Feb 27, 2009

The Silence Was Deafening...

Godhra. The name conjures up horrific scenes of a burnt train, heart-rending screams, the sight of charred human bodies, the terror of severed limbs. It is reminiscent of the subsequent clashes that turned out to be ugly by any figment of human imagination. The year 2002 saw the worst of communal clashes in modern Indian history, perhaps next only to those witnessed during the days of partition.

Sanjeev* has truly been through hell - he saw raging fires, heard desperate screams, smelled burning flesh and tasted his own blood. He was shaking when he arrived at Ahmedabad aboard an undamaged bogey of the ill-fated and charred Sabarmati Express. He tumbled on to the platform and sank to his knees, screaming in anguish as the horror replayed itself in his mind. He saw the corpses of children; fifteen of them had been burnt alive, he remembered. He heard the anguished wails of deperate mothers and helpless fathers. He could smell death all over him as he clawed at his own flesh in vain hope of cleansing himself of the horror he had witnessed.

Seven years on, life for Majid* has come to a standstill. His eyes are a deadened black hole, unable to forget for a single living moment that his wife and six children were massacred in the post-Godhra riots. Majid, who witnessed the Naroda Patia massacre, escaped the carnage by jumping onto the terrace of a neighbouring building, but his family was not so lucky. Later, he found the bodies of his children amidst the rubble that was once his home, all of them charred. The body of his wife was found in a dustbin; she had been raped multiple times before she was mercifully killed. His daughters, the youngest being just six-months-old, had all been raped and brutally murdered. One little daughter had her eyes gouged out, while a teenage son had his limbs chopped off.

The stories are different, but the horror in them is the same. It is about two people from different communities - for the average Indian, as different as chalk and cheese - but the suffering is essentially human. The blood that soaked the soil of Gujarat is human blood - not Hindu blood or Muslim blood. The wounds are raw, and both need to be assuaged equally. The political clout leaped into the boat of polarised sentiments, and happily went fishing for votes in the rivers of blood. A section of the media helped them dish out their crass propaganda for power. All the norms which were needed to be done were either thrown overboard or conveniently sidetracked. All evidence and explanations contrary to the scenario favouring the polical leadership were pushed under the carpet, and later incinerated.

The gut-wrenching carnage that stole the lives of hundreds of Gujarat's citizens moved an entire nation. India saw (and still sees) the plight of those who have been left grieving for lost family members, or have been orphaned at a tender age, or have been gravely debilitated for the rest of their lives. That this tragedy was not the result of a natural disaster but was man-made is perhaps what is even more chilling. Undoubtedly, the burning alive of passengers in the Sabarmati Express was horrific and gruesome crime, but that it may unleash such barbaric retaliation has left India collectively shamed.

The intent of the Hindutva leadership has been, apparently, to instill amongst the nation's Hindus a sense of dignity and pride, and to awaken the nation to the despotism of Islamic fundamentalism. Then Godhra happened. What occurred in the aftermath of the slaughter has undoubtedly shifted the focus to more fundamental questions. What truly is the essence of India and Indians? What are the duties of the state towards its people? What has been and what should be the role of organized religion in India? What is the secular agenda and why is it so fragile and vulnerable?

These are perhaps just some of the questions that need to be asked if we are to assess this catastrophe in sociological terms. What has emerged quite unmistakably is that there exist elements amongst both Muslims and Hindus who are seeped in feelings of sectarian hatred. Their anger is uncontrollable and manifests itself in indescribable acts of reckless and brutal violence. A spirit of vengeance shrouds their collective wisdom and dormant humanity. Shockingly, such elements enjoy the tacit patronage of the political clout, who feed off them to survive in a turbulent politico-social climate.

