False Pride at Stake
Mind-Set Pollution as tall as Everest!
Athirteen-year-old girl and
a seventeen-year-old boy have
climbed Mount Everest and got back safe! In return, the benefits they got were: 25 lakhs of rupees each, 5 acres of land each, government's assurance to extend help to them to cultivate land and seek jobs in future! 25 lakhs nazrana (gift) to the coach who trained them in mountain trekking. Not simply this. The government provided them training in trekking at its own expense. Several lakhs for that too! This is not the end of the matter. Read further.
Why this fuss? What is this whole fuss about? 'Money' means 'labour.' All these lakhs of money are fruits of whose labour? Are those lakhs—real currency or just paper?
How has the society benefited from the mountain climbing of these kids? What was the outcome? Kids climb hills, swim across the sea or sky-dive, and cultivate several hobbies. What is the use to others if they indulge in pursuing their hobbies?
Have they found Sanjivani (panacea) that banishes all human afflictions in seconds on that mountain? Have they located that medicine, scattered all over in heaps and brought fistfuls of the same? Have they revealed the whereabouts of the site where such life-restoring medicine is available? They haven't done any such amazing thing. What, then, is the use to people if they had climbed Everest? We find only the sky above our heads whether it is at the topmost level of land or mountain. There will be sunlight. There will be snow. You will find only whatever is there at such heights. Those who reach that height would witness the same. What do we gain if they had witnessed it?
Let those who witnessed such things write if they can, what all they saw and where they fell or avoided falling. Those who are interested would read that book. If they can't write a book, they can narrate it to the neighbours. They climbed the mountain and descended. They found a fulfilling hobby.
Others who went up the hills out of fascination for mountaineering may slide down a steep snow-covered peak to death. Those who manage to climb without falling witness the tragic scenes of those who stagger to death; but they are not in a position to offer a helping hand and save those lives.
If those who slide down smash their heads and die instantly, they are really 'lucky'. If their eyes or legs or other body parts are shattered into pieces, or if they fall into some stony-ditch and still manage to live, what would be their 'fate'? If scaling the highest mountain is a matter of pride to the nation, will falling from such a height not be a matter of shame? If falling is not a matter of shame, would climbing be a matter of pride?
Should not the government put an end to such violent activities whereby most of the mountaineering hobbyists die in accidents or lose their limbs?
Those who consider climbing Everest as bravery in fact do not at all know what 'bravery' means! A few years back, I read a news item. It happened in a jungle in some tribal area. Two young girls aged about 7 or 8 years went into the forest in search of leafy vegetables. While they were wandering under trees, a python coiled itself tightly around the younger girl. The girl was almost on the verge of death due to fear. The other girl knew one thing. That the python does not bite but can only swallow its prey wholly. The older girl held both jaws of the python apart with her two hands. She kept the two jaws apart without ever allowing them to come together. After a while, the python felt suffocated and uncoiled itself. As soon as the younger girl escaped from the deathly grip, the older one gave up her hold of the jaws of the python. Immediately, the two girls raced towards their home. I read this news item in connection with 'brave young people' of a particular year. The older girl herself was not a grown up girl. She was about eight years only. She put her two hands in the python's mouth in order to protect her young companion without caring for the plausible danger that may befall her. That is 'bravery'.
In another news item, a boy jumped into a torrent and saved a young girl who was about to be washed away in that torrential rain. That is 'bravery'! To call something a courageous act, another person or society at large must benefit from it in the form of some reform. Such are acts of bravery! Did anyone offer two-month training to that boy who jumped suddenly into the torrent and saved the young girl or to that eight-year-girl who put her hands in the mouth of the python? Did anyone accompany them to assist? Those are spontaneous emotions arisen based on the immediate need to protect others. Such are the acts of bravery.
If an individual undertakes an activity, however dangerous it may be, either to fulfil his personal hobby or self-gain, such acts cannot be considered as acts of bravery.
The climbing of Everest by that Lambadi (Banjara) girl or a low caste boy is neither for fulfilling a hobby nor for the sake of bravery. It is for the sake of 'money'. If they get money, 'fame also would follow suit'. It is merely for the sake of gain'!
In order to learn any 'craft', an instructor is essential. Some money has to be spent on that instructor. That instructor makes it his livelihood. But climbing mountains is not a 'craft'. To learn it through an instructor is not for the sake of livelihood. It is for the sake of money that the government would give later! The government spends huge amounts of money on such false activities in order to immerse people in faulty ideologies!
As the government is run by the class of masters, keeping people under as many illusions as possible will only ensure safety for its class.
In the past, a person named Karanam Malleswari received training from an instructor for several years and finally lifted some weight. What is the use to society if a person lifts some weight? The capacity to lift that weight is not something natural to that person. It is the strength that she acquired for the sake of a specific moment in which she has to lift some heavy weight. That strength would not remain the same the next day. It would disappear the next day.
How is it useful to other human beings if a person wins the running race at a given moment? Let alone others, it is a temporary victory which won't help even that person. The runner-athlete would not run if he wants to go to another place from his village. Just like the person who lost the running race, he too gets into a car, bus or train. What, then, is the use of his momentary strength which he acquired by engaging coaches for years in addition to regular practice? More money if wins, little less money if loses in the race! All forms of temporarily acquired strength are for the sake of money only. All the games and sports connected with competitions and monetary gains are utterly wasteful to the society and people. Similarly, climbing mountains is also a useless activity that goes by the name of adventure.
