Unity or Togetherness – Yours to Ponder! – by Noor Rahim
Unity and Togetherness are two words so synonymous; but a deeper inspection reveals that there is a great difference in human and worldly values that are attached to it.
Unity, as defined in the Webster’s dictionary, means to bring or come together in a common cause or action.
Togetherness as defined in the Webster’s dictionary, is the spending of much time together, as by family members, which results in a more unified relationship.
The word “Unity” is indeed a universally common and widely used word in all circles – be it Family Circles; Religious Congregations; Clubs, Associations or Unions; and among friends. The concept of Unity among human beings can go on and on; in a never ending list. But the most important use of this word is in Political rhetoric.
Unity can also be a “soured”, maligned or non-aligned word; especially when internecine differences cause individuals to not see eye to eye with others and fall out; leading to their departure from the so-called “United” group/s.
Unity can be through cohesion; conviction; compulsion; or coercion depending on how it is advocated. The worse form of unity can be classed as hypocritical.
The adage of “United we stand; divided we fall” is ingrained in us from our very young age – be it at Home or in School. Hence we are lulled into belief and conviction of the goodness in Unity. But as one gets older the concept follows him/her in most aspects of life – be it among family and friends; or at the place of work; or in the love for one’s country.
In Family circles “Unity” is based on cohesion; with the strong concept of “blood is thicker than water”. However one is apt to come across cases where members have fallen out with each other. Hence the union will see splits in Family Unity – so to speak. But on the other side one will also see the concept of “togetherness” that brings them all together in a crisis situation; be it good or bad.
“Unity” among friendly circles; Clubs and Associations are also rampant but are also subject to fall outs. In Sri Lanka there are friends called “Amba Yaluwas” or “Mango Friends”. These are opportunists who will “unite” with you as long as they can get something out of you. I’m sure, you as learned readers are aware of all those magnificent sportsmen/women (especially the professionals) who jump from Club to club and associations to associations to the highest bidder. Only remaining ”united” with the dangle of the “Dollar/Euro sign” dangling in front of their eyes. So much so, that it is a “pseudo unity”.
“Unity” in religious Faiths too has its moment of disunity. This can be seen by the sectarianism within each of the major Religious Faiths. So too is the rifts within countries and worldly Associations. For example: One hears the rumblings in the European Union. So much for “unity” among the peoples of various Faiths and Economic Associations.
Unity in a dictatorial state may be said to come through compulsion. It also rubs off in most Democratic and Socialist countries, where the majority rules; and be classed under coercion.
In Political circles the word “unity” is just a façade to rouse the feelings of the Patriotic Public, in garnering votes – to gain power. After the elections the concept revolves around “each person for themselves and God for us all”. The concept of “unity” remaining a back seat by-stander; just for use in an emergency rhetoric when things go bad. Even “unity” among Party Members have fall-outs. One sees the example in the last election south of our border. Internal Party bickering was very relevant and prevalent; and there stood the Candidate uttering “Making our Country great” at every turn. This reeked of the concept of “togetherness” of the Nation – which was his main theme in his campaigns; and the “togetherness” of the Nation has triumphed over all else. All success to him and the Great Nation.
All in all Unity has its limitations/inhibitions and setbacks. A classic example of “Unity” and its setbacks will be the Worldly Body named “United Nations”. An example that “Unity” is just a far off cry; with dissensions that are often rife in this August Body which only uses the term “United” but very far from the given definitions of “Unity”. Which leads one to assume that “Unity” has caused “polarisation”; and this “polarisation” has the resulting “dissension” among the members of the United Nations. Which poses the question – “whither unity”?
On the other hand; have you ever given thought to the word “togetherness”? We often have said – Let’s get “together”! Let’s work it out “together”! Let’s plan it out “together”! And words to that effect which are just polarised; and uttered within immediate and close circles. But think back of the occasions that everyone “gathered” around you in good times and in bad. These are the times you would want to cherish, value and remember. These are the times that you experience and feel the genuine and sincere persons around you – the ones who show you the real meaning of “Unity in Togetherness”. At times the “togetherness” would reek of the saying “milk of human kindness, sincerity and understanding”.
So Dear readers you be the judge if “unity” or “togetherness” are synonymous or are they two different aspects of human values. Just pause a moment and ponder over you experiences; and relate as to which aspect you would chose or propagate?
I leave you with this important facet of life; which we seem to encounter – be it in the family; life style; or be it in our governance.
13 December 2016.