Indifference to Terrorism Leads to More Violence: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

15 11 2007

The Times of India

Non-violence does not mean passive acceptance of terrorism. Rather than reacting with violence to acts of terrorism, precautionary measures have to be taken to nip violence in the bud.

Every small crime and instance of violence has the potential to explode into bigger acts of terrorism. Whenever there is an act of terrorism, one points fingers at neighbouring countries, thereby absolving oneself of all responsibility.

When 400 serial bomb blasts occurred in Bangladesh, fingers were pointed at India, denying the existence of terrorism on their own soil. Same with us. When it happens here, we point fingers elsewhere.

There have been acts of terror in Coimbatore, Mumbai and other places where the persons involved were not from across the border.

Ideologies and crime are not confined by borders, so we cannot say that only a particular nation is responsible. When these are linked to religion or belief system it is even more dangerous.
Terrorists need not be from outside; they can be home-grown. When you accuse others, you fail to take steps to correct the problem at home. Recognise this first and then do something about it.

We need stringent laws and enforcement. When you are angry and full of hate, you lose control and powers of reasoning. Then values are lost. Respect for life is the basis of all values.
Terrorists have no respect for life. They have no religion, no nationality, and no philosophy. They are blind to reason. But we should not give up on them. They can definitely be reformed.
This can happen in prisons and through people in the prisons who have connections with the outside world. Lack of spirituality gives rise to domestic and societal violence and suicidal tendencies.

When a person is frustrated, angry or hateful, you can’t expect brotherhood and non-violence to prevail. Your sense of brotherhood depends on how you are oriented to the ideology of non-violence.

If the programming of non-violence is strong enough, no frustration or disappointment can overthrow it. We need to attend to the smaller incidences of violence before it is too late.
Often, peace-loving people are inactive and those who are proactive have no peace in them. Moreover, when through media, idols of society are demolished, a society becomes bankrupt of values and morality and turns corrupt, insecure and depressed.

A combination of peace and dynamism is needed. This may seem idealistic, but with education and orientation it can be possible.

Religious community leaders should stop being rigid; they should rethink on how they can reduce extremist tendencies in their communities, and learn why terrorism is prevalent.
They should throw open their doors to other schools of thought and inculcate a broader perspective in children. One way could be to provide mandatory multi-religious education.
Indifference to terrorism is another problem. We don’t care till it hurts us personally. We carry on with life as usual. Though some call it bravery, in reality, it may be just indifference.

Either we are complacent and do not react or we turn reactionary and violent. Tread a middle path, rise above politics and personal gains. Stand up and speak up for non-violence.

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