Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Independence From Mediocrity

Last Saturday, 11-Aug-2012, I watched The Dark Knight Rises with my family at the Cinemax in Inorbit Mall (Screen 2, 10:30 pm). In the movie, as the villain Bane hits the city, a kid is shown singing before a football game.

At first I did not realize what he was singing. But when the sub-titles showed star-spangled banner I realized it was the American national anthem. It ends with the words o’er the land of the free and home of the brave. My brain multi-threads. The words are patriotic. People understand those words. And what power they would have on the citizens. Every time they hear it.

Here in our country, our national anthem also causes a surge of patriotic respect, love and motivation (however fleeting it maybe) whenever we hear it. But then we don’t understand the words. The power of understanding the meaning of what we sing and hear is exponential.

We have a background of the same in our spiritual experience. Sanskrit / Arabic is what the hymns and prayers are in and translators are needed to know what they mean. But hearing them in the language we understand makes them meaningful and transformative. I grew up in a milieu which reverberated with Ghantasala’s rendition of the Bhagwad Geetha, so I have a good example regarding what I’m talking about.

It may be preposterous to suggest right away that we need a new national anthem. But we can debate on it. One thing we can certainly do is to pass a directive that after the national anthem is played or sung, there should be a reading of its meaning in the local language. Or even in English, why not?

Making the national anthem more meaningful literally and innately to all Indians is only one part of the thoughts I carry today. The other part is, we see all around how we are way behind in what actually is and what potentially could have been. We see that in the teams that we lead or are a part of, we see that in meetings, we see that in our movies, we see that in businesses, we see that in the local government and we see that in the central government. Most importantly we see that in ourselves too.

I don’t know a proper word that describes the difference between the potential and the actual. Maybe it can be expressed by the word efficiency. I would like to call it mediocrity. It is from this mediocrity that we need independence from. And we can start it by making our vocabulary more meaningful. Along with the national anthem.

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