It was terrible this morning to learn about the American School shooting. One really doesn’t imagine such dastardly acts. Unfortunate that small children were killed ! The world has mourned their death! The global village that the connected world today is, was shocked beyond belief. Only He can provide solace to the families that will take long to come to terms and accept something as painful as the loss of their children. He alone can take the children into His Grace and give them peace. I join everyone else in prayer for the departed souls and chant Om Shaanti, Shanti, Shanti !
It is time for us to ponder on this developing social evil of senseless violence. This is not one exceptional incident- it has happened many times and gives no sign of stopping. Why is it happening? The residents of the Newtown, Connecticut are wealthy people. They generally know each other. They are well educated. And yet such a gruesome tragedy took place there. It only means one thing: there is something terribly wrong somewhere. The young generation is not deprived or disadvantaged in any way. They are well provided, have access to the best education, belong to the modern knowledge society, have their own mind, can pursue their own dreams and yet what they end up with is such ghastly violence. Is it because they come to know all that can be learnt in life rather too early? Are they born geniuses or become a genius very early in life because they can get all the information they need at the press of a button only? Is it a case of too much too soon? Or it is because the bonding molecules in human personality have stopped functioning? Is the new generation learning their lessons in violence only? Are they emotionally disturbed? What is going on?
It is for sociologists to explore, but I can speak from my own upbringing in India, where we are instructed from early childhood about non-violence. We are told not to kill unnecessarily even an ant while walking. Shedding blood is not encouraged- in no case that of children or old people or women or unarmed enemy. Defence or security is the responsibility of the state and not of the individual. We don’t encourage retail business in arms. Somehow, votaries of non-violence have come to be considered wimpish, though it requires greater degree of valour to be non-violent than violent. Mahatma Gandhi, had proved the efficacy and power of non-violence in our own times. In olden times, Mahatma Buddha delivered the same message. Mahavir too promoted it. Just consider that the world was not networked in those days as it is today. However, it can be safely surmised that the cult of violence must have been as devastating as it seems to become today. Unless there was the rule of violence, these great men would not have been able to establish the superiority of non-violence and make it acceptable universally within the borders of their geographical territories but wherever their message reached in course of time. People must have seen the wisdom of practising non violence over violence and followed the messenger who delivered the message to them. The question is: why is it that there is no messenger in the western world to deliver the message of non-violence? Is it because the code of values conveyed and instilled in the individual by religion has been jettisoned? The vacuum thus created has been occupied by technology, which has not only enslaved people but also poisoned their minds. Their immature minds have come to be possessed by carnal desires, uncontrolled anger for not having their way only, arrogance generated by wealth or education or inheritance. It might also be a state of mind where the individual is unable to find anything worthwhile to do, such as dreams to pursue or goals to attain. The trigger might come from anywhere: family circumstances, community circumstances or even global developments. The individual rarely feels connected; feel like belonging or find moorings. Families undergo very painful disintegration early in life, professions add to anxiety more than anything else, nations are in the hands of leaders who don’t inspire and there is neither peace nor justice anywhere in the world. If the individual gets easily disoriented in such a milieu, he or she can’t be faulted. We have created merely infrastructures, but we have robbed the individual of his/her home. We have promoted urbanization but added to individual stress, discomfort and anxiety. We have made great achievements in science and technology, but at the cost of human happiness somewhere on the way.
The gun culture need to be abandoned. But that alone is no guarantee for cure for this modern disease of violence. More people are committing suicides today. More people are killing many times more people today. More people are getting killed in road or other such accidents. Diseases are taking their own toll. This is wealth influenza, as far as I am concerned. I have been taught from early childhood about treating the entire planet Earth as a family. My incomplete parental home back in Karauli in Rajasthan of India had these words written in bold big letter: Vasudhev kutumbakam. Vasudhaa translates to Earth and kutumb to family. Our misery flows from the fact that we do not treat the Earth as a family. We use machines to slaughter animals ! We use big trawlers for fishing. We play scientific games with the genetics of grains and other natural products. We want to control everything on earth for our own consumption. We have concluded that we have a right to destroy insect, animal or crop species on earth. We have concluded that the earth is for our consumption only, to the exclusion of other species. We have been very violent to planet Earth. We are still not satisfied. So we are trying to encroach on other planets. Is that ethical? Is that moral? Is it violence or non-violence towards species & planets? We can justify violence only when we take a short term view of Life on planet Earth and other planets. But we are neither the creators of time nor of space nor of the Order in Nature. Outside the food chain, there is little violence in Nature.
Time for us to ponder, so that we witness no other such barbaric incident in future and our children live a happily blessed life on Earth.