WHAT MAN HAS MADE OF MAN!

One of my favourite poems by William Wordsworth which I can’t help but reproduce in entirety reads thus –

I heard a thousand blended notes,

While in a grove I sat reclined,

In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts

Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

 

To her fair works did Nature link

The human soul that through me ran;

And much it grieved my heart to think

What man has made of man.

 

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,

The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;

And ’tis my faith that every flower

Enjoys the air it breathes.

 

The birds around me hopped and played,

Their thoughts I cannot measure: —

But the least motion which they made,

It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

 

The budding twigs spread out their fan,

To catch the breezy air;

And I must think, do all I can,

That there was pleasure there.

 

If this belief from heaven be sent,

If such be Nature’s holy plan,

Have I not reason to lament

What man has made of man?

When we stop for a moment on our tracks to think of all the various acts of violence that can come to our mind, we will quiver at the enormity and increasing novelty of them all. Properties damaged or destroyed by violence can still be restored, but precious lives? Can people killed in violence be brought back to life? Can their loved ones recover completely from the brutal fact that snatched a dear one from their lives? Acts of violence are always external, but their causes and impacts are largely internal. The idea of violence is conceived in the mind and then takes birth as visible actions. And, at the root of such conception of violence is hatred – sheer hatred – rising either out of differences in thoughts or beliefs or judgement. Volumes can be written on the topic of violence, but I’ll briefly touch upon few of them and their ramifications.

  • Violence in the family

Heated aggressive exchanges between husband and wife, alcoholic husband bashing his wife in a fit of drunken stupor, in-laws beating the daughter-in-law to press for their demand for more dowry, bride-burning for dowry, beating the wife/ daughter-in-law for conceiving a female, forced abortions, mother beating children mercilessly – either because she is frustrated for unspoken issues of her own or because her children are truly a handful for her to handle, beating one’s own self because the situation is out of hand, siblings killing each other over property, homicide – are a few of the many instances of violence in the family.

  • Violence at a societal level

People groups behaving violently towards each other – race against race, tribe against tribe, ethnic groups against each other, religious groups against each other, a neighbourhood ganging up against one person or family for some conflict of interest, in Indian context – caste violence, honour killings or villagers inflicting atrocities on newly married couple who have tied the knot in deviance to accepted cultural practices – the resultant arson and lynching paint a shoddy picture of human affairs.

  • Mob violence

When protests for rights take violent turns, they often result in mob violence and riots. Either clashes of protesters with law enforcement agencies or clashes among rival protesting groups, a sudden angry exchange in the traffic leading to group formation, stone pelting and vandalism often leading the way to organized acts of criminal nature, not to mention gang rapes and/ or murders.

  • Violence for experimentation and thrill

Alfred Nobel did not invent the dynamite to blow up roads, bridges, houses in order to demolish developmental works, cause fear, havoc and mayhem. Nobel just discovered a new method to blast rock! He did not intend to spread violence for the mere thrill of experimentation. Today, the principle of the invention of dynamite is applied to invent variations of explosives which are used for destruction and devastation. At the same time, we do have some crazy creative minds (psychos, I would call them) who gain saddistic pleasure from experimenting, inventing and discovering stuff that are intended to propagate barbarity.

  • Violence as political vendetta

Violence resulting from political vendetta is not unknown to any country in the world. Most countries in the world have had their share to witness such violence during some periods of their political history. The gains from such vendetta politics are minuscule and short-lived, but the scars they leave behind are long-lasting and generational – at times heaping the onus on the future political clan to seek forgiveness for or make amends for the losses that the previous generations have caused.

  • Violence wrecked by terrorism

Terrorism arising from cultural or religious indoctrination serves NO PURPOSE save destruction. Well, that in fact is the sole objective of various terrorist outfits – mere devastation!

  • Random violence

Random acts of violence are the saddest of all. We are aware of the mass shootings in school campuses, road rages and accidental celebratory gun shots. Though there may at times be some reasons beneath such random events of violence, none justify the actions.

