Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Unboxing Humanity

“You are confined only by the walls you build yourself”-Andrew Murphy
Among the most inartistic lines drawn by man are national boundaries drawn on maps. These are lines which look nothing less than an insult to artistic vision. Human expression which is intrinsically broad minded should never be boxed in such a manner. Unfortunately these boundaries are representative of just one of the boxes of human confinement. There are many other boxes in which our emotions are trapped, boxes that range from language to religion and from region to caste. This begs the question, who made these boxes?

The Berlin Wall! In his world famous speech before Berlin’s central Brandenburg Gate, late President Reagan demanded that then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev “tear down this wall.”

Let us keep with popular belief and assume that all of us are God’s children. Then there is little reason for us to think that a parent would compartmentalize us into greater and lesser beings. Why will any parent create an atmosphere of hatred, deceit and disdain among his own children? If the Almighty is not to blame, knowing that he is considered a model being, then where does the real fault lie?
Since the world or a country is too large and complex a box to discuss, let us narrow it down to the most intimate box, a box called family. Families are going through a rough patch in the modern world. Brothers turn foes, parents are treated like a burden and sometimes even children are subjected to abuse. If the smallest box is completely hollow then will it be wrong to presume that we are but a race bound to crumble.

As an optimist I would like to think otherwise but for that we as families will have to challenge the way society has boxed itself over the years. A world of love is a world of equality and equality can never know boundaries. We will have to love our girls as much as our boys. We will have to let our children marry the ones they love and not the ones their community tells them to love. We will have to worship the gods that others worship and respect those who do not believe in God. We will have to understand silences and yearn to understand what is beyond our abilities. We will have to combat hatred with love. We will have to be ‘human’ for a change.
All this sounds like empty talk particularly because it prescribes no definitive action. Empty also because it simplifies the most complex box of all, that of human emotions. However, the first step will be to acknowledge our failing of having confined our emotions to the smallest box. I am just another being with little ability to suggest a solution but I strongly believe human beings still have the potential to unbox themselves. Many years ago in a spirit to unify we broke a wall in a corner of the world and we must in this case learn from our past.

People chipping away at the Berlin Wall

We may need another Mahatma or perhaps a greater Christ to show us the way but we are too great a race to die of a nuclear holocaust. Let us in unison make every effort to ensure that the god who made us will also be the one to destroy us!
“The Holocaust illustrates the consequences of prejudice, racism and stereotyping on a society. It forces us to examine the responsibilities of citizenship and confront the powerful ramifications of indifference and inaction.”-Tim Holden

Maanas Lal is a renowned young artist and a columnist based in India. He can be reached at aloke-maanaslalart.com

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