Saturday, August 24, 2013

Anjali - We Didn't Discover The Zero, They Did

While playing cricket with Anjali the other day, the topic went to 'zero'. In a bout of mischief she started yelling that her score was now zero or something like that. After a couple of her trademark jigs, she turned to me and impishly said - 'We Indians only discovered the zero na nanna!' and went on in that we-are-the-greatest vein for a while. We'd read about this 'zero' business in a book last week.
Not me!

After playing a couple of balls though, she stopped abruptly.
'But actually we did not discover the zero. Those people in the olden times discovered it. You didn't discover it na? I didn't either. So why are we jumping around?'

Ah, so true my child. I cannot tell you how much I agree with you on this. When I see people jumping around, taking credit for the zero, for the vedas, for yoga, for our culture, for everything in this world, I always think the same thoughts that Anjali got. Fine, someone did their job well then. What are you doing? What have you done? Why are you taking credit for it?

In our country, we see all these credit-hoggers, taking credit for things they never did. We have political parties digging up old graves to get at their vote banks - let the people fight and kill themselves - it's fine as long as we get there. We have those parties who protect a culture they never understand nor contributed to, and in ways that are totally against any culture. We have people who will beat their chest about the zero without knowing the significance of it nor anything remotely concerned with it. We have those who beat up writers and artists and actors for 'hurting' their sentiments - without revealing what these sentiments are really. They beat up fellow Indians for 'hurting' the sentiments of 'their' land. And so on and on. We somehow also have fallen into a space where we listen helplessly to all these enthusiasts who are always taking credit for something, someone else has done. Ask the demonstrators what he or she knows about the cause for which they are protesting and in most cases, especially when the causes are not genuine, we will find no answer. ask them what they have done and we will find no answer either.

So, I am glad that Anjali quickly realised that we did not really discover the zero. Someone else did. What are we doing? What are we discovering? What are we creating? What are  we contributing?
Brilliant job Anjali. Way to go girl.

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