E Zine of KV Pattom published by the Library

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Fear, Begone!

In Articles on November 9, 2011 at 10:43 am

By: Salini Johnson, India

It is written in white on an olive green background board erected at Nathula Pass, traversing the Old Silk Route, that, “Sleep peacefully at your homes, Indian Army is guarding the frontiers”. The first time I saw this, instead of feeling reassured, I was perplexed. Why should we be scared of our neighbours? Granted that there are physical, cultural and geographical differences between various groups of people living in varied regions of the globe, but these are purely evolutionary variations. In essence, we are all made of flesh and blood and, as far as a rational mind can see, we all are children of Mother Earth meant to coexist peacefully. Then why is Man so intent on securing his ‘borders’ day and night?

The shortest answer to this question would be ‘fear’. Aristotle once wisely said, “Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil.” Over centuries, mankind has forgotten to feel true fraternity. Our eyes have turned blind to who our true brothers are. If the colour of the skin of a fellow being is not the same as ours, we demarcate our land from theirs and proudly proclaim the divide as our ’border’. Then under the pretext of granting him the title of our ‘esteemed neighbour’, we single him out as our enemy. We are scared of what our neighbour is about to do. Similarly seeing us conniving against him, this poor fellow too gets scared. In the end, we eye each other as potential foes in private while we exchange handshakes and sugar-coated words in public. As time and technology progress, we build complex defence equipments to ‘defend’, even if the poor of our nations are starving to death by the minute.

We would go to any extent to guard our ‘borders’ against impending attacks – commission great scientific minds to split atoms when they ought to be eradicating the nation’s food crisis; form the armed forces, one each for land, water and air, and so on. We devise more and more such imprudent plans and set aside a chunk of our revenue as ‘defence expenditure’. It is as if we are restraining ourselves from being friendly to one’s own friend. All this hard work accomplish nothing but in aiding to mount up the tension, until one day it reaches its zenith and the most disgusting trait of humankind reveals itself in the form of War. In War, a man finds himself unable to recognize one of his own. He revels in destruction and despair until finally, he is forced to wave the white flag and beg for peace. The same man, who did not think twice about pulling the trigger on his brethren, now laments his lost dear ones in the aftermath of his own brainchild, War.

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