By - Janghaolun Haokip
The one message I had had as an outsider studying in Delhi was to Understand and accept people as they are. I bore that message because of the racism that surrounds the capital, because of being called a foreigner in my own country, because of being called a Chinese or Chingki, and because of being the victim of various other racist remarks that makes someone feel extremely offended.
In the midst of our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the upheaval around it, I came to realize that the message that I had whispered to every native friend’s ear is becoming all the more important today, in fact, not for the people of Delhi and those friends I once had, but for the people of our own beautiful state. The message shouldn’t necessarily be literal in its meaning, but more as a metaphor as it implies comparison of people from the above message with the adversities of life; and what then comes out of it is to “understand and accept adversities as they are” –as I feel sometimes that adversities must be constantly offended by human beings.
The argumentation is thus that we have differences as different individuals, and we must learn to accept those differences. It is so not to create any environment of hate or enmity because of differences but to rather see it as the natural setting of mankind and thus learn to conform and live with it. It is likewise all the same with the entirety of our existence and the nature of adversities that we come to face in our lives. Just as differences are inherent in Human nature so are adversities intrinsic to our Human society, and problems arise when we fail to acknowledge this undeniable fact that all of ‘reason’ and ‘rationality’ commends.
I, indeed, strongly believe that this is the point where mankind fails in its venture towards an ideal society or the way it wants an ideal society to be. We fail to put the effort to balance the sheet of life even while we ostensibly understand its very nature. We fail to accept the adversities of life only hoping for a natural good which we know, and as stated, is naturally impossible. We fail, therefore, to discern the adversities of life as we must, having lost it in our own expectations about life, becoming either blind or ignorant to the fact that the problem is in the difference between the nature of our existence and our expectations, which requires us to suffer pain to get to equilibrium.
The confusion and uncertainty that entraps our state today, in special regards to the Quarantine centres meant for returnees from different cities across India and abroad, is apparently, in some ways and more, related to the failures mentioned above. As these centres are witnessing desperate situations rising out of poor management or either of poor discipline –whichever, it is shocking as to why at this critical juncture of life and death, people and the government bodies should be caught in an ugly stand-off as witnessed in few Quarantine centres. While the rationale behind may have enough reasons piled-up for both the parties, ready for any serious judicial and extrajudicial brawl, this is rather a much bigger case of our ignorance and oblivion of the nature of mankind and his/her society and the psychological state of our minds.
As unrealistic, dreamy or weird as this may sound, we are actually dealing with a secondary problem without making it right with the primary –the ultimate necessity, which then points to nothing more than endless accusations. This simply means cutting the branch without cutting the tree, and ostensibly the root remains, and the problem remains. We need to therefore make it right at the start, starting from self introspections on our assumptions of life, and also balancing the nature of existence and of our expectations of life. Otherwise the accusations today will only lead to more accusations until we are run over by economic and political instability, affecting our lives and livelihood, and threatening even our very own existence.
It is critical because the data readings are surging every day with more positive cases and more confusion among the people and as well as the government on how to tackle the reality of a war-like emergency. Our situation will worsen and in case we do not learn anything new, we will be most affected by the chaos that we will create ourselves more than that which will come from the virus. We will be severely affected if we do not but rightly face these challenges and tackle the issue at its core, giving not just our frustrations and foul but our heart and soul in heedfully standing against any social evil that could do major harm to our society.
Important hence is to come to a realisation that there has to be a breaking point somewhere in between the tantrums tossed at each other. We need to realise that we must accept our share of burdens without necessarily throwing it at others. It requires boldness and the understanding of our responsibilities as individuals and the will to contribute, as we must, of much as we can, for the society that we live in, even if it means suffering. It demands a change in our perspective from taking from the society to giving for the society, from expecting from the society to being perceptive towards what the society expects from us as individuals.
Wherefore, the failure of the government must also be considered as the failure of the people, and the failure in the part of the people also considered, in the same manner, as the failure of the government. It is because the government and the people are of the same entity, belonging to each other and without one the other is simply non-existent. Such, I believe, is the nature of our society –people shaping the society and the society in return shaping the people –each for another. Our responsibility then is not just about ourselves, which, if everyone is inclined towards, will create a world of chaos and even threaten the existence of mankind, but also for the society, and hand in hand it must go because the society is us and we are the society.
The breaking point must be the acceptance and understanding of adversities. It indeed is highly demanding but that is largely the nature of our very own existence and hence inevitable. We need to and must accept and understand that we are at a tragic point that demands us to be calm and tolerant. We need to and must realise that violence is not the answer and all it can do is add fuel to the fire. We need faith and hope that we can overcome this without bringing chaos to our land. We can overcome it in a much kinder way of understanding, acceptance, and endurance. And if you believe, faith and hope comes from each of us, springing freshly from within us, when we with the right mindsets and the will to endure any pain, boldly walk through any adversity. And if you believe, not far away, you will come to feel the pleasure in pain that you have endured, because life after all is a bouncing ball and it always comes back to you.
It is an imploration, my dear government and my dear people; let us accept that we have failed for the larger part so far until now, the government had its failure and so do we. But today is no time to accuse and find faults, but a time to unite and suffer if we must, keep aside our angers and frustrations if we must, sit together and reason if we must, be advocates of goodwill if we must, not for vanity, but for hope with faith, and believe me, I’ve never seen a person who owns a prettier smile than those who have faced adversities and been through a hell lot.