Be the change you wish to see

Ali_aug10Lately there has been wide awareness of civic rights, of need to be responsible citizens, and often quoted were Mahatma Gandhi's words "BE the change you wish to see." Many youngsters woke up to their responsibility and resolved that they will not just sit back and complain, but will actively do something to change society and life.

Corruption, inefficiency, callousness of the administrative machinery, environmental balance, sanitation and hygiene were some of the issues much written about and debated. Young fresh faces contested elections without the backing of political parties, NGO's took up various causes, blogs appeared all over calling for support and advocacy. In some places, change appeared to be happening.

Some issues have actually been tackled by these young enthusiasts, and transformation is visible. Some other issues brought about momentary change (at least indicating that it IS possible), and then slid back into the old complacency. Some other efforts (such as "clean" candidates fighting elections) met with very disappointing results.

ali1_aug10What is YOUR view on this basic issue? If you have not taken a stand, please do so now. Whether you succeed or not, try to assert your identity, for appeasing your own conscience if not for society. My stand is based on the age-old saying (or is it a prayer?) that says,
"Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can...
And the wisdom to know the difference.

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Sreedhar, Director of Online Courses and Online Counselling by email of Banjara AcademyLeading Banjara Academy's online email counselling team of volunteer-counsellors, I realize it is not an easy task reaching out to a person one has never met, never seen, without the added advantage of gestures, eye contact, a gentle reassuring touch, tone of voice and yet providing empathy, positive strokes, making the person feel heard and understood.

With the aid of only written words, it is quite a task building trust, making people open up and share and helping them cope and feel better. So when in many instances they write back saying thank you and that they feel so much better, the feeling one gets is priceless and incomparable - knowing one has done something right, something good!

Hats off to all the volunteeer-counsellors of Banjara Academy who have been carrying on this work silently, anonymously for the last couple of years. Truly commendable! - Sreedhar MA

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