The day for me, yesterday, began with the news of Mumbai blasts. Being an Indian origin who migrated after having married a Pakistani 20 years ago, first thing that occurred to me on hearing the blasts was that again the Indo-Pak peace talks shall be stalled and the same cascade of blame game, public statements from both sides, mudslinging, demanding ‘do more’ shall start. All it will serve to do is to reset the peace talks from the scratch. Spurts of cortisol laden with anxiety were rushing through my veins. As the mound of dead in the blasts were piling up, so was my fear in me, that a statement would come blaming Pakistan directly or implying of some group trained there. I knew it would be a sleepless night for me, following every minute of the TV coverage.
Later in the evening, Mumbai incident instantly vanished. There was an instant focus on the venomous words wagged by a rabid tongue. What was tragic was the cascade of events that took place, not just on land but on the walls of various Face Book friends.
It was not just the streets and the vehicles which were torched in anger, but many of the FB friends came out in the open, on their walls, in agreement with these insane words and splattered their share of fuel to the fire, against a whole community.
Within a couple of hours, one could see virtual borders drawn between the various ethnic groups, on a borderless virtual world of Face Book.
The frenzy of mindless hate did not spare me either. As I heard the statement, there was a severe convulsion of the ethnic Urdu speaking aka Muhajir in me. As if all of a sudden a sleeping immigrant woke up overpowering the ‘me’ in me, who till a moment ago took pride in rising above all kinds of differences. I never felt so much rage in me as at that moment. The hate in me wanted to avenge him.
I could sense the positivity drained out of me and replaced by an intense negative feeling of hate and loathing for this man. I would be lying if I would say that my mind did not wander trying to attempt hate for the community to which this mad man belonged. But thankfully, I still had intact memories of wonderful friends and great personalities from the same community and they kept my hateful sentiments in check. However hateful thoughts of this man kept jolting my head. I wanted him and all the ‘virtual’ friends on FB, who agreed with him, to be taught a ‘real’ lesson.
As if commenting on their walls wasn’t enough, I wanted to burn down their walls. In a couple of hours there was so much of energy drained out of me that instead of having spent this night in insomnia ( which is generally the rule when anything like the Mumbai blasts occurs) that I lay listless, and did not realise when was I lost into sleep. It was a restless sleep with visions of fire and blood splattered all over , on streets, on the FB walls. For a change these images did not make me sick. It did not make me feel good either, but it certainly wasn’t a sick feeling.
As I woke up in the morning, I reflected on my thoughts. I did not feel myself. This certainly was not me,.The monster of hate had engulfed me, last night.
After ages, I wept like a child. I cried how 25 years of my upbringing by staunchly secular parents and the rest 20 years of my own strong conviction in humanity as one were undone in a fraction of a second by the blurting of thoughtless statements by an insane man. I could see clearly now that it was a racist slur by a singular man not a community. I was grateful to my conscience, that the ‘me’ in me , who is blind to any color or creed, is taking control of me again.
I now realise exactly of what we read in history, of how passions go out of control, when incited with hateful words.
I also know now, first hand, how the feeling of intense loathing weakens a person physically and mentally in contrast to the strength of soul one gets in loving the whole humanity.
I also know now, first hand, how much of a sense of right vs wrong is blurred when one is overwhelmed with hatred.
I know now that my dream of a world without borders and a world without wars, on which I grew up, shall only be realised if we dream of a world without hatred.
I know exactly what do Pakistanis need, they need to shun hatred of all sorts.