What really is the 'Opposite of Violence'

Manmeet Kaur
Posted July 20, 2016 from India

Peace is not the answer to violence, it is the consequence of its answer.

In the middle of my regular evening walk yesterday, I had the fortune of witnessing one of the most unadulterated and socially unfiltered scenes I have seen in a long long time. It was very simple: a 3 year old girl was talking to an old vendor, urging him to stop and play with her. In a moment of social amnesia, I internally rejoiced the anticipatory disregard the little one was practising by her simple actions. Only a few years from now, she will hold all kinds of inhibitions and apprehensions about the most innocent of persons, and guard herself from the otherness of others. She will learn to steer clear of swings where the boys swing and to quit playing for the day if a child of her class and family stature is not available to sport along with her. She will skip peeking through the walls of the religious places that do not chant the name of her God. Probably in a few hours from now she will be scolded for her unthoughtful actions and warned against them. A few hours from now another child will fall prey to her own years, harbouring for the first time the seeds which never should have been sown. Deep within her, an ever returning discomfort will take birth and she will forget the hearty greetings she bestowed without any scruples.

The opposite of violence is not peace, it is not love; for peace cannot be earthed without the acorn of innocence and love is always sitting on the slippery verge of selectivity. The opposite of violence is childhood. Childhood with its universal acceptance and all embracing smiles. If only we could reverse the thoughts that have been pushed down our throats right from nascent years of experience - the thoughts that warned us against those who were almost exactly like us, the thoughts which urged us to conduct our bodies in a certain way and our minds in another... if only.

The 21st century is an extremely complicated time to be alive. Caught in the vicious circles of hatred and violence, connections and cyber crimes, technology and nuclear weapons, instigation and reaction- we are losing track of what we were essentially born as- children. Continuing the legacy, in making continuous and frantic efforts towards a brainy and smart life, we are forgetting to teach our children the importance of retaining a part of themselves and recognising that part in everyone around them. The result? We are raising more samples like ourselves, being fully aware of our own unsuccessful race towards holistic enrichment. Have you ever noticed how easily a child forgets? Remember the last time you coaxed him out of the love for sharp objects and made him play with teething toys instead? Did he complain? It amazes me how much adults lie to children and despite being innocently betrayed over and over again, the little ones run back and hug the very same adults.

If only we could experience the real freedom that exists separated by long miles from the jargon of decrepit revolutions and unfulfilled political promises. If only we could understand the most valuable kind of freedom- the kind that a grown man feels when he takes a long run after years of slow walking (restricted not by health but by the sheer constriction of the human body that age brings along). That's what real freedom tastes like.

Being as accepting and as welcoming as little children is the only hope that I have for us and this world. That is the only 'opposite of violence' I can ever think of.

This story was submitted in response to The Opposite of Violence.

Comments 4

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echo demitrez
Jul 29, 2016
Jul 29, 2016

Hi, 

There are many situations where peace is the only solution. Many people get to know it, realize it later, you are the one who has realized so much so soon. Your written account is a great piece of work for all of us to read and gain from it. Especially words on childhood, I must say you have piously written about each thing & taken it to the height of perfection. 

Love * Peace!

Echo Demitrez prays for you!

Manmeet Kaur
Aug 10, 2016
Aug 10, 2016

So very kind of you Echo, I'm glad you liked it :) 

Pushpa Achanta
Aug 10, 2016
Aug 10, 2016

Dear Manmeet,

Hi. Thanks for this vital piece. While personal, community and socio-cultural identities maybe important/necessary, we must remember and remind everyone that we're humans - sadly, many are forgetting or ignoring this crucial fact!

Warmth, peace & love,

Pushpa  

Manmeet Kaur
Aug 10, 2016
Aug 10, 2016

Exactly! Difference should never mean hatred and violence! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment :)