A bold thinker of modern times — François Voltaire once said – “As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities”. Most celebrated for his deep and frank thoughts, Voltaire had always stood up against the forces that wanted to rule the common people by brute forces of dogmatism, flawed ideology and so on.
This quote has truly inspired me from an early age. It has often alerted me to “watch” each step I take and weigh each word I write. In order to guard myself against possible wrong influences, from here I have also learned to selectively pick up the literature so that I would not be misinformed and form wrong opinions! So, I strongly feel that one should never hesitate to chuck away books/articles and ignore many famous leaders/writers if they are likely to “mislead” us!
Yes, this all is, in fact, with reference to my letter “Dangerous agenda and propaganda” (ST Dec 27, 2019) which I had written to caution the trusting people from possible “atrocities” and misinformation. But that letter triggered a series of criticisms from certain people from Kolkata while appreciation from others. I welcome them all. Dissension is the beauty of democracy, so no hard feeling at all! Of course, somewhere in my letter, I did not miss to sum up the ground reality as — “I always pray to the Almighty that one may not lose his/her power of “judgment” to differentiate between who is “less or more” dangerous and who is dangerously vicious!” This I really meant it; more so when the din of hypocrisy is at fever pitch.
Alas, these days people are misled by certain type of forces that veritably carry biased opinions. What is worse is that they often go to any extent to “whitewash” the crimes/misdeeds committed by people/leaders who are dear to them. Even the vile and sinful acts committed by their beloved are swept under the carpet. Therefore, one of the best achievements in life would be when we sincerely start to figure out correctly whom to “trust” and follow, and whom to ignore and “unfollow”. One should not run after the elements whose job is to misinform the people with their lopsided arguments and gloss over the evil. However, one should not keep back and remain inactive when such “misinformation” is hurting the very heart of humanity. Humanity should not be sacrificed at the altar of bigotry and violence. Kudos to Sujit De for his recent letter – “Tolerance as virtue” (ST, Jan 6, 2020), So, let the virtuous truths and “virtues of humanity” be upheld at any cost.
Iran must exercise restraint
Esmail Ghaani, the new Iranian General appointed in place of the slain Soleimani has created ripples of fear across the world especially the US as he vowed on Sunday to take revenge as Tehran abandoned the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in response to the slaying. Soleimani and Ghaani are like Tweedledum and Tweedledee and they have almost the same set of goals-to attack and eliminate America. With his taking over the reins of the Iranian army, Ghaani is going to convert the Middle East into a far more dangerous and unstable place.
What agonizes peace-lovers is the fact that North Korea, another rogue nation, is in cahoots with Iran and clandestinely sharing technical know-how on the production of nuclear weapons. It is worth noting that only recently North Korea has called Trump’s bluff as the US warned N Korea of a possible retaliation if it was going ahead with conducting further nuclear tests. Further, North Korea has also declared that it would go ahead with developing more dangerous weapons. In this context, it may be apt to note that North Korea has given a hint of a mysterious weapon that it has been working on. So, North Korea and Iran are supposed to be working together to wreak havoc on the US in the immediate future.
A highly perplexing statement by Ghaani has just set many tongues wagging. He said, “God the Almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger. Certainly actions will be taken. We promise to walk down martyr Soleimani’s path as firmly as before with help of God, and in return for his martyrdom we aim to get rid of America from the region.”
Ghaani’s perception of God is highly misleading and baffling. What is God? Who is He? God is the creator of everything and there is nothing created that he has not created. God is God for all and if God is for all, He cannot be a partisan God. The US military killed Soleimani because he hatched a plan to destroy the US by bombing it. Besides, it was Soleimani who masterminded the killing of 250 American soldiers in Iraq. So, the US revenged Iran for killing of its 250 soldiers. Then how can God revenge Soleimani’s killing on the US? Hence, Iran’s case is like sowing the wind and reaping the whirlwind. If God is for all, how can God help Iran take revenge on the US? So, these people see the Almighty God through their narrow minds and interpret their own ideas with the backing of God. The people of Iran must therefore exercise restraint and never allow things to go out of their hands, for, we cannot suffer another holocaust of a third world war.
Shillong Traffic – A Massive Problem
It’s evident that there is a problem when you take one hour to commute from Laitumkhrah to Police Bazar in a vehicle while you can cover the same distance in 15-20 minutes walking. My father tells me that in the late 80s and early 90s, vehicles were in fact a rare sight in Shillong and that the transformation has been ridiculous. It’s safe to say that there are more vehicles than people in the city. This has contributed to an unbelievably high level of traffic in Shillong which is unbearable. In the afternoon, as soon as schools get over, the roads get clogged. Laitumkhrah, Beat House, Fire Brigade and Dhankheti are the ones worst affected by this and this problem has been happening for a little too long now. I took a bus from Police Bazar to Laitumkhrah a couple of days back and I was stranded in Malki for a frustrating 45 minutes.
I would also like to congratulate the ‘Shillong Traffic Police’ for going about their business in a dedicated manner, without losing patience. When the schools reopen, some schemes to aid car pooling can be devised. It is also well known that taxi drivers easily get a professional license and this adds to the ever growing problem. Such things should be taken care of to ensure that this issue is addressed at the earliest. I request the government to take up initiatives to solve or at least reduce this menace.
Pratham K Sharma