While mulling over the most recent terrorist attack in India, I came to a sudden realization. People of my generation have seen the most upheaval in the last 2 decades. Blessed was our parents’ generation – all they had to worry about was how to put the next meal on the table, which schools/colleges to send their children to, marrying off their sons/daughters to a good family, praying for death before old age renders them house- bound etc. At least, they didn’t have to face the prospect of being turned out of their jobs or cancer or AIDs. At least they didn't have to fear being held as hostages on planes, ships or in 5-star hotels. At least they didn’t have to cross their fingers for getting to live to old age without falling victim to a stray bullet, bomb or landmine.
We heard about the 1993 blasts in Mumbai local train. We were mute witnesses when the Twin Towers were brought down. We were around to see and hear about the Godhra incident and subsequent carnage in Gujarat. We witnessed the longest running US-Iraq war, the dissension between Israel-Palestine, the debacle of Afghanistan.
Then, in this year itself, we gobbled up the news of bomb blasts in Islamabad, Bengaluru, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Guwahati, Malegaon. Each time we called up our friends and/or family in these cities to check that they are safe. And just when the whole world witnessed the paradigm shift in the world’s most powerful nation’s leadership, we witnessed the horrific massacre of 26/11 at Mumbai on our television screens.
The reasons/causes for all of the above – racism, religious intolerance, envy, HATRED.
I’ve been following the news on television, lapping up the newspapers and read almost anything I come across on email, or the net, regarding the latest siege at Mumbai. I will not even try to analyze what I feel about it – horror, anger, shame, helplessness, terror, and uncertainty - does not even come close. But one thing that is coming across in all the print is the rising hatred. This insistence of “not forgetting” this time round, not taking this lying down, threats of imminent war against a certain nation, the demand for political heads to roll, an increased emphasis on action – aren’t we all propagating this saga of hatred and violence all over again?
I recently finished reading Chetan Bhagat’s “Three mistakes of my life”. In it, there is an interesting statement made by a mother to her son – “Many times we get hurt in life, mostly by people who are most dear to us. But that does not mean that we hold on to that hurt and chop off the relationship itself.” In the movie – “Mumbai meri jaan”, Paresh Rawal’s character says something truly insightful – “If someone slaps your cheek, and you slap his cheek back, and he does the same…and so on…this chain of hatred will never end. It will just keep growing and growing to such proportions which neither the first person nor the second person will have intended it to take.”
My heart bleeds for my nation; I am deeply sympathetic to all those who suffered. I feel hurt and defiled by the recent attack. I want to punish those who did this. But I do NOT wish to perpetuate this hatred so that my children have to go through what my generation has faced. We need to disperse this hate brigade in our quest for retribution.
Agreed, action is the mandate of the hour. But proper introspection and planning are essential to execute it toward achieving security and peace for our nation and the world.
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