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Building Harmony


Modern day society is rapidly creating conditions where individuals are being enclosed in the loneliness and isolation of a cocoon like existence. People may seem to be engaged with the community, but actually have little emotional support and care. This is particularly so in the developed countries where a sparse population and impersonal relationships aggravate psychological problems that explode violently when triggered, often by small incidents, or simply because they were on a fuse.

Every day, there are reports of inexplicable acts of mass violence. Some lone gunman shooting several people dead in the US because he lost his job; schools being attacked by someone with a grouse; driving cars into people on the roads, etc. It is hard to even work out why they did it because the only people who can talk about them are neighbours who knew them from a distance, or social media acquaintances. All the emotional cushions that prevented such actions in the past no longer exist.

Then there is the natural impulse to implement ‘collective punishment’ on groups that may provoke one’s ire. Everybody has experienced it at one time or another – the anger one feels when, say, after reaching one’s destination by train late at night, every auto-rickshaw or taxi driver attempts to take advantage by demanding hiked up fare, entirely bereft of human feeling even in the case of families with little children, or the elderly. They act as a rapacious collective and the hapless passengers have to endure it. Do not people then cast a curse upon them, as is the Indian way from time immemorial?

However, what if one of those provoked has an assault rifle and responds against such a group he or she perceives to be ‘heartless’? That is often the response in countries where gun ownership is rampant. However, while this phenomenon causes enormous damage in these countries despite almost immediate response by security agencies, it is not absent in the less developed countries, either. Except that it presents itself as road rage, lynching, witch hunts, etc. It is almost as if people are looking for reasons to vent their inner anger. Social media, today, exaggerates and focuses this on selected targets.

It is clear that, along with management of the external security situation, the inner selves of the masses have to be treated. This can only be done by families and immediate communities coming together and looking within, by promoting harmony with the inner self and with nature. Also, by focusing on positive social programmes. It requires a conscious movement and it must begin now.