The terror attacks in Mumbai have left the country shaken, coming as they have on the heels of a series of attacks across the country. How can spirituality help us to accept and transcend the perils of our time?”
Travellers on Planet Earthonly in testing times does character get formed
While I watched television channels showing the scenario unfurling at the Taj, the Oberoi and all over Mumbai, and saw the anxiety and helplessness on all the faces around me, I wondered what more is required for us to realise that yes, we must wake up and act.
Does this mean going to extremities?
If at all a reminder was needed of the transience of life, this is it. The dance of death around us tells us strongly that we all are just eternal travellers.
Do we wish to be travellers who remain indifferent to the outside world? Or travellers who leave a mark? Would that mark be one of intolerance and hatred ? Or one of compassion and love?
At a personal level, we know that unbridled anger has the potential to wreak severe damage – both physical and emotional. That’s equally, if not more true, at the societal level.
Using anger just to react, hit out and lash out at the enemy has never worked in the entire history of mankind, so why don’t we try the other approach?
If humanity reaches to each other, extending friendship to the person we consider the other, be it a person of another race, another religion, another economic class… that would be true victory, victory in this war of the minds, which is where the real battle needs to be fought.
We also need to examine the system and the acts that allowed such a mindset to grow, even flourish. Are there real issues that need to be examined? Are we providing a stable and just environment in our land?
Concrete steps are required, but these need to be rational, attacking the system that allowed such an act, not a mob fury lashing out against an imagined enemy. Karmayog, www.karmayog.org, an organisation that brings together a diverse group of concerned citizens, did bring in a range of suggestions on its yahoo group discussion, along with expressions of anguish.
What emerged was that yes, we need to move quickly to
• improve the muscle of intelligence agencies
• strengthen and improve the morale of the police
• form citizen vigil groups who are taught to deal with this kind of situations
• use RTI and PIL to ensure that justice is done and security legislations are implemented.
Along with this, came the recognition that we are responsible, at least in part, for the moral decay around us. In the long term, we need to strengthen the fibre of the nation, which will happen only if we strengthen our own moral fibre, by promoting unity, communal harmony, and true patriotism.
Will we see such a transformation happening? Yes, but only if we enable it by becoming angels and ambassadors of peace. Here is what we can do:
• Apply pressure on the government to improve the security conditions and to impart justice to all – from every caste, creed, religion
• Form citizen groups not just for vigil but also for support and solidarity
• Celebrate national festivals like Republic Day, Independence Day, together
• Extend friendship and compassion to all around us
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