15. Exit from the ‘Fog of War’

Wars and conflicts have played a big role in the evolution of human civilization. We should not forget that the teachings of the Gita were given not in any Gurukul but on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Just before the beginning of Mahabharat, Arjun was actually experiencing the Fog of War. Lord Krishna gave the sermons of Gita only to get Arjun out of this syndrome. Gita is one of the most profound books in human history.  It offers the solution to clear all kinds of confusion, uncertainty, and ignorance. Whether you are a saint, a social worker, a warrior, or anything else, the teachings of the Gita are effective in all areas of human life.

In western civilization, the concept of the ‘fog of war’ has no spiritual context. There, it evolved as a military phenomenon and gradually acquired practical applications.  About 150 years ago, Prussian military commander Clausewitz wrote extensively on this subject. Recently in the year 2003, a documentary film was also made on this topic. It is titled ‘The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara’. This documentary talks about the 11 rules (mentioned below) that are crucial to face the ‘fog of war’ situations. 

1. Empathize with your enemy.

2. Rationality alone will not save us.

3. There’s something beyond one’s self.

4. Maximize efficiency.

5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war.

6. Get the data.

7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong.

8. Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.

9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.

10. Never say never.

11. You can’t change human nature.

In the course of Mission Tirhutipur, l had the opportunity to apply these rules to face the ‘fog of war’ scenario that developed after the incident of 30th December 2020. Normally I sit for meditation at 7.45 pm and go to sleep by 9 pm. However, on the night of the incident, there was a delay in my routine. I somehow completed my meditation practice at around 10 pm. Thereafter, instead of sleeping, I opened my laptop.  After completing my Law degree in 1995, this was probably the first time when I needed to revisit the sections of the Indian Penal Code and the principles of legal drafting. There was no problem of the reference books as the Internet provided everything that I required. That night I spent few hours preparing different types of documents. Before going to sleep, I had detailed plans to face all the eventualities that might come in the future. The next day at 11 am, I visited the local police station and explained my case to the Inspector. After that, I also met some other crucial figures of the area. I didn’t want to over-react but it was necessary to take all necessary precautions. Therefore, I informed my friends in Azamgarh district headquarters, Lucknow, and Delhi. 

I remained disturbed for about a week in this whole episode but fortunately, it did not affect the activities of Kamal and Harsh in the slightest. They completed the rest of the film shooting by 1st January. The next day, when both of them went to the village, something unexpected happened.  In the course of the informal conversation, the women of the village told them that why are they roaming like this now and why are they not teaching the children? On this Kamal said that there is no building or other space to teach. At that time nothing could happen on our 1.5 acres of land. There was earthwork, but it was not fit for regular teaching.

The solution to this problem was offered by the village women to whom Kamal addressed as Chachis (Aunts). They recommended some places within the village itself and told them to teach the children there. Kamal made another attempt to come out of it, feeling the circle tightening around him. He said that the children here are so mischievous that it is not up to him to make them sit down. Again the solution was ready. The aunts assured that they themselves would bring the children to the designated place. Moreover, they also agreed to sit there with a stick and maintain proper discipline.

On this, Kamal and Harsh had no other option but to agree. Soon after, the aunts of the village gathered the children in a hurry, and from 3rd January, a new phase of education started in Tirhutipur.

The idea of the ​​Study Center within the village was quite unique. Though I had no major role in its evolution, it gave me great relief. I was relieved of the pressure to open the school. Gradually, the matter of the police station had also calmed down. This helped me to concentrate on writing the script for the documentary film.

When all this was going on, I also took a decision on the issue of the Geodesic Dome. Out of Rs. one lakh that I wanted to spend on the construction of the dome, there was not enough money left. I could now only make a symbolic dome. I thought let’s make that. But my family members forbade me to do so. They said that it will send a wrong message and there is a possibility that it will also be ridiculed. Family elders knew the village psyche very well. Therefore, I respected their opinion and postponed the idea of building a dome for the next few months. It was indeed a difficult decision.

When we started working on the tactical level on December 1, 2020, the infrastructure aspect was at the top of our priority. The Geodesic Dome was to be built under this aspect of Mission Tirhutipur. However, the developments of the month of December forced us to readjust our priorities. Now, Education became our top priority. Other dimensions like Events, Media, and Infrastructure were placed to second, third, and fourth place respectively in our priority list. The remaining 5 dimensions of Mission Tirutipur – Organization, Agriculture, Production, Trade, and Service Sectors had their existence only in the paper at that moment. 

With this tactical clarity, I finalized the script of the proposed documentary film of the Mission by 8th January. We worked hard on the script, shooting, editing, and other aspects of the film, and finally, it was released on YouTube on 22nd January 2021.

In January, we were quite busy with the film production, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t doing anything else. Instead, in January we took several important steps on the aspects of Education and Events. Our problems and our challenges had not subsided yet, but yes the state of confusion and indecision was gradually decreasing. There was a feeling that very soon we will find a way to exit the ‘Fog of War’.

That’s all in this diary. Goodbye.

Vimal Kumar Singh

Convener, Mission Tirhutipur

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