Thursday, September 29, 2011


(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.


  1. To answer the questions that you posed in the beginning. I challenge them all the time. I think I am a bit of a rebel. Lots of time, I've heard people comment that are you an activist? Well, I am not an activist, if that means giving up on family life and dedicating your life to a cause. But, I am a normal human being that questions useless and sometimes cruel traditions. Absolutely change can be brought about with a mindset change. I just know one thing that there is no absolute truth. The deeper we plunge the more we find. I don't know if I am making sense but hopefully you get the gist of what I am trying to say.

  2. @Rachna,

    Thanks. I understand you. One does not have to give up family life to challenge. And I completely agree there is nothing like 'ABSOLUTE' truth. It makes perfect sense to me. Truth changes.

  3. @NRIGirl,

    Thanks. Presentation is done. I posted it after the presentation.

    I wish I had published it before. When I edited it for publishing I found several mistakes that I fixed them also reduced the size.

  4. Honestly i have not read the post yet ,just came by to say Hi !

  5. Did you prepare this for any presentation? Good work. How many people think of a change. A change always is uncomfortable for people. They look for changes in the external world without knowing it should start from within .

  6. True. Change is always for the better.-Swetha Amit (Whirlwindthoughts)

  7. very sphere of life initially people reject it and later on it becomes a way of life...change must be always welcome it is for the broader good of the people along with society..

  8. Very true. We need a strong leader now!

  9. So true Amrit, I totally agree with you. Today we see the change happening because of a short rolly polly fellow called Anna Hazare, who is challenging a more corrupt and more cunning government. Yes with so many inspiring people, and also with so many unbelievable things happening around the world, one can never lose sight of the little flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.

  10. You're right A, we are indeed the change we want to see in the world. It a single step that has helped achieved the impossible coz it was the single step that was followed by many others to make a dream come true, a dream that the whole nation has seen and the whole nation had strived to make it true.
    Today we say that nothing can happen as the power is in the hands of a few...that time too the power was in the hands of a powerful few , but at that time there was strength in our dreams, we need to nuture the same strength and belief in ourselves.

  11. There is a quote which goes like, Youth attempt the impossible and achieve it most of the times irrespective of what was the earlier established and proven practice. It does help if we are all a bit audacious and have higher aims than just have a family, make more money, go to job, and other such mundane activities which anyway happens.

  12. Such apt and thought provoking post...change is the only constant it seems

  13. Wonderful and thoughtful post. I fully agree with you as change is required for the betterment of our country and people. A change will give a new shape and different way to think.

  14. Well the question is what is right or wrong .. does it not depend on the viewpoint of the person who is trying ot figure it out ...
    Right is Right for me if all falls in place and if it does not it becomes Wrong ...

    but sorry dont beleive in MArtin luther king and Gandhi in same bracket .. Now that is surly WRONG... Gandhi was a politcian.. and What he did has brought our nation to this stage ... What MArtin luther king did has taken USA to new heights and phases ..

    so they both cant be in same bracket.. NEVER


  15. A very inspiring post indeed!! Thnx for writing it. Reminds me of the saying... 'Be the change you to bring'

  16. Superb, motivating post. "Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Mahatma

  17. Yes, certain things that no one ever imagined, changed. Change is a norm.
    Great post.

  18. 'The 2C Mantra' we can call it-challenge and change:-) Who knows newer history waits to be written. There is nothing more satisfying than breaking pre-conceived notions and nothing that echoes results stronger:-)

  19. Questioning the norm happens when the troubles totally takeover life. Gandhiji stepped in when India had literally gone to the dogs.

    Egypt has taken in Democracy, when Democracy has failed miserably in India. So where is the NORM here? Are we giving autocracy a try again?

    What Presentation A ? Where, when , how???? :)

  20. I did enjoy this post- very inspiring! There are some truths that no matter how much we challenge them- they are just there- facts which will never change year in and year out- forinstance, if you throw yourself off a 100 storey building and you don't have a parachute or other alternate flying device- and there is no landing to cling on to below you- you WILL go DOWN- you will NOT fly up- you will most truthfully and unyielding fall down- whether you survive the fall or not, now that is another story. :)

  21. inspiring.. very catchy..
    I agree to most of it..except the end..of the paragraph.. Some mistakes Indian leaders made ..for which all of us are suffering till date...
    change is good and to challenge is even better But for the betterment.I have been a rebel.. and always found a thrill in it :)
    People have their own notions at times but reality is different of all..

  22. Very motivating post A!
    We are the change and we create the change...we cannot and should not wait for someone to make that happen!
    Had those people never thought of it and took initiative, we wouldn't have been like this now...Nice post!!

  23. Absolutely.
    I do see a change coming our way in India soon enough.Every act has a life cycle. MisGovernance,corruption too has had its life span.
    Come 2012, we may see anew and changed India.That is when we will also say"We had a dream which has come true"

  24. Very well written post... A good start to bring about the change... :)

  25. Inspiring article. A change can bring in lots of 'better's..

  26. I do sometimes tend to question the obvious and question the fundamentals. This I do when provoked and teased beyond reasoning.
    Thanks for your opinion that it is okay to question and change.

  27. A, Very powerful post showing strong desire to fix the wrong happenings around the world..reading made impact and stirred the though process. Ordinary people need such inspiring provocation regularly to bring change around.

  28. well...i think the main problem is the bias...the bias of being born in a society, educated in a perticular system, having a set of religious beliefs and things like these which do not allow one to think out of the box... so even if somebody found like something travels faster than light, he/she will reject it as a fault in the measuring device..because we are trained like this...

  29. It takes time to bring about any change whether it is thoughts or actions away from accepted norms ! True! as Alka said Change is the only constant

  30. Change means that what exists isn't perfect. In order to make things look better we need to change. Nice post A. Inspiring one.