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  • Aditi Surana

Ubuntu - I am because you are!

The word ‘Atma Nirbhar’ lingered in the background today. Social media didn’t permit anyone to forget the word anyways. The loose english translation of this word is ‘self reliant’. A strategy historically implemented by many nations to survive through colossal economic crises.

Having said that I couldn’t help but think of this word from the perspective of self growth. As per sanskrit etymology, this word ‘AtmaNirbhar’ comes from two words = Atman + Nirbhar. Atman implies ‘Self’ but Nirbhar means ‘full of’. Interestingly, instead of ‘self reliant’ it means ‘full of one’s self’.

I began exploring this concept inadvertently. Wondered which definition of ‘AtamaNirbhar’ is applicable to the human psyche? I was reminded of a line that I wrote for tomorrow’s podcast episode. A man is like a forest, he’s an individual yet connected and dependent on others for growth. Nurturing another nurtures us. Helping another person grow, stimulates our internal growth.

I have met so many people who genuinely believe that they don’t need other people to grow or move forward in life. For them the lines between independence and exclusion have become blurred. I feel you can nurse the illusion of being self reliant, only if you are full of yourself & it is an unfortunate space to be in.

The symbol painted on my hand is a sign of ‘Ubuntu’. A zulu word that represents a traditional african concept. Nelson Mandala said, ‘A person is a person through other persons’. Ubuntu’ means ‘I am because you are’. I hope we remember ‘Ubuntu’ no matter how far we stand in the social distancing protocol.

I am because you are!

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