The Human Epidemic

Hello dearest super lovely super gorgeous beings on earth (whether you believe it or not, you ARE gorgeous AND awesome irrespective of anything),

This post is about an amazing conversation that occurred on a platform I feel lucky to have been a part of- the Empower People group. We have a whatsapp group where multiple things are discussed and shared and amongst them all, just today the Founder Shafiqur Rahman Khan shared some gruesome news which sparked a conversation full of insight and wisdom. I feel inspired to share it with as many as would seek to know and so, here goes, for you (you, who seek to delve into the intricacies of being on earth and discovering the nectar of life and create a living worth our time here on this leetle planet floating within the magnanimous loving folds of the Universe. I digress. So go on and read up about what brought in all the excitement and enthusiasm!):

(Note: Wherever required, I have translated the bits that were in Hindi and have left comments in italics for any missing link for a fuller context. I have also taken the liberty to rearrange the order of conversation a bit for better legibility and order of Q-A relatability.)

*Two news articles shared by EP Founder*

SRK (Founder) (Referring to one article): 5 year old brutalised and murdered in Uklana of Hisar. Wooden stick inserted in her private part. (Article headline highlighted repetition of Nirbhaya case)

SRK(Referring to another article): This news is about a autistic child who killed his mother and sister.

In another news, Supreme court advised wife to behave properly and look after husband. All we can do is slap ourselves.

C (Member 1): Bhai, can't we do anything?

R (Member 2): Everyone's losing it.

SRK: Everyone is a potential criminal so only solution is by engagement and making people able to "feel for the other".
It is a long process and we all need to pause and reflect on our thoughts.

R: Very true.

C: Can't Supreme Court declare anyone who rapes a girl under 18 to be hanged to death??

R: Castration for the rapists 🤔🤔 irrespective of age, for a certain period only because that can again be misused over time 🤔🤔

SRK: I have no smiley to respond to this

R: Hmm

SRK: I don't think having empathy or "Feeling for the other" will allow such Hanging or Castration.

Rape is not desire of sex its mental cruelty. How can we say cruelty is bad by acting out another kind of cruelty?

R: Hmm you're right but its like an epidemic now

SRK: Not only this, hate is on the rise. All kinds of cruelty is on the high.

Some of our friends refused to participate in the candle march in Hisar because of caste conflict. By this, we can measure their level of hate. They are not bad people, but still.

So there is no simple solution to deal with these cruelties.

C: Bhai, how can we stop this??

R: How does one inspire another to feel for others?

Everytime such news arises, it only creates a revolting feeling and definitely more anger and hatred in people.

How do we manouver around this?

SRK: People deserve community, a place to be with. Hate comes from isolation. So all we need to do is engage people. Make them able to be in community.

C: Where does caste come from?

People must know that rape is a crime and people must know that what is wrong, is wrong.. There is no question of caste in the whole picture and it shouldn't even be brought into the whole picture. No matter which caste the girl is from, she must get justice and the perpetrators must be punished.

R: Caste comes in where people treat people as "others", maybe not even human.

Despite having friends and knowing people from different religions or castes, somehow people still carry blinders towards those religions and castes on the whole, overriding their own experience and letting the media tell them what they should think and feel.

SRK: Yes, because of fear.

Community is not always caste. Community is communes, groups of people. We are a community on Whatsapp.

We will have to move ahead taking prevention and after-care hand-in-hand.

Okay one day we shall have a discussion on Community.

And on that note dear friends, the conversation came to a relieving end leaving me super inspired and excited for the possibilities that lay ahead of us in face of multiple challenges that we face today on the whole. Please feel free to share your views. I would love to hear more from your thoughts on possible ways ahead and how we can all come together to make life worth our time on earth (*)

Thank you!!!
Super honoured to have the opportunity to glean from such amazing wisdom filled leaders. We need more like 'em don't you think?!

