The Crossroads of Apathy and Sympathy
Nero, a Roman emperor, wanted to throw the biggest party in the history of the Empire. All the preparations were done, but there was one slight problem. The problem was how to provide nightly illumination for the party to which anyone who was anyone in Rome was an invitee. They solved the problem by bringing the wretched criminals and prisoners and burning them at stake around the garden. Who is to blame - the mad king Nero or all the intellectuals of Rome, who did nothing and ate their dinners while fellow human beings went up in flames nearby to serve as “nightly illumination”?
Albert Einstein once said that the world is a dangerous place not because of those who do harm, but because of those who look on and do nothing. He was right. Europe was dangerous in Nazi Germany. Not only because of the criminally insane who committed murder, but also because of the ‘normal’ teenagers from ‘normal’ families, who drove the trains that took people to torture camps, or the onlookers who turned a blind eye to what was happening then. The world is dangerous today. Not because of the psychopaths who roam the streets at night, but because of the good people of society who say, “what awful things happened in the fascist regime. Thankfully this is history; such things would never happen nowadays here in the world.” The sad part is that it’s happening NOW. The education inequity in the world, the dire state of healthcare and poverty are no less problems than Nazi Germany, Pol Pot Cambodia, Rwanda or communist China.
Apathy is dangerous, and sympathy is not enough. We might not have gas chambers or mass burnings today but poverty, poor healthcare and education inequity are plaguing our world.
Is it not time for us to empathize and do something about it? Watching the news and feeling bad about injustice isn’t enough. We have been lucky to be born with all the privileges that we have. We have received so much from this society. Isn’t it our responsibility to give back? There is a sleepwalker in every one of us. The only way to avoid succumbing to the sleepwalker is to wake up, start questioning and start doing something.
Education is a powerful tool for transformation. Not only does it alter the life path of the child, but it also uplifts an entire generation of family members along the way.
Last year, around this time, I joined Teach For India, in my attempt to avoid being a sleepwalker. It has been one hell of a ride so far and I’ve added many new lens’ to my perception of the world. During my journey I’ve been overwhelmed by a lot of people asking how they can help. I’ve realised that people everywhere want to help; everyone wants to do things that are meaningful and purposeful. Nobody wants to be a sleepwalker. But most of us have constraints that tie us down, and don’t allow us to do the things that we want to do (a family to support, or parents to take care of or a future to build for you children, everyone has a reason). Not everyone can have the luxury or the bandwidth or the even the motivation to help bridge the inequity gap in the world. But that doesn’t mean you can’t play a role, in giving back, attempting to solve this puzzle piece. Yes you can. This post is a cry for help, a request to assist me in my pursuit of excellence for 108 kids from the slums of Mumbai.
Help Hari’s classroom go places!
There’s a LOT I need to do for my students, and there’s a lot I can’t do alone. There’s a pressing need for funds and external aid that can better equip me to effectively do my work in the classroom. So, through this post I’m reaching out to anyone and everyone who’d like to help out.
To more about what I need and why* (along with pictures of various activities from the academic year 2014–15) please visit my fundraising page!
Here’s a link to my fundraising page -