Show me the light

I was reading this post on Arasubalraj's blog (via BlogBharti), and it left me distressed and thinking, as these issues always do. The carnage of human flesh, the butchering of a son in front of his mother's eyes, someone's sister being paraded naked in a village and then being tortured to death... something inside me screams, WHY??? What was achieved?

I know that anger builds up over time, that one day the dam breaks and then suddenly nothing seems to make sense. I had written on the issue earlier, in three parts here, here and here. The traditional answer to "what was achieved" has been in some form or the other a sense of revenge, the sense of justice being done somehow. But, how exactly is justice achieved is what I don't understand. If someone comes and harms my near and dear one, I will have my revenge on him: see to it that justice is meted out to the person. This makes sense to me. But to go ahead and kill all in his locality, to butcher an innocent person just because he was standing near the perpetrator's house: how exactly does that work? For that matter, what harm did the child in Kausar Banu's womb do to you, that you had to rip open her belly and the unborn child had to be pierced by a sword and tossed into a fire? Come and tell me how it was justified... how did it bring justice into earth and how really did you have your revenge?? I really want to know --- what was achieved?

And the feeling I get as I think over this is one of helplessness and confusion. On one hand, I know people who actively vocalise that they support the RSS and VHP and all sister organisations. They give me a very different picture of the activities and the propaganda --- of helping the poor in ashrams, of organising social gatherings, of trying to bridge the gap between the castes. I know them: they are my friends and they are good people, normal people of high moral calibre: the regular educated and rational human being. On the other hand, I learn of those who go by the same brand name and yet represent the fanatics. They are the ones who carry a saffron flag and pierce the heart of the schoolkid with the tip of the flag. They are the ones who hate anyone who is not a Hindu with all their heart: they are the Nazis, the persecutioners, the self-appointed saviors of the purity of the Hindu religion. They believe that they need to kill a thousand men and women to cleanse the religion that has stood the test of time for 5000 years. And this is what leaves me confused: whom to believe?

I know that there are two sides of every coin, and it is incorrect to generalise. But why then do the regular "good" people not come forward and disown them? Why is dismay and shock a mere rhetoric? Why aren't the hearts of those at the helm crying when they see this butchery being meted out under their banner? Where... where is the light? Who holds it and why don't I see it? The common man never wants a fight: he wants nothing to do with the killing of another man. Where exactly then do these freaks hide? What manifests itself as the evil, pure hatred, when such people take to the streets chanting revenge? I don't know, I honestly don't know. If there is divine justice, they will have to pay the price: they must! But I just don't see that happening around me every day. Which means that either I am in a dark room or I am blind. Whichever it is --- I need to see the light!

Comments

  1. These questions are highly troubling and yet I believe in each man working out his own salvation.

    I don't think that if people merely think about these issues and try to act as "society's saviours" the problem will go away.

    Ultimately every one of us has to be humble enough to accept our own weakness before the actions and reactions in the World and that as such, we cannot work out other people's salvation before we attain our own salvation.

    I think being socially conscious is great and all, but ultimately, if we don't have inner peace, we can never help the world outside...

    This is why the world is such a troubled place. Worry about yourself. It's not selfishness. It's merely self-awareness.

    On the other hand, being excessively concerned about the world's problems make us arrogant - almost as thought we've achieved our own salvation and then want to go out and preach our morals to the world.

    Yeah, I personally don't dwell overlong on macro issues like this for that very reason.

    1st - we're powerless without being spiritually uplifted to the level of great sages.

    2nd - it makes us come across as preachy and moralistic and makes others point out your own flaws.

    Hard to express, but that's kind of what I feel. It's not as though I'm not disturbed by what happens in society around us, but as a person, one cannot ever attain our own inner peace if we continue pursuing the weaknesses of the outside world.

    Philosophical? You betcha :-p

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  2. Dear Sudipta

    Thanks for the comment on my blog and linking here. I read your above post twice. I acknowledge your emotions. I think you have not read two other posts on the same issue which as the name goes explains on what exactly happened at Godhra in 2002 and Gujarat 2006 is deadlier than 2002 and also I request you to read them and think on how valid is the //the a sense of revenge, the sense of justice being done.//

    //They give me a very different picture of the activities and the propaganda --- of helping the poor in ashrams, of organising social gatherings, of trying to bridge the gap between the castes. I know them: they are my friends and they are good people, normal people of high moral calibre: the regular educated and rational human being.//

    //On the other hand, I learn of those who go by the same brand name and yet represent the fanatics. They are the ones who carry a saffron flag and pierce the heart of the school kid with the tip of the flag. They are the ones who hate anyone who is not a Hindu with all their heart: they are the Nazis, the persecutioners, the self-appointed saviors of the purity of the Hindu religion.//

    Keppels, the propaganda minister of Hitler never killed any Jew in a concentration chamber. Does it mean that he is not a Nazi? Leave your friends. What do you think about English-speaking, modern, fair in color, techno-savvy, Intellectual Arun Jaitley? Is he not responsible for what happened in Gujarat just because he always preaches only for a ‘shining india’? Is he not a mute spectator and is it not a crime? The persecutioners are not the only Nazis but they are part of Nazis. ‘Dogs of War’ as they call, the lumpen elements from all castes and classes engage in all inhuman things whenever they get a chance. The problem of the RSS is that it creates lumpens. Read the pamphlet issued in Gujarat name ‘JEHAD’ and other pamphlets and imagine how much high-moral calibre you can gain from them. (http://sabrang.com/cc/archive/2002/marapril/pamphlet.htm)

    And regarding ‘social service’, from its initiation Sangh parivar always lip-serviced ‘social service’ and wear it as a mask to hide its Brahminic face. Pls read the expose of Indian Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) which poses as a relief organisation in US but actually funding hate. (http://www.proxsa.org/newsflash/index.html) If your friends do not know what happened exactly at Gujarat then ask them to know it. But if they don’t want to know or if they support / justify the Genocide, then you surely need to rethink on them.

