Violence today

Recently Sanjeev Bothra, an alumni of NID, had come to teach a typography course here, and we had many interesting and enriching conversations with him. Over lunch one day he mentioned how there is so much violence in most cultures today, across the world. Violence may not necessarily manifest as physical violence, but violence in the way we think. Even the thought of harming someone, or hating someone or something, is the beginning of violence. And so many times a day we perform violent acts on others, even in our minds. The only way to create a more non-violent world is to accept and acknowledge the violence in our minds, and try to come to terms with that. What we are doing to the environment and natural resources is a form of suicidal violence.

Living life at ultra high speed is also a form of violence. The art and beauty of slowness, doing things at a normal pace, is a lost art. Today’s rush-rush-rush world takes a toll on all of us, more than we realise. Doing everything at high speed, from taking a bath to eating meals, to conversations with others, its all losing its meaning, because the moment passes before it even arrives. People don’t relish their food slowly at a meal anymore, they don’t read books peacefully anymore. We are always rushing to get to the the top of the ladder when we have just about put a foot on the lowest rung. This high-speed lifestyle is another form of violence, we bring upon ourselves and people around us. We need to dedicate more time to ‘slowness’, the most underestimated of forces, along with silence and humour.

Sometimes if one thinks of Gandhi, what he did with our country was nothing less than a miracle. To unite so many incredibly diverse people, with different language, (the 1991 census recognizes 1,576 classified ‘mother tongues’) culture, food, dress, customs, to fight non-violently, for freedom, is no easy task. Maybe its time to relook at the Gandhian principles and basic way of living. This would help us live better with each other, and would reduce the environmental impact we are having, as he believed in ‘simple living, high thinking’. We don’t really need half the things we have, but are we ready to give them up?

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