I began wanting to say something about my confrontations with awful tween and teen-dom. Was looking for an article I remember seeing about this issue and chanced upon another one and I know what I need to put into words today.
The article published on The Free Thought Project shared Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal’s futile efforts to convince the local authorities to clean up a sacred river in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab. Seechewal then decided to take things into his own hands and 15 years later, the river has made a turnaround and is a source of pride and joy for the local community.
Two quotes from the article hit me hard:
“Seechewal’s mission teaches humanity a lesson of how to incite meaningful change — without the use of government force. For decades, people attempted to petition the government to halt the pollution of the Bein, but this was pointless. No action was ever taken.”
“Instead of using force to make the residents along the Bein stop polluting, Seechewal and his team spread knowledge.”
The first quote was about taking responsibility. Not waiting for others to make things happen. Not expecting other parties to fix the problems for us because it is their job, they are paid to do this, it is not in my power to bring about change, I can’t do it. Seechewal is a personification of the catchphrase “Be the change”, the driving force behind the detoxification of the Kali Bein river but he couldn’t have done it all by himself. He started by getting his hands dirty and that inspired the people to do the same too. What an empowering exercise this is.
The second one brings me right home to the importance of education: knowledge. Without knowledge the villagers would not have learnt about the alternatives they have and what they can do to make their river clean. How they can continue their efforts and spread what they know to future generations.
For me, my tasks are nowhere as massive as Seechewal’s although they feel equally daunting at times. It took Seechewal 15 years and an entire community (plus others) to turn their river around. I will, insya Allah (if God wills so), be patient and continue the slow and steady march to take responsibility and to educate.
Stop watch: 44:29.08 (including interuptions from What’s App communications.)
Got. To. Put. That. Phone. Away. From. Me.