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Periods of Transition

Monday November 8 2004 08:57 IST

By Karmayogi

Periods of transition are full of stress. There are transitions for the better. Other transitions are for the worse. A war effort is one such. The whole population must sacrifice several conveniences to fight the war. Each family has to risk a life too.

When a nation is overwhelmed by waves of prosperity, the population that is overjoyed by that transition will also find it difficult to adjust to the new affluence. That too can generate a stress which is usually unseen or unperceived. It is nothing new for understanding, but we generally miss it.

Addressing a convocation is a rare honour for anyone. One who has risen to a higher position for the first time will find delivering a convocation address frightening, as he may not have yet risen psychologically to the inner status of the new higher post. India is witnessing a small wave of prosperity, especially in the big cities. This new wave is capable of that stress.

Newspapers are frequently reporting cases of suicide. It alarms the public, especially the politicians. In changed circumstances, the press has a way of highlighting routine phenomenon as if they have newly cropped up.

So, when I checked the figures of suicide, actually there was an increase. It made me think. Anyone who desires to know the truth of this new trend will do better to study periods of transition in history from this point of view. That will supply actual historical FACTS that throw enough light on this aspect of national life.

Periods of transition for the worse, such as uprooting of the population, are known to bring to the surface characteristics that were unseen in anyone. People exclaim, ‘‘I never imagined that this old man was capable of this heinous crime. I have known him all his life as a man of soft sweetness.''

A change, especially a serious change, brings to the surface the hidden good as well as bad in us. First, the new prosperity requires a higher cultural behaviour to fit into the society.

Most people adjust. Some who are unable or unwilling to adjust feel the stress on their nerves. Often the nerves give way. There is a slightly different version of it also. When prosperity enters a community, the hidden talents of many emerge and they all quickly rise. Those who are not talented and consequently are unable to keep up with the general rise in status are stung by jealousy.

They are driven to extremes. A symptom can tell us a message. It is for us to get the message straight. A good development can indicate a good consequence, or occasionally, the opposite. A bad development can well be a symptom of a good consequence in future.
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