  • Silent violence

Is there something called ‘silent violence’? Have you experienced fist fights in your head at times – the times you feel you would rise to bash up someone and counter their attacks as well? That’s silent violence. It does not cause immediate visible destruction, but eats you away from inside.

I deliberately refrain from quoting instances for each of these categories of violence. But, I want you to recall episodes of each such type that you might have witnessed, read or heard about. No matter what be the reason, was violence the only answer in all those cases?

Violence is not God’s design for mankind. God has created humans with thinking and reasoning minds, just like His, that can debate and dialogue over diverse issues, that can agree to disagree on conflicting interests, that can tolerate each others’ differences and still continue to coexist in harmony. That we are created differently in appearances and thoughts is an evidence of God’s creative genius. So, aren’t we mindless to clamour for uniformity of thought and expression?

It is such a paradox that we are liberal to tolerate sin, but are intolerant towards views, opinions and practices of others simply because they are not in line with what we consider to be right! I have always maintained in my articles that the only absolute for what is right and wrong is God’s standards and His standards hold true universally. Practices or beliefs rising beyond God’s standards are relative – they are not binding on anyone and cannot and should not be imposed on anyone.

Wars have been fought over land borders or revenge. Countless soldiers have been martyred rendering mothers childless, children fatherless and robbing the happiness of wives as they enter into widowhood. The United Nations was established in 1945 after World War II with the intention of preventing future wars. It has remarkably succeeded, hats off to the wise think-tanks and diplomats of all countries that have got together to keep dialogues going on in volatile regions – we haven’t witnessed a World War III!

But that having been said, wars haven’t been deleted off the pages of history. It is good to feel proud for the martyrs and marvel at their valiance. It is noble to provide financial security for their families in exchange for the lives that have been sacrificed. However, have we ever gone beyond to think of the untold mental agony the widow goes through or the psychological damage caused to the child who never got to have a glimpse of who his/ her father was? Long after the wars are over and the fumes have cooled off, we are left with soldiers maimed for life. They may win medals of gallantry, but we cannot understand their mounting frustration of each day as they depend upon others to go about their daily chores! We cannot even begin to imagine the battles fought by soldiers off the battlefield – with PTSD. Even the most empathetic civilian cannot claim to understand them because civilians do not experience or witness the toughness of battle scenes as soldiers do.

None of us is an eternal occupant in planet earth. None of us is the custodian of a given set of values or beliefs. None of our self-interests weigh more than lives of others. Do egos cost more than lives – those lives which we do not have the power to create?

Reflecting on all acts of violence, I can only lament in Wordsworth’s words – ‘What man has made of man’!

Each act of violence causes irreparable psychological damage. We cannot eradicate violence from the face of the planet. But, each of us can pledge not to endorse, encourage, enjoy, practise or propagate violence in any form, whether within the four walls of our houses or outside, whatever be the reason.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – The Bible

 

 

WHAT MADE HUMAN TO TURN INHUMAN?

According to the World Health Organization’s report, every year 1.6 million people (majorly between 15-44 age) worldwide lose their lives to violence. It says, “Violence is the intentional use of power, threatened or actual against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either result in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.”

Whether it is a riot on the street, frantic students strike, or domestic violence it won’t be wrong to quote “violence is always an organized crime”. Each time its barbarism reminds us how devilish is the human heart and its unity for a wrong cause is destructive. Recently, we witnessed the North East Delhi riots in which 49 people lost their lives, more than 250 people injured, and there is 25,000 Cr economic loss. My friend Prabhjot in her recent article HOW DO YOU KILL poured out her heart saying,

Delhi, my dear Delhi

Why did you stoop so low?

How do you kill your fellow Indians?

Where do you get this extreme hatred from?

Do you not think what will happen when that bullet you just triggered hits somebody on the chest?

Does it not even strike you even once that you are destroying a whole family?

How does your religion and belief become bigger than life?

How do you think you get the right to end a life?

Why does your hatred become bigger than your sanity?

Do you have no fear of God and no love for humanity?

Is your religion and politics above life and death?

It makes my heart weep that you could stoop so low!

