behaviour · India · learning · life · opinion

Prejudice, Fear & Resilience against Terrorism

I was chatting with a friend of mine. He is a smart, really friendly person who told me about an experience of his. I asked him to write about it; he being a bit lazy 😉 asked me to pen this down.

Imagine Peace
courtesy: The Pixel Garden Blog

He was travelling on a bus from Ooty to Bengaluru some time after the terror attacks. His neighbour on the bus was a Muslim who was holding a plastic bag on his lap. For some reason, my friend says he felt very uncomfortable. He had this sense of fear; prejudice was clouding his thoughts. He felt unsafe and could not sleep a wink through out due to this manifestation of paranoia. When he was telling me about this incident, he felt sheepish. He realised how much he was stereotyping the co-passenger.

How many of us do this? Stereotyping, generalising…call it what you may. All of us know it is not right. Not just in the wake of these terrorist attacks but life in general. It is definitely more prevalent with many of us categorising Muslims as terrorists. There will be many a Muslim for every irrational fundamentalist who abhors such acts as much as we do. The reality though is, we as a herd end up categorising every sect. Muslims do this, Christians do that and so on and so forth. Not all of us are non-violent Mahatmas nor all being hatred spewing Hitlers.

I just hope that we do not fall into this trap. We must be cautious but not paranoid! Let us spread love not hatred ( I sound like a hippie from the 70s probably…but it is what is required.) We must learn to co-exist. Violence is certainly not the answer. Let us not get the terrorists get to us, cloud our judgements, make us live in fear & prejudice. We must not let them win. Condemn these terrorists; we are a lot stronger!

Taking the cue from Nikhil (usingthe image used by him : thanks! ) who was tagged by lifeofhues; I will light a candle.

Edit: Anyone interested in lighting the candle sure is welcome to do so and is much appreciated. Thanks Imp’s Mom for reminding me to do this! 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Prejudice, Fear & Resilience against Terrorism

  1. This is a good post!!! The paranoia that you mention is not something rare,… sadly, it is such a common phenomena that I often worry that it will soon become the ‘norm’. Having grown up in a Muslim country, I feel lucky to be somewhat familiar with the religion (Islam), and often feel puzzled by this ‘fear’ that people feel when they come across anything or anybody associated with Islam. But when I put myself in another’s shoe – given recent world events,…. I can understand why. The solution… I believe is about being educated on the matter. Let’s not take the easy way out and blame our fears (often unreasonable) on selected religions or group of people. Let’s take any opportunity we have to understand and learn – we can only become a better person by doing this 🙂

    Well written Spillay! Yes, education and awareness are the answers I suppose. I can sort of relate because I do have a few Muslim friends & acquaintances, one from Kashmir. They have spoken to me about how they have been searched more at airports, looked differently upon time and again.

  2. You are right. It is difficult for us to get the prejudice out of our system. We do that involuntarily sometimes. We dont want to, but we end up doing it. The best way to fight it is to not worry about it and slowly we will be out of prejudicing each other. Hopefully time will have an answer. Well, for the most thing I see Time as the answer!

    I don’t really know about time being the answer to this or anything else 🙂 (ref prev posts); but awareness, education, open/broad mindedness sure are here…the involuntary response you have written about I guess is what I have written about here. Triggers like recent incidents or losing dear ones in one such incident, does make our defensive instincts (read prejudice) go on over drive?!

  3. aah! Thats a toughie! I guess in such times, it does come easily to us too..

    Was watching Kidnap last nite.. in which Sanjay Dutt is chasing a criminal! Biggest irony, i thought! Sanjay Dutt, who has lived in the jail, for possessing arms and for being associated with the Mumbai Blasts… is now outside, free to make more money, and gets away.. just like that! It is unfair to generalise muslims.. but, like they say, “Not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are muslims”.. & that would make Sanjay Dutt – what?

    Crappy world, I say!

    A rich actor with a fan following!? Crappy is the word!

  4. One of the nice things about blogging is that we get to meet people from all over the world. If we talk to each other, we can learn to understand each other, and the prejudice will eventually go away. Very thoughtful post.

    Thanks Muse. Meeting people and understanding the culture sure will go a long way.

  5. Great Message. I do not think you sound like a hippie, but it is love that we need to spread and not violence. And it is very necessary as the seeds of paranoia and suspicion are sowing..

    Can I light the candle on my blog too?

    Thanks Imp’s mom! Sure you can light the candle on your blog. Will add an edit in the post to welcome anyone interested to do so 🙂 Love and Peace 😀

  6. well i am the guy in question above 🙂 the traveler(villain of the story) . well how bad i felt that day while doubting my Muslim friend sitting next to me cant be described with words, a poor guy just travelling with no malicious intentions in mind .

    Me being the kind who has lots of Muslim friends and never ever doubting their integrity towards our country or our society , this was a shocker for me .

    But the fear was real , as Apar put it i could not sleep a wink . I was expecting this poor guy to just leave that packet which he placed under the seat and walk away with just his bag , which kept me awake . things which were running in my mind varied all the way from how to throw the packet and where so that it doesn’t affect anyone .

    If i ever see him again i would surely say sorry to him ,even otherwise i am sorry not only to him but too all the innocent Muslim friends (not including the fundamentalists in this list) .

    This is more in regard to what goes thro ones mind when he thinks his life is in danger (the fear instilled by the bomb blasts that happened in Delhi the previous day ) .

    Its supposed to be a peaceful country but with the recent serial bomb blasts no one out there seems to be safe . Wiping out the terrorists is very important for the country but its gonna be hard to wipe out the prejudice against the whole Muslim community.

    hmm that was a long comment from the one who was lazy to write the whole piece in the first place .

    Apar thanks for making me write this one .

    Finally I got you to write!! Phew! And no, you are not a villain (though the name will stick between us now 😉 apart from the other names 😀 ) It is just the way many of us who consider ourselves rational react in when pushed this way. At least you realise that you were wrong in stereotyping and feel sorry. There are those who advocate the stereotyping without a tinge of guilt which is what ticks everyone off!

  7. “I just hope that we do not fall into this trap. We must be cautious but not paranoid! Let us spread love not hatred”

    And for that,we need to make it clear,we don’t like what they are doing.

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