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Silence Is Golden

( Inspired by an article of the same name written by my father, posted on his blog Mokatha )
“Speech is silver, but silence is golden”. 
 For centuries silence has been the hallmark of a controlled, self assured person. A person detached from the mundane chitter-chatter of daily life, contemplating on the greater aspects of life. Indian mythology perfectly chronicles the virtues of silence, holy men engaged in centuries of meditation, in silent harmony with nature searching for enlightenment - searching for the answer to everything. In a more modern scenario, individuals like me have to constantly listen to stuff like - “Look at him, he’s so silent and composed, learn to concentrate like him.”
Even under the threat of being called a hypocrite I have to agree. Silence is truly a virtue. The ability to detach oneself from the bitching about anything and everything around us truly is the mark of a genius. But is the silence we see a virtue, or do we sometimes mistake an escapist attitude for a virtue? We Indians have been considered silent people by many westerners, engaged in our continuous struggle for excellence so that we can survive in a world on continuous strife and struggle. But what about our silence regarding subjects like terrorism, corruption, etc.?
Take, for example, the municipality - you want a construction permit. You go about all the formalities religiously and wait… and wait… and wait… damn it takes forever. Now you shove 500 bucks down the pocket of the clerks and presto… your job is done in a matter of a few hours. And what do we do about this grand abuse of position?? Oh nothing - “My work’s done for just 500 bucks so why should I give a damn?” Our silent acceptance is what we have to blame for the rampart corruption in India, not the government (not that the government is absolutely innocent though)
This attitude isn’t limited to just corruption, we have over the course of several centuries ignored and turned a blind eye to social practices like sati, child marriages, untouchability… the list isn’t short. As a result a society that 2 millennia ago was considered to be one of the greatest civilizations to have existed was degraded to a barbaric hoard. And if wasn’t for people like Raja Ram Mohan Roy we wouldn’t be any better now. Silence and inaction has been beaten into our very soul and existence. We refuse to stand up to injustice, we refuse to stand up and defend our dignity, our country... How the hell are we so damn proud of our society and culture??
To conclude I just one thing to say, silence is golden, true, but only when speech is just a waste of words. But silence is a sin if we refuse to stand up to the injustice around us. Raise your voice against evil, act against it, there is no virtue in cowardly silence.

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Vakul Mohanty
A metal-head who's wants to do pursue a Ph.D Currently studying Biology & Comp Sc. at BITS,Pilani - Hyderabad Campus, his life-long ambition is to become a professor and wear shorts to work


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