Terms define conditions of entities but sometimes similar terms describe dissimilar conditions. It may be an interesting scenario for linguists but for others the 'dizygotic terms' can be misleading. They can give entirely distorted meanings and even convey exactly the opposite of what we really want to. Like beauty that lies on the eyes of the beholder and love that can only be understood by those in love, the real intent of a particular term in a specific context shall remain in the user's mind forever. Here is an attempt to elaborate on a few such fraternal twin terms.
Progress and Development
The best way to illustrate a point is to give an appropriate example. In India, nothing can highlight the contradiction between progress and development than the state of affairs in Kerala. There is no doubt that Kerala is a very progressive state but it is one of the least developed (and it will remain so until basic attitudes of our people change). Progress is a relative term and anything that moves in any direction is making progress. But development is an absolute term and only when we achieve certain minimum levels in specific parameters can we really claim to be developed. NRKs (Non Resident Keralites) contribute to development wherever they are but we are one of the most destructive tribes in our own home ground. The society is sharply divided on communal lines and there is not even a single leader who can rise above petty politics to talk about development. Electoral politics have defeated democracy and organized manipulations have resulted in 20% of people capturing 80% of benefits in all spheres of life. Denigration of heritage and usurping land from tribals are considered progressive measures. Cultural tsunamis have washed away all symbols of 'malayanma' and parts of Kerala do not look like Kerala anymore. The much acclaimed Kerala model for development lies buried under the Arabian sea forever.
Wealthy and Rich
Both wealthy and rich people deal with money but they put it to different uses. An anecdote of mine would illustrate this point. In my childhood there used to be one Viswambharan 'mudhalalli' and 'panakaran' Mathai in our village. In Malayalam, both these adjectives stand for people with money and I used to wonder about the big difference. While the former one set up productive business one after another, the latter one was mainly into money lending business. As it happens in Kerala, Viswambharan could give employment to quite a few in the village but all his factories closed down one after another. On the other hand, Mathai went from success to more success with higher volume of business handled by his own household. Now Viswambharan's children are struggling for a living while Mathai's progeny are professionals in UK and USA. Thus it took me almost three decades to understand the real difference between being wealthy and rich. While wealthy people generate money by involving others in the process, rich people do the same all by themselves.
Believe and Trust
Most of us can believe in another but how many of us can really trust another one. The best picture of trust is prostration in front of someone or something. While doing so we are freely exposing our medulla oblongata and a simple hit can take the life. That is exactly why it is customary to prostrate in front of God in a temple as a symbolic gesture of total submission and trust. But how many of us can think of doing the same in front of another human being. However much we try, the best we can do is to believe in our well wishers but never can we trust anyone anymore. Selfishness, hidden agenda and one-upmanship have become the hallmarks of our generation. People who trust others get fooled more often but those who restrict themselves to belief with caution come out unscathed always.
Resistance and Impedance
It is common for man to resist what he doesn't like. Some people go to any length to resist his dislikes and some others give up half way through or in the beginning itself. It is here that we come to think of another type of resistance that exist within us. In fact, all materials have natural impedance. The most striking feature about this new term is the physical law which says that maximum power transfer takes place when impedances match. It can be proved in the case of materials by mathematical derivations. And truer it is in the case of human beings. We like certain people and hate some others. It is our impedance that matters here and not the resistance.
Knowledge and Wisdom
There are many knowledgeable in our midst but wise ones are seldom seen. Explosion of educational means and media have made pursuit of knowledge much easier than in the past. Internet and mobile phones have broken down caste and community barriers like never before. Anyone willing to learn has a whole world in front of him or her. Thus knowledge can be acquired at any age but how many of us can become wise in our lifetimes. I feel it is absolutely necessary to have the minimum worldly experience in addition to the required knowledge to become wise. It is our good & bad experiences in life and interaction with all kinds of people that makes us wise. Knowledge can be put to good and bad use but wisdom can only lead to benefit for all. Hitler was knowledgeable but Mahatma Gandhi had the wisdom to lead and liberate a majority of mankind from aliens.
Secular and Rational
Secularism has become the most confusing term in India now. The dictionary describes it as a doctrine in which religion should have no place in civil affairs but many in India say that it is about equal respect for all religions in state affairs. To confound the complication, Communists who are supposed to be rationalists by definition double as secularists with more than equal respect for certain religions including their own (sometimes it makes more sense to consider Communism itself as a religion with Marx, Mao and Stalin as the 'trimurtis'). For an impartial observer the whole scenario looks absurd from one side and ridiculous from the other. Rationalism calls for absolute belief in logic to explain everything in this universe and I feel there cannot be any true rationalist. And secularism must stand for complete avoidance of religious considerations in affairs of the state. If religion is an affair between individuals and God, there is no scope for someone in between, neither an organization for guidance nor policemen to control.