The credibility of the entire Hindutva movement is at a particular low; unless their leadership calls for serious introspection and recognizable rectification of past errors, it is very much likely that they would arouse only greater distrust and disdain in the Indians' hearts. At the same time, those who pander to Islamic extremism and approach secularism in a distorted way must also engage in some re-evaluation. The politics of opportunism especially needs challenging. Those who attempt to extract votes - majority or minority - at the cost of principle or national interest all need to evaluate their own role in stoking the communal cauldron.

Our greatest homage to those that died in the tragedies of Godhra would be to truly build an India where there is genuine respect and camaraderie between social communities. Let us take the nation to a new and more equitable secular milieu. Let us not at any level compromise with the evils of organized religion. We have for too long divided ourselves along lines of faith, and have been alarmingly shackled to primitive ideologies. Let us create new political organizations, or at least sanitize the existing ones of divisive thoughts. Indian secularism needs to be invigorated; all sectarian and psuedo-revivalist tendencies need to be quashed. We must get back to our most essential task - that of preserving our delicately forged unity.

The Gujarat crisis has at least illuminated some of the problems of India's fragmented opinion in relation to communal antagonism. In its Indian avatar, secularism is far from being the panacea that many of us believe it to be. It is profoundly misinterpreted as a concept, and heavily tainted in practice. Our religious bigotry remains as real a threat to society today as it was in 2002, in 1992, or even in 1947. That is an inescapable conclusion imposed upon us by the Gujarat crisis.

The question India needs to ask herself today is this. Will justice, if it ever comes, help to heal the emotional and economic wounds? Unfortunately, I have asked this question repeatedly over the last seven years, and each time the answer was lost in silence, and the silence was deafening.

* Names changed to protect privacy

Feb 25, 2009

Divided We Stand

How many people does it take to show us the kind of fractured society we live in? How many rogues does it take to make us realise how inept our civilian system is? How many bigots does it take to let us know that we live in a country full of insensitivity where people are not even ready for dialogue? Violence is, in most cases, the language that speaks loudest and is heard best. Intolerance is becoming more and more inherent in our psyche, in a nation that prides itself in being one of the most celebrated democracies in the world.

Our Constitution bestows upon everyone an irrevocable right to freely express themselves. Our press has great freedom and is totally independent of the government or political forces. With such freedom and fairness having been provided to us, why does the need of resorting to violence to get oneself heard arise? The country today is full of pseudo 'patriots' and pseudo 'custodians of culture' who have a megalomaniac and twisted idea that they represent a larger section of people, and an iota of an incident or issue is enough for them to create mayhem and cause destruction in the country. In fact, this is the shortest and most effective way to ensure their fifteen minutes of fame. What with the sensational media being always present in the wrong place at the wrong time to ensure widespread coverage, they become the talk of the town (actually, nation) for a billion-plus people and overshadow a billion-plus 'real' problems, if only for a few days. This grants them far more than the fifteen minutes of fame they initially aspired for. Surprisingly, or rather not-so-surprisingly, the police is never equipped to handle such criminals. Political might leaps at every such opportunity and laps it up, culminating in another of those now-weary catfights between the ruling party and the opposition. Hitherto unheard of fringe parties jump to cash in on the incident by supporting whoever they feel is the sturdiest ladder for them to reach the coveted PM's chair. As for the common citizen, whoever cared for him/her in the first place?

It more often than not seems as if there are two completely different yet parallel worlds existing in India. One, made of and by progressive people who are receptive to new ideas which may be different from their own, and want to truly see India as a real superpower. The other, home to regressive and obstinate people who make sure that India recedes to the dark ages they live in, and remains stagnant there. In the rapidly widening chasm between these two sections, it is the nation that suffers the most. India has always been identified with the phrase 'Unity in Diversity'. I wonder today if it will hold true for long.

Democracy, by its very nature, is given to recalcitrance. India, once described as a 'functioning anarchy', is naturally prone to sharply conflicting pulls and pushes, not least on account of its sheer size and diversity. Suddenly, uniformity and nationalism have become co-terminous and the country is gasping amidst socio-ethnic shackles. 62 years into independence, India is confronted by a series of schisms that indicate a dangerous emotional polarisation along social, regional and religious lines. This is tempered with a gross popular apathy to the major issues staring us in the face. The country seems to simply not agree on her fundamentals.

