Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Requiem for Violence

Out there, we've walked quite friendly up to Death:
Sat down and eaten with him, cool and bland,-
Pardoned his spilling mess-tins in our hand.
We've sniffed the green thick odour of his breath,
Our eyes wept, but our courage didn't writhe.
He's spat at us with bullets and he's coughed
Shrapnel. We chorused when he sang aloft;
We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.
Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!
We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
No soldier's paid to kick against his powers.
We laughed, knowing that better men would come,

This text is from the “War Requiem” which was written for the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral and was first performed there 30 May 1962. Coventry Cathedral had been destroyed during the Battle of Britain in World War II.
The words are so poignant with emotions that surge in our own breasts as we ring down the curtain on the year 2008. The world and especially India has witnessed an escalation of violent death in different garbs. Natural disasters, religious violence and terrorism seem to have taken control but as the Requiem sings the advent of better men.

All that has happened should only strengthen our resolve to moot out evil in all forms.

Perpetration of evil based on fundamentalism has its root cause in ignorance and intolerance resulting from a monotheistic theology preaching salvation only through its faith. It is sad that India which was the bedrock of pluralism in religious practice with avowed focus on individual spirituality is witnessing a polarisation which is detrimental to its own well being.

Events of 26/11 has seen a solidarity, in all communities, which is very encouraging but this euphoric reaction should not be short lived. We have to find ways and means of strengthening our resolve to move beyond the narrow domains of religion and creed to elevate our spirituality to seek the divine in every human and in all creation.
Now let us sing a Requiem to all divisive forces and usher in a new year of empowered humanity.

Best wishes for a New Year filled with Joy & Peace.

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