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Why Do We Hate?

This is a question I have often ended up asking myself, and the answers have nearly always eluded me, considering that when I tried to peep towards the shadow, the light nearby presented me the silver lining. I know it would be rather incorrect of me to assume that everyone’s life would be as clearly hassle-free as mine, but yes, at least I would like to think so. Also, a subject as inherent as hate isn’t something that could be tackled in a page, or perhaps even in a lifetime. Like the same workouts work differently for two people, contrariwise hate too is at the mercy of the individual’s capacity to come to terms with what they wish to nurture and what they choose to shed. Given the circumstances, I think it best to leave it to each individual to decode it empirically, while the least I could do is present what I might have deciphered over the years drawing from my experiences about what we hate, and why we hate.

Hatred is not something we are born with: it is a feeling we inculcate rather unknowingly from what we hear and see in our surrounding. If we do not keep what we are absorbing in check, it begins to follow a path of its own, and much without our control it tends to calcify within us leaving us little room to do away with it. 

As a Muslim by birth, I quite get asked the same question over and over again — don’t you hate the people who talk openly against you? Well, I don’t know what to say to that; I know that people sometimes care to genuinely draw you out in order to help you, and most other times they are only trying, in a cruel way, to meddle with your sentiments even while they appear to present it rather superbly gift-wrapped. As anybody would agree, bitterness in any form is unsettling, yet you could, if you wanted, eradicate it entirely from your mind. While the question is, do you?

I have been fortunate in knowing what is right from wrong for my own self, and once again, this is a perspective that is open to debate since what is right for me ought not necessarily be right for you, but that debate we shall indulge in another dialogue perhaps, for now, I would like to limit myself in pronouncing that I do believe in a superpower, that we haven’t arrived here on this earth out of nowhere, and that that superpower has the authority to influence me for being good and vice versa. People have often asked me how secular I rate the world around me. I do not think it appropriate to reply to this now, do I? Unsatisfied with my response, they further query as to where I would rate my secular metre on a scale of one to ten. Once again, I would not categorise myself as secular. It is a word that seems so sadly misused for the last decade. So what then am I? Well, I would rather find myself comfortable being termed tolerant, and even edifying, so to say, if that is any solace for that is how I think I am.

Another quintessential question I am asked regularly (at various gatherings) is my stance on Rushdie. I haven’t read Rushdie, and therefore, I am not at liberty to comment. When that is cleared, the question from Rushdie then drifts to my views on the film Innocence of Muslims. Fortunately, by the time I had had the opportunity to watch it, it had been banned, and as a consequence I was left to depend on hearsay, and hearsay is not something I rely on. Nevertheless, when I recognised the rage in the masses, I reckoned it is not without reason that it was eliciting such an adverse reaction. Yes, I would not run on the street with a sword, or vandalise property for that matter, but if I could, I certainly would like to meet the people who play up emotions and ask them without harming them or hurling any abuses, why they trample on territories when they know that all it would be doing is disturb the quiet of the society.

It is common knowledge that it takes two to tango. But wouldn’t it be better that one could step back to tempter temperatures (when one is in such a position) rather than whipping them up? While for those who succumb to such vexes, my only word of caution would be to stop awhile and think, because in the end it is a wise man indeed who could equip himself to outgrow the prejudices of his father.

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