By M Rajaque Rahman
February 29, 2020
We live in strange times. Solemn chants like Jai Shri Ram or Allahu Akbar are being chanted not to invoke solemnity and piousness, but to spread paranoia over the ‘other’. This is the price we are paying for increasing polarisation in the country. Rama no longer seems to symbolise the divine ‘light within me’ nor does ‘Allahu Akbar’ extol the greatness of the omnipotent and omnipresent Power. Instead, people are made to believe that anything that is in Sanskrit is a slogan of Hindutva and/ or anything in Arabic is pro-jihadi.
The biggest collateral damage of the rising social polarisation has been the country’s long-held culture of free-thinking. It has almost become fashionable to be ‘for’ or ‘against’ something. The freedom to see things as they are is under attack and prejudices of all kinds are being perpetuated. What’s happening today is a symptom of a larger malaise of people getting caught up in limited thoughts, identity and understanding, and falling prey to blinkered narratives. Else, it wouldn’t have been so easy to get the public to hit the streets and resort to destructive protests.
A revolution in values and understanding alone can reverse this tragic degeneration. A spiritual movement that will open up the minds of people to a broader outlook of life and a sense of calmness is needed to usher in that revolution.
What makes spirituality the best antidote to polarisation is its power to instil a sense of belongingness in people. When people become spiritual in the true sense, they grow beyond the tendency to identify with limited characteristics and start realising that they are part of the universal spirit.
We need to stop feeling separate and alienated, and nurture the sense of belongingness. The point is, when there is a sense of belongingness, everyone and everything become ‘ours’ and get protected. “Spirituality naturally raises human values and breaks the narrow boundaries of caste, creed, religion and nationality,” says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. At a time when society is divided on the lines of rigid political and religious ideologies, spirituality can unite our hearts and minds.
Spirituality, the art of seeing things as they are, can be a potent tool for ensuring wiser, loving and peaceful revolutions in society, be it in social, political or economic spheres. In the absence of the spiritual dimension, pent-up anger and high energy could be exploited to create division and unrest. We have had enough instances of individuals and organisations with ulterior motives infiltrating and hijacking well-meaning movements.
This is even more important in the days of social media as it has become easier for a small number of people with destructive mind-sets to hold the country to ransom and spread a vicious tone of chaos. It’s proven the world over that attempts to control mob mentality by force don’t help much; they often end up legitimising it.
The best way to counter it is by creating bigger mobs of people with a broader and inclusive mind-set. For me, such a mob can be built only through a spiritual revolution that unites people beyond limited barriers. Is India primed for a Spiritual Revolution? And, who is going to lead that? Time to meditate on that!
Subscribe to the Sunday Speaking Tree newspaper; ask your newsvendor for your copy. Tomorrow’s special: Purushottam Agrawal on who is Bharat Mata?
Original Headline: A revolution that will check polarisation
Source: The Times of India