Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The price of a tear!

Since a week I have been staying at Vasai and hence travelling by the most famous and crowded Virar locals! Every morning, when I stand in the crowded ladies compartment of a train, with almost 50-60 other ladies; at least 20 around me…real close:-p, getting pushed & pulled from all the directions and to all the directions, feeling people’s touch almost everywhere…AND one thought recurring every few minutes – our morning is worse than that of the cattle’s!!

In India, one among a few countries with a most promising present and future...people travelling by local trains are deprived of something as basic as fresh air or a space to stand on both the feet.

Yesterday having experienced the same turmoil in the morning, I was prepared to face the evening music. But what happened left me speechless and disturbed!

The train was decently crowded at Jogeshwari when I got in but with every station the crowd was increasing. At Borivali, when there was literally no space left for anyone to get in, couple of girls attempted to get in. One of those girls got so angry on the other girl that she tried to push her out of the running train and it went to an extend where that girls clothes got torn in the entire havoc.

At Bhayander when I came out, I saw a girl standing on the door, crying! There were at least 10 other women who could see her tears but none spoke or reacted! I had this sudden urge to give her a hug and tell her that it’s all right, but I couldn’t reach her. She and I both got down at Vasai and I approached her asking whether she is ok and she broke into tears. When I gave her a hug, she was shivering. I walked with her few steps telling her it’s ok, forget what happened. Near a foot over bridge where we were to part ways she said, ’my baby is very small, he waits for me be home soon and hence I take such a risk to get into a crowded train’

As we parted our ways I had tears in my eyes. I was sad, angry, disturbed, and scared all at once. It made me think, how have we reached here? A place where we fail to see other person’s grief, a place where we are so self-obsessed and self-center that we fail to recognize others as our fellow mates on this planet earth? What is this development that we are heading towards? Where human beings are treated worse than animals, where life makes it so difficult for them to be there for others? Technology is bringing the world closer but then why is the distant between hearts widening with every step we take towards pseudo success?

Where are we going to go from here?

What is it that it will take for me to realize that a tear dropped from your eye is as precious as a tear dropped from my eye?

That it is neither money nor wealth nor do material possessions will ever be sufficient to pay a price for a tear, as it’s the love and compassion that we really need for LiFe!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Can my non-violence lead to your violence?

This and many such questions came to my mind after I saw a Marathi play ‘Mi Nathuram 
Godse boltoy’ (मी नथुराम गोडसे बोलतोय). It’s about Nathuram Godse, the person who killed Mahatma Gandhi.

It made me think what is the first thing that comes to my mind when I say or hear Gandhi, the answer is – Non Violence – अहिंसा and may be the next to follow would be    सत्याग्रह.

Since the beginning I have been skeptical about Gandhi’s idea of non-violence - कोई एक गाल पे थप्पड़ मरे तोह दूसरा गाल आगे करो.

To me non-violence means seeing that no act of mine should lead to any violence (be it physical, emotional, psychological) to others and to self as well. And thus an act of walking fast is to me a form of violence to self, to one’s own body, mind and heart.

In the play, the character Nathuram Godse explains why he disagrees to Gandhi’s value of non-violence and the fact that any action taken to protect self is not violence but one’s कर्तव्य to oneself.

This got me thinking – Did Gandhi’s value of non-violence led to violence on/for others?

Well I don’t really have an answer to this question but I want to illustrate couple of incidences which if thought deeply may give us some insight.

# Just before Independence when there were discussions about who will be our first Prime Minister, Gen. Jinnah expressed his wish to be India’s Prime Minister and threatened that if not fulfilled it will lead to communal riots. Gandhi to avoid violence decided to go partition. Partition – A thought and act which was born out of value of non-violence led to killing of so many innocents, led to violence for so many people!

# Post Independence, when Gandhi wanted to support Pakistan by providing financial aid, India’s entire cabinet was initially against it…so Gandhi went on a hunger strike. It created a pressure on the cabinet who ultimately decided to support Pakistan with an aid of 55cr. If we look at this incidence closely, there is so much of violence that was born out of the hunger strike.

Firstly, post this decision, Nathuram Godse decided that before it’s too late he needs to bring an end to this and thus killed Gandhi. Gandhi’s act of non-violence brought to an end by Nathuram’s act of violence!

Secondly, Gandhi’s hunger strike created lot of pressure on the Ministry who had to take a decision in favor of Gandhi. This is the case of emotional violence and also an emotional blackmail. Gandhi was well aware of how much he was loved by everyone and hence knew that seeing him in danger would led to melting of hearts.

Thirdly when Gandhi sat on a fast he deprived his body of some of the basic things that it needs to function. Thereby being violent to one’s own body. This although being a very subtle form is also a form of violence which is not very easily accepted by people. We sometimes forget that we owe a lot to our own body and an act of fasting although being purely non-violent is actually a form of violence!

While each one of us as individuals hold certain values, ethics for us to live a better, more harmonious, responsible life; we sometimes forget that these very values can lead to an exact opposite impact on someone else’s life. Do values also have paradox, are they also relative and not absolute in its purest form. I am not saying that every act of non-violence by Gandhi was with an intention of creating violence, but history shows that some did…

BTW…I still don’t have an answer to my question but I think it’s one of those question which if unanswered helps you more than if it is answered!