We’ve all seen them in school, on news channels, in newspaper columns, and just about on every other intellectual property… but do debates actually yield action? Or are they puffs of twisted vocabulary and grammar that disappear into thin air? Exactly, what?
Debates happen when conflicting view-points prove obstacle to a consensus -a decisive deal-making consensus. But today, it is more a matter of pride than of making a deal. One side of the argument wins, the other accepts (or grudgingly so) defeat and everyone goes back to their cozy beds to enjoy a good night’s sleep. The action part of the issue is lost.
We’re living in an era of speeches. Everyone puts energies into drafting sophisticated multi-paged rants. Seldom are those spoken words converted into concrete, visible action. All the bling-blang spotlight shines on that very highly refined orator. Again, seldom does that orator show any signs of being an action-man. Which is why, I admire President Obama of the United States. He has been a man who has worked towards action rather than only deliver high sounding sentences. Although he may not have accomplished all what he has said, he has got things rolling significantly, and that itself is a rare spectacle.
26/11 happened. The whole of India debated. So many people were praised for their highly effective speeches and comments on the issue. What has happened at the end of it? More than a year later, Ajmal Kasab is still unpunished (forget about a capital punishment, there isn’t any damned verdict yet), India is still sending dossiers to Pakistan, we are still porous to terrorist attacks, there isn’t any significant infrastructural upgrade that has taken place as far as security is concerned, and the I could become another “all-words-no-action” guy if I went on to complete this seemingly endless list.
To quite an extent, our Indian mindset is at fault. All news channels highlight: “Today’s big debate…”, but never do they initiate any kind of action. Our focus is on words, words, and unfortunately, more words. If someone’s child goes debating on a high level, those parents beam with pride, make announcements amongst their friend circle, buy the kid a new laptop, or just keep harping about how proud they are of the kid. But when the same kid (of course, when he is eligible to do so in terms of age) tries to bring change, tries to join and work the system, tries to challenge faulty policies, tries to initiate action -he is laughed at, called a stupid nut for going over-board and thinking too much for his little brain. Huh. This is what is wrong, and faulty…
We’re happy and content with the saying: empty vessels (in this case, words) make the most noise.
Fine. Debates help develop personalities, generate awareness… but all that for what? Those personalities need to be agents of change. What is that awareness that is just mindless general knowledge. If our parents’ don’t even go out to vote, instead encourage the idea of an exotic holiday during voting day, what use is their education? what use is their personality development?
I am not saying that we all should become Obama. All I’m saying is, our society today has placed hollow-words ahead of solid-action. And that means an unfair, unjust and bleak future ahead for the general masses…