Change is inevitable. Therefore, not changing is inexcusable. Change is transient yet permanent and cannot be controlled. Our response should not be just fight or flight, but acceptance and even a warm embrace. We should not react but respond and perhaps initiate it! When we initiate, we can control it to the extent that it can be controlled.
Initiation of Change
Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Everyone wants to change the world in his image or perception. And really, if he wants to do that, he must initiate it, do it, and inspire those around him to see things his way. For example, only when we are punctual, we can teach others to be punctual. When we want others to follow a good habit and we insist on it, first we should follow that habit. That is how others will accept the change that you want in them.
The Blame Game!
Very often, when we want others to think the way we do, to see the world through our eyes and to adopt methods and measures that we think appropriate and they do not, we blame them. It is easy. There is, after all, so much wrong with them: they are selfish, arrogant, bullying, weak, cold, needy, and so on. So, we try to point this out – and often meet with resistance, denial, or sheer indifference. And then we are disappointed!
We have two projects of change going on simultaneously at any given point of time. Changing others and changing ourselves, with 90% of the emphasis on the former and just 10% on the latter. "If they change I will" We make our changes conditional on the evolution of other people. If they are good to me, I will be good to them... but that may not happen. And the status quo remains!
Why not reverse the trend? It’s difficult; it’s not our comfort zone, but what the hell, it’s worth a lot to the world!
The Bappal Freinds
So, it was with the Bappal Friends, 40 of them who got together to be the change they wanted to see in their area. And that is the spirit we need to imbibe. It was evident from the ages of the people that made up the "friends" who got to together to clean up the vicinity, that age is just a number and change is ageless in its attraction.
The old and the young got together to clean the stretch of the street from Nandigudda to Bappal 1st Cross road in pursuance of the Swachh Mangaluru Mission. They took their buckets, shovels, and brooms to the street with as much enthusiasm as would be had at a Sunday afternoon cricket match.
For every change, there has to initiation and leadership (sometimes it occurs on its own as the case in of the Pandemic) and in the instant case of change, the leadership came in the form of Area Ward Gurkar Joseph Theodore, along with prime mover of the area - Kevin D'souza in cooperation with the Corporator of the ward, Shailesh Shetty.
The main purpose of the Cleanliness Drive was to bring awareness among the residents of that vicinity to keep their surroundings clean and not to litter as they wish.
The Prime motivator is this whole exercise - change always requires one - is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who on 25 September 2014, called on the country to join hands for a ‘Clean India’. Many organisations received a request from the Prime Minister’s Office to join the movement and “sweep the streets clean every Sunday for the next five years”.
As Modi himself picked up the broom and swept the streets urging the nation to follow suit, the nation saw everyone jump on to the bandwagon, but many abandoned it quickly. Another quality of change - which is evident from this is that Change must be consistent in a particular direction if it is sustain.... else change will happen, but in reverse.
An example of sustained change in a desired direction is the Mangaluru branch of the Ramakrishna Mission - They’ve been doing it for last five years consistently and have not only changed the view of Mangaluru in the eyes of its residents and its visitors but also inspired others to take up similar projects on a consistent basis.
Corporator Shailesh Shetty and Gurkar Theodore said, “it cannot be just about sweeping the streets for five years. Swacch Bharath/Swacch Mangaluru was not just about keeping the streets clean. It was about creating awareness. An awareness that would then automatically lead to people keeping the city, the country clean and taking the responsibility of ensuring it stays that way. It was about changing the way things have remained for decades now, and facilitating this change. But after Ramakrishna Mission stopped their project after five years, Mangaluru City was back to square one, with people littering once again, and no one to clean it, including the Bappal area, which was once also part of the clean drive of RK Mission, and that's when it took off."
So, on Sunday just past, from 3 PM to 6 PM, around 40 volunteers under the banner of Bappal Friends got together and made sure that the 1st Cross Bappal area looked new and spic and span!
Lesson learnt: If you want others to be different, just be different and do it today. Tomorrow never Comes!
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