The common ground of decency

That is what bridges the divide

AJAZ UL HAQUE
Srinagar, Publish Date: Sep 22 2018 9:09PM | Updated Date: Sep 22 2018 9:09PM
The common ground of decencyFile Photo

Decency has gone on a long leave. We hope it returns, we fear it won't. We have become rude in all our matters.

For a moment we forget we are humans. If mass behaviour is an indicator of civility, we don't count. If seriousness is a standard to measure our mental development, we don't matter.

Our political gatherings, our religious processions, our social activities badly need an element of dignity.

Whether we pay tribute to our martyrs, or we mourn a loss or we celebrate a victory or lament a defeat – in all such affairs what is desperately missing is a sense of dignity and grace. Our public breaks law to observe a ritual and our police breaks order to calm people down. We return rudeness with rudeness – measure for measure. Every time something happens, every time life goes out of gear. Our social, personal, political or religious occasions have become a security problem. Unless we disrupt life, we are not done. Carnivals, festivals, functions everything puts a question mark. What is wrong with us? Can we suspend fury for a minute, for a change. 

This week was full of commotion. We had Muharram processions in different parts of the city. Every year we pay tribute to the martyrs of Karbala. Every year the month is marked to commemorate one of the greatest events in Muslim history. The day and the event will remain etched on the pages of Muslim civilisation. It has inspired and will continue to inspire scholars, historians and students of religion and philosophy across the world. Let Karbala not be a divided legacy as the lessons we learn are common. The message transcends any sectarian divide. It's to be seen and understood in light of history and tradition and that is how we can commemorate the event better. Lessons of history are not for sects, but for civilisations. In an already divided house, more we bridge the divide in the name of belief, better will it be. More split means more trouble. Let's find a ground to unite. 

Good we see some spritually-enriching activities in Muharram. In this month youth volunteer themselves for a noble mission. They hold blood donation camps, teaching-learning sessions, help poor events. That is a much better way of commemorating Karbala. Encouraging such moves will have a twin effect. One, that it will calm us down as processionists and two, it will benefit people at large. If we make sure our processions won't disturb public order, won't harm people anyway, won't disrupt life - we will be doing a great good to ourselves besides paying homage to the martyrs. Dignified commemoration will bring more people to the fold. Anything noisy, law-breaking, life-blocking will distance the rest of people. Wider and calmer the spirit of commemoration, greater will be the return. We all mourn the tragedy as the divisions shouldn't deepen, but vanish.  But to make that happen, we need a radical change in our approach. Pulpit pounders don't have to provoke, but educate people. That will make a better tribute. 

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