Collective (In)Action

Collective (In)Action
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The heavy snowfall that befell and bedecked Kashmir, something that most people in Kashmir welcomed, also was revealing. Among other things, it revealed that when it comes to themes and issues that pertain to public and collective welfare, we, as a society are not only remiss but also negligent. Consider an example. Invariably, or almost all of us must have cleaned the paths or the inner pathways to our homes and houses. This is an obvious need and without doing it, our mobility would have been hampered, affecting the tone of our daily lives. But, invariably, or almost every one of us would not have cleaned the alleys, pathways, and by lanes which amble through and across our homes and hearths. By way of an analogy, the same happens in terms of traffic movement in Kashmir. Driver A, for example, refuses to give way to Driver B or , sometimes, blocks the way by design; Driver C does the same. Cumulatively, by being selfish or egotistic, one person who thinks or deems a certain action to be best for him, not only makes himself or herself worse but everyone’s welfare is affected. The result is a traffic jam in which everyone is worse off. These two egregious examples serve to illustrate one major lacuna in our society: we are poor when it comes to collective action. The result, to repeat redounds negatively to society overall. Against the backdrop of poor delivery of services by the administration, our abysmal collective action, creates problems and issues that make all of us worse off. The question is why? There can be no clear cut answers here but , it would appear, that over time, we, as a society have become somewhat selfish and self centred. The “ I” or “Me” factor predominates and crowds out the “We” factor. This is as insalubrious as can be and goes against the gravamen of the nature of our society. In the nature of a problem , it must be remedied on an urgent basis. The question now is: how? Sieving through sociological complexity, one answer that stands out is that we must reconnect to our authentic selves. This, among other things, means taking to heart the principles and fundamental philosophies of our religion and applying these in, both letter and spirit. If we do this with sincerity of intent and purpose, the results will be salubrious and redound to the benefit of all.