The prevailing despondency can be directly linked to the emotional upheaval India is facing, more so in the light of the grim economic mood. Additionally, an aura of restlessness and bubbling frustration simmers in our heart, fuelled by divisive politics and ridiculous claims to ownership of India. We have witnessed Maharashtra v/s Rest of India. We have witnessed attacks on faith and assault on sentiments in Orissa and Karnataka. Then there was Godhra which is left to bleed incessantly. Kashmir for its Pandits stands as a gaping wound in need for redressal and amenity. These epidemics are rapidly proliferating to engulf more of India within their filthy folds. Political parties hope to translate such sentiments into votes, all at the cost of our fundamental human right to peace and happiness.

The absence of a total correlation between issues and voting actually serves as a safety valve. In the past few months, communalism and Pakistan-sponsored terrorism have grabbed the national headlines. On these issues there is a definite Hindu-Muslim rift. These are worrying signs that point to the emotional gulf between the majority community and the most significant minority. Nor is this rift a persisting relic. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the youth seems to be more aware and belligerent than the elders. This raw, untapped energy is yet to find focus. A positive outlet may take India to new heights; in the wrong hands, it could plunge the country into civil strife. A divided India can swing either way.

Feb 24, 2009

Scarlet Tears

Ahmedabad, 2007. In a tiny room where much of the space has been gobbled up by a bed and a steel almirah, Shaheen* sits on the floor, reminiscing about the massacre of seven years ago, and the one instant in which her life changed forever. "A bullet killed my husband," she says, dabbing at her eyes with a torn dupatta. "We don't know if the police fired at him or if it was the mob. The mob had all kinds of weapons, and the atmosphere was such that we didn't know who was doing what."

For the Gujarat government, Shaheen's husband is just another statistical number that adds up to a seemingly understated figure of over 1000 people massacred in the riots of 2002, a majority of them Muslims. In her Faisal Park home in Ahmedabad, where riot victims have been temporarily rehabilitated by NGOs, his death is an immeasurable and palpable loss, and grief is a shadow persistently knocking at her door.

Shaheen was a resident of Naroda, where over 80 people were killed in a horrific carnage during the 2002 riots. Her own house was looted and burnt. With her children, she sought refuge in a relief camp and eventually moved to her current home. Trying to pick up the threads of an earlier life, she sent her children to a school nearby. But her daughter was too distraught to study. Her son left Gujarat to study and vows never to come back. The scars on their young minds are too deep to ever heal.

Seven years have passed after the riots. Seven years in which saplings have blossomed into trees and blueprints stand tall as buildings. But time has stopped for many like Shaheen and her children, for whom a monstrous yesterday has become an inextricable part of their today and tomorrow. Their dreams and hopes have been altered in unlikely and distressing ways. Children and adolescents, many of whom suffered or witnessed atrocities during the riots, continue to live in an environment of insecurity and fear. What's more, this environment is subtly nurtured by the Gujarat government, whose complicity in and apathy towards the communal carnage is an established fact.

Most of the riot victims live in poverty, and while deprivation is visible, their pain and sorrows seem to have had a more intangible but real impact on their mental health. Mental disorders are now manifesting themselves through a host of symptoms - irritability, sadness, fear, sleep disturbances, difficulties in concentrating, feelings of guilt in survivors, among others. Several children had become rebellious, disobeying rules and laws and generally looking for reasons to vent their insecurity, anger and guilt. An adolescent who was recovering at a local hospital uttered his first words, "When I get back on my feet, I'll kill the people who have done this to me." Many girls and women who had been sexually assaulted did not want to go back to their homes where they had been manhandled by rioters.

