They numbered 400 and we were a mere
4. The 400 comprised of widows,half-widows and orphans. All victims of the senseless violence in Assam during the period of insurgency.
Widowed in the theatre of conflict of sylvan surroundings of Assam. The half-widows lost their loved ones and husbands in the ether of conflict. And children numbed by witnessing the horrific bloodshed all around them.
They became mute spectators and were victims of fear. What is fear? Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger ,pain or harm. It is a human response to the twin physical and emotional dangers which lurk around us. The firewall of protection gets destroyed by this primordial human emotion called fear.
Normally the emotion is quiescent ,but surfaces , when the windshield of protection is broken.
In unison these 400 odd victims of terror violence seem to be echoing , what the noted Kashmiri poet Lal Ded wrote:
” Ill or well
Let it come
My ears will not hear
My eyes will not see
When the voice calls from within
The in most mind,
The lamp of faith burns steady and bright
Even in the wind.”
As Brahmaputra flowed the swathes of Assam, the chilling termination of human lives took place, which rendered women and children totally rudderless.
Now the 4 of us were not perpetrators of any violence . We held responsible positions in government and private sector and were connected through the philosophy of Art Of Living. We had been asked by friend,batchmate and then DIG Law and Order , Assam to provide succor and emotional sanity to the traumatized souls.
Mukut Medhi , and Art Of Living teacher dropped in my office and asked me to counsel an alcoholic who happened to heading ITDC in Guwahati.
The counselling sessions lasted a few days. One day after the session , I found myself amidst the top activists of AASU( All Assam Students Union). They were soon connected through Skype with his HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at Bangalore. I was quite taken aback at the turn of events. The mandate was simple- ultras of Assam were to lay down arms and report to the Bangalore Ashram for a transformation through Art Of Living where they would undergo programmes to repair their lives and rejoin the mainstream . At the Ashram, they were to be imparted Yoga, meditation and the unique breathing technique of Sudarshan Kriya.
Since I was working on North East Frontier Railway and was involved with the Art Of Living activities, Mukut Medhi approached me to help in transportation of the ultras to Banagalore Ashram. All the paper work from Ministry Of Defence and Ministry of Home were already executed .
In the archipelago of my mind were several insidious , fearful and negative thoughts. Yet I took up the challenge to assist in the logistics and providing the Last Mile Connectivity.
Arun Madhavanji , a very senior Art Of Living teacher was to tell me later that” Gurudev inspires devotees to take up unique challenges, which appear beyond their natural capacity . Yet through his grace , the unthinkable happens. ”
” To achieve the impossible , it is the unthinkable that must be thought”, wrote an American writer.
So what would have been normally antithetical to a bureaucrat , I proved otherwise. Now transportation of the ultras by trains to Bangalore Ashram of Art Of Living , escorted by men in fatigues and accompanied by officials of Ministry of Home Affairs was a herculean task. But then in this month of December, even Santa did not come without a clause. The terrorists/militants proved to be tough customers and kept detraining at stations giving security personnel a scare. There was a virtual bedlam at stations as trains were halted . While recalling ” The Dirty Dozen” and ” Great Escape” , I was gripped with paranoia and fear. My thoughts veered on as to what would railway bosses think and respond.
But there was a Divine Plan at work . After a few abortive attempts , persuasion by Art Of Living volunteers and teachers paid off and the militants reached their DESTINATION, BANGALORE ASHRAM. They returned after a few months of spiritual rejuvenation , having eschewed arms and violence and rejoined the mainstream. Today they lead normal lives.
Mukut Medhi and the 3 of us accepted the challenge to help out these 400 victims of violence. A three day Nav Chetna Shibir was conducted to ameliorate the lives of the widows , half widows and orphans. After a few rounds of Bhastrika Pranayama and Ram Dhyan Meditation , an avalanche of emotions flowed through the group of 400 and they were engulfed with a tide that broke months of stony silence. My batchmate Bhaskar , DIG Law and Order approached the Art Of Living post the success story of the earlier mission of transporting ultras to Bangalore Ashram and their recovery .
” Revolution needs its own children. If it goes of your hands , you can’t do anything , you are helpless . That is what happened to us” . This saying was so true for all of us . We did not remain as mute spectators . We too eschewed our fears and took up the challenge headlong.
The victims of violence too joined the mainstream after a few Art Of Living programmes. They conquered their fears and we ours , through the grace of the Guru.
The events described above took place during my tenure at Guwahati between 2007 and 2009.
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