutely Free”.

I know there is nothing ‘absolute’ in this ‘relative’ world. We as students of Chemistry have been taught that “Ideal” behaviour (for gases) is difficult to attain—depending upon various preconditions. And I find similarity between this craving for the improbability of “Ideal” situation and “Absolute-ness”even if by extrapolation.

But still a nearest approximation of “Freedom” could be striven for and achieved, had it not been for the self-serving politicians. We have attained Freedom camouflaged as Bondage. And the biggest price that we had to give for our Freedom was the partition of the country—a wound, which would never heal as it has served as the precursor of chain reactions in the form of problems galore initiated by our “friendly” neighbour—a fragment once an integral part of India—created by the British in cahoots with a few power hungry Indians—as a parting kick before they had to leave India. They freed India, albeit with a malignant tumour—which was made possible only with the help of people who had their own interests in their heart and not that of the Nation. Partition was an additional tax that we had to pay to win our Freedom. As if the lives laid down by the ‘absolute’ patriots and freedom fighters were not enough.

This proves that the fate of the Nation then, now and in the future was, is and shall remain a prisoner in the hands of the collective fate and intentions of ‘We, the People’.

Even Fate is not Independent, nor is Destiny.

The destiny of an individual leads to certain circumstances that affect the rest of the family members in a specific manner. Then is not the fate and destiny of an individual a reflection of the destiny of the family members and vice-versa?

I strongly believe in my arrived at philosophy of “In this Life full of Uncertainties, Destiny is the only Certainty”. And this made me search for answers every time there was and is loss of lives in large numbers, en masse, that is. Calamities—natural & man-made as well as accidents render so many lives, ‘erstwhile’, at one go, within a span of few seconds and leaves aggrieved families in its wake. The recent incident of the tragic plane crash leading to the death of 158 people is nothing but a consequence of their “Collective Fates”. Otherwise why would they be flying together?

I know the cause of the accident shall be unearthed and corrective measures adopted, hopefully, in the future, to avert if possible, such painful incidents. But these efforts are all in the physical plane. We might come up with various explanations for the cause of the accidents—none that would bring back the departed. We might dole out compensations—but is there any compensation for the loss of a loved one? NO.

Explanations should be sought and given too—this is the least that aggrieved families would ask for. As also to remove any lacunae that might have led to the accident so as to prevent its repetition. I at no point of time intend to legitimize such incidents that actually scar the psyche. We do need to know the errors that led to the ill-fated incident(s), whenever they occur.

But do we ever spare a thought as to why so many lives are lost together?
I might be wrong, but to me, in this case as it is in other such painful occurrences, it is the forceful pull of the “Collective Fate” of the 158 people that caused the recent incident. Just as there is a manufacturing date and a corresponding expiry date mentioned on the strips of medicine, so it is with us. Only thing is that we are not privy to the information. We have been sent with an already activated pre-set timer called life—which stops functioning when the ordained time (up) is attained. These 158 people were destined to leave the world at the same time, together, at that particular moment. Contrary to this the 8 who managed to survive—did not share their destinies with the departed. Hence they are alive today. People say miraculously—but then there is nothing called Miracle. It happened so because it was destined to happen so.

My views might seem to be too destiny-oriented, defying logic with its apparent impractical intonation. But then I haven’t been able to come up with a more plausible answer for such painful occurrence(s). True we might come up with the mechanical reasons that lead to them. But these do not satisfy me. I need to know why they occur, why they have to occur and why they had to occur, in the first place, devouring people from diverse sections of the world and the society. The physical plane provides analytical answers that fail to satisfy me in totality.

I needed to know the non-apparent camouflaged in the apparent. Anguished anger to made its presence felt, with an accompanying helplessness, in the wake of such mishaps.

So I search(ed) for the answers from another plane—I don’t know if it could be called metaphysical or spiritual. Nor the nomenclature matters, but the answer does. I only need(ed) the answers. And it is this quest that has landed me at the shores of the “Theory Of Collective Fate”. It is the Collective Fate that forces—Collects—people from diverse areas of life, to unite them during death of their physical body. The “Collective Fate” in a way thus gets extrapolated to the philosophy of “Unity in Diversity”, on a poignant note.

Having arrived at a plausible (to me) answer, a feeling of peace makes its presence felt within—as if a part of the mystery has been solved with respect to how life works and why it works the way it works.

May the souls of the departed rest in peace. And may the aggrieved families be blessed with strength to bear the irreparable loss and the inflicted pain.

I would love to do something for them but at the moment I can’t do anything else but to only pray for them and I do so from the core of my heart. This is the least that I could do for them as I too am sharing some part of their Collective Fate in as much as inhabiting the world at the same time as they are.