Response to Charter of Compassion-call for Charter fo Justice

November 3, 2009 at 11:13 am 3 comments

Swamiji Pranam,
I am not very sure if I will go all along with the Charter of Compassion. I tried to extend this fine sentiment objectively. Found the world divided into oppressors, the oppressed-the perpetrators and the victims. By and large it is so. There are some who are fence sitting-neither this nor that-nor here and there. Now when I am compassionate to who should this be extended? To all-or to the oppressed and the victims only. The question at the outset is why only to the oppressed and the victims because they suffer, because they have been wrounght injustice because they have been denied their rights. This will be the natural throb of the heart full of compassion. But how will this compassion work for them? How will I operate this compassion? Extend a good word, stand by them, pacify them with tokenisms? This in action will mean a good deed. But will that alleviate their injustice, how long and how many times can I do this? If it is not going to alleviate the injustice then what good will it do in the long run? To me it will quieten my conscience. I will feel good without much to lose. I will retain what I have but unload what I can discard easily and without feeling the loss.
What is compassion? Is it pity, sympathy, empathy and or all these three amalgamated? I am a bit confused because today there is so much suffering because of Injustices and unless this compassion is the first step to set the wrong right-to fight and to weed out corruption it is going to camouflage the righteous anger and will not put the right side up. Should we then not have compassion of the wrongly directed youth? Should we not have compassion of the wrongly guided Naxals and Maoists who because of penury are forced to take up arms? Where do you draw the line to extend this compassion? I am afraid it is a movement which will quieten our consciences, whitewash the wrongs, the greed, the avarice, and the injustices and make us feel content with being compassionate. To me no virtue can be valid without the basis of justice. If compassion can trigger action to justice then yes. But normally compassion is more passive, is an equalizer without leveling the hills and filling the valleys. Compassion is associated with the heart not with the head! Will there be scope for a revolution if all are filled with compassion? If I point a gun at my perpetrator but my heart is flowing with compassion will I shoot? So compassion seems to nullify the action. Only one speaker brought in justice and it is a woman. Let us for a moment look at the scenario that unfolds-Right from the top to the bottom it has been a free for all-swindle, plunder the people, deprive them and throw them a few crumbs. When it comes to party politics then poach, create unrest, leave no stone unturned to pull the chair from under you. In natural disasters like flood there is corruption, if it is drought there is corruption, in the suffering of the people, in their tears and agony, in their unsettled lives, in their hunger and starvation there is corruption. Where does compassion come-shall I look at the hunger and the starved and the deprived and feel my heart overflowing with pity for them-with compassion for their plight. I shall go to the temple/church and pray for them, I shall give up one meal a day; I shall join a group of protestors and increase the volume of their one day shouting? Where does compassion end and justice begin? Hope compassion is not going to be the new drug to put us to sleep, to make us lethargic. This is not to belittle compassion but compassion is more a patronizing word. Will it stir up my conscience? It is not an action loaded word/deed. It does not bring into the picture the rights and the wrongs-the duties and the obligations. When does empowerment begin? Does compassion encompass empowerment?
Compassion according to the Oxford dictionary means-a sympathetic, pitying-inclining one to be helpful, or merciful. These are all pacifying words and sentiments. Justice is more powerful and that’s what we want-a charter of Justice.
Hilda Raja

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Bias Media/vested interest Chidambaram at it again-

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. NellaLou  |  November 9, 2009 at 7:11 am

    I agree with the sentiments you express here. Well thought out and well said. Justice may be a form of compassion in action. But making token statements does not do much but inflate the egos of people who make them.

    • 2. Dr Mrs Hilda Raja  |  November 15, 2009 at 8:45 am

      thank you-can justice be compasion in action?I must cud chew on that.If compassion comes into the picture of justice I am afraid justice may not be justice at all at times.If a man/woman is comdemned to death will there be compassion?If so then what will the death sentence be commuted?I am taking a rather extreme example.What will be the compassion shown to a man who killed his own child and wife?A do not disagree to the fact that there should be compassion but that cannot be a substitute for justice.So the crores and crores of rupees hoarded by the political class-what justice is there -they throw a few crumbs-or buy the votes or start a hospital-these on the basis of compassion.All the social work done by the rich-are based on compassion.If there is justice will there be so much of hunger-such abject poverty such harsh realities-such vuglar display of wealth,such corruption?These are bothering me.Thank you for your comment it set me thinking.

  • 3. Sita  |  November 23, 2009 at 8:42 am

    A very profound article,also.It highlights the interdependence between compassion/Kindness , justice and equality.
    When my two children are fighting amongst themselves,I find one as the agressor and the other the victim.The problem will arise only if I treat both the same way,not if I treat them equally.[Equal does not mean same.]while both need kindness.
    To the victim ,we can show compassion,but must also teach how to take things in their stride and not think that every thing can be compensated for. They have to learn to move on or we will perpetuate their victimhood and make them dependent.{which is not healthy].
    To the aggressor,we need to be kind but also firm.We have to teach them the wrongness of their behaviour.{BTW, all aggressors will have the feeling of persecution[real or imaginary ] which prompted them to fight in the first place.} We should also need to teach them the alternative to such behaviour,that is acceptable.This is at the individual,growing level.
    Many of it will not be possible at Mass level.I feel we should not excuse the maoists saying that poverty and other injustice led to their violence.All this applies only to the ignorant or first time offenders .Above all we must remember Thiruvalluvar ,when he says that we must consider the crime and the Personality/psychology of the criminal and punish him and the crime accordingly.
    As you say this compassion is not for all situations and everyone.Even the Conspirator of Rajiv Gandhi’s Assassination asks for release on compassionate grounds.But why can’t these people who claim compassion as their Human Right think of the Human Right to live of their victims whom they killed.? Rajiv Gandhi was not the only one who died at Sri Perumbudur that day,but 67 others who were even more law-abiding than him.Why don’t the claimants for Compassion to Afzal Guru consider the Lack of compassion to those whom he helped Kill in the Parliament Attack.?


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