Thursday, February 16, 2006


"I think anyone is capable of anything."

"I cut my fingernails, they grow back."

It is the ugliest, strongest and most passionate word in the English language - hatred - and a movie I saw today, and heard those two lines in, brought it to my mind constantly.

My last post was about burgers, and this one is about something much, much more dangerous and potent than a calorie-packed fast food item. Hatred is an emotion that can infiltrate the cells of any brain, empower the blood in any vein and sluice away every other motivation, replacing everything with cold calculation buoyed by a feeling that the end is right, and therefore the means don't matter.

An Afghan friend of mine showed me some pictures secretly taken by the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (, of the brutality exercised by the Taliban. But the pictures were not of the Taliban alone. They included pictures of the victims of the 'War Against Terrorism'. Innocent children whose arms and legs and eyes have been blown off, as part of 'collateral damage'.

Every day, the inside pages of any Indian newspaper would have a news item that carried the effects of religious and communal hatred. People forced to eat excreta, people chopped to death, women's faces being destroyed by acid - things that make one shudder and close one's ears just by mention. What sort of force could possibly motivate someone to actually do these things??? Hatred - infused into the impressionable young minds that grow into the focused, blind ones that perpetrate such violence.

There is no one on the earth who hasn't killed. Even the most gentle of human beings has crushed a mosquito at some point of time. Why not simply swat it away? How old was your child when you taught him or her how to squash a mosquito, simply so that it wouldn't bite him or her? A butcher slaughters an animal and tears it to shreds. A little while later, people boil the animal, throw spices all over it and relish it at a table.

In another part of the world, the same is being done to humans. Jack the Ripper may have receded into myth, but short of the pickling and the spicing and the eating, this and much more is being done to human beings.

It seems violence is inherent in our blood. Hatred becomes an indelible brand on a surface waxed smooth, soft and warm by this inborn property of violence. We often speak of where one must draw the line. But is there really a reason to debate? Is there any situation when violence may be classified as right? Must an eye be avenged with an eye? Should someone be killed for murder? Why not life imprisonment? Aren't there non-violent alternatives for every violent action?

The "world leaders" who preached non-violence pass into history as icons - people who must be admired, but people who are far removed from the present-day world, and who belong in the annals. People who come into significance only when one needs a quote to throw into a Statement of Purpose or Mission Statement, or whatever section of an application form requires a quote. Proverbs and adages have been overused to the point of cliche.

One is tempted to ask: what is really relevant today, if everything belongs somewhere else? If every positive emotion is dismissed as 'idealism', is realism about killing as many organisms as one can? There is a theory that God keeps score, but the more pertinent one seems to be that Darwin is God, and there are infinite interpretations of his theory - 'The Survival of the Fittest.'


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Nandini Krishnan said...

You are such an ass! You inspired a new blog post.

Da Undertoad said...

four square and five by five with you on the ugliness' of hatred.
not all that sure about the passion with which you dislike it, being, as i am, of the opinion that the way to counter balance the ill-effects of hatred with reason.
but then i feel the same way about love.
the ill-effects of the extremes of both are, as far as i can tell, the reasons why we have standing armies and battle lines that glorify pain and misery.
but then, if i'm so smart how come i'm not rich, eh?
keep on truckin' ms. K.

Nandini Krishnan said...

Undertoad: I was less old and wise when I wrote this post, and am afraid to read it again for fear of cringing. I don't remember what I said in it, but my blood was probably a lot hotter back then. :-)

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