During my graduation days, we friends had an unofficial ritual kind of thing where we would go on a vacation after every semester. Our plan would always begin on the night the exams were over. During one such journey, we had to travel via Davanagere of Karnataka. We had reached Davanagere Railway Station by 8 at night and our next train was at 1.30 am. We had solid 5 hours to spend. We decided on having Benne Dose (butter dosa), a famous and special cuisine of Davanagere and then watch a movie to spend our time.
As we weren’t aware of the locality, we decided on inquiring about the best benne dose outlet. When we asked an auto driver, he smiled at us, asked if we were new to the city and then suggested that we get into his auto and that he will drop us to the nearby hotel. Instantly, one of my friends jumped in and started speaking aloud. “If it is walk-able then why don’t you tell us the route? We can walk and we don’t need an auto,” were his words. With a smile, the auto driver replied, “Sir, I can drop you on the way, please get in”.
I don’t know why, but this friend of mine turned to be over-smart when he retorted back with this statement- “I know about you auto drivers, now you say I will drop and then after getting down you will start fighting for money. So, tell me how much do you charge? We may be new to this city but we are not new to auto drivers”. But the real surprise was the answer of the driver. He just replied, “Sir, I might not be educated like you, but I trust people. As I am returning back home, I offered to drop you on the way. I am a KSRTC driver and I drive auto during my free time, since auto was my first bread giver and also to help the society in my own way. I did not offer to drop you in expectation of returns and I don’t need your money sir. Since you are new, I didn’t want you to have a bad experience in my city. So, I offered to help you”.
These words made us feel very ashamed and small about ourselves. We uttered nothing but entered his auto. We even apologised to him; being humble, he just waved it away and smiled at us again. Since then, this instance has been etched in my mind. I remembered this last week when I was passing through Davanagere Railway Station.
Thinking back in time, I really don’t know why we doubted such a noble man. Why are we usually prejudiced about such people? Why do we usually think that an auto driver will cheat us? It is true that everyone won’t be noble like him, but it does not give us the authority to doubt everyone either. Education is supposed to humble us, yet we grow arrogant. At this moment, I am remembering a Sanskrit shloka taught by our teacher during my schooling –
Vidyā dadāti vinayṃ
Vinayādyāti pātratām |
Dhanāt sarvaṃ tataḥ sukham ||
The shloka explains that education gives us humility, humility in turn character. Character accumulates money which helps keep us on the path of Dharma and attain happiness. The shloka on the contrary might also mean that people who have humility are the real educated irrespective of the formal education criteria. The irony is that, many a time, though we are educated, our ego successfully destroys the word called humility in us.
We seldom doubt the people who are called the top brass of the society, but we usually doubt the people who are considered as the lower strata of the society. We never believe our maid and one missing item at our home, the first thought will be about the maid stealing it. We hardly believe that a vegetable vendor from the cart will be at a loss if we bargain and are always of the opinion that he will have quoted more, so it is our right to bargain. We forget the fact that experience teaches more humility and gives more knowledge than any of the educational courses. We come to conclusions without any prior thoughts. We like to believe in our prejudiced thought more than the visible fact. Even at the highest levels of organisations, it is the prejudiced mind that distributes positions and ranks. It is the nepotism which plays a greater role whether it is at a private organisation or at a government set-up.
This Davanagere instance always makes me feel bad about the arrogance we displayed, and the thought that we mocked at his nobility makes me remorseful. Perhaps we should have been more considerate, we should have been the real educated. The auto driver showed us what real education looked like and Davanagere made me introspect if I was really educated!
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