All these are normal reactions to an abnormal situation. There is anger, there is psychological distress. Some feel guilty at having survived but not having been able to save others in the family. Memories occur even though they don't want to think about them. One common thought is that victims feel the quality of their life outside their own community is low. This is a stark indicator of the policy of exclusion of Muslims that has become an unwritten credo for many in the Gujarati society. It is something that Muslim children, denied admission in several schools on account of their religion, cannot escape. Frighteningly, such polarisation may lead to strengthening of stereotypes about the other - the Hindu counterpart. When children will talk about how someone from their community had been killed by a person from the other community, it will strengthen their own feelings of hatred.

Communal harmony is essential to improving the current situation. One effective way is to celebrate festivals together. For instance, a popular slogan that says, "Diwali mein 'Ali' aur Ramzan mein 'Ram'" can bridge the chasm. We need to build on these things. Yet, in a Gujarat where even basic health facilities are not available in areas which riot victims have moved to, mental health remains a blurry line in the horizon. Meanwhile, edged out by a majority of the society for reasons that they cannot even comprehend, many of the victims of the Godhra massacre continue to live in insecurity and fear.

* Names changed to protect privacy

Edited to add:
I changed the title to something more hard-hitting.

Feb 19, 2009

Public Display of Violence

This post has been removed on account of copyright infringement. I extend my sincerest apologies to the original author for trying to pass off their words as my own.

Commenting now on...

Didn't know how to reach out to everyone, esp. Indyeah who brought this to my notice. So I thought I'll write a post.

I've tweaked my comment settings and now everyone (including anonymous users) can write their comments on my posts.

Kindly refrain from posting what you wouldn't want to see written on your own blog! ;)

Trolls and spammers are not allowed.


Feb 18, 2009

The Terror Within

The mechanism of terror in the world today encompasses various kinds of terrorism, and religious terrorism is a major part today. The purpose of terrorism is not war but to cripple a society with fear. It is more a shock value, and because it has grown due to availability of material, it has had quite an impact. The revolutionaries and the resistant forces have all been educated people. But if they become terrorists, then a person who contributes to the society is actually destroing it.

There seems to be so much anger that people are willing to take lives for whatever cause they believe in. It is imperative that the government and the leaderships in the world look at the cause of why people are so angry today. For every creature on this planet, its own life is always precious, and it does its best to save itself. It is no different for a human. But to be willing to die for something means that 'something' has become very important, especially when so many people are going in the same direction. We need to address the fundamental issues behind such a decision, treat the root cause and not merely the symptoms. The level of terrorism in the world has grown because we are blatantly trying to eliminate terrorists, not terror. Today we live with the grim reality that a terrorist event will happen on the planet every now and then.

People who are in it do not believe they are terrorists. It is just a term that they feel someone is using for them. Many of them think they are freedom fighters, revolutionaries and some think they are God’s own children. Moreover, when a particular nation becomes very powerful, there is always a possibility of exploitation and domination, which outweighs the possibility of changing the world for the good. The reality of the world today is such that those who are powerful and in control do not wish to share. The economic reality staring us in the face is that 5% of the world’s population owns 90% of the world’s wealth. What's more, they sit on it so nobody can lay their hands upon that.

When this is the reality, there will be terrorism. When such a disparity exists, there is bound to be anger culminating in violence. Anger finds expression in many ways; terrorism is one of them. It breeds in our minds, not beyond the border. Riots are organized by political parties. We should not fool ourselves on this ground. The politics of hatred is often artificially flavoured with a coating of religion or patriotism. Gujarat may build good roads, but it makes no effort to build confidence amongst its Muslim bretheren. The public must not support someone who has been accused of instigating a communal carnage even though he brought industries to the state.

