It was the first ever lecture by our teacher Professor HVK Rao in 1976. Professor Rao had barely begun his lecture and his back was turned to the class as he wrote something on the blackboard. Suddenly a piece of chalk flew from the back of the classroom and almost hit the professor's hand. The missile was launched to unnerve Mr. Rao and more importantly determine the balance of power in the class room.
Cool Professor Rao remained unfazed and responded; "Gentlemen, I can do two things, I can either teach or be a policeman. I am paid to teach, not police. Most of you have come from afar to get an education. Those of you who are not really interested in these classes but are here because of the pressure of attendance targets, you are free to leave. I relieve you of the college's demand for attending 80% of the classes and will treat all of you as having attended my classes irrespective of your actual attendance."
About half a dozen trouble makers left the classroom, and the soft spoken brilliant Professor was able to make decent engineers out of us over the next five years. This and many other lessons by Professsor Rao had a powerful positive influence on me and my colleagues.
Violence and confrontation should be the last resort and not the first means for tackling a problem. No doubt, fear brings change rapidly, but the change is easily reversed when the fear reduces which it is bound to over time. However change introduced by positive deeds, inspiration and wisdom always brings about positive results that last a long time and possibly even an entire lifetime. Confrontation is instantaneous whereas wisdom and faith comes slowly. History shows that 'winning hearts and minds' with respect is always superior to 'shock and awe' using violence. Unfortunately arrogance born of great physical strength always pushes humans to dominate rather than cooperate.
Everyday with every new outrage or incident, we see governments passing new and even more draconian rules to empower certain officials and various government departments. The situation rarely improves but life becomes harder, harsher and harmful to our physical and spiritual well-being. The custodians of the law and their actions soon come to mirror the very criminals they seek to control. The righteous and the wicked soon become one and the same.
The American people and America as a nation are great in many ways. Inexplicably the American government led by violent hawks has come to depend heavily on the use of force and violence to achieve its objectives.
America probably the most violent society today, spends annually US$ 705 Billion on its military and security. It has the highest number of lawyers and judges in the world, highly aggressive police forces which are excessively armed and the largest possession of firearms in the hands of its citizens. America has 5% of the world's population but 25% of all the world's prisoners. Yet it various polls by Gallup, Newsweek etc. report that a majority of Americans do not feel much safer either at home or abroad.
Never in history has any issue ever been resolved by confrontation or by physical force. Force can at best deliver an uneasy truce. Sustainable peace and happiness needs faith, respect, justice, fewer and simpler laws, much less policemen and fewer punishments.
We are all humans who are wonderful and strange in our own unique way. We need to engage with and give people and communities more space not subject them to more regimentation and policing. A people once awoken from their slumber are much easier to lead but more difficult to drive.
Nothing external to you, has any power over you. - Ralph Waldo Emerson