Nupur Sharma of Urdu Wala Chashma must be thanked for giving me this phrase in one of her excellent videos: ‘Apne hisse ka diya jalaana (light up your share of the lamp)’ .
This key unlocked the room in my mind where thoughts, nay sentiments, have been bubbling for quite some time.
An activist at heart, I have been dutifully chastised by near and dear ones for being totally impractical. ‘Why are you not practical?’,’What will your lone voice achieve?’,’Can you not see the trend all around you?’, they would ask.
Their logic is impeccable, but only from a narrow point of view – that of efficiency. But there is another point of view too – that of ‘apne hisse ka diya jalaana’ – one of not shirking your duty, of doing what one can do.
They say – ‘What difference will that one lamp will make in this everlasting darkness? Taking one step does not bring you any closer to your destination, which is aeons away.’
Well, I have never seen a man moving both feet at the same time. When you watch it in time lapse, you get to see only one step. But that is not the whole story.
Naqsh pa-e raftaga se ye sada hai aa rahi
Do qadam me rah taya hai, shauq-e manzil chahiye
(The long trail has only one message. All it takes is two steps – one after another)
Why is the power of one, so difficult to accept? Perhaps it is difficult to visualise the power of accretion. But it should not be. After all, we all have just one vote each with which we change governments. No one ever says, ‘Ah, what will one vote be able to accomplish?’
You see, things coalesce. Once the machine is set in motion, it acquires a life of its own.
Mein akela hi chala tha, janib-e manzil magar
Log sath milte gaye, aur Karwaan banta gaya
(I started off all by myself. It is just that guys keep joining and it became a large caravan)
But, be warned. All single endeavours do not succeed. Actually, if your motivation is to take your step at the beginning of a revolution, you are sure to come to grief. Don’t treat your noble efforts as a start-up venture which must pay in the end. The best reason to do it is the satisfaction of doing it. Must light up your part of the lamp, whether others follow or not.
Lighting up your part of the lamp may mean more than just providing succour to the needy man. It may also mean protesting against injustice. Make no mistakes. Your teeny-weeny efforts may not only not succeed in getting justice but, instead, some of them would surely cause you potential harm. By now, I have become an inveterate protestor. I itch to correct what I see as wrong. No one likes it, I know.
I am always on razor’s edge, waiting for the axe to fall. But it hasn’t yet. At least not on the neck. Yes, there have been injuries but none too bad. In retrospect, it seems much of the apprehension was for nothing. Sixty eight years next month, it appears well worth it.
Saaya bahut milega, darakhton ka raah mein.
Ghar se nikal ke dhoop mein, kuch door chal ke dekh
(Ahead, you will invariably find some shade. Just move out of the home in scorching sun)
Fortunately, my philosophy has the approval of Lord Krishna himself:
Karmanye waadhikaaraste, maa phaleshu kadaachana
(Your right is restricted only to doing your duty; not to the fruits thereof)
My duty is to light up my part of the lamp. I must not refrain from that.