Give Peace A Chance

The legendary John Lennon had rightly said, “We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight”.  Protesting in 1969 against America’s hopeless war in Vietnam, John and wife Yoko Ono reminded the world to “Give Peace A Chance”:

“…. Let me tell you now
Ev’rybody’s talking ’bout
Revolution, evolution, masturbation, flagellation, regulation, integrations
Meditations, United Nations, congratulations

… All we are saying is give peace a chance …”

These days, it is with a sense of trepidation that one picks up the morning paper or fires up a preferred digital device to scan news headlines.  Politicians lying to protect vested interests; walls being built to keep people away while pulling out children from their parents’ embrace; terrorists blowing up any/every-one, not excluding those sharing their own religious belief; soldiers justifying collateral damage killings while the “other side” screams revenge; minorities and majorities trying to redefine their scope and roles; liberal/socialist/centre-of-right/left-of-centre/alt-right/left-wing – labels that are not just confusing but perhaps, even rendered meaningless etc., etc., etc.

In a soul-searching song composed for the 1963 movie Taj Mahal, famous philosopher-poet and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi had queried:

1 Khudaa-e-bartar teri zameen par … O’ Exalted God, on this land of yours …
  … zameen ki khaatir yeh jang kyun hai … why do we have these battles for land (territories/nations)
  Har ek fatah-o-zafar ke daaman pe … Why is the foothill of each (mountain of) conquest and triumph …
  … khoon-e-insaan kaa rang kyun hai … stained with human blood
2 Zameen bhi teri hain hum bhi tere … This land is yours, as are we …
  … yeh milkiyat kaa savaal kyaa hai … why then this question of ownership and possession
  Ye katl-o-khoon kaa rivaaz kyun hai … What are these traditions of bloody murder …
  … ye rasm-e-jang-o-jadal kyaa hai … whence these rules of wars and encounters
  Jinhe talab hai jahaan bhar ki … Those that covet the entire world …
  … unheen kaa dil itanaa tang kyun hai … why are their hearts so constricted/troubled
3 Gharib maaon sharif behanon ko … (May) the poor mothers and respectable sisters …
  … aman-o-izzat ki zindagi de … be granted a life of amity and dignity
  Jinhe ataa kee hai toone taaqat … To those whom you have gifted power …
  … unhen hidaayat ki roshani de … on them shine your light for guidance
  Saron me kibr-o-ghuroor kyun hai … Why are minds filled with pride and grandeur …
  … dilon ke shishe pe zang kyun hai … and the mirrors of human hearts tarnished (rusted)
4 Qazaa ke raste pe jaanevaalo ko … To those who are headed towards doom …
  … bach ke aane kee raah denaa … show the path to return alive
  Dilon ke gulshan ujadd naa jaayen … Lest the gardens of the hearts wither away …
  … muhabbaton ko panaah dena … extend your shelter of love
  Jahan me jashn-e-vafaa ke badle … (In this) world, instead of celebrating fidelity and care …
  … yeh jashn-e-tir-o-tafang kyun hai … why do we celebrate (the use of) arrows and muskets (guns)
5 Har ek fatah-o-zafar ke daaman pe … Why is each conquest and triumph …
  … khoon-e-insaan kaa rang kyun hai … stained with human blood

Some days, one feels like just pulling the covers over one’s head and not getting out of bed, in an attempt to shut out this cacophony and a deepening sense of gloom.

But then, magic does happen.  Pre-dawn shadows in the bedroom are diffused by the ambient light reflected off the snow.  Dazed and half-asleep for it is but 4 am, I am drawn to the window and look out.  A hush has descended as wispy snowflakes drift down to settle on the dark maple tree.  Its branches seem to stretch outwards, extending to gratefully accepting this “nemat” (beneficence) being doled out by nature.  Ever the silent sentinel, it watches and participates mutely without protesting all that happens around, and, to it.  Unlike the noise each of us makes every day to draw attention to our preferred cause celebre.

My soon-to-be-three grandson lit up my day when I discovered his favorite bedtime read-aloud book is “Peace Is An Offering”.  He appears to have memorized the entire book that he is now able to “read along” with his parents:

“… Peace is a gratitude for simple things

… Light through a leaf, a dragonfly’s wings,

… Will you stay with me? Will you be my friend?

… Will you listen to my story till the very end?

… Peace is a joining, not a pulling apart

… It’s the courage to bear a wounded heart,

… It’s a safe place to live, it’s the freedom from fear

… It’s a kiss or a hug when you’ve lost someone dear …”

Let’s try and give peace a chance.

4 Replies to “Give Peace A Chance”

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