Chatting about the news of riots and violence going on in many parts of the world, we were wondering about the lives of those involved and those affected.
“All of us are not only affected but also are involved in inflicting violence in some or other ways.”
Affected I could understand but how involved? I could not imagine any of us can be involved in rioting and violence even remotely.
“Equating violence with rioting is too narrow and misguided understanding.”
But that is what most of us think. I was sure now some important new understanding is about to come.
“Violence is anything that harms the human being or hinders his/her growth.”
That sounds sensible. In rioting people are hurt physically and some people are even killed. Certainly, it is violence. But as I reflected further, I started grasping that it is not the only way people are harmed.
Physical violence is the most gross form of violence and is highly visible. But there are so many ways in which people are harmed or their growth is hindered.
If people are deprived of economic rights, are underpaid, cheated, is it not violence? Then what about profiteering, black marketing, monopolization, usury, corruption, unjust taxation, excessive inequality? Isn’t the growth of poor who can’t afford good education shunted for ever? Well, we see this type of economic violence around us every day and often we ourselves are the victims.
“When people are persecuted for their religion, is it not harming them?”
It could be inflicted by people of other religion in terms of rejections, intolerance or criticism for beliefs. When people are segregated or denied job because of their religion, it is a great harm and certainly hinders their growth. But that is not all. Intolerance and fanaticism can come from one’s own religion as well. Thus, when one is threatened that the soul of the dead will not rest until the relatives feed the whole village irrespective of their means, is it not a religious violence, harming them in the name of the religion?
“What about cases where people are differentiated because of their skin colour, facial features and in general their race of origin. “
As we are diving deeper, I realise how people have been harmed for centuries with practices like slavery, apartheid and untouchability. I notice within myself prejudices for people of certain race. Am I not doing racial violence?
“But this is not all.”
My perspective of violence has already broadened beyond rioting to include all forms of Physical, economical, religious and racial violence. What else can be there?
“What about people being harmed mentally?”
How does this work? Promotion of hate, threats, brainwashing with negative propaganda, imposing views, indoctrination with advertisements, promotion of false values of consumerism, misinformation, nihilism and so on. My god!! Suddenly I realise that we are surrounded by this form of psychological violence all the time. It harms us and our dear ones and we do not even realise it. Perhaps this harm is far severe than the harm caused by physical violence. The effects of the later gets healed, but this one penetrates and poisons our thinking lifelong.
“When you do not oppose the violence, you are supporting it. That is moral violence.”
I realise that there is exploitation going all around. As long as it directly does not affect me, I am indifferent. It is worth reflecting whether by not opposing it, am I not responsible for allowing it to prevail.
“Finally, when you harm your own self, it is internal violence.”
Baffling! Why will I harm myself? But as I thought over, I realised that anger, frustration, negativity, jealousy, resentment, insecurity, indecision, pessimism, self-enclosure and what not? The list seems endless of the ways in which I harm myself.
“The violence around you breeds violence within you and that internal violence manifests outside when you ill-treat others around you.”
The all-pervading reality, and I did not even notice it. Thinking rioting as the only form of violence, how naïve I have been? Now I realise how our life is permeated by different forms of violence and how we are victim as well as generators of violence.
Feeling a great urge to learn about how to remove violence from my life and around me, I was moving ahead in my journey to becoming better human being.