These are difficult times for people who refuse to hate but try to accept others as fellow humans irrespective of their color, class, religion or region. We had come a long way from our hateful ancestors of the last few centuries with the help of education, globalization, positive action from successive governments worldwide, rapid development of social media and above all scientific and economic progress which enabled us to accept diversity in our lives. Sometimes by choice and sometimes as thrust upon by environment.
But perhaps the conditioning of minds built on discrimination of centuries left some venom deep in the minds which is now pouring out, poisoning and mitigating the world again.
One could still try and face hate with reasoning and discussion as the power of logic is strong.
After all the color of blood is same for the hater and the hated. The organs are similar as we are the same homo sapiens. When one travels the world and lives in different societies then one can also easily understand that the basic needs of food and shelter, to love or to be loved and to have a family or community to which one can belong are also similar.
Yet one cannot reason out with closed minds. Today a liberal is called a libtard, a secular a sickular and members of press as presstitudes not just by the hate mongers and trolls but even by religious and political leaders. It is difficult to start a conversation when abuse starts first.
Worse, debate is off the table and if immediate verbal violence cannot stop a person then people can resort to threats of physical violence. Even act upon threats on a few to ensure others fall in line!
But talk we must!
Let me first assure you that the death of an ordinary citizen at the hands of a terrorist or a Naxalite who acknowledges no law land of the land, or displacement of Kashmiri Pandits or killing of any right wing supporter brings as much grief to any liberal or secular as death of a Gauri or Kalburgi. Perhaps the voices of Liberal are not heard so much at the former atrocities since the Government, the powerful and the majority also speak out. The voices of liberals are heard more when there are attacks on minorities or on people with liberal/secular traits since an eerie silence exists from the right when such instances happen. So even a tear for the dead seems to fill an ocean as the eyes of the powerful remain dry and their lips sealed.
It is at such times when the leaders of the nations have to speak up for their people and guide them to revert back to debate and discussion than violence. Yet when Presidents and Prime Ministers of democracies behave as leaders of banana Republics and develop selective amnesia to a certain group of people who do not fall in line with their thinking model, the climate of fear prevails in their respective lands.
What should we do in such a case?
Should we stay divided in our respective camps of left, right and center or attempt to start dialogue again? Should we continue to act as defenders of religions and their symbols of the past which weigh heavily on our minds or focus our energies on building a modern world for our future generation? Can we imagine what the world can achieve if we our able to accept each other just a little bit more and spend money on removing poverty and hunger than on building weapons to annihilate each other?
Like you my friend, I too care more for fellow humans than being able to have things go my way. I am ready to come out of my liberal, all accepting mindset if at all it could help us in moving a step forward and understand each other.
Let us start a debate on topics which are hidden under the table in the name of appeasing various communities or groups and have open discussions on them. Let us discuss issues related to radical Islam or Hindutava or Christianity out in the open. Let us understand why there is mistrust among the White, Black, Brown, Yellow… and how we can work to bring in more acceptance. Let there be actual communication between various class, caste, creed or linguistic identities without taking aggressive postures or to find fault lines but to bridge the gap between people. Let us understand our fears and our differences and see if we can reach a common ground. Or at least agree to disagree.
Let you and I talk to each other than fight. I know it is difficult because the politicians, religious leaders, ‘guardians of our conscience’, power mongers even the corporate big wigs will create major impediments to such a dialogue. After all they derive their strength from our weakness and divisions.
The task is difficult. The journey filled with obstacles. But the destination where love, understanding and universal brotherhood can prevail could be beautiful.
My friend you are not my enemy. Never was. Never will be. Let us start talking and shaking hands than raising fingers at each other.
Imagine what we can achieve together. Imagine……..
Published in Times of India on 12th September 2017. Link below-