Why, at every bomb blast or every hostage crisis, are the Muslims of this nation expected to go out of their way to prove it was not them, and that they condemn it as much as the others in India do? Why, when Hindus know how they treat their lower castes, do they blame them for converting to Christianity? And why do we need a Hindu leadership; can we not do with an Indian leadership any more? Why is there a furore on the word 'Hindu terror', but none on 'Islamic jihad' or 'Christian proselytism'? Biases can not be the basics of judgment or of leadership. And definitely not of representation. And, for goodness' sake, can we please give it a rest to the 'spirit' of Mumbai or India? We need to rise above these self-consolatory terms and look at real hard action.

Terrorism is inhuman; it is not religious. I repeat, it is not religious. It is no solution, and neither is an unplanned counter-attack, because an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind and one must stop at some point. Terrorism in no answer for any problem, and a terrorist attack is not going to make anybody understand their demand. Terrorism is another expression of the perverted values within the human spirit - just like corruption, exploitation, embezzlement, molestation, domestic violence and many other forms of brutal repression and oppression that take place everyday on a large scale in the world. But because of its intensive, explicit, open and blatant aggressiveness, terrorist attacks make a deeper impact on the human psyche and generate strong reactions.

It doesn’t take a lot of money and resources to address the world's problems; it just takes the will. If we do nothing but kill our people and those of other countries, a vision is lacking. Instead, if we try to turn their hearts around, work on their anger and move them towards a more sensible way of looking at life, things may be different. The terrorists outside are shadows of the wronged and violated human spirit. They are misguided youths who carry out the wicked intentions of a few power-hunger leaders. Chopping off one hand makes a million others come up. Shooting them down is not the answer either.

The efforts made so far to fight terrorism are akin to chopping the branches of a tree, which in turn becomes even more prolific. The rot goes much deeper. Violence begets violence. Today, our thoughts, feelings, words and actions are full of violence. There is psychic violence, verbal violence, physical violence, emotional violence and psychological violence. There is violence not just against humans, but directed towards nature and animals as well.

Much of the blame in this regard should be laid at the door steps of the political class. For them what is important is to remain in power, never mind what that costs. The ruling party will blame the opposition, the latter the former. The ubiquitous 'foreign hand' will also be touted. The central government will criticize the state government if the ruling party there is not its own. But no one asks who will bring back the dead, and no one volunteers an answer. The fact is, the political leadership talks numbers even over the number of dead bodies, thereby conveniently side-stepping the real issue. When you mix politics with religion, it is a heady cocktail, but a very highly volatile and inflammable mixture. When all your actions are conceived in vote banks, you cannot rise above sectarian politics. Every political party has failed the nation - miserably and many times over. Let us admit that.

It is time to free ourselves from this self-propagated hostage situation and eliminate the terrorists within us so we can contribute to the creation of a peaceful world. We need to have a harmonious community with religion taking the backseat. Religion should be practiced within the four walls of the house. When one is out, one is a human first, and then an Indian. Nothing less, nothing more. Let us channelise our collective anger wisely to neutralise the civic terrorists who prey on our fears, prejudices and insecurities. To be truly safe and secure we must first vanquish the terror within.

They came for the Communists, and I didn't object -
For I wasn't a Communist;
They came for the Socialists, and I didn't object -
For I wasn't a Socialist;
They came for the Jews, and I didn't object -
For I wasn't a Jew;
Then they came for me -
And there was no one left to object.

Feb 17, 2009

My India. Your India. Their India.

"Is it a crime to talk about religion? Is it a crime to infuse patriotism in young minds?"

This is how Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa snubbed those who felt outraged at the recent Mangalore shame. More than anything else, this statement comes from a CM to justify violence and brutality, as also violation of women's modesty, beind a veil of 'religion' and 'patriotism'. It is not even funny how personal facets as lifestyle or clothing or forms of entertainment are linked to other personal facets as religion and patriotism, with the resulting mix being fed to the population at large. This absolutely left me, and I'm sure many others, seething. So, I thought, why not enlighten people such as our Mr. CM on what religion and nationalism really mean.

