RASHMI OBEROI | 26 APRIL, 2019
The New Wave of Hate
To talk of peace we have to consider peace within ourselves
I hate the way people want an ‘outcry’ on social media whenever there is a horrific incident in any part of the world… The very same people do not care about what is happening in their own backyard but feel the need to voice an opinion on countries and people that frankly are no concern of theirs.
While we all get affected by all the wrongs going on in the world…the hate-mongering in today’s society…the anarchic mind-sets…screaming and shouting on social media is not going to help. In fact it is causing more damage with these selective outbursts.
First of all, people need to stop blaming certain communities, religions, minorities… You cannot label a terrorist as being a part of any religion. Show me one religion that doesn’t speak of peace and solidarity and respect for one another. Go through the teachings of all religions – read, imbibe, learn. They all speak one language at the end of the day.
World peace and harmony can only be reached through interfaith dialogue. Terrorism is one of the greatest challenges of our times. The damage being done by an intolerant society that is being fed by lies and hate is terrifying. Anger and jealousy are related to our sense of self-centredness and our disregard for others. Self-centredness easily gives rise to fear, which fosters annoyance, which, when it blazes into anger, provokes violence.
The time has come to accept that if we are talking about peace in the world, we have to consider peace within ourselves.
But that is not what is happening. Social media is full of venom-spewing imbeciles. A post on hatred radiates so much crap down the line that when you read people’s thoughts you realise you are living amongst those who are so radicalised and small-minded that changing them will be one hell of a task. It is frightening to see what the so-called educated and the elite ones barf out.
People have always admired with sincere appreciation how religious traditions that originated in India live side by side with those that came from outside. India is an example to the world. So it is unthinkable that religious faith should be a source of conflict, but it is happening and is being egged on by zealots. India is a living example that religious traditions can live together in peace and respect, as long as people don’t get carried away by being brain-washed.
Secondly, there is a dire need right now to eliminate vengeance and hatred. People are being indoctrinated into carrying out acts of evil that result in the loss of precious lives. Justice and peace - by whatever sensible definition we might understand them - cannot be limited to one group or all those of one belief. The work for justice and peace must be the agenda for all of us; it must be our joint work.
Therefore, we should also ask and even discuss the role of religion, of religious leaders and communities, and even of the content of religious traditions for our common efforts toward justice and peace.
Thirdly, it is time to ask how we use our religious values and traditions in an accountable manner in the world of today and tomorrow. The test of this accountability must be whether we are serving justice and peace for all, therefore ensuring everyone’s well-being, safety, and happiness. Traditional values and religious practices must show our willingness to care for all. Our accountability to our religions, particularly as we represent faith, traditions and communities must be broader, since this has now become part of a wider and eventually a global communion.
Today we know and live in a world that what we do or fail to do somehow has an impact on the whole. I believe, and I have seen, that religious faith and practice can make the most committed and powerful contributions to reconciliation and to economic justice. This faith has to be nurtured and structured and mobilized, both within religious communities and among them. It must be brought to bear for justice and peace.
It is for the sake of our common efforts, but also for holding religious traditions accountable in the framework of our global realities and our common origin and destiny as one humanity.