July 20, 2018
“Progress for progress’s sake must be discouraged.”
Recognize this statement? It was said by Professor Umbridge in her long and boring speech in the Order of the Phoenix.
(Hopeless Potterhead that I am, I cannot help but draw my own insights from the fictional words of even the most hated teacher of a fictional boy wizard set in a fictional school.)
When Umbridge said this, her words were met with widespread confusion. But, it was also understood to be a warning or a message by the few people who managed to survive the drivel, like Dumbledore and Hermione.
And, they were able to grasp Umbridge’s intentions as well.
So, are you a Dumbledore or a Hermione? If you are, sit through this arbitrary rambling about an un-quotable quote and see if you can grasp what I say.
If you are a Harry or a Ron, I bid you a fond farewell. But, do come back to read my other posts.
An unimportant number of days back, I was going somewhere from somewhere. I was in the middle of a bustling city and in the middle of immovable traffic.
(Brace yourself, there are several ‘Traffic in the city’ cliches coming up) There were vehicles everywhere, pedestrians everywhere. The air was rent with the incessant noise of honking cars. Somewhere in the distance, the distinctive beeping sound of a speeding ambulance was also being heard.
Everybody wanted to go somewhere. Everybody wanted to go somewhere, right away.
So did I.
I was minding my own business and thinking about nothing in particular when something that is very usual and common-place in a bustling city like the one I was in , caught my eye.
The work to construct the new stage of the metro line of the city was under-way. Men and women were hard at work. The noise of the huge machinery was adding to that of the honking vehicles. All in all, everyone on that construction site was working extremely hard, in the sun, to achieve progress.
As I learnt a few seconds later, the job that these hard-workers (and I mean that in all honesty) was to chop down a tree that was a major hindrance to the construction of the metro. They had this mean piece of machinery to cut down that tree and if the traffic had not moved at that time, I would have been able to watch it fall.
That got me thinking.
What I had just witnessed was something that was, at the same time, necessary and harmful to the city and its people.
If the construction of the metro means progress of the city and country, is progress something that can be achieved only after sacrificing a few nameless life-givers along the way?
The tree that was being cut down would have been the home to many organisms, it was most certainly an oxygen producer and most importantly, it was a living being. So, is that voice-less tree dispensable for us to achieve our notions of progress?
But, aren’t we chopping away at the same branch that we are sitting on? If the life-givers are gone, for dependent beings like us, all life will be lost. So then, what is the use of all the progressive steps we are taking today?
What is the use of the justification that all that is being done today is being done for the ‘greater good’ (I am a hopeless Potterhead, I told you!) , if we are making our tomorrows non-existent?
Have you ploughed on through my arbitrary rambling? Are you here?
If you are, I ask you:
Was Umbridge right?
Should progress for progress’s sake be discouraged?
Because I don’t know.
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India