I was always keen to understand what civilization means and where it is taking us?
I wish to share my views through a real Life Experience with MASAI tribe in Africa:
I travelled in Tanzania recently in a Safari through the most famous jungle called Serangatti" which is full of wild animals. It is a place preserved for natural inhabitant which are mostly Wildebeest, Lions, Antelopes, Elephants, Giraffe etc. No inhabitation of people is permitted here except a tribe called "Masai" who have struck a perfect balance with the nature with its bounty of wild animals. Seeing Masai, I am reminded of how human beings would have lived during Stone Age.
Please see the pictures below before you read further.
|Meera (my wife) & Sashi (my daughter) with Masai|
|Ganesh (my son) with Masai|
I happened to visit one of the 'Masai' hamlet which comprises of about 180 people living in about 20 huts fenced to demarcate their territory and to protect them from animals. These 180 people have formed a community which is dependent on mutual cooperation for survival. It reminds me of Sri. NanaJi Deshmukh, a nonagenarian visionary from Deendayal Research Institute with whom I had a privilege to work with. He is a social reformist who proposed a concept called "Swavalamban" which, means 'Self-Reliance" of village in India. NanaJi said 'Integral Humanism is the way of cooperative living. I found his philosophy working with Masai tribe.
Masai live in a cramped hut (please see picture) with a special shape entrance may be to prevent entry of animals to grab their child. I tried getting into their hut which was an adventure by itself!. The hut is about 15 SFT which has no window and pitch dark inside. There are two small beds made out of twigs one for parents and one for their children. In the middle of the house they have wood stove where cooking was going on making the hut as hot as an oven. I could not stay there more than 5 minutes due to claustrophobic feeling. I was reflecting how we are living in a comfortable AC apartment and complain about everything. "We are comfortably miserable". I realized it is not the physical comfort that makes us happy which was abundantly provided by science.
They have a school (please see picture) made out of twigs in a muddy floor with 20 kids of 3 to 7 years old being taught English & their tribal language by a 'Masai'. I could not stop tears rolling down in my cheek when I saw those innocent kids with mud all over their body reciting 1 to 10 proudly to impress us. I was reflecting the luxurious education we are providing to our children but still perennially dissatisfied about unborn future. I noticed a charm in the face of Masai children with twinkling innocent eyes which is the reflection of their incorruptible mind.
While this walk through of innocent people community, I was reflecting in my mind 'Who are most civilized 'We or Masai?' The lessons I learned from Masai is as follows:
- Civilization does not mean wearing suit and greedily running behind money. Our attire does make us 'Civilized'. Living with mutual cooperation is nature's plan as we see all animals of same kind live together. It is not the physical togetherness matters but alignment in mind does. Civilization made us to carry the dagger to win.
- It is not the possession that makes us happy. Civilization took away our peace from us and provided lots of gadgets. Masai don't have cell phone & Wifi but still happy & effective.
- We were entertained with courtesy by the Masai with the belief 'Athiti Devo Bhava'. I found true love for visitors which was not faked. Civilization made us 'fake' in most of our dealings in the name of "Personality ethics".
- Masai people were submerged in mud all over their body but still they were healthy. But we carry disinfectant all the time but still pick up virus. It reminds me the fact we have born from Earth, live in earth and buried in earth like a lotus flower born, grown and dies in water. Civilization made us to feel hygienic and became unnatural in everything. We go to spa and get 'mud bath' to recover from stress. Alas where civilization took us.
- Masai were seen with their shaven head (both men & women) wearing an identical clothing in RED colour with a stick in their hand. When we asked why RED colour they answered the animals are scared of red. This proves the point 'Knowledge is gained by observation'. I was reminded of Japanese industry practice of uniform for all employees to align their thinking. Civilization did not bring us together but divided us by colour of skin, religion, caste, creed, language, wealth and so on.
- There is no hospital in 100 km surroundings but Masai are healthy & living very long. When I asked how do they treat when they are sick. He said they know which herbs cure what disease and above all they rarely fall sick. Civilization gave us BP, Diabetics, heart disease which is not found in Masai!! Disease is the result of comforts and non alignment with nature. Disease is 'Dis' 'ease' with nature.
- Lastly, Masai grow life stock with them which are goats & cows. Although they live in the middle of wild life they never kill any of them for food and solely rely on their own home grown animals. This shows their respect for Nature. Civilization made us to destroy elephants for Ivory, Rhino for horn, tiger for skin and so on. Our endless greed is destroying this planet progressively. We hunt for our entertainment and create imbalance in nature and screw up.
With whole of my heart.