How many times have you come across people who seek favour from you, and then just walk away without saying a single word of thanks? Perhaps expecting any gratitude is wrong, but that should be our behaviour, and not forced upon us by others. Every such experience does cause pain, insult, and makes us feel let down.

I was once browsing through lectures and speeches of Lala Lajpat Rai. Somewhere he noted — ‘By taking favours, we owe something to the person who bestows them, and if we keep on doing it, we become slaves. Without personal freedom, national freedom cannot come’. But here the tendency is not at all to clear that debt, instead to deny it altogether!

Also, it seems that there is something wrong in our understanding of nature and universe. Friend, we are here to live it, use it and possibly enjoy it, and then pass on. We do not own it. So, if people think that everyone and everything else owes service to them, and have been created only to bring benefit to them, then they have got it completely wrong. Such way of thinking only conveys ingratitude and a sense of taking things for granted — not acknowledging the value of things and people in their lives. Yes, you read it correct, this is part of a general sense of ingratitude, which is not confined to only humans. It is also about burdening our environment, deforestation and filthy cities — you can keep on enumerating. All of these are in a way related to that sense of ingratitude — not to respect or value the things in our lives. Of course, these things do have an identity of their own and deserve a treatment better than they are given presently. However, even if people prefer to take up their causes with a selfish motive, i.e., how much valuable are things or people to them, even then they should at least acknowledge and express their gratitude. Just a lip service would not help — the expressions and the gestures would give them away.

You might have watched the lecture by Shashi Tharoor on whether Britain owes reparation. He made a small remark towards the end of that lecture that just accepting the mistake made goes a long way, and that a material nature of reparation is not important. I think the same holds good for gratitude as well. As with several other similar lessons taught during our childhood by our parents and teachers, this lesson does not deserve to be forgotten.

2 thoughts on “Ingratitude

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