In the locality I reside in, there are four, street-adopted canines. I get a chance to observe them closely during my daily morning walk. Off and on, I find one or the other of them limping (though by the Almighty’s grace and active intervention by a noble soul in our neighbourhood, s/he recovers and starts running on all feet again). Quick cash, heady youth and a misplaced sense of oneself in the world translates into rash driving of diesel guzzlers. Having lived a peripatetic life for the past two and a half decades, I have found an enriching vocation trying to diagnose the sat-chitt-aanand quotient of a locality by the health status and temperament of its strays. And our locality barely makes it to the threshold of humane conduct. But am I non-violent?
There are several kinds of ‘micro-violences’ that we as humans commit, I dare say – knowingly and regularly. Some of the commonly encountered ones are as follows:
Even when one is not abusing or using harsh words, sprinkling of subtle insults and taunts, I believe, has the potency to kill people and relationships slowly.
Fear-laden words of caution and dissuasion, similarly, scar the free human spirit.
Hurting or speaking ill of “B” to (indirectly) hurt “A” is a common practice in familial relations.
People and relationship management, at home or workplace, is often replaced with an active manipulation of emotions, which on the face seem harmless but is a misuse of trust, a violence of spirit.
Little lies that pepper our daily existence, the commitments we make nonchalantly (e.g., nishchit... I will certainly do that) give life to expectations that become ghosts with lives of their own. Something dies within or without when that happens.
It is said that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference, and it is true. Cancelling people, not returning missed calls and communiques, not manuring relations or following up on people who adorn your social garden, are some of the gravest forms of micro-violence.
I sometimes feel that not acknowledging the presence of others in public spaces (airports, anyone?) is also a micro-violence. Has a compassionate eye-to-eye contact and a smile hurt anyone?
The list is long…
What spectrum of micro-violences we humans are capable of, is unimaginable – few times laughable while most times, deplorable.
I request we take a pause here to check what memories, observations and thoughts have been triggered in our mind so far? If these pertain to us as a recipient of one or more of the diversity of micro-violences, let us go right back to the top and rewind our memories of us as the perpetrators. An honest self-assessment will do us some good and fulfil the purpose of this post.
Rewind and reflect…
Rewind and reflect…
Rewind and reflect…
I accept that several times we are at the receiving end of these micro-violences. Some micro-violences we deliberately bear to remain languishing in the morass of self-pity or to extract our pound of flesh later. Others we respond to in the same coin, when just being (n) and not being (v) is a better way instead, to take the air out of such misdeeds.
Acceptance is participation. We can learn to anticipate, detect and call these instances and perpetrators out instead of being a passive recipient or an active retorter in the same coin. As social and spiritual beings, it helps to remember that not just is our bliss our business, but that of others too.
Micro-violences are energy guzzlers and spirit pollutants (just like the mean machines in our neighbourhood) for those practising them. They are energy suckers for those at the receiving end. Drop them from your arsenal of commonly practised societal behaviours. Shun them when they present themselves before you.
Be conscious, be compassionate and tread gently.
Confession: In Hindi, there is a proverb – Nau sau choohe kha ke billi hajj ko chali, which literally means that after gulping down 900 mice, the cat has set out on a pilgrimage (hajj). Yes, it applies to me where committing micro-violence is concerned, but my hajj has begun! When are you planning yours?