YES, DISCRETION IS THE BETTER PART OF VALOR.
Like others, I too did not leave home yesterday. Yes, our TV was on right from 7 am till late in the night!
It is really unusual in our house. We watch less TV, a few programmes here and there. In fact, there was a time, we managed without a TV for close to ten years!
Life went on smoothly…
We did not miss anything!
So, yesterday, when our TV was on, and we were glued to the live telecast, like that, I found it quite unbelievable!
Well, this Post is not going to be about our addiction to TV or sensational news or about Balasaheb Thackrey. Even if I write a word on him, it might seem an overdose… So much is said, written and shown about him. I think, that’s enough.
Some days ago (on 2nd November), I had written about Balasaheb in my Post – ‘The Lion And The Sunset’. I had written in that Post, that, though, like so many, I too did not like or approve his kind of Politics, I had admired the Man for so many things. My Post, therefore, was a tribute to this one-of-a-kind leader.
As the sun set, last evening, and as the flames of funeral pyre went up against the backdrop of Vedic chants and a stunned silence… I really prayed in my heart, that nothing should go wrong… the sea of humanity should peacefully disperse… that our city be not burdened with more trauma…
Emotions were high, but suppressed…
Just a small stone-pelting incident or a provoking word from someone was enough to unleash something sinister, catastrophic!
Scenes from two great movies – incidentally both with historic significance of epic proportion – flashed before my mind.
The first one from Sir Attenborough’s famous ‘Gandhi’. The partition scene. Lakhs of displaced Hindus are shown heading towards India from Pakistan. Just a stone-throw way, equally large number of uprooted Muslims are shown heading towards Pakistan from India. Small babies, old and sick, men and women… all struck with grief, hopelessness and anger…
And, then, the feared thing happens: Suddenly a young-man takes a few step forward, picks a stone and hurls it on the other side… venting out all his frustration and pain.
That was enough… Just one stone!
The next thing that you see is better not described here!
The second one from the Hollywood movie on Second World-War – ‘Pearl Harbor’. Japan has just destroyed the Pearl Harbor, something, which no one else could ever dare even in his wildest imagination! Scores of American warships are destroyed, hundreds of its naval men… all in a single blow, all before the Super Power could even blink!
And, there is this scene. The Japanese Military chiefs have gathered to take stock of the situation… There is a sense of jubilation… great victory-pride… and, just then you hear one of their chiefs reminding the rest, this: “My friends, I hope, we have not woken up the sleeping giant!”
Till ‘Pearl Harbor’ happened, America was unwilling to get dragged into the Second World-War. Now, Japan had woken up the sleeping giant!
What happened after that – in Hiroshima and Nagasaki – I do not have to describe!
They say, “Discretion is the best part of valor.” When emotions run high, it is dangerous to decide. The best decision, in such times, is to exercise restraint… Say nothing provocative, nothing hurting or loose.
Last few days, particularly yesterday, hundreds of people were writing on their FB posts things, which, I silently feared might invite them trouble. I was thinking aloud: Why express your strong opinions – mind you very, very provocative – in times like this? Can’t you hold back your views, at least for a couple of days? What do you achieve by saying something, inviting a few likes and a dozen exactly polarized comments? Why spread ‘hate’, now? Why, when you know that the giant is sleeping?
And, this morning, when I read about a mob incident in Thane (provoked by such a post by a young-girl – the niece of a well-known doctor whose hospital bore the brunt of the 3000-odd angry mob!), I really turned numb!
Who will tell our young-ones to think a thousand times before they write something loose, irresponsible and provocative like this one?
Who will tell them to conserve their energy and strength – which gushes out of their belly all in the name of Freedom of Speech – for something more worthwhile than this?
Frankly, I find no difference between the two: the people who write loosely like this on open and public mediums like FB and the people who ransack.
Both come from the same ‘mob-mentality’!
I always advice every one – I mean ‘all’ -
who post on FB, Twitter
or any such free and open mediums:
“Please be discrete… before you repent!
And, before your ‘foolish acts’
invite trouble for others around you.”
Probably, Alexander Pope’s famous lines befit this close:
“Fools rush in (dare) where Angels fear to tread.”