The entire country is in the grip of grief and anger after the Pulwama terror attack on our CRPF soldiers. More than 40 soldiers were killed and scores were injured critically.
People are demanding justice. They want revenge. They want Jaish e Muhammad obliterated. They want that Pakistan, that harbors many terror organizations that mount repeated attacks on India, be taught a lasting lesson, no matter in what form. They want China to be punished for providing resources to Pakistan and creating hurdles in the way of declaring Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
These days social media and social networking websites are a good place to gauge the mood of the nation. There has been a massive outpouring of anger and outrage on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
Among some circles, especially people who like to flaunt their liberal and tolerant views as badges of honor, it has become a fashion to preach peace and tolerance after a violent attack like Pulwama.
Hate is not the answer, they tell you. If you take an eye for an eye, the entire world will go blind, they invoke the saying.
Counter them, and terrorists are not the real villains, you are, for being angry and for demanding some sort of retaliation. They start calling you communal, warmonger, homophobic, and generally, a very bad and undesirable person.
When people are angry, when they are agitated, when they are disturbed, it is natural for some people to suggest that they should calm down.
Then why does preaching peace after a tragedy like Pulwama attract abuse?
There are two reasons.
Because they are preaching peace to the wrong group of people. They’re asking the victims to be peaceful rather than the perpetrators.
When you are a victim, you have the right to be angry, you have the right to be vengeful, you have the right to spew hate. This is your coping mechanism. This is an evolutionary reaction. If our primitive ancestors didn’t go through anger and hatred for their aggressors, they wouldn’t have survived.
Imagine someone rushing to kill your family. What is going to be your first reaction?
If you are a liberal intellectual, then of course you are going to run for your life and leave your family to its own fate.
But if you’re a normal person, your first reaction is going to be either neutralize that person or take all the measures in your capacity to save your family.
Unfortunately, if the aggressor succeeds in harming your family, are you going to preach peace to that aggressor or are you going to be angry and grief struck?
Preaching peace while comfortably ensconced in your cushioned chair sipping a steaming cup of latte is very convenient, especially when nothing is at stake for you.
More than 40 soldiers have died. We are not even at war. They were simply being transported from one place to another. They were not thinking of dying. They must have had plans for the next hour or for the next day just like you. Many could have been watching Netflix on their mobile phones.
And then suddenly many of them are blown to pieces.
Kids have lost their fathers. Wives have lost their husbands. Old parents have lost their sons. Sisters have lost their brothers. Friends have lost their friends. Cousins have lost their cousins. Uncles and aunts have lost their nephews. Teachers have lost their students. Many must have had pets.
The country has lost its soldiers.
We cannot even begin to think of those who have been rendered disabled for the rest of their lives.
When they say, “these many have been injured”, do you know what it actually means?
Limbs are blown. Eyes are torn out. Guts are spilled out. Spinal cords are crushed. Eardrums burst. Heads split up.
These people have to live their lives like this. Ask them and their families not to feel angry and instead, feel peaceful. See what reaction you get.
Irrespective of how soldiers rank in your scheme of things, for an average citizen, there is a great respect and awe and a sense of gratitude towards the soldiers.
You are comfortably sitting tweeting peace because soldiers make sure you are able to do that and your city is not run over by a violent ideology that gives two hoots about peace.
So, when they are killed, so many of them, just like that, we have the bloody right to feel angry. We have the right to bay for blood. We have the right to demand 400 lives for our 40 lives. We have the right to cry war. We have the right to scream. We have the right to rage. We have 40 bodies of our soldiers.
Preaching peace is a delicate matter, especially when you preach peace to those who have just been severely violated.
You need to be known as a neutral person. When you come from the so-called liberal class that preaches only to one side while completely sidestepping from preaching the more violent and aggressive party, people are not going to be patient with you.
For a change, why not preach peace to the “misguided youths” in Kashmir?
Why not preach peace to the Pakistani establishment that harbors multiple terror organizations?
Why not preach peace to people and organizations of all religions instead of continuously preaching peace to one single community?
If you don’t do that, and then you still preach one single community, you’re going to attract abuse. Learn to live with it.
They are definitely going to hurl abuses at you because your sense of peace is lopsided and ideologically and politically loaded.
You are just catering to a certain lobby and you don’t actually mean what you are saying. This is apparent the way you preach only to one side.
If you really give a fig’s leaf about creating a peaceful world, then you would preach peace to the demography that actually needs to learn a thing or two about peaceful coexistence.
That said, when it comes to choosing between peace and anger, of course, peace is more preferable. Anger, especially anger that leads to war and destruction, is always undesirable.
But the problem with peace is, unlike anger and hatred, it cannot exist in isolation. It is a quintessential “taali ek haath se nahi bajti” (you cannot clap with a single hand) situation. It is a language that both the parties need to know.
Without being a common language, you cannot talk peace. Yes, you can teach someone this language but then the other person should be eager to learn it too. If he or she does not want to learn the language of peace, you cannot teach it to him or her, especially when he or she is hellbent upon using the totally opposite language — hate and anger.
In the real world, there are always going to be violent people, at least in the foreseeable future. You cannot deal with them peacefully because they don’t want peace. They either want to overrun you completely or they want to be constantly at war with you. They thrive in violence and misery. They cannot tolerate your existence.
This is the reality and if you don’t accept it, you are either suicidal or stupid, or both (for liberal intellectuals, both apply).
I’m not ruling out peace, but for lasting peace to prevail, we need to catch the bull by its horns and deal with the real issue. I’m pretty sure, right now, nobody wants to deal with that. Those who understand, will understand what I’m trying to say.
So, to those who are preaching peace, my suggestion would be, chill.
People crying war right now doesn’t mean that they really want war. No sane person wants war because war means more destruction and more soldiers dead.
Their anger (those who are not directly related to the victims) is less about the tremendous loss and more about a sense of helplessness.
Our 40 soldiers are dead. They have been blown to pieces. Brilliant careers have been ruined. People can’t do much. At least let them be peacefully angry without having to go through the ignominy of bearing your misplaced and untimely sermons.