( Image credit: Jean Jullien)
Liberal? Tolerant? Forgiving? My #x*.
When violence strikes these words smell foul. And rightly so!
To parents who have lost their darling daughter and are forced to bid adieu to her bullet ridden body, rage and revenge come naturally.
To a man who is disabled for life, his ability to forgive has no longer any meaning.
To a nation, who loses its citizens and pride, only ‘War’ shows the road to ‘Peace’.
“But violence breeds violence. Revenge leads to revenge. The game of death can never create life!”- Like me, everyone knows this and yet, these are just hollow alphabets being assembled together in useless words at such times.
Pain is real. Anger is real. And it lingers in the minds of the survivors for days, months, sometimes life time!
….New Delhi 1984… Mumbai 1993…. New York 2001… Godhra 2002… Madrid 2004… London 2005… Mumbai 2008…Boston 2013…Peshawar 2014…Paris 2015…
Violence is unstoppable. And the pain it leaves behind is also unbearable.
I start from 1984 because that was the first group violent act that I saw being enacted in front of my then, sixteen year old frame. Unfortunately, as I have grown old, I see the world becoming more and more violent day by day!
There have been enough reasons invented for it- Clash of religions. Clash of civilizations. Clash of cultures. Power. Greed. Lust. Ego… None are enough! Tomorrow we will find a new reason.
But why so much violence? Over the last few days, I browsed my knowledge on history, psychology, sociology. I read news and bisected every word to find why violence crept back.
I thought that religious books could give answers and read Quran and then again reread portions of Gita and Ramayana. But I could not find any reason why violence occurs and in fact on the contrary, found incidences, why at times, it was justified in these ‘Holy’ books. Today Hollande is doing exactly what Muhammad, Ram or Krishna suggested , in these books! Somehow, I did not agree enough.
And when I could not find any answers outside, I searched the God inside! The answer was loud and clear!
Violence is our primitive self. It is our animal instinct. It is what we are.
We can put on our masks of civility. But deep inside, we remain violent.
I look at myself and my current state. I am troubled by what is going on in this outside world, in my professional life, in my psyche deep inside me. And that results in spurts of violence.
All my life, even though the scriptures, elders, gurus, social media messages which we get almost every day from some saintly friend or the other, talk about being calm and composed, yet under such pressures, anger has been my basic reaction. Anger which has led to violent acts.
When a person called me ‘Paki’ on the streets of Niagara Falls and made fun of me, I was angry and violent and ran after him. It’s another story that his youthful body outran this fat old man!
When a man misbehaved with my daughter at Sea World, I was angry and uncontrolled and gave him my piece of mind.
When anyone raises objections to my point of view, my first reaction many a times is of anger and frustration and I have that deep urge to intervene and retort back and show him his place.
And as I see, I am not alone. The more I see the world, the more I see my mirror images everywhere. Just the levels are different for different people.
Some people are masters of diplomacy and do not act immediately but nurse grudges, hatch plans and wait for their turn, while some like me, act as they feel.
I realized that in my entire life, I have not met one single person, who was not being violent in some way or the other. Just the degree, the methods and the performance was different.
So what is the point in today’ context?
We are reading the situation WRONGLY. And so are prescribing wrong medicine.
Blaming religion or intolerance for acts of violence is not the solution.
The modern man is living under tremendous pressures which are increasing day by day. And the bonds of love and family are becoming weaker day by day. Result- The modern man is becoming more and more LONELY and stressful.
And as the pressure rises, the pressure cooker inside is running up to the brim with emotions- of anger, frustrations, depression, loneliness, fears,…. waiting to burst open with just a little extra heat!
Violence caused by perceived differences of Religion, national pride or racism are just VENTS to release emotions from the pressure cooker existence of the modern man and his society!
Violence cannot be ever removed from men or society. But it can be CONTROLLED and made to subside. Like the milk that boils and burns when heated but can be cooled down just by removing the source of heat. Like a stone thrown into the calmest of the water which can cause ripples and turmoil but will return back to its restful state as time passes and the angry droplets release energy from their exalted state. Like a person like me who can be violent momentarily and then cool down within minutes, at times regretting the anger and pleading forgiveness.
Violence is best managed by CORRECTIVE ACTION, sometimes even INACTION than REACTION! It has happened, face it and control it. What should be most important is PREVENTIVE ACTION.
We need to work on the pressures that are building in the society to enable eradication of reasons causing violence. Sometimes reasons may exist internally.
Paris, unfortunately, is a living example of this. The perpetuators may have been trained outside France/Belgium but were not warriors from alien land and were European citizens. While we do not know their pressures but after living their entire life in France/ Belgium, something would have triggered inside them, which made them turn to fanatic religion against the wishes of the majority and even their families, get brain washed and commit such heinous acts.
Till we look into those causes and work on them, no declaration of war could deliver peace.
Also when Anders Breivik kills dozens of fellow Norway citizens in the name of fighting Islamophobia, we do not blame Christian converts in Europe or when gun violence leads to upwards of 10,000 deaths in USA every year we do not shout to throw out all gun owners.
Yes we need to find the people who carried out these acts and deliver justice. But we should resist from blaming or believing that Islam or Muslim migrants are the root cause for such acts in the world today.
It may just be worthwhile to look inside than blame anyone else.
Pause. Ponder. Act and do not over react.
Maybe the light may shine and save not just many innocent lives which are lost in any act of war but also bring peace to our grieving souls!
Published in Times of India on 18th November 2015- Link below-
Being Human: Paris and Beyond!