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Peace and harmony, an important factor for the eradication of social evils

Peace and harmony, an important factor for the eradication of social evils
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By Umar Farooq Masoodi

Na Utha Phir Koi Rumi Ajam Ke Lala-Zaaron Se
Wohi Aab-o-Gill-e-Iran, Wohi Tabraiz Hai Saqi
Nahin Hai Na-Umeed Iqbal Apni Kisht-e-Weeran Se
Zara Nam Ho To Ye Mitti Bohat Zarkhaiz Hai Saqi
Faqeer-e-Rah Ko Bakhshe Ga’ay Asrar-e-Sultani
Baha Meri Nawa Ki Doulat-e-Pervaiz Hai Saqi

I choose to live by choice not by chance, to make changes not excuses, to be motivated not manipulated, to excel not compete, I choose self-esteem not self-pity, I choose to listen to my inner voice not the random opinion of others. I choose the best helping hands that are at the end of my own arms. So, if I couldn’t handle things I put my hands together and pray to Allah Almighty who is the most Helpful and the most Graceful.
It is true that a single stick can be broken easily but to break a bundle of sticks is really difficult or even impossible. Thus, we can realize the value of unity and harmony. Our first and foremost duty is to maintain harmony in our lives because we cannot live a single day without the help of others.
We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.
The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge as made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little.
More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness because without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The Aero plane and the internet have brought us closer together but the very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.
Today our society is dying due to plague of social evils, which are turning our once proud and God fearing society into a soulless entity. The slow decay of our collective consciousness is affecting every one of us.
Pertinently, social evil is the willful disregard of the norms of society in ways that cause suffering, destruction, or death. These social evils are issues or matters that directly or indirectly affect each one of us. It is a harsh fact that social evils are destructive to the peace and harmony of our community.
In modern society, with special reference to the valley of Kashmir, it is important to note that a number of evils have grappled our society in its iron claws and now it seems impossible to get out of its tentacles. Today, our society faces multi-dimensional social evils in the form of growing suicides, dowry, molestation, lavish marriages, drug addiction and moral degradation.
The traditional social norms, customs, cultural ethos and religious fervor present in the Kashmiri society has now been nearly lost in the blind race of materialism. This unique culture offered a check against these kinds of evils from taking root in the society. The role of the individual in Islam is not limited to fulfilling the five pillars.
The Muslim in an Islamic community has a greater responsibility than is usually understood. Rather than debating or fighting over petty issues and get divided into sections, we must unite to free our society from the darkness of evils. No religion or sub-sect of a religion has ever approved any evil.
All stress upon mankind to fight against them. But unfortunately, what we see presently is sheer deviation. According to the Holy Quran 124,000 messengers of God were sent on earth all of them with one message and the message was that the Almighty wanted us to be human beings rather than intelligent animals. Animals that believe in might is right and survival of the fittest, where as human beings have compassion and justice and Muslims were supposed to be and should be the community that should be compassionate and that should believe in justice just like every Messenger of God to every human community brought the same message.
Then, why should we allow these evils to prevail in our society and divide our society in sections? Our religious and cultural values accepts other communities and other religions. We all know that Islam believes in plurality, Muslims have lived with other religions we have lived with Hindus, we have lived with Buddhists, we have lived with Jews and Christians. So we have a religion which preaches plurality, and all we are asked is to be better human beings. We, the people have the power, the power to create happiness and end the sufferings of the poor and downtrodden. We, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. We have the power to do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance! Let us fight for a world of peace, a world where humanity will lead to all men’s happiness.
And while fighting on political fronts one cannot ignore many other vital issues essential for the very survival of our identity. What is the fate of our language, dress code, marriages—all are directed rather designed by alien cultures. Have you people ever pondered upon the fact that who is responsible for these deadly social evils and the slow death of our Culture? Leave the social evils aside for a while.
Nelson Mandela has rightly said, “If you talk to a person in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”. But Parents here stress their children to speak in Urdu or English. This is the mentality that has grown within our community. Parents thinking of building the personality of their children by neglecting the mother tongue are actually planting trouble for them.
The fact is that these traits later in the life turns to be a burden for a grown up child, as he/she/ finds it really difficult to interact in his/her own mother tongue, ultimately resulting in lower self-esteem and lack of confidence. But the blame is not primarily theirs, but of our system, of our society as whole. It is not only our language which is dying a slow death but same is the case with our culture and tradition. We have forgotten Mehjoor, Haba Khatoon and replaced them with Bohemia and Bob Marley.
On one hand, our youth is so much inspired by the injected westernization and have forgotten the values, our identity, our mystic and divine personalities of motherland Kasheer. Come on, be honest for a while and tell me how many of us or in our peer group know playing Santoor or any other Kashmiri musical instrument. The Average may not be more than one or two out of hundred people.
While-as significant number of our youth knows playing guitar, drums and other western musical instruments. And the list does not end here. We have completely westernized ourselves and replaced everything we got from our ancestors. From Samavar to Santoor and other extinct traditional things that we even don’t know about have vanished decades ago. The globalization and westernization had heavy toll on our society and the time is not too far when our mother tongue would only be confined to our books.
The Moral and ethical values have nearly perished from our materialistic minds which is also responsible for the increasing rate of social evils in our valley. We must inculcate moral values into ourselves because at the glorious peak of career one may forget a particular mathematical theorem, but moral education will be ingrained in his/her memory forever. The basic qualities of unconditional love and kindness, the importance of hard work, the power of honesty, the beauty of forgiveness are to stay embedded in one’s heart forever who will turn to make this world a better place to live in.
At last I would like to stress on the fact that the social evils blooming in our society are enough to suggest how much situations is out of the hands of the responsible persons including religious scholars, parents or elders of the society.
It is the high time for everyone in general and for the intellectuals in particular to wake up to the occasion and change the face of the society and contribute to the betterment of society. Looking at present gloomy picture it looks bad omen has won over good and reminds me of the famous quotation that “the only thing required for triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

The writer is a student—School Of Law, University of Kashmir. He can be reached at [email protected]

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