Hate is the most corrosive emotion known to the human species. It destroys all that is good from inside and reduces the humanity inside an individual, sometimes to insignificant proportions. It is the hate deliberately cultivated under General Zia-ul-Haq that has corroded Pakistan from inside. For such an emotion breeds contempt for justice and the rule of law, and promotes arbitrary behaviour. The intolerance to his foes that was demonstrated by the killing of Z.A. Bhutto after the Prime Minister of Pakistan had succeeded in persuading India to return all the gains it had secured from the 1971 conflict with Pakistan was an example of the manner in which the dictator had stamped his personality and his views onto the body politic of the country he ruled. It was hatred for General Zia in his capacity as Chief Martial Law Administrator on the part of some individual or group that led to the downing of an aircraft carrying him and others in 1988. Hate is always met with hate, as there are few who have the moral courage or the reserves of inner strength to follow the dictates of Mahatma Gandhi that resistance to the enemy should be with soul force and not through bullets. Gandhiji was ever generous to his foes, which is why he quietly accepted M.A. Jinnah’s insistence on the partition of India, even though he knew what grievous harm was being inflicted on the future of the subcontinent and its people by going along with the designs of Jinnah and his co-conspirator Winston Churchill. The manner in which a handful of those in authority in the Viceregal Palace in New Delhi and Whitehall in London vivisected India has not been told to the young in India through their history books, much of which comprises fiction rather than fact. It is almost as though the history of India began in the 1920s rather than several thousands of years ago. Till this date, history books do not reflect the early period of the recorded history of India including the wars described in epics that are celebrated abroad but have been ignored by school curricula committees at home in their eagerness to be politically correct in deference to the precepts of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister chosen by Mahatma Gandhi on the grounds that “When I am gone, Jawaharlal will speak my language”. Given that the Mahatma had an intellect that was extraordinary in its depth and complexity, it must be assumed that the Soviet-style central planning and the downsizing of private industry that took effect under Nehru indeed represented what the Mahatma believed needed to be done. The fact that the very individual who was sent by Whitehall to argue in Washington during the 1939-45 war that Indians were unable to govern themselves, Sir Girija Shankar Bajpai, went on to have an illustrious career after the British flag was replaced by its Indian counterpart atop Rashtrapati Bhavan spoke volumes about the absence of administrative change as a consequence of freedom. The colonial structure of governance was retained in its entirety, along with its rules. These can be used, and are often used, to stifle dissent and to punish those not in line with the needs of those in authority. The entire editorial team of a news channel is being repeatedly summoned for questioning by the Police Commissioner of Mumbai by the same laws that were used in the past to summon those who had the temerity to suggest that the British leave India to their own devices. Fortunately for those in the bureaucracy who still have the colonial spirit, politicians who out of office declaim against such laws embrace and use them once in power. Those out of office talk against the colonial laws and practices that are extant to this day, but rely on them almost as soon as they themselves get sworn in to high office and promote their cronies and acolytes to key positions.
What is taking place in France today is in danger of becoming commonplace in Europe. The cartoons published by a magazine in France in 2015 were in the most deplorable taste. Earlier, the magazine had printed cartoons of Jesus Christ in the same tasteless and deplorable fashion, although this did not result in the fatal consequences that the other caricatures did. The cartoonists of the French magazine paid with their lives for works that caused deep anger in many and hatred in a few, including unfortunately those who had no compunction in killing several of the staff of the magazine. A schoolteacher showed copies of the magazine to students in France and lost his head as a consequence. The embers of hate continue to smoulder and three more have been killed in Nice. Hopefully no more such incidents will occur. The reality is that like Christians and Hindus, the Muslim community too is overwhelmingly moderate and have joined others in condemning these incidents. What has taken place in France shows the effect of hatred. There are examples of behaviour that causes feelings of resentment. Flights were despatched carrying the novel coronavirus while the world would have appreciated China stopping such flights so that Covid-19 did not spread rather than spread the disease all over the world and bring the world economy to its knees. Countries where hatred is rampant are usually in a state of meltdown, and people lose not only their livelihoods but their lives. Syria is an example of a country that has been destroyed by hate. The effects of hate affect everybody, including those who hate. This is an emotion that needs to be avoided. The qualities of tolerance and moderation need to be common across the world. There should be no room for hate in our lives.