Hating: Stunting India’s growth

In a communal atmosphere mutual suspicion grows and this mutual suspicion affects economic progress adversely as it turns into state policies and corporate policies and administrative decisions.

Hating: Stunting India’s growth

By Joe Palathunkal
India must grow, not to become a world power but to become a comfort zone for all its citizens to live in a sense of security, freedom and well-being. With the atmosphere of hate prevalent, this is not possible because mutual hatred will stunt mutual growth and every good growth is always mutual, not one sided or lopsided.

Industrialist Adi Godrej warned about it on Saturday July 13, 2019, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the renowned Saint Xavier’s College, Bombay, his alma mater: “It is not all a rosy picture now. One must not lose sight of the massive impoverishment plaguing our nation which can seriously damage the pace of growth going forward and prevent us from realising our potential.”

(Adi Godrej, Chairman of the Godrej Group)

Then the chairman of the Godrej Group unequivocally stated the main reason for stunting India’s growth as hating asserting that “rising intolerance, social instability, hate crimes, violence against women, moral policing, caste and religion-based violence and many other sorts of intolerance that are rampant” would adversely impact not only economic growth of India but also its social progress.

Why does hate affect growth of a nation? And these are the reasons - energy is dissipated, mutual suspicion grows, fear distances people from people, united efforts will lack, sense of belonging to the land will decrease.

Just think of the numerous communal riots and the energy of the state used to handle the situation – so much money and personnel are used to calm down the embroiled communal cauldron which could have been easily used to usher in the growth of the nation. Not only the state’s energy is dissipated but even its attention is perennially focussed on the continuing communal atmosphere.

In a communal atmosphere mutual suspicion grows and this mutual suspicion affects economic progress adversely as it turns into state policies and corporate policies and administrative decisions. It can appear in many innocuous forms or apparently in the form of goodness but as Saint Paul says even the devil can appear in the form of an angel.

From suspicion originates the fear of the other, again a hurdle for economic and social progress. In such a situation the psychological unity of the people will disappear resulting in lack of united efforts from all the people of the nation. That is why Jawaharlal Nehru kept on saying unity in diversity. Today that is changed into uniformity in diversity which is never possible and it adversely affects freedom to think and act.

The net result is a drastic decrease in the sense of belonging to the land called India and the citizenship of all the Indians become an issue. For growth it is essential that all the Indians feel they are the citizens of this nation whatever may be their religion or region. This is what courageously proclaimed from Saint Xavier’s College, Bombay. It is a bold statement to come from one of the towering industrialists of the nation because others may not be audacious enough to do so in the peculiar atmosphere of India today.

If we take Marshal McLuhan’s medium is the message seriously, then the platform from where the message originated is crucially significant – Saint Xavier’s College Bombay founded by the German Jesuits in 1869. This premiere Catholic educational institution that caters to all the students from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds, has been giving a strong message during the last 150 years – be Indian by accepting and respecting all the Indians. If medium is the message, then Adi Godrej’s message has an enhanced vibrancy as it emanated through such a dynamic medium Saint Xavier’s College.

(Mahatma Gandhi)

Remember the college’s 150 years and the 150 years of the birth of the most powerful icon against hating have the rendezvous in 2019 – Mahatma Gandhi who said: “An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” That is exactly what hating does – if someone hurts you, in return you hurt him back. Without the forgiveness Jesus taught us from the cross, India can never make progress which Gandhiji knew very well when he said: “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

India will grow when it creates a culture of forgiveness without fanning mutual hatred; healing of our history is an essential part of this new culture. Our socio-political leadership must stop engineering hatred if they have at least an iota of honesty to see this nation and its people grow, grow together as one nation.

When you fan hatred and the subsequent violence whether it is against women, dalits or people from religious minority, bear in mind Mahatma’s words: “It’s my conviction that nothing enduring can be built on violence.”

(Pope Francis)

This is an undeniable truth and every nation built on violence crumbles one way or the other and India’s socio-political leadership should never advocate nationalism based on hatred, instead it should become the architect of a growing nation by advocating peace. Pope Francis puts it very sagaciously: “Each one of us is called to be an artisan of peace, by uniting and not dividing, by extinguishing hatred and not holding on to it, by opening paths to dialogue and not by constructing new walls!”

(Image Courtesy: odishabytes.com, bombay.afindia.org)

(Joe Palathunkal is Associate Editor, Living in Faith)

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