(Dear readers, being transcript of a presentation, this post is verbose and written in a different style)
Do you ever challenge a preconceived notion? Do you ever question an assumption? Do you ever confront your own belief system?
Right may not be right. A social norm may be misconstrued.
But it is okay to question and challenge. It is okay to change. And we can make a change. People like us changed the world and people like us are changing the world.
First let us look at Science that works on hypothesis and proofs.
Recently some scientists claimed that Neutrinos can travel faster than speed of light. Modern day theories of physics assume that no object can travel faster than light. Theories of modern physics are being challenged.
Does Earth rotates around Sun or Sun rotates around Earth? For a long time church and astronomers believed that Earth is the center of Universe and the Sun rotates around Earth. Copernicus and Galileo proved heliocentrism but neither the church nor the established astronomers accepted it. Galileo was under house arrest for a long time. Galileo and Copernicus challenged the church and changed the theories.
Before 1903, scientists were convinced that anything heavier than air cannot fly. Just a week before the first flight at Kitty Hawk, a renowned scientist published an article PROVING that flying was IMPOSSIBLE. Wright brothers’ invention was called a hoax even after the demonstration. Not only we can fly, we can send space ships outside of Earth’s environment. Science of flying changed. In 1961, less than 60 years of first flight, USSR sent Yuri Gagarin, the first human to space.
Secondly consider political landscape which works on power.
- USSR was a massive powerful country. It was hard to imagine collapse of world’s largest superpower. Moving from communism to democracy was not even a thought during the cold war.
- Egypt is another example. 30 years of autocracy ended in less than 30 days. 18 to be precise! Egypt is heading towards democracy and we may see the first election on Nov 28.
- 40 years of autocracy is coming to end in Libya also. Libya is a small country. Even bigger empires diminished.
- At one time British Empire was so vast that sun never set in it. But it changed. British Empire had an army of 2 million men, tanks and arms but Gandhi’s non violence won.
Lastly consider the social values.
- British had signs ‘Indians and Dogs not allowed’ at the clubs. Winston Churchill derogatory called Gandhi, a half naked fakir. But British negotiated with this half naked fakir. High caste Hindus like Nehru followed Gandhi when India was marred and fragmented by the caste system. Gandhi made remarkable attempt to integrate Indian society to eliminate hollow caste system.
- No one can forget Martin Luther King and his famous words ‘I have a dream’. His dream came true. It was only as late as 1964, Civil Right Act was passed banning discrimination. America saw first black governor in 1990 (Douglas Wilder - Governor of Virginia) and just 18 years later the very first black President. President Obama.
Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Copernicus and others were people like us. Like them we can attempt change. A change that makes our society better. A change that makes our world better.