Lest the seeds of hatred sprout...

Lest the seeds of hatred sprout...

Sanjeev Gandhi

I was a child when my grandmother used to talk about our ancestral house and village situated in Sargodha district in Pakistan, from where our family was blown away like autumn leaves in the storm of Partition. I, along with my cousins, heard these tales and often reacted with hatred to the community which was considered responsible for our woes. We, the children, had developed the habit to blame ‘the others’ for everything we suffered, or were suffering.

One day, my grandmother realised it and suddenly stopped talking about the unfortunate incidents and atrocities. She tried to remember and shared with us the lively moments of that village and villagers. She started talking about those persons who had helped our family shift safely from that part of our country to this part. She recalled the names of Muslim men and women, for whom she had gratitude in her heart and wished to meet again. She confessed it to my grandfather that she was committing a crime of sowing the seeds of hatred in the young minds and making them prejudiced unknowingly. She felt that the wrongdoings of some persons should not have a burden on the minds of future generations. She said hatred annihilated the human spirit.

From then on, she taught us that God had created mankind and had not divided it into different religions. These regimented religions were man’s own creation. People of all religions could still live in peace if they respect one another’s religion. Even if they worshipped God in different ways, they should realise the underlying spirit in each religion — to serve mankind, which was basically one. She made us realise that small bad things helped to develop an evil life, and an evil life induced the execution of wrong things. It was a vicious circle.

When I see hate being spread in the name of religion, I remember my grandmother more often. She was illiterate and had suffered a lot in her life. She was a landlady at one time, but communal violence had rendered her a maid. But she was not ready to live with the feeling of hatred or inculcate ill-will in the minds of her children. Again, the nation is under the shadow of fear and hatred. Messages of hatred and distrust are being forwarded on social media without realising the grave consequences. The young generation is carrying a lot of poison in its mind. Society needs persons like my grandmother to teach the young generation how to guard itself against hatred and violence, which lead to the eventual fatal disintegration of humanity.

Today, when the forces of reaction, exploitation, fascism, hatred and obscurantism are becoming dominant in our society, the relevance and importance of persons like my grandmother have increased manifold. All it takes is to change one’s view.

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