Guest Post by NIKITA AZAD
It is easy to hate. In fact, one of the strongest emotions to have lasted so long and so vividly in our minds is hate. From La La Land to competitions in schools, we are taught to become self-serving narcissists; we are fed jealousy and hatred strategically. From the day we are born, we learn hating. We learn to mock our classmates for following a different faith, belonging to another caste, non-confirming to given genders, and everything else. As we grow, we learn to despise them for their grades and perhaps, reservations they deserve. And, when looking for jobs, we start hating them absolutely because we believe they are the cause of all our problems.
People hate what others eat. They hate what others wear. They hate Africans who study in this country because they wear ‘revealing’ dresses; they hate Muslim women because they do not wear those dresses. We let our lives be governed by this continuous production of systematic hatred that encompasses all our choices and decisions. For example, some people would never rent a room to independent women or Muslims because they cannot stand the sight of something or someone who doesn’t accrue to their ostensibly ‘homogenous’ culture. And, some would threaten a woman with rape, a woman who wants nothing else but peace and non-violence.
Then there are people like me. Who hate hate; who hate bigotry and prejudices, and who wish to transform this scenario and end this vicious cycle of reproduction of hatred and self-centeredness amongst humans. But, even for most of us, hatred becomes a compulsory characteristic. Though we want to establish a society based on compassion and equality, hatred becomes a daily dose for us in such an atmosphere. That is why our hatred remains intact; it only changes its channel, its target. And in this process, we hate so much that we forget to love. We oppose, we struggle, we fight, but we do not love.
We become unkind towards our friends, we quarrel over petty issues, and when confronted with differences, we respond with contempt and disdain. It goes without saying that we actually begin changing into everything we hate. Rigidness and at times, fanaticism occupies our minds and we lose sight of our collective aim. We punish our friends instead of forgiving them. We seek revenge from our people instead of letting go of the past. We hold grudges against each other and hurt our own friends and comrades. We become deterministic and desperate enough to believe that hate is the only solution because it is easy to ‘hate in the time of hate.’
Love, on the other hand, is a difficult value to practice. To show compassion towards all our friends irrespective of our differences is indeed a tough task today. With Trump, Modi, and now Yogi on our tables, love and compassion become minor topics to be discussed after the ‘war’ for many of us. Our future seems blurred and so do our relationships, which is why, sometimes, we start locating our helplessness and defeat in love. We say to ourselves, “Be strong and focus on important things.” We say to our friends, “It is not the time to ponder over your relationship or loneliness- come and be a part of THE war.” We belittle love only to grow hate, a hate that conquers love and overshadows our ability to love and care. We forget the difference between friend and foe, and grow our wraths for both equally. And that is precisely why I believe and argue that there is no better and important time to love unapologetically and non-selectively than today.
I believe that love is an act of resistance. Loving people of colour, people of all faiths, classes, castes, and genders are acts of resistance. I believe love and care are what bind us together. Love is what will give us strength to combat bigotry and fascism. Love is what will help us transcend our narrow boundaries and join forces. Because love does not happen between individuals and definitely not just between two individuals. Instead, love is a practice that brings to the realm of questioning the very production of the differences we live by. It not only challenges and disrupts the system but also takes the risk to imagine the new. It is a flight with a destination- one that is based on compassion and equality.
Nikita Azad, 21, is an undergraduate student based out of Patiala, Punjab. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org