Saturday, December 13, 2008

The olive branch...

There is a very poignant scene in the movie Gandhi when Om Puri's character tells Gandhi (played by Sir Ben Kingsley) that he killed a Muslim boy because Muslims had killed his son and Gandhi tells him compassionately to adopt a boy with one condition that the boy must be a Muslim orphaned during the riots and should be raised as a Muslim. The scene shows the practical application of compassionate behavior. You may agree or disagree with Gandhi and his philosophies (I will be the first one to disagree with him) but his experiments with truth, compassion and peaceful protests, are unmatched in their practicality.

The Mumbai attacks which started on 26/11 have once again raised the debate on how to tackle the menance of terrorism around the world. The first reaction of most people was of horror and fear. The whole series of events looked unbelievable and most of us were glued to their televisions. The second reaction was of anger, anger against the perpretators of this ghastly act of violence, anger against politicians, anger against the security agencies and their lapses. The third reaction was a human chain and peaceful protests on the streets of Mumbai and Delhi.

Where does Gandhi and his experiments fit into the whole situation? Is Gandhi still relevant when trying to tackle modern-day terrorism? Gandhi once said that non-violence will only work if the opposite side is civilized and has a conscience. Are we dealing with civilized people or people with conscience here? The act of 26/11 itself will suggest the answer as "No". What can we average people do to deal with such situations which are not in our control? Can we do anything? From my perspective the answer is "Yes".

If you get an opportunity make a friendship from across the border but the friendship should be without the burden of past, without the tension of the present and without the uncertainty of future. It may not be easy in today's tensed time with both sides accusing each other of prejudiced-allegations but these are not easy times. The solution will not be practical for 90% of Indians and Pakistanis because of lack of communication tools but if 5% of bad elements can create tension between the two countries imagine what 10% of friendships can do.

I took my opportunity couple of years back and now whether it is bombing of Marriott Hotel or siege of Taj Hotel, there is a prayer on my lips for those affected by the tragedy and I know there is someone praying from the other side of the border for the same.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think i deserve the gold.. :)

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

at this moment its very dfficult for me to think about having a friend accross the border.. also we keep reading the news about terror camps in Pakistan.. but I can never ever kill or harm a person just becoz he is a Pakistani.I still can not trust may many months to come out of the shock.

10:47 AM  
Blogger MoonStruck Tempest said...

I too am of the opinion that violence is not the answer. It is glaringly obvious that violence does no good (its evident in all of 20th century history). I do believe negotiations is a way out. A great way out. The question is who do you negotiate with? There are no faces.

I have pakistani friends here and we are very close. I know there are prayers around the world.

But at times like these, one thing is crystal clear. We need to stand up for peace. We REALLY do.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Rain Girl said...

i won't mind befriending a pakistani..but i doubt if that would help..
but yes, we don't need a war against pkaistan. only the common man and our defence suffers in wars.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Moonie said...

I completely agree! The problem is not countries or states or the common people but specific "thoughts" and "ideologies" which are incorrect. I felt the same when the press ran story on Kasab's family etc; humanizing him! Probably his mother felt the same anxiety, mother of a person who Kasab killed felt. Q=Who is at fault? Neither, its the indoctrinating of these gullible people into terrorism incorrect. At a basic level, choosing violence is incorrect.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Moonie said...

At the same time; quite controversially; I am all for war against Pakistan; India has to take very strong action to demonstrate to people who have chosen such cowardly method of showing displeasure with India's growth that India has the will and capability to give them back in same coin. Need not be a full fledged war but actions to rout the terror activist from the root. Ensure their financial transactions are stopped; ensure their movements are restricted and tracked etc; International lobby etc

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only want to say, terrorist has no nationality, no cast, no religion and no humanity. Violence is everything for them. So I think it's basically wrong to recognize them by nationality..... because I take terrorist just like a fire.... if fire can burn others house then what is guarantee that it does not burn my house.............

Few days, ago I was talking same with the one of representative from Delhi. He also thinks in the same way..... It means due to some terrorist we can't generalized to all - either they are Nepali, Indian, Pakistani or American...........

I don't know when the terrorism will end from this world........

2:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have any Pakistani friend besides the blog but almost three years back I got a chance to talk a girl who was there to study her medical course.

We had a good talk and I came to know a lot of interesting thing (and sad things) about Pakistani people and their country. I thought to write a post about it since long but have not got chance to do so. Hopefully I will do very soon.

2:27 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I am surprised you brought out the point of having a friend from across the border... have you stopped talking to the blogger friend from across shores?

1:01 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

preeti prasad - Its understandable that we all are angry but we have to realize difference between ordinary people of the country and the bad elements. We can't paint the whole country in one stroke.

Moonstruck Tempest - I don't have answer to your question. Its a million dollar question that the whole world needs to answer. I agree with you on the peace part.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

rain girl - It will help you in understanding the other side of the story. You are right that war has never been a solution to a problem.

Moonie - I agree with you on the first part but war is never the solution to any problem. It will be better if we strengthen our human intelligence and secure our borders. The aim of these terrorists were to take India and Pakistan to war, so if we do go on war then we know who has won.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

Juneli - Your comment says it all. Do write about your experiences.

anks - No, I haven't. She is still one of my best friends and always will be. The friend that I talk about in this post is herself only.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg.. i should've read this sooner! so nicely written.. n thought provoking! taking a human life is beyond my understanding completely! Im a Pakistani, love my country despite all ups n downs.. but the thought of war or enemity doesnt make sense to me, n that is how we think also! War is not the solution..

It is sad watever's been happening world over.. but u know wat, im glad u happened, im glad i got to know how similar the ppl on either side of the border are.. how despite the differences and all these years, similarities still prevail!


5:45 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Its funny that Reema comments right after your response to me... i have always believed that the differences are in our own minds... the seeds sown over decades by those who stand to gain politically from them...

2:00 AM  
Blogger Reema said...

@ Akns,

Funny coincedence yesh, but thats prolly cuz im pretty much away from blogworld

11:14 PM  
Blogger sid said...

In the last few lines, you stressed on the need of creating a few friends on the other side of the border. I have done the same thing but it is not going to be a butterfly effect in anycase. Even if you increase the the % of friendship to 20 or 40%, the bad 5%will continue to dismantle the system and will try their best to disrupt the harmony.

As you yourself said that we are not dealing with civilized people here. Now, we cry that they have a N-bomb that they can drop on us but when they didnt had any such weapon, what heroics we did apart from handing over kashmir's part to them or loosing Man Sarovar to China.

I proud myself by calling an Indian and accept that we are not perfect and are learning from our mistakes but incidents like 26/11 shake the confidence that Indians have in their system.

Now, shifting IPL outside India. How more comprehensively we can be beaten in our own backyard than this event where we cannot host our own event.

Jai Ho Indian Govt and Jai Ho Gandhi ji's high funda cowardice (which ppl call as Ahimsa). Apart from this hate, I truly believe he was a Mahatama and have respect for him but doesnt convince me to follow him.

8:11 PM  

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