INSIGNIFICANT INDIVIDUAL

Free thinking is a myth! We, Humans, are forced to believe that we are thinking freely applying all the logic and taking the right decision. But all of our thoughts are highly influenced by the narratives, we have grown, hearing. These narratives are generally classified as societal norms. These norms are generally created to give comforts to the conservatives, and this is also true that we may be of radical thinking, still, we are against the change and the status quo is the safest option.

One such narrative is that nothing big could be achieved by the efforts of a single person. There is a common idiom in Hindi “अकेला चना भाड़ नहीं फोड़ सकता” (a lone gram can’t break the oven). These idioms are best forwarded to unconsciously check the thinking of a person. Most of us, who have heard or read this idiom, instantly believed it. Rarely we challenge such wisdom, but we are wrong. The following story will be used to explain it.

Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in Tunisia was born to a poor construction worker. Mohamed was abused by local police officers for years, including during his childhood, they regularly confiscated his produce, but Mohamed had no other way to make a living, so he continued to work as a street vendor. On 17th Dec 2010 morning, police officers harassed him to produce a permit to sell his produce, which he had brought with $200 debt. Bouazizi did not have the funds to bribe police officials to allow his street vending to continue. So officials humiliated him publicly and confiscated his wares.

Bouazizi thought he could not do anything against the system, so on the same day, he set himself on fire and started a wave of revolutions, resulting in what the whole world knows as Arab Spring. But the idea of this story is not to explain the history of Arab Spring, but to give the sense that just the death of a single person, toppled many autocratic regimes around the world, guess what living soul would have done. Many will disagree with me on this stating his death only had brought sympathies and others come forward. But this is also guided by narratives we heard.

I would not force my opinion on anyone, but just float an idea. If the narrative heard by Bouazizi was different, a 26-year-old would have fought against the system to change it, not immolate himself feeling himself. It is high time we should change our narratives and start believing that “I can make the difference.”

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