Wednesday, August 10, 2016

859. Simple Living…..!

There were pictures of Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron helping workers to move out of 10, Downing Street which were circulated in social media.  Some posted comments like “This is how a true democracy works unlike in our country where elected representatives behave as Feudal Lords”. But then it was found that the pic was taken in 2007, when Mr Cameron and his family were moving into their new house. When the date of that pic was mentioned some flooded with posts on the social media extenuating the post, maybe they found it difficult to imagine that a political leader too can live a simple life.

We have this man who was the president of Uruguay, his name is Jose Mujica. He says “I have a way of life that I don’t change just because I am a president. I earn more than I need, even if it’s not enough for others.” He is termed as world’s poorest president for which he says, “I'm called ‘the poorest president’, but I don't feel poor. Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more.”  His salary was $ 12500; he donated 90% of his salary and kept $1250 for himself. After he completed his tenure as president in 2015 he said so in an interview, “People who like money too much ought to be kicked out of politics. We invented this thing called representative democracy, where we say the majority is who decides, so it seems to me that we (heads of state) should live like the majority and not like the minority.”

This made me recapture the words of Chanakya, the author of Arthashastra. He says, “A minister is like a honey collector for a King; he may lick his hand after collecting and storing the honey in the jar, that is tolerable, but if he empties the entire jar for himself, then that is big worry for the people of the land.” In Democracy which it is termed as “Praja Rajya” (People are Rulers) obviously we  the people are the Kings and our elected representatives are those who are to serve us.

A Chinese visitor had come to Pataliputra to meet Chanakya. He did not find him in the palace. He was told he can find him in the outskirts of Pataliputra. Reaching the outskirts the Chinese visitor found a humble dwelling in that remote place. With the intention to get information on where Chanakya was he knocked the door. The door opened and the visitor inquired, “Where can I find Chanakya?” The person who opened the door said, “I am Chanakya”. It was then the Chinese visitor realized the true opulence of Pataliputra.

The Chinese visitor writes in his book, “When the minister stays in a simple dwelling the subject enjoys good housing, and when the minister lives lavishes, it is then the subject will be bereft of dwelling, and go astray.”  Bhismacharya describes the characteristics of an able minister to Yudhisthira in Anushashana parva. He mentions the most important qualities to be Sauchah (Cleanliness). Cleanliness is not simply being bodily clean but it indicates integrity and transparency. A clear inside is the key.

I have visited many ancient temples built by kings and I have seen many forts also but I have rarely seen any of the palaces of kings apart from those who had colonial influence on them. The ponds, lakes and wells built by them exist even today they focused on the welfare of the subjects. 

We have had such people among us Abdul Kalam sir is one of them. He will be remembered for his simple living....I wonder why our politicians do not emulate him..... Does anyone know why???

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