Religion, first. A religion is usually a set of stories, symbols, beliefs and practices. It more often than not encompasses a supernatural quality. It gives meaning to a practitioner's experiences of life through reference to an ultimate power or reality. It may be expressed through prayer, ritual, meditation, music, art, among other things. It also yields a set of religious laws and ethics to define a particular lifestyle. In most modern contexts, it refers to both personal practices related to communal faith as well as to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction. When more or less distinct patterns of behaviour are built around experiential and emotive facets, this structure constitutes religion in its historically recognizable form. It also is the organization of life around experience — varied in form and completeness in accordance with the individual to whom it pertains.

Now, patriotism. Patriotism is commonly defined as love of and/or devotion to one's country. However, patriotism has had different meanings over time, and its meaning is highly dependent upon context, geography and philosophy. Although it is used in certain vernaculars as a synonym for nationalism, nationalism (the ideology that only one particular 'resident' group holds national status, while the rest are seen as 'outsiders') is not considered an inherent part of patriotism. Neither is jingoism. Most notions of contemporary patriotism reject nationalism in favour of a more classic version which accepts diversity and includes social responsibility. Patriotism, though implied as such, may not always be seen as virtuous. Sometimes, minorities may reject a particular facet of patriotic loyalty and pride. They may feel excluded from the political community, and see no reason to be proud of it.

Sadly, these definitions hold their worth only in the books, literally and figuratively. There is a gaping chasm between what a religion wants to convey and what is being interpreted out of the religion. It has always been a mix of patriotism, politics and religion which has been responsible for the killing of people everywhere in the world. But one can say with certainty that religion plays a main role in the start of various conflicts. Extreme right-wing politicos in India have been for years trying to make religion the sine-qua-non of patriotism. The flaw here is that they take only the majority religion into account, and view followers of other faiths as 'outsiders'. Therefore, according to them, all true Indian patriots must also, necessarily, be true Hindus. And suddenly, a temple at a famously disputed site becomes the be all and end all of what defines patriotism in India.

The streets of a neighborhood are a truer symbol of nationhood than a place of worship. The former are used by all and paid for by the contributions of all. Yet, they remain filthy and neglected, while people pool money to build places of worship which already abound. Why is it that the demolition of a temple or a mosque or a church causes such a furore, leading to disruption of normal life and resulting in mass genocide? Why, like the plight of Kashmiri Pandits, does the Godhra carnage not tug at heartstrings to attract national sympathy? Why must the murder of a Hindu saint be avenged by raping and killing Christian nuns who had nothing to do with it? Why do we think that the only solution to curb terror attacks in India is to go to war with Pakistan? Why should weaponry and military arsenal, and not economic or social development, be as a test of a nation's strength? These questions exemplify the fact that when a fictitious patriotism is flaunted, perpetrators of intolerance are glorified and the opinion of liberals and intellectuals ridiculed.

Why all the hullabaloo, one may ask. After all, how can religion and patriotism be used interchangeably? Every social group has its own notions of loyalty. The institution of family embeds loyalty to the family as a social group. Caste associations emphasize the benefits which come from an active participation and cooperation between different members of the same caste. Tribal groups too emphasize similar benefits from collaboration. But the notion of patriotism is different from such forms of group loyalty. The difference lies in its close affinity with the state. Patriotism is not based upon kinship or of shared descent; it is based upon the idea of a nation and its central institution, the state.

Modern India is based upon the idea that all its citizens are equal, and that its government must represent the will of not just a few, but all of the different social groups that make up this country. India today is based upon different foundations than most of those which went before it. Its legitimacy, therefore, lies in its being able to equitably satisfy all its various component communities and safeguard their interests. Irrespective of an individual's religion, caste, community, sex, the state must to represent each and every of them. The modern nation has its appeal because of its being able to mediate between and reconcile often conflicting interests. The state is considered legitimate only when it speaks with the same voice to all.

