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Paul Vadakumpadan, Guwahati says,
360° VIEW
Guwahati, May. 16. We speak of enemies like we speak of friends. That is to say, we need friends; so we need also enemies.

Some even consider it as part of the education of their children that they should be taught who their enemies are. At times even little children look at people belonging to a culture, religion, ethnic group, country, social status or economic condition different from their own as their enemies. This is seen as sign of growing maturity. How atrocious!

Often it is the other who is perceived as  enemy. Anyone different from me and from my own is inimical to me. Difference becomes the criterion for judging enmity. By the same token, similarity is the criterion for judging friendship.  However, experience shows `a man`s enemies are those of his own household.`` Who killed Socrates? It was not a  Russian missile that killed Kennedy, but a bullet fired by a fellow American. Mahatma Gandhi was killed by a fellow Indian Hindu, not by a Muslim or a Pakistani. The great Israeli leader Rabin was killed by a fellow  Jew, not by an enemy Arab. Those who asked Pontius Pilate, a foreigner to sentence Lord Jesus to death were his own fellowmen, not enemy foreigners.

Who are responsible for wife battering, bride burning, witch hunting? One`s own. Who are responsible for the problems that the common man in India faces? Answer: Indians.

Dominique Lapierre in his book, It was Five past Midnight in Bhopal, summarises the daily sufferings of the poor in the words of an old man from Orya Bustee, ``You keep your head down, you wear yourself to a frazzle, you put up with everything, you bottle up your bitterness against the factory that`s poisoning your well, the money-lender who`s bleeding you dry, the speculators who are pushing up the price of rice, the neighbours` kids who stop you from sleeping by spewing up their lungs all night, the political parties that suck up to you and do damn all, the bosses that refuse you work, the astrologer who asks you for a hundred rupees to tell you whether your daughter can get married. You put up with the mud, the shit, the stench, the heat, the mosquitoes, the rats and the hunger`` (p. 226). All this is caused not by our so-called enemies, the Pakistanis or the Chinese, not even by the cross-border terrorist in Kashmir, for whom the line of control is a kind of net in a tennis court. It`s all caused primarily by fellow Indians, in most cases by one`s fellowmen in the locality.

The other is not necessarily an enemy. There need not be enemies at all. We can begin by being friends to others, never enemies. When the world is full of such friends, it is called God`s Kingdom. May that kingdom come soon.


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