Of all such activities, climbing Everest is the most useless activity. It is such an inhuman activity that makes you ignore the fatal fall of fellow human beings right in front of your eyes and makes you feel that you have nothing to do with them.
All that goes in the name of mountaineering is, in fact, a commercial activity carried out for the sake of securing profits. It is a business. If we read the history of mountaineering we will come across infuriating, disgusting and shocking facts.
There are five countries which have Himalayas as their borders. India, Nepal, China, Tibet and Pakistan. Though there are about 10 to 15 paths that lead to Everest, Nepal and Tibet are the two points from where most people start their expedition. The mountaineering tourists have to pay thousands of rupees to the mountaineering companies located there. These companies earn huge sums of money. Those who work in these companies belong to poor Sherpa families. The jobs these workers perform include carrying the luggage of the mountaineering tourists (which include oxygen cylinders also), showing the paths onto the mountains, fixing ropes by making holes on the rocky terrains, repairing of specialized ladders used for climbing, fixing tents at specified camps, preparing food for the tourist-climbers whenever necessary, nursing and serving wounded tourist-climbers, bringing the bodies of the dead tourists down, digging ice to search for and retrieve dead bodies buried in ice and so on. Those Sherpa-labourers take up many such daunting tasks for the sake of enthusiastic mountain climbers.
While such feats are accomplished, not only the tourists but also the Sherpa workers keep sliding down the hills to injury or death. It is common for the tourist-climbers to witness the dead bodies of the climbers abandoned in different postures across the mountains.
If it is ordinary tourists, they climb up to a certain point and return from there if they are intimidated. But the brave heroes for whom the government provides training and on whose behalf pays huge sums of money to the mountaineering companies would not return so soon. The sight of heaps of money that they get if they succeed would reel before their eyes. Hence, they exhibit more and more tenacity and patience.
The kids got the funds and fame for climbing Everest only once. But quite a few Sherpa workers who serve the mountaineering tourists as guides climb the Everest ten to twenty times. If it is bravery of our kids to climb Everest once with the help of Sherpa guides who do everything for them, what should we call the Sherpas who carry the luggage of the climbers and climb the Everest twenty times facing the threat of death all along? If one-time climbers can get so much money and land how much should those Sherpas who climbed Everest twenty times get?
Due to scarcity of other jobs and also due to dire poverty, they surrender to the work related to mountaineering and subsist on it. Just as dying is part of the job of soldiers, facing fatal injuries and death is also part of the jobs of these mountain workers who assist and serve the tourist climbers. This is how human society exists!
There is yet another evil that arises out of this business of mountaineering. It is the pollution of Himalayas. There accumulate empty oxygen cylinders, tents, torn ropes, broken ladders, plastic bags containing bread and biscuits and all kinds of garbage that cannot be brought back. Needless to talk about the dead bodies. The mountain lovers are the adventurous ones that pollute the mountains!
What did these two brave kids do after they climbed Everest? They left the pictures of Ambedkar and Sankaran on its summit. It is okay for them to leave the pictures. But someone should see those pictures. Who are the people that see those pictures at such a height? Seeing those pictures is possible only if people living on the land climb Everest! Even the crows can't fly at such a height. People can see either pictures or statues only if they are kept at a visible height to the passers-by and those who see those pictures respond in one way or the other.
Well, then why did they keep those pictures on Everest summit? To enable people to see them or for the sake of ritual? The sage Narada alone wanders across the sky. If his wandering is true, he alone can see those pictures. If Narada is not real, there would be none to see those pictures except those who subsequently climb Everest around that particular time. Neither ants crawl over nor sparrows set foot on those pictures.
Keeping pictures and statues at the highest point is considered to be a great thing. No question as to why keep them at such a height? Usefulness and questioning are unnecessary. They want only greatness!
"You say so because the climbers of Everest in this case belong to lower castes. Will you talk like this if they belonged to upper castes", this is how intellectual pundits belonging to lower castes start arguing. They choose caste as a means of protection even in such matters which have nothing to do with castes at all. Even if the government dumps heaps of money and allots land to the children of upper castes who climbed greater heights, none of the other upper caste families would put up with it except the families of the rewarded children. There are children in every hut in tribal villages who lack food and literacy. In those schools meant for tribals, the tribal teachers themselves are ruining the lives of even five-year-old girls. Is the government, which does not respond at all to such atrocious incidents, feeling happy over the bravery of the low caste children? The government is not interested in celebrating or feeling happy. It knows pretty well how to hoodwink people of the lower castes. It attempts to induce all the low caste people into thinking: "this government is showering lots of love upon the lower castes".
Hereafter, parents in many families will realize that education and employment is a wasteful exercise for their children. If they engage the children in mountaineering and if the latter climb the top, the parents will get more money. They will get some kind of insurance even if the children fall down. The plan of making children climb mountains is enough to enable the whole family lead a comfortable life. The kids may either climb safely or fall down. Such is the love of the parents for their kids.
It is easy for the government to mislead people in many ways if it constantly awakens the craze for money and fame among its people.
[Translation: B R Bapuji, Copy editing: P Sreelakshmi]
Vol. 47, No.11-14, Sep 21 - Oct 18 2014