Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Important C S. Lewis Quote

A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means.  This is an obvious lie.  Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is....  A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.  That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness.  They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. 
                                                                                              ~C.S. Lewis

I think this is a very profound quote by C. S. Lewis. But I am only worried about the current state of Indian society. Even in universities. Everywhere. It is so repugnant. The other day, must be last winter, I was telling Mr. A (a young man, a former student who has started working and who thought very highly of me) about how Mr. X was corrupt and misused his official position to help out his relative. I thought the least Mr. A would do is to say, yes. But Mr. A turned around and said, "But isn't that everyone in an official position would do?" I just didn't know how to react to that. I was, of course, aghast. And Mr. A was someone whom I had taught years ago. He was a regular student, someone who was quite respectful to me. Someone who told me for many years that he looked up to me. Mr. A should be 30-32 years old. I'm 39. Younger to me, of course. 

Two things struck me. One, I was a perfect idiot to have never used any official position I had to benefit myself and to have never caused harm to anyone.  One again, I was a perfect idiot to have never used any official position and connections that my Dad knew for any wrong/dishonest benefit. The second thing that struck me was even more serious.  What happened to this young man that he started thinking like this?

Of course, there was the third question in my mind too. If this is the kind of Indian youth we are going to produce, or young Muslins that we are producing, no wonder, Indians are going to lag behind. No wonder, I would agree with Ramachandra Guha's argument about why India cannot be a super power. (You can check an earlier blog post here on Ramachandra Guha).

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