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Avoid communal frenzy and be brothers

Conquer hatred with fraternal love, says Firoz Bakht Ahmed

In a world full of fury, ferocity and fierceness, one is tempted to ask if the idea of mutual coexistence, peace and harmony, is a chimera, a mere illusion that would never materialize owing to the political hawks and communal megalomaniacs whose only religion is power---power---and more power! In the age of laptops and Pentium IVs, we are so pettily slashing each otherís necks for a temple that doesnít exist and a mosque that is no more. Today, our heart is agonized, aches and we are saddened to think that even in this hi-tech age, we are still so obscurantist, anachronistic, antediluvian and victim to that bestial instinct to go for each otherís jugular in the name of a mosque or a temple. How sad it is that the already earthquake-wrought Gujarat is suffering on account of man-made terror. 

Today, we observe in every corner of the globe an environment full of extreme violence, and a resultant chaotic situation that is the origin of great strife in the world. The recent violence in Gujarat is yet another horrendous example of communal orgy in the name of religion. Fact is that we have not been able to find an ideal, able, fair, reasonable, peace-ensuring and cogent solution that can affect the future and is based on the fundamental principles of peace by which the present strife-torn environment could change for the better. The mob fury at Godhra and the resultant revenge killings both dastardly act have to be condemned in most resolute terms whatsoever.

The purpose of every religion is to eliminate the ego sense so that we can love the whole of humanity just as we love our own family. It goes without saying that this clash, dissension and chaos in the name of religion is just madness. In such a situation, the law of the jungle prevails. In the Vedic scriptures, it is said: "See God in all beings and love them." The Qur'an too preaches universal brotherhood and coexistence when it says; " Lakum dinukum wa-liya deen," (You follow your religion, we follow ours). The Bible says, "Love thy neighbour as thyself. Then why we fight, is the rotten question. In fact all the teachings by all the religions of the world are more or less same. But what is most unfortunate is the fact that we have forgotten this preaching and formed man-made barriers and blockades of caste, colour, creed and what not. 

We have started hating each other. Discord is the order of the day rather than concord. We have also done away with the Vedic concept of vasudeva kutumbakam meaning that the world is a big family. As it is an age where faith has been replaced by reason, religion by politics, friendliness by meanness, spiritualism by materialism, conscience by military strategy, fidelity by infidelity, God by party boss, personal courage by mechanical adventure, gratitude by ingratitude and feeling of fraternity by hostility, it is best to fight it out rather than just enduring this lopsided and sordid new order.

One should listen to the voices of piety firstly within oneself and then around him and which have nothing to do with the voices of a militant Islam, a strident Hinduism or a belligerent Judaism. That was the reason why Mahatama Gandhi advocated ahimsa parmo dharma and very rightly the path of non-violence. Unfortunately two expressions of each religion have come to the fore owing to the whims and fancies of the fanatically jaundiced clerics. The choice is between the terror-tainted religion and the compassionate religion that initiates self-transformation. Sane people follow this religion that talks of the middle path of the Buddha and that of the Sufi saints. Today, the only possible reply to bloodshed is seen in bloodshed. In what way are we better than the beasts? Thus whatever leads to the welfare of the individual or the society, is morally good in Islam and whatever injurious, is bad. 

Whatís of paramount importance is the fact that we must learn to forgive which is bound to create emotional space and room for deeper understanding. What is most regrettable is that it is religious frenzy once again that has let us down harrying us horrendously to lose track of our nobler destinations and eternal goals. The mean and sullied political means only exacerbate the tragedy. The Bhagwad Gita instructs us to follow the path of enlightenment and beware of darkness---darkness inside that has taken toll of innumerable lives. Besides, terrorism is not the pursuit of legitimate complaints by illegitimate means. 

For the eternal goal the path is that our faith must be true and sincere. We must be prepared to show it in deeds of charity to our fellow beings no matter what faith they follow. We must be good, law-abiding citizens supporting social causes and organizations. Our own individual soul must be firm and unshaken in all circumstances. This is the standard by which a particular mode of conduct is judged as good or bad. This standard of judgement provides the nucleus around which the entire moral conduct should revolve. Thus by setting Godís pleasure as the objective of manís life, Islam has furnished the highest possible standard of morality. 

Need of the hour for the communities in Gujarat and for that matter of fact all over, is that they cooperate with each other as the back of this state has already been broken on account of God-sent disaster last year in the form of deadly earthquake. And God is most pleased when He sees that His humanity is involved in mutual co-operation and harmonious co-existence. This is bound to provide limitless avenues for the moral evolution of humanity. It ensures that the affairs of life, instead of being dominated by selfish desires and petty interests, must be regulated by norms of compatibility and the milk of concord.

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