There was a strange incident that happened on Facebook recently that caught my attention. My News Feed was flooded with self made declarations by a number of people who are present in my friends list. (Mind it! There is a difference between friends in real & people in friends list). The declarations went like this:
“From this date, I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future. By this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law.
NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. You MUST copy and paste“.
For once, I avoided it but after a point of time I was really surprised after witnessing a number of people following the same trend. Later on, I searched on the internet about the entire incident where I came across this article on Daily Mail UK (Link Attached) which was published on 29th September 2015 just to realize that all this was nothing but hoax messages that were circulating all over the Facebook profiles. What was strange to observe here was that even after the clarification by Facebook themselves, people in India continued to post such messages even after 8 months. What was even more surprising (or shocking) that a large number of people fell into such a trap without validating the originality and authenticity of the message.
It may appear to be a tiny incident on social media which would not have impacted anyone but there was something unique that the incident displayed. What it showcased was a common trait of human of getting easily influenced and taking steps that are not based on concrete decision making. There is a very common saying that the most unique quality of time is that it doesn’t stop for anyone and keeps on changing. Then there is another popular saying that with time people around you also change. Sometimes I really get confused between all these generalized statements. Because if the above statements really hold true then there would have been certainly some change in the way humans behave or act. But if one seriously would give a deep thought on this matter, you will somewhere realize that may be over the years everything around humans has changed except the humans themselves. Today a person would travel to his work by a Mahindra XUV rather than a Bajaj Chetak, communicate with people far off by e-mail rather than telegram, would consider McDonalds & Dominos as a place for lunch rather than Sukhdev da Dhaba & may also marry someone who is having some Mutual Friends on Facebook rather than marrying someone who is a relative or neighbor of your ‘Door wale Maasi Ji‘. These things show that probably the means or methods by which humans used to take their actions has changed but overall the actions & ideas has remain unchanged. Now the question may arise that why in the changing era of innovation and advancement in technology, the attitude of human is something that has remained unaltered for ages. Nobody can actually give the exact answer to this but one of the reason for the same could be that this behavior is something that is imposed on the individuals by the society itself. Or in other words, it is the society as a whole that has been influencing the decisions and ideas of the individuals during all this time.
In India, whenever you meet someone, the most common question that is being asked to begin the conversation is “Aur kya chal raha hai?” (And trust me no one replies with “FOGG chal raha hai“). And then the conversation starts from personal & professional life and goes on to education, job, marriage, kids, parents, house, car, loans, tax, investments and so on. One of the most possible reason for this is our interest to know what is going on in others life. Another reason could be to seek the advice of others regarding how they have been handling different matters going on in their life. No matter what stage of life we are into, but we don’t hesitate to follow the footsteps of what have already been designed by the people of our society. This practice starts off from our childhood when our parents used to ask us to get the notebook of the topper of the class so as to make sure there isn’t anything that we have missed in the class. When the time came to choose a stream in school or college, the decision was taken on the basis that your second cousin is earning pretty well at present because he opted for that particular field in his college days. When we became adults, we are told by our relatives to get married at the right age (as per our society norms, the right age for males is 25 & for female is 21) otherwise we might have to stay alone for the rest of our life. In short, most of the decisions of your life are not your own, but just some random experiences by the people around you who consider the success of the decisions taken to be universal.
In this whole scenario, the real problem occurs when our actions and ideas become an exact replica of what all has already been followed in the society. In Indian language, it is being called as ‘Bhed Chaal‘ and the result of this is what you call as stereotypes. Whether you take the example of young boys of Punjab traveling abroad on study basis (Sometimes I wish there would have been more number of career guidance centres in Punjab rather than English training centres for Foreign study), aspiring actors from different states traveling to Mumbai and struggling their whole life for work, educated and well earning grooms asking for dowry in their marriage because according to them it is a custom, girls being teased and molested in every other street because males are still considered to be a superior gender, politicians continuing to use religion as a weapon for playing politics and despite of all this our country still dreaming to be the superpower in the world. Just like how the forest fire uncontrollably spreads and wipes out entire area of land that comes under its coverage, similarly, these customs, norms, so-called rules, attitude, ideologies and behavior continues to be rooted in our society and spreading on to the coming generations.
There is a popular belief that it only requires a revolution to bring a change in the system. But in order to ignite a revolution, the motive and ideology behind it has to be crystal clear. Otherwise it will have the same fate as the Anti-Corruption Campaign where for once people will come on to the streets raising the Indian flag in their hands but after sometime no one will bother about the end result. Definitely bringing a revolution is a lengthy and tedious process which cannot be be achieved by just sending WhatsApp Messages or by writing a Blog. But what has to be done at individual level is to change the mindset of not just getting influenced and using the information and knowledge that is available to us and acting upon it with the whole heart. If we have to protect our self from this forest fire, then we have to sprinkle our self with the ideology of not going by the trend and taking informed decisions. After all, a good decision is something that should be well informed, not well influenced.