I was in another country for a week, visiting some Medical professionals and students. I am putting down some random observations from this country, which has been a learning experience for me.
The city where I stayed most of the time, has the highest population density in the world. In the midst of the mostly crowded roads and rows of old buildings, and dirt and waste products lying all around (like any other city, in this region of the world including our own,) one would see large, new buildings heavily guarded and protected. These stood out in stark contrast from other buildings around, both in terms of their architecture, size, walls of protections around, security and other aspects of appearance. These were specially set up as 100% export factories, where garments and other consumables are being produced to be exported to the developed nations in the northern continent. As one drove through these roads, you would find, early in the morning, ordinary looking people, (Aam Aadmi) in large numbers waiting to enter inside for their daily work. A picture of how business men of this country, which is still a developing nation, have set up systems to cater to the need of the businesses of developed nations. Or in another sense, using (or manipulating?) the “basic needs of survival” of the people in the developing nation for fulfilling the greater wants (or greed?) of the people in the developed nations. A picture of how world economy works today. Ride on the needs of the weaker and fulfil the greed of the stronger!
As one drove into the semi urban areas around, this was much more stark and evident. Villages have been taken over and completely converted into fortresses of large production centres, protected by heavily armed guards. Daily wage workers were waiting in large numbers for the gates to open for their daily work. Brought in open trucks and vehicles from villages miles away, since the areas around have been taken over for such “special zones of development”. The poor and the weak displaced to the peripheries and then brought back in, to help in manufacturing and producing, and earning a daily income. This displacement done for their good, as it was probably communicated, and good is being done by jobs and salary provided to them. At the same time, the revenue earned by the promoters and the other multiple stake holders in the system, is in no way comparable to what these people earn. A fast developing economy in this part of the world, with large numbers of special zones and production zones being set up over last few years. But the values which drive these directions…..? A picture of the inequity and systems in the world today.
The third day in the city was a day of rest and joining for worship along with others of the minority community in that city. As I came out of the place of worship, I found fully armed special protection forces around. I was a bit concerned and asked my host, the reason. I was told that the minorities and expatriates are under threat, there has been threatening texts coming for the leaders, asking them to give up their activities. This Nation, was though predominantly one faith, has always been peaceful. I met an expatriate worker and she shared – I have been here for 12 years, I have never felt fearful or disturbed, but not so any more, there is a feeling that things are not too okay. The common discussion around was, it is part of the global “religious polarizations” and we cannot do much. But was it all about religious polarization only? How much has the skewed development contributed to this “restlessness” and “disturbances”? How much has the structures which perpetuate injustice contribute to restlessness in the world today. Is religion the issue or a tool for other purposes?
A version of the Bible is Isaiah 32; 17 says – Fairness will produce peace and result in lasting security. Another verse says – And I will make Justice the line, righteousness the plumb line, and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter. (28; 17). For Isaiah, the religion was the problem. Religion and structures which perpetuated injustice, led to “hail and waters” that will overwhelm people and nations…?
As we look around in our own Nation, we realize that the driver of the Nation is “economy”. Anything and everything is allowed for the sake of building economy. But the drivers of economy are the few large family held and run business. The so called neo-economic power that we are, represented by our leaders, go to various smaller nations and sign agreements to “support” their economy – using the weak one’s need to fulfil the greater needs of the so called developed ( the few businesses that are in our Nation)! Or bully the weak one to get the strong ones desires! When money becomes the driving force….? Bullied once now the bullies of the emerging world. Not only economy, religion being used to bully each other. And position in the region and world being used to bully the weaker…
You cannot serve God and Mammon, the good book says. When one serves only Mammon, what happens…? Or one uses religion to bully people to serve Mammon or to serve their own wants of position, power and even “nationalism”?
And anyone who does not align is to be labelled as anti-National and intolerant…
I read somewhere recently – “Be Intolerant in your love; do not let anything come between you and your love of God; Be intolerant in your love of people, love everyone – those who agree or disagree with you, with the same love…”
How shall we then live – with an intolerant love….?