Thursday, July 18, 2024

Bob’s Banter


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By Robert Clements

Don’t Clap for the Slap…!
It was a tight slap on the actress that left its mark!
An act that should be condemned, however much we try to justify the reason behind it. It was not done by some angry member of the public but carried out by one in uniform who was supposed to guard and protect citizens.
A guardian of the law, broke the law. But in that slap, law breaking has come full circle.
In the last ten years hooligans, thugs, ruffians, and rapists have been shown the blind eye. Vigilant mobs have roamed the country, thrashing, assaulting and lynching those who followed another dietary preference to theirs. They’ve stopped trucks, carrying animals who’s taste they did not subscribe to, beaten and killed owners and drivers.
They’ve looked into homes where women cooked and if their noses smelt smells their own kitchens ne’er produced, they seized those meals meant for the poor and hungry who couldn’t afford what these mobsters ate. They mobbed what was once a peaceful nation, rushing into places of worship where citizens worshipped in ways different from theirs, broke walls, burnt sacred objects, like crosses and altars, molested worshippers, thrashed priests, and with jeers and cries of jubilation, went to the next.
They separated couples in the name of love jihad, pulling women away from their lawful wedded spouses and murdered those men who dared fall in love with another from another faith.
They marched into hospitals, smashed X ray machines, ransacked operation theatres, threw cancer patients from their wards, thrashed and injured doctors.
They shot journalists dead, point blank, whose writings they cared not for, and scared the rest into silent submission.
They added these new ‘slap’ freedoms to their list of ‘breakable laws’ pinned to their sleeves.
They ran into college campuses, pulled out those who thought different, battered them, whether they wore trousers or skirts.
They stopped cars on highways. Raped women travelling in them. They stopped the screening of films whose plot they did not understand. They followed tourists, and if perchance they did not allow a selfie with them, beat them up, groped their women, left them wounded, bloodied and often times dead.
“Stop!” shouted their leaders, as the world asked questions. “Stop!” they cried as foreign presidents commented how unsafe the country had become. “Stop, before it is too late!”
But it was too late. Because violence once set free obeys no handler. And when the one in uniform beats their own master or mistress as was this case, then you know that with that resounding slap, violence had come full circle.
But hush! There is a second chance today: The people even as they condemn this slap, also want other slaps to stop; lynching, police brutality, unfair laws, rapes and murders. And other violence created by the tongue; jeering, sneering, ridiculing!
Let the slaps stop!
Like I said, we have a second chance today, and though the opposition have won a great victory, still it is a time to sow, and not a time to crow.
Though the galvanising of thought and ideas were hugely successful, though the Constitution of the country has been saved, yet it is not a time to crow over one’s victory. There were many who dreamt of a Rajya that would be of one religion superseding others. There were many who dreamt of being the first among equals, and their dreams have been gently laid aside by the electorate, but that doesn’t mean we who laid such ideas aside, crow over this. This is a time of healing, not of clapping over a slap.
My mind goes to a huge magnificent incident, where witnesses of the event could have gone berserk with jubilation. It was spectacular, glorious, and majestic. It was a slap on the face of the perpetrators of injustice. It put to end every unjust act, every humiliation that the victim had to undergo, a one-sided trial, and a barbaric crucifixion!
The event was the ascension of Christ. He was lifted up into heaven in the presence of five hundred witnesses. Not one, not two, not just his band of disciples but by five hundred men and women!
They could have raised a riot with what they had just seen; a man, beaten, thrashed, spat upon, and despised by the crowd, being lifted up, proving to every single man and woman, those in power and those who cried, ‘Crucify Him!” that He was indeed the Son of God, that indeed all He said and preached in His sermons and discourses were the gospel truth.
His followers could have gone berserk with victory, but they did not. They did not use the occasion as a time to crow, but used the time as the beginning of a time to sow.
Sow what? Sow love to replace hate. Sow truth to replace falsehood! Sow humility to replace pride and sow forgiveness to replace vengeance!
That’s what we need to start doing: In WhatsApp groups that were for Rahul and his allies I see sentiments of revenge and anger and abuse sprouting. In doing so, how different are you from what you fought against?
This is a time to sow love, to sow forgiveness. This is a time to build peace, harmony and sometimes like Gandhiji did, the only time to turn the other cheek at slights and hurtful statements. We need to sow, but the first point about sowing is to empty our baggage of anger and fear. We need to turn our swords into ploughshares Our daggers into embraces of love.
It’s over two thousand years since that Ascension into heaven took place and the sowing has been painful and slow, but that’s the pace of love, especially when it has to replace hate.
But, now is the time to sow, not clap over a slap or crow over a defeat..!
Read more in the author’s motivational book DARE available on
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