Let us not be consumed with thoughts of revenge. Instead take up challenges and find solutions. The human spirit always triumphs, says REENA SINGH
We have turned out to be a nation of commentators on others’ misfortunes offering only opinions, never solutions. We are even quicker to chastise governments and with every social event, we eagerly take sides, with supporters and non-supporters pitched against each other. Twitter wars rage and Facebook posts spill out. For most of us, it makes for entertaining reading while trolls, depending on which political party is paying their monthly honorarium get even busier. Sometimes the posts are so hilarious that I am tempted to write to them trolls offering my editing services for a fee. Might as well use proper English in an easy-to-understand style, I say.
Never mind that aside. I know that even if I suggest such an action, I will be instantly trolled, myself, for who cares about English-speaking and writing skills any more?
Let me return now to the topic I had begun to write on: namely, what has happened to our humanity?
Remember the horrific action by the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan some months ago? We spoke about them for some weeks and then? Soon enough, events in Afghanistan became a forgotten story for most of us. So long as an international event is not happening in our backyards, should we be so taxed as to find solutions for rehabilitating Afghans?
Along came the Ukrainian war. Another horrific event that churned our consciousness. And as the weeks ticked by, we became less interested in the shellings and the bombings, knowing fully well that innocent people with no inclination in either politics or the Nato were the worst hit. For the ordinary mortal who is busy with the daily business of running his shop or working for a corporation is concerned more with earning his wages than taking sides on a political question.
Closer home, The Kashmir Files is rocking our nation. War cries rent the air, with no one thinking of what will happen if the country’s people actually go around killing or maiming an entire community. Logically, do you think the community who is being targeted will just sit back and watch people killing their families and destroying their livelihoods? Everyone will suffer in such a war built solely on hatred. As for the country’s fortunes, forget about it. Unrest and civil war never ever benefitted anyone.
So, wake up and rekindle your humanity. If there is so much concern about fighting for the Kashmiri Pandits, don’t at least raise your voices asking them to be sent back to their homeland without guaranteeing their safety. Various governments have failed in that endeavor in these past 32 years.
Instead, let civil society get together and set up trust funds all over the country. If the government has failed to rehabilitate the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community, let us, citizens, do it. If each of us donates an affordable sum rather than splurging on pizzas and chocolates, we can raise money to set up communities where they want to live now. Yes, we can’t wipe out their sufferings of 32 years, but going forward, we can at least know that within the next couple of years, the displaced community can pick up the threads of their life and move on.
The partition happened 75 years ago. When I was growing up in the ‘60s and the ‘70s, I don’t remember any hatred or bitterness in the communities that were affected. In fact, Muslim neighbours warned my grandparents of an angry mob heading towards their haveli and they left instantly with their children (among them, my father and uncles) with just the clothes they were wearing. My family was part of the partition upheaval, as were several other families around me.
Instead, they were busy picking up the threads of their lives and were busy getting back into mainstream society. Of course, they, too, like the Kashmir Pandits had lost almost everything. They too had stayed in refugee camps and had to find jobs. But they did it without getting their thoughts muddled with thoughts of revenge and hatred.
All spiritual gurus say that thoughts of revenge and hatred are self-defeating. Will it help matters if there is more bloodshed and more upheaval? Concentrate on the indomitable human spirit instead. Even among Kashmiri Pandits there were several who moved on and are now established personnel in the mainstream of Indian society. Just like their partition-affected brethren 75 years ago.
Reena Singh has more than 38 years’ experience in senior editorial positions in The Times of India (TOI) and Genpact. She was Deputy Editor with TOI’s spiritual newspaper, The Speaking Tree, where she spent nine years.