Where Did We Go Wrong?

The Sanskrit hymn “Antarikhsha Shantih, Prithvih Shantih, Vanaspatayah Shantih ….” (Peace of the Universe, Peace of the Earth , Peace of Flora and Fauna) was recited at the beginning of every Indian ritual to invoke peace and harmony of the universe, the earth and the Botanical species. The philosophy behind it was the vision that no person on earth could lead a quiet and serene life without a balanced ecology. The Vedic Age was the first recorded age, when Peace of Nature was propagated. The visionaries could foresee it then itself, that there can be no peace prevailing in human life until there was harmony between nature and humans and until all the three ecologies were taken care of in their natural forms.  Nature was worshipped and regarded as religious entities in many cultures of the world  for the simple reason that people respected them and looked up to them in awe – which ensured that they were protected and taken care of, and if not, the men would be punished.

The Romantics like Wordsworth, Keats, Shelly and Byron changed the entire mood and tone of the history of the English Literature by propagating nature as the inspirer and a source of “Joy Forever “. They had their intuition telling them about the human dependence on nature for their own good, much before Science proved so.  They realised soon that the intrinsic nature of humans could be kept safe and sound only amidst the calm, external one.

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This proves that ancient men had abilities to foresee future and measures to safeguard their habitat even without the technological breakthrough, which the modern human species have failed, despite being helped by umpteen supports of scientific aids. Modern age, opposite to what was expected from it, in fact, collapsed the whole philosophy of preserving nature in disguise of growth and advancement. Modernism arrived with clearing greens for selfish interests, with focus only to the present and absolute negligence of future. Synthetic lifestyle became a status symbol and everything natural was replaced with artificial objects, for example, Polethene bags instead of jute, refrigerators instead of earthen pots, synthetic clothes in place of cotton-life moved away from everything natural; the consequence was obvious in terms of the Green House effect.

The common preaching of every religion is – “what you give is what you get”. People started disturbing nature by cutting jungles, filling oceans for high rise buildings and factories. The nature gave them back with interest – it gave back Tsunamis, global warming, fewer colds, new diseases every day, and much more. The realisation finally came to us and understanding the importance of “now or never”, we started celebrating Earth Hour and Earth Day to spread consciousness amongst the citizens of the world. But we also have to realise that a single day in a year is not enough to unwind our past mistakes. We must remember to take care of our planet every moment.

I am reminded of T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland today where he describes the chaos all around.  Critic Edmund Wilson said,“The terrible dreariness of the great modern cities is the atmosphere in which the Wasteland takes place”. An hour or a day of dedication to the Mother Earth is not enough. The consciousness must prolong for 365 days, 24×7.  The human species will have to rise above from selfish considerations and think about others for their own sake, to save this world from becoming a Wasteland!

Dr Tulika Mishra

Women and emotional intelligence

The month of March marks the beginning of a season when women are celebrated for what they are and what they do. In some parts of the world, this month is celebrated with gifts and flowers in an emotional out-pour of congratulating messages and feelings of elation. Women, being the emotional creatures that they are would not let such a momentous occasion pass unnoticed hence take every opportunity to remind their loved ones that this one of the days when they should be given their due importance as women. Women have long been fighting for recognition of their merits and equal rights with their male counterparts. In their fight for equality they have been forced to do away with their emotions in the name of professionalism and their claim to positions that were traditionally held by the unemotional men. However, women are wonderfully different in the way they perceive and react to the world and now science has come to prove that their emotional nature can prove to be an asset and not a downside.

Emotions if handled correctly can be transformed into emotional intelligence which consists in the ability to monitor emotions and use this as a guide to one’s thinking and actions. It seems that the presence of emotions at the workplace is no longer seen as a negative trait as it helps in promoting collegiality, compassion and most importantly creative thinking. Passion is one of the key ingredients to any creative process and when we talk about passion a whole range of positive and negative emotions can be included. Women have an innate ability to detect emotions such as unhappiness therefore they can act very quickly to remedy a communication break-down among parties. They are also more compassionate, nurturing and people-oriented therefore they can be great at building networks and dealing with people.

Turning emotional outbursts into emotional intelligence can prove quite a challenge and for this transition to happen few steps are necessary:

a) Perceiving emotions-identifying emotions and the situations that trigger them
b) Understanding emotions-being aware of when and why emotions appear
c) Managing emotions-knowing how to control emotions to prevent outbursts
d) Using emotions-translating emotions into positive actions

Thus the notion that emotions are a proof of weakness and should be disregarded no longer stands as in reality every decision we make in our lives is affected by feelings. Women and their different, emotional approach need to see themselves as being in an advantageous position. In order for women to be recognized as high-achievers and world-changers they need to understand their emotions which, instead of being shunned, can be put to good use. Women should cease to aspire to take the place of men but rather claim their own place as successful members of the human race, irrespective of the personal or professional role they fulfill.  The acclaimed eighteenth century writer and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley said: “I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.”

Alina Rebecca Chirciu
English Language Lecturer
Majan University College