    Instead of getting politically aware of these issues, if we think them in terms of moral, apolitical humanitarian views we’ll reach nowhere. we will again become mute spectators and there by indirect conspirators of collective guilt.

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  3. Revenge, to an extent would still bea r ational motivation...the problem is, most of the time, when injustice towards an innocent is done, it is not revenge but greed and a need to establish power/supremacy or to humble the person you are directed against. And to humble someone/bring them to their knees,or to demonstrate your power over someone, the best way to get at them is through a weakness. It is a very basic part of human nature as well.

    Good post.

    sky

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  4. Hari, yeah that was a bit philosophical, but I think I see your point. If each man strives to make himself a better human being, the collective good will happen. However, I believe that in such a circumstance when a man is roaming about with a blood-stained sword on his hand, the rational being in him ceases to exist. That is what I want to know about: what is the solution? What can I do to prevent the death of that human inside?

    Arasubalraj, Thanks for giving my post careful thought. Although I haven't read the other two posts, I intend to read them when I find time.

    When I speak about the revenge or the justice being meted out, I don't endorse the view. I am merely trying to understand what can possibly justify this carnage: and nothing, I repeat NOTHING can ever justify that. I know what you say when you draw the example of Keppels: we are all guilty of being passive supporters of the violence by not being active protestors. I don't have the time to go through the links you have given here: will do that soon and then comment further.

    Sky, yes, it is sadly true. Our fragile human natures seek assurance of power by oppressing the weak.

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  5. The exact point was not that. What I meant was that it's no good mulling over society's evils as they will keep happening.

    How can we as individuals prevent it? We cannot. After all, how can you? People who try to push guilt into you and I will succeed only if we are weak that way.

    We must be internally strong. The outside world will always strive to weaken the individual will. It's up to each one of us to work this out on our own.

    As for the larger societal questions, it's troubling to think of it - yes. But how can we make a difference? I don't think ordinary, flawed human beings who become social workers can change things. It requires somebody like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and his student Vivekananda to mobilize society spiritually and create harmony in the world. Even those great spiritual giants cannot alter society so easily...

    So what can ordinary, flawed human beings like you and I do except write about it and try and create an understanding within ourselves? Yes, that's about all we can do and by creating and understanding ourselves, we take the first step towards the societal peace and harmony we talk about.

    No political or social leader can mobilize social change for the better. Only great (and spiritually evolved) people can.

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  6. So thought of someone going to extreme violence and how You can prevent that??? Is this your concern...That would be a tall order...!

    I have heard and totally believe that in each of us there is a small devil / demon - which during those extreme times when one needs to maintain the inner calm, gets a lot wild and comes out...!
    All of us have that "Fine Imbalance" which we generally show to ALL as " Fine Balance" all the time or most of the time ( like facade...you know the Nithari killing...he was Normal guy like us ...imagine !!).

    Collectively when a group commit some atrocity - I think its more like riding the wave. After all Humans are no different then animals we show exact traits of being in a herd.

    All of us come with our own platter full of food, you have to polish all that is there. Don't try to help out others in finishing their portions. Somehow someway they need to learn how to finish what they got on their platter.
    When we trek on mountains we say - Apna apna dekho...look for yourself first - it seems a very selfish point of view at first. However when you delve more you find that if you can't look for yourself , you are no good to others.

    I think you underestimate yourself - you do see the light , knowing & taking cudgels over what is not right will always help you grow as a finer human being.
    hmmm I believe you have mentioned that you are proud to be a good human being !! So just be yourself and spread the light !!

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  7. Hari, I don't completely agree. Every human being is flawed, but that does not give us the leeway to sit back and relax while everything around us crumbles. Great men are made from among the common man --- so it is no use waiting for a saviour to come and rescue all of us. If it is something that is bothering me, then I take responsibility to see to its result. However, I do not advocate any of us making it a personal responsibility to go and fight, but I don't want us to stand quiet either when the wrong happens to spread to the minds of people we know. It then surely becomes our responsibility.

    Anonymous, that was a very thoughtful comment, thanks. I don't mean to help anyone else finish his/her plate of food --- you're right, when I can't help myself, I can't help others. But it is something more important that I want to stress: when you see your neighbour coming and talking like a fanatic, when you see him baying for the blood of an innocent, we must protest!

    And thanks for the kind words in the end --- they meant a lot :)

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  8. You were surprised - me too lol..yeah I know once I had posted I couldn't believe these words came straight " Dil se"....

    And Yeah I do agree that one must protest over any " Fanatic over tones", On other hand sometime I feel - what the heck -fighting over such issues which are not even worth giving day of your life. I feel religion is so personal ( more like closer to your heart) why to even bring it to open and discuss.
    Caste System is again so hackneyed and overdated. It was created at the time when it was useful for the socitey. Now it has overgrown its use ..still we are using it for what - our own selfish purpose...!
    BTW - i haven't read your other 3 parts...so will do so...and let you know !!

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  9. R, yes, stuff like religion are too personal to be fought over: true. But when people use religion or caste as an excuse to fight, then a protest must be lodged.

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