Monday, 6 August 2012

All I Say, is Give Peace a Chance

Peace is such a small and compact five-letter word and we love it. For ages humans are trying and I mean, really trying hard, to give peace a chance. Recorded history takes us through Jesus, Buddha, Ashoka the Great, Gandhi and Martin Luther King and word-of-mouth texts to almost forgotten sages and rulers who tried their best by fighting for peace to bring order into chaos by giving peace a chance.

But, then there are always those who want chaos and they succeed. And I like to think that it is because the meek are destined to rule in heaven; On Earth perhaps chaos rules because it tests us - to the extremes of our limits. More often than not, the begetters of chaos win, pushing back the years of work done by 'peace-mongers' in a flash. All for money and power of course!

Some years back a dear friend told me that the Hippie movement was the most effective peaceful apolitical movement in modern history that could have changed the world but, politicians saw red and arms dealers saw perhaps every shade of red, green and yellow and that was the end of hope - for peace. Or was it?
The peace symbol was developed in the UK as a logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and was embraced by U.S. anti-war protesters in the 1960s
I agree that though it sounds strange but, yes, perhaps it was our really one great shot at putting everything back to normal. But, it was killed; nipped at bud.

I always thought that the hippies with their quest for individualism and meaning of life were much ahead of their time or maybe too late. We'd perhaps never know for sure since, drugs, sex and the tag of the 'Communist' did them in far too soon. It was way easy  to put the 'Socialists' into the 'Communist' slot then just as easy as it is today and, annihilate a movement in the name of law and order!

People often smirk when I say, my political idyll is Socialism. They think that since I'm a Bengali it means Communism!

Socialism is what the Indian Constitution also promises us. A free socialist state that shares equal opportunities, rights and power with everyone who is a citizen. Very few today understand how much power that gives to an individual. We can practically walk up to our so-called leaders and 'demand' our rights. But, years of misuse of political power and a laid-back bureaucracy has filled us up with hopelessness. If there was ever a killer to optimism, our 'leaders' have found it and used it over the last 60 years in such huge dozes that we are drowning and overwhelmed as a nation of two billion strong.

Enough said about the situation in India. Going back to peace and the Hippies, it was an off-shoot that emerged from the long and glorious list of Utopian and Bohemian thinkers, writers and artists. Do names like, William Blake, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Hesse, Arthur Rimbaud, Oscar Wilde, Aldous Huxley ring a bell? They still are celebrated and illustrious names in the world of art and creativity.

The Hippies believed in laissez faire, a world ruled by freedom. They were against war and suppression. They believed that whatever Mother Nature gave was free for everyone to share. One faction even went to the extent of putting up Free Stores to share whatever was extra including, food, clothes, music and even drugs and I'm sure sex!

They were, in fact, Utopian Socialists who wanted to win the world over by love and a brotherhood through community living to create a counter-society of peaceful and happy people who in turn would attract more looking for peace and freedom. If movement (religious or political) ever was peaceful in the history of this world - it was this!

I wish all the time that they had succeeded to some extent at least so, we would have a chance to breathe free and happy. But, like I sad earlier, drugs and sex was their undoing and the clean-up was done by politicians and bureaucrats like, J Edgar Hoover and Nixon.

Why I wish for a world full of loopy, guitar-wielding, tree-hugging, placard-carrying, peace-marching bunch of ganja smokers is because they give me hope.

Hope that we as a collective lot of people ruled by money and power have almost lost. It is like the lost city of El Dorado, always beckoning but never seen.

We pay taxes to make and buy guns and war-heads and to feed armies that would destroy our neighbors in seconds - wipe civilizations off the face of Earth and anywhere in the Universe if there is any. How does that help? Man is a social animal. We live happily in communes and not in bunkers.

We pay more to buy food that is clean/organic and we pay through our noses to buy life-saving medicines for our loved ones. We toil through life to build a small house - a roof to cover our heads and cut corners to pay for our children's education like our parents did for us. All I ask is why? Why can we not share and live peacefully?

All I get in reply from my fellow Earthlings are, war cries. In the name of religion, caste, creed, food, oil... Was this not the situation among the various tribes in the Asian deserts when Mohammed joined them as one into Islam? Was this not the situation when Krishna allowed almost the entire warrior clan to perish in the great war in the Mahabharata so that the meek would have a chance to survive? Was this not the exact same situation when Ashoka embraced Buddhism and decided to help his people rather than rule by force?

Most importantly, was this not the situation around the world when the European enslaved and colonized humans everywhere?

As my pay cheque gets fatter so does my cost of living. How is that possible? Consumerism, we have been made to believe recently, is our only way to 'buy' happiness and we fill up our lives with colorful junk. We dwindle into a sense of safety knowing well that the mounds of shiny, factory-produced articles that choke up our lives cannot save us or our world. I read somewhere that squirrels hide nuts all over the forests, often forgetting about them once winter gets over. These hoards then turn into new trees. Can we say the same for our hoard? Mine for sure falls mostly in the category of toxic waste.

All I say is give peace a chance. Share love and laughter, give more than you take, be fair, be helpful, try to temper anger and overlook small mistakes of others to look instead at your own flaws and - live by example. There is an inner hippie in all of us who is fair and friendly. Who does not believe that if a neighbor is happy totting a large gun then I should pick up a larger one and kill more neighbors to settle the score. The inner hippie wants you to sing, dance, laugh a lot, eat well, take care of yourself and make love not war. Friends, please unleash your inner hippie to claim what is yours in the kingdom of Earth without waiting for a much-hyped after life. If we all unleash the inner hippie then, the world is ours to take. Peace!


  1. Awesome, I really liked reading this one :)

    1. Thanks Bee. Live it, it is worthwhile and I know you can do it. :-)


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