The universalistic modern state is what the most powerful countries of the world have, and should ideally have. It is through this social form that resources are used most efficiently and the diverse forces of a country are focussed on the benefit of everybody. Patriotism in a modern country cannot be created on the basis of ideas that appeal to only partisan groups or some sections of society. The naked use of force to coerce acceptance of the nation is not a characteristic of a society based on reason and democracy.

Like William Hearst once said, I too reiterate this: "A politician will do anything to keep his job - even become a patriot."

Et tu, Mr. CM?

Feb 16, 2009

Why We Hate

"We hate some persons because we do not know them; and we will not know them because we hate them."
- Charles Caleb Colton

It can be safely said that the greatest atrocities in our history are products of misinformation coupled with misunderstanding. Our ignorance has been the greatest benefactor of our greatest crimes; our greatest errors in truth have found their origin in generalization. Consistently throughout history, it can be seen that the tendency of the human mind to put people into groups has aided in some of the greatest terrors of our entire race, the most prominent and ghastly being the Jews' Holocaust, and the more recent Taliban regime.

The recent spate of hate crime in India and all around the world has done more than threaten the safety and welfare of citizens. It has inflicted on its victims incalculable physical and emotional damage. But more than that, it has clawed at the very fabric of free society. Crimes motivated by invidious hatred towards particular people or groups not only harm individual victims but also send a powerful message of intolerance and discrimination to all members of the group the victim belongs to. Hate crimes can and do intimidate and disrupt the societal order and vitiate civility, both of which are essential to healthy democracy.

This brings us to a couple of basic questions. What is hatred? And why do we hate? Hatred or hate is a word that describes intense feelings of intense dislike. It can be used in a wide variety of contexts, from hatred of inanimate objects to hatred of other people or groups of people. Hate for individual(s) is intended to degrade or intimidate, or to incite violence or prejudicial action based on factors such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, language ability, ideology, social class, occupation, appearance, mental capacity, and any other distinction that might be construed by some as a liability, or as different to oneself.

Philosophers have offered many influential definitions of hatred. Rene Descartes viewed hate as an awareness that something is bad, combined with an urge to withdraw from it. Baruch Spinoza defined hate as a type of pain that is due to an external cause. Aristotle described hate as a desire for the annihilation of an object that is incurable by time. Finally, David Hume believed that hate is an irreducible feeling that is not definable at all.

In psychology, Sigmund Freud defines hate as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness. In a more contemporary definition, the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines hate as a "deep, enduring, intense emotion expressing animosity, anger, and hostility towards a person, group, or object" Because hatred is believed to be long-lasting, many psychologists consider it to be more of an attitude or disposition than a temporary emotional state.

Social theories such as 'egalitarianism' claim that social equality should prevail. In some societies, including most developed countries, each individual's civil rights also include the right to be free from government-sponsored social discrimination. Additionally, the concept of 'liberalism' emphasises individual rights and equality of opportunity. The theories may seem different on a superficial level, but they essentially are united by their support for constitutional liberalism, which encompasses freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, an individual's right to private property, a transparent system of government. Adherents of these ideologies support some variant of a liberal democracy, with open and fair elections, and where all citizens have equal rights by law.

In a realistic democratic society, citizens are not expected to approve of the beliefs and practices of others, but must never disrupt normalcy on account of them. Laws must include recognition of the gravity of crime and the compelling importance of preventing their recurrence. Additionally, any form of hate crime must be prosecuted and punished with appropriate severity. Intolerance, without thought, of lifestyles or identities differing from one's own, can find no place in a society which believes in and abides by democratic principles. Any individual or group of individuals obstinately devoted to prejudices, especially when these views are either challenged or proven to be false or not universally applicable or acceptable, must be construed as a perpetrator of hate crime.

To those who'd read this blog, I say this. Before you strike hatred, be sure that your enemy is worthy of your hate. For it is near impossible to hate what we can even vaguely understand, and of those who we despise, we haven’t the faintest clue.