Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Bob’s Banter


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By Robert Clements

Silence Has Spoken..!
With the election results now out, one fact is obvious, that the silence of the people has voiced itself through the voting finger. And obviously they were so silent that even the exit polls got them wrong! Why? Because we’ve never given them an actual voice to speak!
The other day I was asked to speak at the Nirmala Niketan College in Mumbai about, “Giving a Voice to the Voiceless’. It seemed as I began to speak, I heard a whisper, “What If, you Bob should not be the speaker here today, but the speaker be we the so called voiceless!”
“What?” I nearly cried out.
“What we need Bob,” the imaginary voice continued, “is not you trying to speak for us, but you and your friends equipping, enabling and empowering us the voiceless people of our country to speak for ourselves?”
Well it wasn’t really a voice, but suppose that is what the silent ones in our country, the poor and downtrodden are trying to say?
That our role is to give them a voice!
What if, instead of a silent billion accepting the dole their masters in Delhi or Mumbai hand over to them, their voices, once freed by us, clamour, demand and receive what is their rightful inheritance, because we equipped them with a voice that would demand their fair and equal share?
Our job I believe is akin to an ENT surgeon or throat doctor, or voice trainer. Our job I believe is to open their mouths, widen their vocal cords, and let them speak.
For this to happen, you and I have a duty: Our job is to remove the shackles that have driven them to silence. To not just show them that our nation is a democracy, not just take the heavy bound Constitution we love brandishing and place it on their laps, saying, ‘here this is yours,’ but to show them how to use laws in their panchayats, housing societies and workplaces that in watching themselves win, and seeing justice is delivered in these small attempts they will be emboldened to use bigger laws and bigger legal fights for their fair and rightful share to equality and their rightful share of roti, kapada and makan!
Our task is to remove the muzzles placed on them by an oppressive police force. To gradually take away their fear of the police, the fear of government servants and to explain to them what these government servants actually are supposed to be — servants, meant to serve them, not loud-mouthed bullies who want to be served and bribed.
Our job also is to remove the thought from their minds that if they are of a religion which is not of the majority that they have lesser rights, and to explain they have the same rights of any other Indian in this country.
Our job is to show them their right to protest! A fundamental right that today unfortunately is branded as activism, and thought of as sedition.
“Yes,” I said as I finished my new speech, “Our job is not to be the voice of our people but to teach our people to use their voice!”
How exactly do you give them a voice? I believe that the one way you and I can do the needful is by opening the windows of opportunity and hope to them? Become a ‘window opener-wallah!”
“Window Opener-Wallah?” you shout across to me, “What exactly do you mean?”
“Ah well,” I say, “What happens when you open your windows in the morning after getting up from bed?”
“I let the sunshine in.” you say, looking at me hesitantly.
“Right! In one movement of the opening, you let the beauty of the outside come in, after the darkness of the night!”
So often looking at the brokenness of people around us, we wonder what role we can play, and I like the example of being a window opener. We don’t try to open all the windows, we just open a window near us.
You just cater to the needs of that one person in despair, that one person who needs a small bit of financial help, or just your shoulder to cry on. Just open that small window within your reach and let golden rays flow into their lives.
“But Bob,” you say, looking at me doubtfully, “That single window I open doesn’t help the rest of the world lying broken around me!”
“It does!”
When you open that window, others around you see what you are doing. They see you feeding that stray dog looking helpless and desolate outside, and even if they are not dog lovers their hearts also see the change in that animal, and they feel compassion flowing through them.
When you open a window and let the sunshine into someone’s life, by just saying a kind word or doing a good deed, it starts an epidemic and soon a contagious movement of window opening follows.
They see the sunshine you have allowed in and they want to bring in the same.
There’s another aspect too. I believe that such window openings are also glimpses of heaven.
Because in your kind deed or gesture you are also giving the world a peek of the glory that lies above!
“That,” you are actually telling the world, “that bit of sunshine you just felt is just a bit of the warm embrace a God above is willing to envelope all of us with!”
Because a window is actually just a hole in the wall isn’t it?
A hole that shows us the beautiful outside, and when we actually go out and feel the breeze and see the trees and flowers, we realize what that little peep told us, “There’s more outside!”
So be a window opener-wallah to the world!
We just saw the silence of our people voicing themselves, now let’s open windows for them, and let the sunshine into our country..!
The Author conducts an Online Writers and Speakers Course. For more details send a thumbs-up to him on WhatsApp 9892572883 or [email protected]


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