I didn’t know who Abhinav Bindra was, until that spectacular day when everybody suddenly knew him. How could a single gold medal at Olympic affect India or its performance in world arena was beyond me. I didn’t help him win. Neither did my country or money I pay in taxes. He won based on pure self hard work financially self supported. All that he shared with me was the fact the we belonged to same geographical political entity called India. Yet, there was a small tinge of pride and euphoria when I found out that he won. Ditto for today's Chandrayaan lauch off.
There are many things people are proud of in their life. Their achievements, their successes, successes of their people, success of their agencies and organizations, their history, their culture, etc. However most of the time they are proud of things they didn’t do anything about. I can be proud of my victory in race or A grade in exam (can I? see later) because I contributed to the outcome. I cannot, legitimately, be proud of things I just happened to have, like culture, history and successes of people living near me. If I am, then what exactly I am proud of? Coincidence? Luck? Why? What is pride?
Of course, asking these questions opens Pandora’s box. Did I, that is, me, really score that A in exam, so that I can be proud of? Or did I just happened to inherit those genes of intelligence, memory, hard work from my parents; and happened to be born in a family that could afford sending me to good school and provide inspiring ambience at home; all coincidences I did nothing about. What is there to pride about for me? To be where I am? I am so much product of my circumstances, my biology, my society, my experiences, my environment, and critical choices made by others, there is not really any “me” in me but mix of all these things.
One can say that I have a choice. Achieving successes from right choices might give one right of being proud of success. Unfortunately, increasing scientific evidence suggests that our decisions are made by so many things beyond us that there remains nothing for us to claim our ours. After all, if you yourself are product of what you parents were or did with you, then how can your choices be yours and independent of your past.
I cannot be proud of anything, I guess. I know it’s extremist view but where is line between what I do or what I am made to do?
I am off for Diwali for next two weeks, so you will not see any new posts from me except one scheduled on Diwali. I will join you back on 3rd November. Have a gala time.