Deprecation, anger and hatred – all of them are vices. Remove them from your life however, and life will become hell. It is the fear of deprecation that restraints the unprincipled, anger that protects the justice and truth, and hatred that calls out hypocrisy and deceitfulness. If there were no fear of deprecation, terror of anger and the awe of hatred, life will disintegrate and society, destroyed.
Only when we misuse these do they become vices. Through misuse, however, virtues such as mercifulness, compassion, applause and devotion also become vices. Blind mercifulness makes the recipient indolent, and blind compassion turns them into a weakling. Blind applause may bring arrogance, and blind devotion, deceit. Whatever nature does, it does for preserving life. Self-preservation is the biggest dharma of one’s life, and all our instincts and dispositions fulfil this objective.
Who does not know that the poison that kills also saves life? The difference lies in timing and state. Why does a man naturally despise malodour, litter and horrid stuff? Only because it is critical to stay away from such things for self-preservation. Those living beings whose sense of hatred is not developed reacts to harmful situations by hiding, stopping and skulking. Human beings are more evolved- their natural revulsion to harmful things helps them stay away. Fear is the primitive form of hatred, and wisdom the evolved form.
So hatred is the natural mental disposition. We have been granted this disposition for self-preservation.
If we are devoid of hatred, we may not survive for long. If we let the value of such a trait diminish, we would be doing so at our own peril. If we do not have fear, how would fearlessness manifest? By accepting and transcending hatred, we transform it into wisdom. What this means in practice is that we should not hate people, but hate their ill conduct.
Why do we hate a deceitful person? We hate him because of his deceit. If the person drops his deceit, would we still hate him? We hate a drunkard when his breath reeks of alcohol. Next day, when he is sober, we do not carry our hatred for him. We would hate a hypocritical priest when we see him exploiting the simple villagers. Tomorrow if we see him serving the same people, we may even revere him.
When we hate ill conduct, it may help reform social ills. Hypocrisy, deceitfulness, injustice, violation – the more we despise such acts, more will they be ameliorated. Mahatma Gandhi is sacrificing his life to remove untouchability, because he is repulsed by untouchability.
If hatred has such a place in life, how can literature, which is but a mirror of life, ignore it? Human heart, from time immemorial, has been a playground of su (well) and ku (ill). Literature originated so that whatever is well and beautiful and true – for that there is love; and whatever is ill and foul and untrue – for that, revulsion. This is the prime objective of literature and art. The history of literature is marked by this battle between su and ku.
Ancient literature kept on cementing hatred for opponents of religion and god, and love for reverence and devotion for their followers. Modern literature is trying to raise its voice loudly and clearly against hypocrites, oppressors and deceitful people, and against those who exploit the uneducated and unaware people for their own selfish interests.
With the same fervour, it is trying to build sympathy for poor, Dalits and the oppressed. It is possible that modern literature ascribes even vices of the oppressed to poverty and exploitation. Maybe the exploited are not as simple and meek, but the modern literature, lost in the dreams of a new world, has no time for these obstructive thoughts. Does a modern writer want to promote hatred against some individuals or communities, branding them as exploiters? No, he is not an enemy of the people, nor is he driven by contempt or envy. He is an enemy of the situations and dispositions that create such oppressors.
While he would spew venom on money lenders and mill-owners that exploit the labourers, he would also empathise with them when they are in trouble. He knows that the oppressor is himself a victim of blind selfishness and a clamour for the riches. He sympathises with the exploiter, but does not shirk from raising his voice against their exploitative practices.
It is even possible that some writer has himself been duped by a moneylender. Maybe some of them have even been destroyed in the process. If he is a true artist though, he will not take out his anger on a person. Yes, it is possible that he may sharpen his writings against usury. One critic commented against the writer of this essay, stating that he has spread hatred against Brahmins in his writings.
First of all, no Brahmin has ever inflicted any harm on me. Secondly, even if some Brahmin had usurped my house, or abused me openly, even then why would I become an enemy of all Brahmins?
Often, a person has friends and enemies belonging to all communities. Then why should one spread hatred against one particular community? It is true however, that there are people who ruthlessly pursue their selfish ends and exploit the devotees in the name of religion. Some make money even from Muslims and Dalits for conducting their death rituals. Many others practice hypocrisies and deceits of many kinds. Many of them are unfortunately called Brahmins, but they are as far from Brahminism as heaven is from hell. Any writer who wishes to see the reign of ethical conduct and harmony in the country, cannot ignore such a conduct.
It is my firm belief that out of all ills in the society, religious hypocrisy and deceit is the most despicable. Theft, hooliganism, bribery, fraud, falsehood-these vices have no relation to a specific community or a sect. It is a long shot to call someone who despises such hypocrisy in the garb of Brahminism a Brahmin-baiter. More than me, who is not a Brahmin, real Brahmins must feel hurt to witness such hypocrisy.
In my view, “Brahmin” does not refer to a community or caste, it is an illustrious title that one receives after a long period of performing service, sacrifice and good conduct. I am not willing to bring disgrace to this title by using it for any priest irrespective of his conduct. This perverted livelihood cloaked in religion is causing damage to society and to the nation. Whatever hatred we may spread against such an anti-social, un-national and inhuman disposition would be inadequate.
Remember though that this hatred is only against such practices and dispositions, and not against people. The administrators of this caste system are, after all, our own brethren.