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My little brother Sushant Singh Rajput had opted to drop his surname for a few days as a symbol of protest for the atrocities committed on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film crew in Jaipur. He had tweeted –

“We would suffer till the time we are obsessed with our surnames. Let’s work on our first names to get acknowledged.”

The specifics of what I am referring to above can be found on numerous sources online, so I would request those who aren’t acquainted with the subject to consult the information there.

Unsurprisingly, certain individuals (I do not speak of the moderates, but the diehards) tried to taunt him and draw him into digital duels. Truth is that people are like that – they wait for opportunities to nettle anything that voices justice, balance and intelligence. Wisdom to such trouble creators falls pale before hatred and hooliganism.

We have no control over the freedom of expression or the narrow-minded thought processes of the populace, yet, I would like to say this as clear as I can: we do not wish to battle with the bigots, unless of course, we are committed to loving them. Although love would not abet such bigots in changing their minds, since it is beyond their capacity to listen to the voice of reason: they are most ferociously committed to abhorrence, and take pride in their ways of spewing wrath. Also, one must remember that their numbers are rather limited, while ours are not. We must safeguard our strengths and use them suitably. Engaging with trolls is not using our strengths to the right effect.

“I did it to show that the unfortunate action is not what everyone with that surname endorses. They do not represent the entire Rajputs. There are ways to express your ideas, but violence is never an answer, and that too just on a mere speculation.” ~ Sushant Singh Rajput

Agreed, we are going to have to fight for a long time.

Agreed, we need to remind each other that we are there for each other, and that we cannot be intimidated or shamed into complicity.

Agreed, our welfare needs to be protected while staying involved.

Agreed, we need to be able to be all right so we can make that phone call, volunteer, or whatever it takes to make things better for us, and the universe around us.

Agreed, you need to be all right, so you can support people like us who are united with you, in deed and thought. And I need to be all right, so that I can support you in your campaign.

Bear in mind, however, that when I say all this, it does not mean that you cannot be in pain or feel anger. You sure can. Except that there is something past pain, and it has a vision that is lucid, and this is what we are each working towards, are we not? Hence, hold onto your heart and all that it provides you. Be tender with it. Do not let despair and delusion become a normal part of your life. We are not incompetent, and nothing will be fixed tomorrow. None of us know how much time we have here, but let us make use of our “wild and precious” lives so long as we are. Let us value our own time and energy enough to know when we are wasting it. Let us move towards clarity, towards compassion and inclusion, and tell ourselves that we will not only endure, but we will win, however long it takes.

When you wake up in the morning, you should not be appalled at the upsetting ways of the world. As an alternative of not letting it weigh you down, plan your positive impact for that day, however small. Never forget that we love you. That we honour your pain, your anger, and your dedication to fighting for what is just. You are not alone, nor are you powerless.

In times of volatility, I will not dialogue with someone out to harm you physically or mentally, and similarly I hope you would not negotiate with someone who wishes to harm me in similar manner too. We have pledged to spend time in bringing people who are friendly into the crinkle of propriety and love. We are mobilising mankind to make the difference we intend to make, one step at a time, sensibly, concretely. And so should you.

We have too much work to do than to waste our time on people looking to distract us and slow us down. We need to focus on development. We need to play the long game!

“There is no religion or cast bigger than humanity. And love and compassion makes us human. Any other division is done for selfish gains.” ~ Sushant Singh Rajput

PS: some reactions to my opinion-piece

- A dear friend Sikander Mohammed, who is the publisher of the news daily The Deccan Chronicle had to say this:

That’s what real life Heroes are made of. He’s shown his class and his sure-footedness knowing very well what would have been in store for a youngster like him. He’s sure proving to be a role model. Or he has already. May his tribe increase!

Thank you, sir.

- My dear friend Anand Sivakumaran who wrote some of the finest films for the Bhatt’s, and also the highest grossing television series year on year since decades, shared with me the content below saying that my piece on Sushant and the politics of the absurd that is ruining the world in the name of preserving it was the inspiration behind it. How honoured I feel really. Thank you, Anand.   

Love isn’t easy nowadays. Everyday we hear something, read a tweet or someone says something that makes our blood boil. There’s so much hatred, intolerance, bigotry around that one wants to just charge in, grab the haters by the neck and pound some sense into them. Or at the very least get into a fierce, verbal argument with them and tell them how screwed up their thinking is.

Hmmm. But how would that help? When one’s heart is filled with anger and hatred, where is the space for logic, good sense? And how is fighting anger with anger, hatred with contempt, making the world a better place?

If there’s anything the world needs now it’s love, compassion and tolerance, especially towards those who spew rage and hate.

Though it may be hard, let’s step back, take a breath, choose to be loving and meet their bile with our compassion. They hurl abuse, let’s wish them well. They speak of violence and exclusion and intimidation, let’s spread messages of love and support and inclusion - in fact for every one message spewing negativity, let’s put out two. Or 10.

In our words, actions, behaviour let’s only send out love, compassion and tolerance. Let that be the salve and the antidote to the hatred and bigotry vitiating the atmosphere.

Call it Gandhigiri or whatever - this is actually what every religion teaches. This is what the world needs. This is what will keep us positive, powerful and above all the negative emotions that threaten to submerge humanity.

What’s better than love? It's the most powerful weapon ever. And it doesn’t hurt when we use it. So let love be our answer to everything. Let’s begin now.

And hey, I love you!