We live at a time when partisan politics are at a full swing and there is

We live at a time when partisan politics are at a full swing and there is

looming insecurity, feelings of powerlessness, and fear for oneself and loved ones.

During times such as this, it becomes increasingly important to recognize that

panic, disgust, and the phenomena of blaming “others”(political opponent(s)) is

not a constructive approach to social interactions. I am not suggesting that we

develop an attitude, All will be good in the long run”. It is good to have faith

but, it is another thing all together to be blind to reality in the shroud of faith.

I am advocating for an attitude where we try to develop a viewpoint in which

we condemn acts of injustice like lynchings, misogyny, racism, but embrace the

perpetrator(s) of violence for their person-hood with a spirit of tolerance and

constructive cooperation.

You see, it is natural for human beings, when in fear and grappling with

insecurity, handling pain, and humiliation that we develop a need to build a

relationship of domination and subordination, indulge in competition with the

oppressor(s) and live in an illusionary bubble that is built on a soothing perspec-

tive that when the hideous oppressor(s) is destroyed, the oppressed can regain

control. For example, think about the motives of people that burn the egies of

Ravana on Dussehra. They mainly indulge in this activity because the act gives

them a false hope that the evil is destroyed and hence the good has triumphed

over the evil. They do not think that the destroyed Ravana who although evil

is a human and deserves fair-treatment. Honestly, what I said is easy to preach

but very hard to practice. How many times have we not lost patience, self-

discipline and good will in a troubled personal relationships? I admit, I have.

Staying away from aggression, envy, and blame-game in this world where we

want immediate justice and we fantasize revolutionary overthrows is very hard

but, it can be achieved through compassionate love and kindness.

I particularly admire the work of two humanitarians who especially stand out

in their quest to promote cooperation when dealing with social injustice. One

was born into the world’s largest democracy and fought non-violently against

hierarchy of the Indian caste structure by incorporating Buddhist teachings of

loving kindness(metta bhavana) and compassion for all human beings(karuna)

and the other was born into the world’s most powerful democracy and worked

towards improvement of race relations. He emphasized on the concept of agape,

which he characterized as a means to understand goodwill. I am talking about

B.R Ambedkar and Martin Luther King Jr.

Ambedkar emphasized on engaging in meaningful interaction, both with the

oppressor(s) and with the society as a whole. His main approach to social

injustice was,Educate, agitate, and organize”. The most striking thing about

his strategy is the order in which he used the words,Educate, agitate, and

organize”. We all know that in the world of social and digital media, the ease

to organize and agitate has increased. When an act of violence takes place

against a member of the left or right the people of the left or the right react

with aggression, envy, and in line with how probably the opponent expects them

to react. Ambedkar has something to say about how we should react.

He says that before going out and protesting violently, educate” yourself

about the Buddhist idea of loving kindness(metta bhavana) and develop a com-


passion for all human beings(karuna). He asks us to refrain from any action

that gives the wise, reason to reprove. Then, he says, agitate” not physically

but, mentally by adopting loving kindness. This kind of agitation, according

to Ambedkar will generate happiness, peace of mind, removal of remorse and

restlessness of mind and this will advance mental health for all in the long run.

Subsequently, Ambedkar encourages us to proceed to the nal step of collectively

organizing. According to him, Organizing” in pursuance to Educating” and

Agitating” with the underlying metta bhavana promotes cooperative problem

solving and is probably a sustainable way to face the socio-economic problems.

Much like Ambedkar, King endorsed agape love in speaking of social in-

teraction with those that oppress.King’s view of love is not like commonsense

view of love in which the lover pays attention to only the positive and better

attributes of the person(s) loved, and either ignores or refuses to acknowledge

the negative attributes. It does not demand special aection or sentiment to-

wards the oppressor(s) at the cost of the general well-being of others, it calls

for a type of attention that is less special and is more impartial, that factors

the value of the oppressor(s) as a human being. He remarked,We cannot in all

good conscience obey your unjust laws and abide by the unjust system, because

non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with

good, and so throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and

threaten our children, and, as dicult as it is, we will still love you. Send your

hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and

drag us out on some wayside road and leave us half-dead as you beat us, and we

will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the country, and make

it appear that we are not t, culturally and otherwise, for integration, and we’ll

still love you.”

In my opinion,this view of love endorsed by both Ambedkar and King re-

quires embracing the opponent(s) as a human being while disapproving their

resort to violence. This view of love might not be easy. But, it is not necessarily

unrealistic, archaic, or esoteric. It requires some working on.

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