November 17, 2013

Titillations in democracy

Yes, it’s yet another national dawn! Congratulations to the winning coalition in this closely run race of electing a steward to the highest political post in Maldives.

The democratic process is fraught with surprises. Perhaps this is what makes this scintillating process such an enticing one too. It gives the public the opportunity to elect their keeper for a defined term and it also provides for a chance to change when the need arises. The power of the people is the decider here however flimsy the differences in support may be. We see this excitement of competition in our country for whatever it is worth in our schools, on our playgrounds, in the marketplace, and now increasingly so in the political arena.

Wherever there is a vying for status, and as we face the competitive nature of the new life that beckons us in any societal setting, politics plays its part. Along this path, the titillations experienced are an inevitable part of the process. One day we win and on another we lose. Being aware of this should make us humble rather than proud, for ultimately we can never be too cocky of how our future will treat us. But as human beings we are indeed very forgetful. Ultimately it is the Hand of Providence that makes that singular decision for us. Allah's reason for such decisions is in this regard beyond our wildest hope of comprehension. The reasons we may never know. But the humility with which we accept this benevolent favour is certainly within our control. Congratulations to the contenders for allowing a peaceful election day that rings positively in the public’s ear. But Alas! Only one can win on any given day.  Let us cherish the decision! Let us practice humility! Let us celebrate Allah's Grace!

November 3, 2013

From good to thoughtful

“My son is a very good boy,” a young parent told me the other day as we discussed the issue of Maldivian youth of today. “He respects people, does what he’s told and mostly mind’s his own business,” he continued.

I was touched by this frankness, yet surprised by his naiveté. For in this modern day and age, that good just doesn’t seem enough. At a time when parents are living longer and children not taking initiative to begin a life of their own even as the parents enjoy this longevity seems a bit misplaced. In the past, when our life expectancy was no more than about 50 years or so, it was time for the grandparent to exit when the grand children had their dose of grand-parenting, and the next in line of parents taking over and establishing the cycle of life just as the consequence. But now with the grandparents around for yet another 20 years or more – and inshaaAllah, in good health and good earning via the dividends from their jobs or investment, the young sibling parents and even those old enough to be parents, live off the earnings of the grandparent. When asked why don’t you support your family or what would happen when your parents were to be no more, the young parents’ retort would be that they would think about it when the time came.

While just being good and respectful is still valuable in today’s world, the move from just being there and thoughtless to being perceptively thoughtful is so very important and absolutely necessary. I would say that the lack of life-skilled young people today in Maldives (look at all the expatriate guest workers we have in our country doing these for us!) and the unrest that the idle young people demonstrate in our present moment is a reflection of the lack of breeding our new-age parents and grandparents of today have brought on their offspring. We can’t blame the kids for being the way they are. There’s always a reason for much of the anxiety and related consequences we see today. Grandparents and those on the verge of being grandparents need to own up to these flaws that we had precipitated in the past as parents. And yes, in response, we can also play the blame game because those who are blamed can always blame their immediate past and the chain of blame can go on and on unlimited. The way to heal our community of this is for us to wake up to the reality of the present moment – that it is only through the use of the opportunities in this present that we can change tomorrow. Merely blaming or lamenting the past can only further delay the healing and happiness that await us in our future. Let’s rise to the needs of our Nation to nurture a more thoughtful Maldivian polity of the future by being grounded in the “now”, not in the regrets and blame of the past!