Recently a newspaper flashed a headline, “P2001 power station“. This may surprise the western countries as he had been fighting the “war on terror” since many years and doing everything that is right for Pakistan and the world. Only in 2005, General Pervez Musharraf was rated amongst the top 10 worst dictator of the world by Parade Magazine. He also won the recent presidential election by unprecedented margin. Why his own people hate him so much? After all he did everything for the country and risked his life for Pakistan.
The reality is that in all through history, the people who were most powerful were also the most hated ones. The list includes all dictators of modern times like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin or Mao. Even though, all these powerful people apparently sacrificed their life for their country, yet their own countrymen hated them more than anyone else. Mussolini were so much hated by their people that not only he and his mistress were shot dead by their own people but also their dead bodies were hung upside down on meat hooks.
You don’t have to be a dictator to face this bitter truth of life. The end result of power is always the same, yet the use of power is inescapable. Even within a family, the parents often use power to control the child to put him on the right path. In the officer too, bosses have to exercise their power to control their subordinate and get the work done. Cops kill criminals in encounters to save the society and the country. There are many situations, in the professional and personal life of even the most ordinary person of the world when he seems to have no option but to use power to get results.
Most of the people use power for achieving the goal of an organization or the self. Power is used by the public authorities to bring orders in the society and uphold the rule of law. It seems necessary for that person who does not listen to the law and follow no law. Yet in every society the cops and every other organs of State that ever exercise power are most hated by the people.
We justifies the use of power to ourselves believing that people would soon realize that the exercise of power was not for any personal gain but for the interest of the person or the organization.. Yet, they are condemned by the same people I whose interest the power is exercised. Little do people realize that power can bring only hatred one is bound to lose love of peoples in his desire to exercise power? People are therefore, shocked to learn later in their life that they are hated most by the person in whose interest he exercised the power. What do you do when your child hates you for the acts that you did in the interest of child itself?
On the other hand, the world seems to love the people who had no power. Buddha relinquished his Kingdom and become a monk with no power and wealth. He is loved even today. Christ too had no power; still he symbolizes love throughout the world. Gandhi too never had any office in his life nor had any wealth, yet he was loved by his people more than any other person. In a family, mother is more loved than father. It seems that power and love can not exist together.
Why Use Power?
Let us first understand why one has to use power in the first place. We use power to bring order in the society. In other words, the power is used to ensure that everyone follow the law of the land and behave in a civilized manner. Therefore, apparently there seems to be no bad intentions behind the use of power. While we all justify use of power when it come to others, none of us want any other person to exercise power over us as we seems always have some reason to justify all our actions. The mystery of our thought is hidden in the following couplet of Gita that states (Gita, III 27)
“All Actions of man are entirely done by the nature of the man. Man deluded by his ego thinks, “I am the doer”.
The only difficulty is that all people are born with different nature. The nature of the people can be compared with the Nature Earth that givers birth to all types of plants in the world. The true nature of the person is like a natural inhabitation which automatically grows all types of plants i.e. not only the desirable plants but also undesirable plants which man calls weeds. Therefore, a powerful man, like a good gardener, considers it his duty to forcefully remove the weeds out so that the plants can survive. There can be no justification why weeds have no right to survive when they too are the offspring of the same Mother Earth, yet man finds enough justification to weed out such plants.
If there is any truth in Gita, then it is natural for the people to follow their own nature. A child does precisely what his nature dictates him to do. He loves eating, playing, watching movies and cartoon films and does not want to read books. Yet parents know that studies are must for his future and so they try to convince him to study. If that fails they feel justified in the use power to reform the child.
The same is true in the world of grownup men. Every person wish to do what he likes i.e. what his nature desires. Yet society only considers some of his desires as right and other as wrong. So the people in power use their power to punish such person for any act that are not considered right by the society. What else they can do to a person who does not confirm to the laws of the society? How do you deal with people in your office who does not work, or work against the interest of the organization? Only punishment can improve them. How do you deal with citizens who break the law and commit criminal acts against the fellow citizen? Only force can set them right. What do you do with a government that does not given justice to its people? You can only change it by force.
Power seems to be the only method to force people d what they don’t want to do. That is way all dictators and autocrats adopt as it appeals to the commonsense and it also produces quick results. They use power to set everything right is very tempting like a fast food that provides instant gratification. Yet power like fast food has the aftereffects that are difficult to withstand even by the most powerful and healthy people.
The Mystery of Understanding
Everything in this world works as per the nature. Water flows from higher altitude to lower altitudes, current from higher voltage to low and the heat flows from the higher temperature to low. How doe the knowledge flow? After all the goal of every use of power is to make the other person understand the point of view of the man in power. If only the person can understand the same, without use of power, the need of power itself vanishes.
Imagine, if your child also love to do what you wish him to do. You surely would never use power? If the citizens voluntarily start following the laws and rules, the police departments would be closed as no state would like to use power. Only if your colleagues and subordinates can understand what you think is right, no power would be needed to make them understand. The real difficulty is that other people don’t want to understand your point of view. What is the real meaning of understanding?