Appended two days later:
And hearteningly, that wasn't where it ended! Other members pitched in with their insights in all enthusiasm thus revealing so many more aspects of this scenario and shining a light over the wide possibilities when it comes to tackling such issues. Read on to glean from their wisdom and observation:

Amazing discussion!
👏👏👏👏👏👏 To everyone
We cannot say caste is not a part of rape. It is a feeling of superiority and inferiority, power, "putting someone in place", anger, frustration, sense of inadequacy, low self esteem, damaged self image that lead to such crimes. Most of the criminals are delusional.

And we should stop victimizing the victim and demonizing the offender. I am not saying go and hug the offender and don't defend yourself. I feel as a society, we somewhere should understand that rape, murder, etc. i.e. crime is an event. The society wears the "chashma" of crime and looks at the parties involved as "offender" and "victim".

"To feel for others" - we constantly need to tell ourselves to feel for others and then it would become a habit eventually. Ensure that you share the positivity and change without any filter. That did it for me.

Reiterating that these are my opinions on the matter. Please feel free to criticize.

S: 100% agreed, victim and offenders are not the only parties involved in a crime but larger society too. I prefer the word "community" which is also party to each crime.

E (Member 4): Hey! Super interesting  conversation! I just want to share two experiences:

1. Last summer I was in USA. There is a context of rising of white supremacism over there (neo-nazism, racism, against migrants etc etc etc) so we decided to do a story about that and we interviewed a former white supremacy leader who escaped the movement and is trying now, with his experience and knowledge, to help others to get out of it too. So his main idea for that was that people hate others because they dont know them.

He thinks that everyone needs 3 things to feel complete: a Purpose, a Community and an Identity, and when any of it is missed, people become vulnerable and become an easy target for movements of hate.

Hate is always focussed on the ones who are different, the "others". So what he tries to do, is to face for example a white supremacist who hates black people, with a black person. Getting to know the "other" helps people to understand that we are not that different and even if we are different in race, religion, caste or nationality, we have more in common than what differentiates us. And he knows this works because it worked even for himself: being the leader of one of the biggest neonazis groups in USA, he started to meet with people that he HATES and he starting to rethink his own convictions.

2. Few weeks ago I was in a conference with the daughter of a UK politician who was killed by IRA (IRA was a terrorist group who demanded the independence of IRLANDA from UK) and the former member of the IRA who had killed this woman's father.

They went through a very hard process when they met, but now they tell about their own experiences for trying to help in the resolution of conflicts and building peace. Their main point was about "Humanizing the other".

The woman could start to understand the man's position when he stopped to be "a faceless fear" and came to be "a real human" and then the man shared that the father's woman was not a personal target, but the target was what he represented (UK government) and when he met the woman, he started to realize that the man he had killed was "a real human being".

A: Wow, Humanizing
It all comes to that. I remember how Shafiq ji had mentioned about the social identities that represent us rather than ourselves.

S: Okay one more interesting thing
One of our client (beneficiary) asked me- 'What is Love Jihad?' I described everything to him. He was shocked to learn about it because inter-religious marriages are very common in his community 😅 He is tribal and said he has Muslim and Hindu relatives 😅 and he is practicing Christianity 😃😃
Des mera ranrezi babu
And you know I'm really keen to visit his Village

A: Me too

S: Pakka

Ay (Member 5): (In reference to A's input) Great, yes the matter is way more complex than good and bad. Even though a victim is a victim, no doubt about that.

Spot on! (Referring to Point 1 shared by E) Totally agree

It’s great to include the perpetrator/offender as part of the solution

Great to see that it’s not only about 2 dimensions of bad/good but an understanding of the complexity of the matter. This complexity is indeed part of the solution.

Many a times when discussing about gender inequality, the speech is just focused on empowering women, which of course is essential. But in the narrative, men’s role should be included as part of the change. I feel there is something similar with abuse and trafficking, even though I personally not know much about those.

So yeah, that's where we are for now. I'm pretty excited to see what further inputs may come, if they may :D

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