I have been deeply disturbed by the several inhumane acts that have resulted in the deaths of George Floyd as well as the custodial deaths of Fenix and Jayaraj in Tuticorin in India. One has swept the world with the outrage against racism and the other has been swept under the carpet because it happens to be in a remote region down south in India..
Then there was the death of an upcoming young actor in Mumbai’s Bollywood- Sushant Singh Rajput. All of them died of asphyxiation of some kind or another- George Floyd had racism kneeling on his neck, Sushanth had his dreams throttled and Jayaraj and Fenix were deprived of the oxygen of their fundamental freedoms in a democracy.
I am not here to debate who or what was the reason for their untimely deaths. I am here to examine why this is happening. Somewhere deep inside our animal bodies is a desire for power. It is unfortunate that those to whom we accord the power and to whom we turn to for protection appear to be the perpetrators of such inhumane crimes. They hurt the vulnerable and they take deep relish in doing so. The more the victim’s anguish, the greater is the desire to inflict pain. No one must speak out or speak up. They will silence those voices and we are letting them do that and in a sense abetting that crime.
The memory of Sushanth’s smile tears at my heart as a young, bright, educated and sensitive mind suddenly became imbalanced so as to choose death over life. Racism, Nepotism and Despotism have unleashed a reign of terror by which we all are surrounded. We believe it will not take our lives so we choose to stay away and be passive bystanders.
Yet, to all the power brokers who want to conquer the world, through violence and oppression, there is an even bigger source of power in us whose effects are the exact opposite. It is the power of Love. It is something we don’t explore because we cannot understand it. Yet to those who used it effectively from Mother Teresa to Mahatma Gandhi, have conquered the hearts of millions of people and continue to exercise their power on our minds through their thoughts and actions.
Love is not attractive to the power-monger for he perceives it as feeble and meant for the soft-hearted. It doesn’t have the swagger and conceit of oppression. So, love is never awakened. If we explore the power that love can accord us, it is perhaps the most overpowering of all. You can win hearts and gain compliance without kneeling on someone’s neck. You can make the other person feel included and wanted. You can have a million followers, you can reign in the hearts of people.
Love, kindness and charity are not feeble- they are overwhelmingly powerful. They are not seen as powerful because we have built a world around aggression, oppression and autocracy. We believe that orders and authority will bring about compliance. What truly works and lasts forever is Love.
The world of politics and the corporate culture lauds Machiavellian cunning. It holds up as examples ruthless politicians and scheming corporate climbers. However, what Machiavelli addresses in The Prince stands to reason even today. “ But since it is difficult for a ruler to be both feared and loved, it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one of the two must be lacking. For this can generally be said of men: that they are ungrateful, fickle, liars and deceivers, avoiders of danger, greedy for profit; and as long as you serve their welfare, they are entirely yours, offering you their blood, possessions, life and children...when the occasion to do so is not in sight; but when you are faced with it, they turn against you. And that prince who lays his foundations on their promises alone, finding himself stripped of other preparations, falls to ruin... For men are less concerned with hurting someone who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared, because love is held by a link of obligation which, since men are wretched creatures, is broken every time their own interests are at stake; but fear is held by a dread of punishment which will never leave you.”
We are afraid to make ourselves loved. We hurt those that love us but we will think again before we hurt those we fear. Yet, if we are brave enough to explore the power of love and kindness, we would have unleashed all that is good and just and powerful in our world. It is this, that I want for all our children. We need to teach them the power of love and kindness. We need to unleash love in this world. Love that will lift us and enable us to breathe. Love that will support and sustain our self-belief. Love that will include all of humanity in our daily lives and love that will hold us together in moments of depression. That love comes from within. That love is powerful. That love I believe will change our world.
Teach our children to be loving and kind. Teach them to value life and humanity. Teach them that we are all alike despite our circumstances so they too will choose to be loved and not feared.