Friday, October 16, 2009

Peace and Harmony - can these be fostered in today’s circumstances.

As I sit down at my desk to pen down my thoughts on this topic, I can’t help but begin to realize that more than a topic this is a question in itself. A question that probably each of us should ask ourselves. In my view it’s a question that hits us hard in our face. Can this so-called peace and harmony that we all wish and aspire to achieve possible? Or is it like a lucid dream? One in which all things are right, all things are just perfect, but not reality. Given today’s circumstances where killings, bombardments, deaths are nothing but mere news (after all we read about it everyday), an article on peace is surely a headliner.

So as I try to come up with points to write this essay, I suddenly remember once reading an article titled “Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam’s important message to every Indian”. Amongst all things, there was an experience in it that just caught my eye. I must say that it has left a deep impact on me.
“I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news.”

Tough this experience may seem one of the motivational kind, to me it spoke of peace and harmony. It spoke of the difference in perception. No matter whatever the situation may be there is always a reason to smile. Something like behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining.

I remember when I was a child. Before I could go to play, my mother would always tell me, ”Nelton, no matter what, you will not get into a fight. You will never lift your hand, come what may”. At that time those lines seemed weird (Did my mother unintentionally want her son to bashed up black and blue???….i hoped not). So everyday I just kept those words in my mind and carried on with life. Slowly by slowly as time passed by, I began to realize the harsh realities of life. I had begun to understand as to what exactly my mother meant and why. Gandhi’s “Eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” and Christ’s “If a man slap’s you on the left cheek, show him your right” now began to make sense.

One of the easiest things to do is to hit back at others that too in equal measure (if not more). If the other has thrown a stone I shall not throw anything smaller than a brick, that’s the mentality. That too without any hesitation, without any thought. This thing goes on. And before we realize, we are dealing in nuclear weapons. It’s needless to say more.

It really takes a lot to not be intimidated by anyone. It really does. Hitting back probably may seem cool. Take a look at Israel for that matter. You attack it (probably even think of) with a pen knife, you can least expect swords coming your way. But it’s not the right way. At the end of the day, all you know is the countless number of wars you are involved in and the death of your loved ones and fellow countrymen. India’s dealing with the Kashmir issue probably makes sense in this regard. It’s much better having to hear of a few deaths in a year, than of hundreds in a minute.

I truly believe that no matter what the situation, peace is most definitely achievable. Yes, we can. It may seem impossible, but impossible is itself I M possible. After all, the sun still shines brightly even after a long and heavy downpour (What’s more, if you’re patient enough you may also get to see a rainbow).
No matter what today’s times and circumstances may be, there is still more than one contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Even though you may have had a former US president who dragged the world in two unnecessary wars, you now have a US president who talks about reducing nuclear weapons and disarmament (He even gets the Nobel peace Prize for it).
Situated on the banks of the icy Lidder River, a 900-year old Shiva temple is the only shrine run by Muslim priests in Jammu & Kashmir.
Naved Siddiqui, a muslim has been organizing the Navratri fest at St Xavier’s College for 20 years now.
A Brahmin funds Muslims for Haj.
The Neenuram Ashram in Tharparkar in Kerala serves as a beacon to all souls irrespective of caste and creed.
These examples are by themselves are an indication that there are people who work towards it. All hope has not yet been lost.
At the end I would just like to say that like in the past, peace has, can and will be achieved no matter what. As I believe, God comes in various forms, but His message is the same, that peace be upon all. It may seem impossible for a lay man, but as the great Mahatma Gandhi, a man who himself may have not won the Nobel Peace prize but inspired many others by his doctrine, said,” “I claim to be no more than an average man with less than average abilities. I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.” I too feel the same.

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