Rules for harmony

farmerOne of the many reasons that make the farming community different from others, is the rules that govern them. Farmers know that when the rains start they have to sow the seeds. Rice seedlings transplanted in the absence of rain will die, and no amount of argument will bring the rains sooner. The rules that govern them are absolute, and in most case, in harmony with nature. They are different from the daily protocols or the moral values which we live by.

Take the general compartments of trains anywhere in India. The passengers waiting on the platform know that when a train arrives at the station, they must allow commuters who are inside to get off before they board the train. But by the time the train stops, a gory battle is already in place between those trying to get out and those trying to get in. Elbows, shoes, heads, hands, everything is used to force one’s way in or out. Similarly, it is understood that a driver on road must stop when the signal goes red. But in the absence of traffic policemen, it is very common for vehicles to jump signals, thereby risking his and others’ lives. These rules and protocols are not absolute like the ones that govern the farmers, and no authority can make them absolute.

Not just the farmers, all the other entities on earth understand this. Even the plants and animals understand the non-negotiable protocols of natural harmony. The universal recognition that some protocols are inviolate, no matter how grave the consequences, should be the goal for society generally, and it should come from a bottom-up-approach. It is not a question of mechanical enforcement of protocols. Nor can we expect every small violation of rules to be a punishable offence. That will make the world a dictatorial hell. Rules and protocols can be enforced by people too if they are determined enough. We love to bend rules, seek compromises, and bring chaos. We must learn from our farmers.


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