At present, it ties to the Delhi violence but passing through the pages of history, every time we have witnessed any violence the only question that haunts and is rarely addressed to the entire human race – “WHAT MADE HUMAN TO TURN INHUMAN?”

Well, the dichotomy of human among living beings is, humans have the mind to be tolerant in their own ways and reasons to decide between good and bad. In response to the magnitude of reasoning, his actions will always be constructive and commendable. But alas, in the ‘Me n’ I’ age man has grown accustomed to intolerance. In the flux of priority, each of us pursues the “I cannot be wrong” principle. Fine for a moment, if each of us is right in our thoughts and none of us is wrong though our viewpoints are poles apart, logically, the unavailability of common ground will clash our ideas erupting untamed physical force to conquer and prove each other wrong. Now, undoubtedly INTOLERANCE precedes REASONING. The Bible responds exactly saying,

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Whether it is the home-grown terrorism of fanatics or foreign terrorist groups, terrorism or violence is caused by religious thinking. According to the Economic and Peace Organization report, in the last two decades, the Global Peace Index (GPI) is deteriorating like never before. Religiosity is man’s attempt to save God but how pathetic it is, a mere man whose life is nonetheless than a vapor that can vanish away any time is trying to save God, the One to whom each day he calls out for survival. God has created humans for righteousness (righteous living) not for religiosity. Religion divides humanity and hand cups him with traditionalism and rituals whereas the first call of Righteousness is to have a consummate relationship with the LORD God and loving humanity as we love ourselves. Religiosity abandons us from God but Righteousness communes us with God. Alas, in the face of violence all that we find “RELIGIOSITY is preceding RIGHTEOUSNESS”. Prone to righteous living, Bible the inspired Word of God says,

Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.

As Intolerance precedes Reasoning and Religiosity precedes Righteousness, we find MAN playing GOD in the face of violence. In violence, when each Man considers himself as God and strives to magistrate every thing and everyone, all that we find in the picture there is no more God but self-proclaimed gods fighting between each other with all their might. Of course, its repercussion pulls down the curtain of God’s grace and the Wrath of God takes the lead role. Time unknown but there is not a spot of doubt, all those whose hands turned red in violence will be answerable to the True, Living and the only God, the Creator and the highest judge overall. How dreadful it will be a moment for them who play God! That’s why the Bible says,

For God says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay”. The LORD will judge his people. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.

P.S.: This is an attempt to present the inner side of violence and counsel people to stay away from violence. Hurting or targeting any particular religious sentiments is not at all intended.

NO ONE IS BEST BUT ME

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘haughty‘ as being blatantly or disdainfully proud or which in simple terms mean having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they are better, smarter or more important than other people.

No doubt being haughty or rather having haughty eyes is considered to be one among the seven things hated by Lord Almighty. The eyes are the mirror to the heart. It is believed that if one looks into the eyes the mechanisms of the heart could be understood. So it also means, if a person has haughty eyes, the overall attitude of his heart is to look down upon and scorn others.

Now this is something we really don’t want to encounter. Haughtiness or pride is spontaneous and this gives rise to a host of other sins.

What causes a person to be haughty?

Friends, it can be anything one does best or a possession but the biggest thing that triggers haughtiness is a consideration that ‘I am above all’. A haughty person acknowledges less and attributes his blessings, his successes all to himself. A feeling that ‘no one is best but me’ empowers the heart of a haughty person. He or she doesn’t think for a second time to lie, shed innocent blood and spread violence. All this is done only to be at the top.

The scriptures speak about such people who wanted to be at the top. Lucifer, Nimrod, Belshazzar, King Saul were among them. The result of such arrogance is nothing but downfall.

The philosophy behind terrorism is haughtiness. Certain people are proud of the way they profess their love for their religion. Professing love for God without humility is not righteousness.

Haughtiness only leads to downfall as the person is concerned with gathering treasures of the Earth which is passing away.

The real treasure lies in not staying at the top but acknowledging the Most High and in building relationships of a healthy kind with your fellow beings in encouragement and motivation.

Now that’s called making a difference.