In an era where there is so much of confusion and conflict in religions, there are rays of hope that do show us that humanity is still alive.
There are some who have struggled to restore balance and justice in society and some who have achieved this by just being who they are. These are not just famous people but ordinary, commoners who know what is right and wrong.
This reminds of the time I had spoken sometime back to Teesta Setalvad, who was and is passionate about communal harmony and amity.
Teesta Setalvad had resigned from mainstream journalism only because she was keen on promoting justice and peace. She is the secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace, the editor of Communalism Combat and runs an organization, KHOJ, www.khojedu.net, that encourages children to discuss and understand issues in society.
When I asked her what was her most memorable event in all the work she had undertaken, she shared, “In December 1992, post Babri Masjid violence had made Bombay burn with the Shiv Sena-BJP leading the violence. I encountered an amazing story there. A building with entirely Muslim residents had been attacked on the night of December 6-7 and they survived only because of Vimla Tai Khaonekar the mother of the Shiv Sainik leading the mob set to burn the building.
She came out, fully clad in her nine yard Maharashtrian saree,and dared him to go past her. The aggressive Shiv Sainik confronted with the moral force of his mother, slunk away. The grateful residents narrated the story of their saviour, I wrote about it in The Sunday Observer and fortunately she received the Mayor’s medal for bravery. It is such acts of unsurmountable courage and conviction that need to be told so women like Vimla tai become our role models.”
I completely resonate with her and truly echo her sentiment of trying to focus on real courage and bravery.
On another note, we know Teesta has faced and is still facing a lot of travails but the hope that she still has in humanity is laudable.
Teesta and yes, people like Vimala Tai make me certain that we will surely overcome the malaise in our society of hatred of all kinds, slowly but surely.