Sunday, August 13, 2006

Free To Hope

There was a story that I heard a few years back about one’s perception of good and evil. It was something like this-

Duryodhan and Yudhishtra were sent on a trip around the world and asked to identify one good and one evil person each. Yudhishtra returned saying that he could not find a single evil person and Duryodhan said the same about finding a good person. The truth of course lies between the two extremes like the glass being either half full or half empty. The world is perceived and seen as one wishes to see it. I have always wondered about the definition of good and evil. Aren’t these two relative terms? Circumstances make one good or evil or at least so they say. But then how is it that, of children raised in the same environment, one turns out to be good and another evil? Then there are those who deliberately cover up their good side lest they appear weak! And there are those who successfully cover up the evil side of their nature and are rarely exposed if at all. How then is it that the same person is good for one and bad for another?

There was a phrase that caught my attention – ‘majburi mey mahatma ban-na’ which means ‘to become a saint under compulsion’ or ‘when you have no option’. It is easy for a person who has no access to underhand dealings to claim that he would never accept bribes. Who’s offering him a bribe in any case? If you are offered a bribe and still refuse it you have a cause to walk with your head held high.

Suicide bombers of the present times make hijackers of the eighties look like saints. I was among those who criticized our government for giving in to the hijackers in the Khandhar case. Today I feel grateful that those hijackers. They at least gave our leaders a chance to negotiate instead of blowing up the plane in mid-air.

After the Mumbai train blast on 7/11 I rang up a friend to ask if her son working in Mumbai was doing fine. Her reply made me think of the mess we’re in-

"You ask about Ravi today. Perhaps I’ll ask about Rahul tomorrow. Bombay or New York, New Delhi or Washington, air travel or bus travel or a walk down the street, no one is safe.”

The perpetrators of this terrorist culture, safely stay behind the scenes. It is the youth, who implements their plans, that gives up his life to promote their cause. I saw a TV program ‘The mind of a suicide bomber’ in which the circumstances leading to a person becoming a suicide bomber were discussed. A few suicide bombers who failed in their attempt were interviewed. It was a painful experience to watch youth energy being thus wasted and destroyed. These young boys in their twenties, had a childhood just like ours. What then made them turn into ‘weapons of mass destruction’ if I may take the liberty of using the term? I thought of what may be going on in their mother’s mind, of the sleepless nights that she might be spending. Like me, she may also be praying for her son’s safety.

I may just go on and on without an end. But that is not going to serve any purpose. We should all put our heads together and see if anything can be done about it. A man is called good if he is able to exercise control over the evil side of his nature and is labeled evil when he does not do it. There is always a conflict going on in our mind between the good and evil aspects of our nature. This is what we call the ‘call of the conscience’. Even a self-proclaimed unbeliever is bound to surrender to the voice within him. Is it possible to reach out and touch that vital cord to awaken the goodness that is asleep in him?

I dream of a world where universal brotherhood prevails and men and women live in peace. It has happened before and will happen again. All scriptures depict the triumph of good over evil and history is famous for repeating itself. I only want it to happen soon, much before it becomes too late.

But until then I have only hope to fall back on – a hope that such people will have some sense and a hope that a major war will be averted. I am grateful that I am at least free to hope for that's just about what remains in the end.


passerby55 said...


what inspired this? ...

Preeta i have no words today.
You made my day ... thanks for this wonderful post to begin my sunday!!!

passerby55 said...

free to hope ...

great post!!

ketki said...

wonderful post!!!!!!!!!

Movie Mazaa said...

~I have always wondered about the definition of good and evil. Aren’t these two relative terms?~

~It was a painful experience to watch youth energy being thus wasted and destroyed.~

Those two lines when merged together, suprisingly come up with an answer that's sure to shock most of us.

Energy is not being wasted or destroyed in their case, since that which is evil to most of us, but which is 'relative', is good to them. True, but a sorry state of affairs! :(

Great post, btw!!:)

starry said...

Preeta. Beautiful post. How do we triumph over good and evil. I also pray for peace. We can only hope and pray that all of us can live in peace.Its really troubling to see whats happening in the world around us.Chaos everywhere.

Hip Grandma said...

passerby55:the terrorist plot to blow up planes heading to USA has indeed disheartened me.i'm not able to adequately express my anguish.I only made a feeble attempt.
Ketki:i'm glad to note that at your age you can relate to the topic.
velu:i completely forgot that energy can neither be created nor can only be is unfortunate that it's being channelized in the wrong direction.

Hip Grandma said...

lalitha:hope is all we have.nothing to be done abt it

Usha said...

I share this same sense of despair when I see youth energy wasted like this. I cannot understand the level motivation that could sustain them in an effort to kill so many people and blow themselves up too - the intense hatred for the system that makes them blind to the fact thet the innocent people who are their victims have done nothing to deseve this.
Some movies have attempted to probe abit into the psychology of such people and they seem to say that the personal tragedies that these children have gone through and the subsequent anger to seek revenge has been exploited by some violent groups with vested interests who keep their anger alive in order to achieve their own ends.Most of these children come from a background that does not let them see good from evil clearly.
One thing we must do when a particular group has been through a period of violence is to reach out to these victims and make them feel part of the society even when their loved one has been unjustly taken away. NGOs must do psychological counselling and the government must rehabilitate them with more sustained effort - not just give them food packets and announce 1 lakh compensation. But mostly these tragedies are focused upon for 3 days in the media and announcements made and then they re forgotten and the next news item become important!

Hip Grandma said...

Usha:apart from the fact that innocent people do not deserve to be thus threatened it is also ironic that even the terrorists do not stand to gain by such their very purpose has been defeated.If violence was capable of producing results all problems should have been solved by now.How do we send this message across?you are right when you say that one should reach out to help the victims of tragedy and make them feel part of society.But here again it is the way our system functions that drives such people into the wrong hands.

Rose said...

Even though i am in rage coz of all the terrorosm happening across the globe.. I do believe that evil is just a product of circumstance..

The key is to address the root cause.. No matter how long n tedious the process is.. Therein lies the only hope..



Has to be me said...

Superb post this is. All Ican say is to do our little bit to make the world a better place to live in & leave the rest to Him to save & protect us from all evil. Loved the story abt Yud & Dur.
God Bless!

Hip Grandma said...

rose:welcome to my blog.yes as you say the root cause has to be addressed.

has to be me;even if each one does his bit the world wud be a better place.

srijithunni said...

Nice Post..!

Got me thinking real hard..

Have you read the book "The Devil and Miss Prim", by Paulo Coelho.. Well I guess the answers might lie somewhere there..

With Best Regards,

Hip Grandma said...

srijith:i'll try to read the book recommended by you.

Hip Grandma said...

mahadevan:well said.Our leaders can channelize their energy in the right direction if they want to.