When I first read the autobiography of Ghandi when I was in Form 4, I was moved and I was stunned. Was there really such a man who is prepared to take blows and swallow “pride”. So self sacrificial? I had to eliminate the possibility that this character is pure fiction. So I read as much as I can about the man. He is real. Since he is real, then it is possible for me to direct my behaviors and acquire mental attitudes of his – try in the face of hate to exhibit love. Must confess, I have not fully succeeded.
In the Ghandi movie, one of the scenes that will make me cry even to this day is this: - Ghandi was lying on his bed, half dead from fasting as a means to stop the rioting between the Hindus and the Muslims. A Hindu man threw a piece of bread on Ghandi’s chest and pleaded: “Eat! I have killed muslim children because the muslims have killed mine. I will burn in hell but I will not have your death on my conscience. Eat !”
Ghandi replied to the Hindu man; “I know of a way out of hell for you. Adopt a Muslim child whose parents have died in the riots of the same age as your child that died. Treat him as your own...but only make sure he grows up as a Muslim”.
Ghandi is asking the HINDU man to atone for his sins of killing muslims by adopting a MUSLIM orphan and making sure he grows up a MUSLIM. This is how love replaces hate. Hate the sin, not the sinner. This takes great internal strength. A Rapera needs to cultivate internal strength to confront evil in the world.
“O you believers! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do”. (Quran 5:8)
Undeniably, most of the Rakyat have been indoctrinated by the capitalistic-hedonistic-survival-of-the-fittest society that we live in to be tribal in our outlook. While technology may have advanced, the human is still not yet fully human – we are still cavemen living in different “furniture settings”. A Rapera tries very hard to safeguard his humanity from the onslaught of what is around him. In a sense, to be a Rapera, you have to walk it ALONE. If others follow, then they are walking with you – but expect no one but yourself to do what need be done. A Rapera has to walk his talk. A Rakyat merely talks and complaints.
“O you who believe! Why say you that which you do not do?” (Quran 61:2)
“Grievously odious is it in the sight of God that you say that which you do not”. (Quran 61:3)
If you do not walk your talk, you will be compelled to walk the path laid out for you by the evil forces. And you become part of it. You become part of the problem, not the solution. A Rapera must internalize this idea.
If a Rapera feels very strongly against racism and you feel totally helpless to “change the system”, here is something you can do alone – marry someone from another ethnic group. At least you will be a living example that it is possible to live as humans. At least your children will understand that ethnicity is a social and cultural construct. I can already visualize the common Rakyat coming out with many excuses even at this simple suggestion. A Rapera will find a way.
“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”. (Quran 49:13)
Most of the Rakyat are always concerned about numbers, about majority before they even decide to take any action. They are trapped in the mindset that only if there is a majority that thinks like them, then only they may take action. Hence they die never “contributing” because they can never find this majority as a prerequisite. History is clear that the majority always wait for things to happen before they follow the crowd. Generally speaking, following the majority in most cases in most matters merely because of the “majority factor” is “suicidal”. The “comfort zone” is a sure killer in the long run. A Rapera knows this. The Rakyat does not.
“Were you to follow the majority of those on earth, they will lead you away from the Way of God. They follow nothing but conjecture: they do nothing but lie” (Quran 6:116)
The “sad” fact is: the majority does not stop to think and reflect. They hardly make an attempt to obtain and appraise the true facts. They are existential in behavior and attitude. They simply live out the life that is laid out for them on the guess (conjecture) that that is the normal way to live. A Rapera must know this or must verify the validity of this. A Rapera know that majority per se does not make it the truth or right. A lie repeated a trillion times through the generations is still a lie.
The common Rakyat is like the sheep that can only make sense of its life if there is a shepard. They are forever waiting for the “right leader” before they want to right what they see as wrong. Of course, a leader is necessary and important but how do you know it is not you? A Rapera is not too concerned with the issue of leadership for the purposes of taking action. He does what has to be done as best as he can without waiting for a leader. It is not glory or heroism or claps that he is looking for. He merely does what need to be done.
“No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another; That man can have nothing but what he strives for; That (the fruit of) his striving will soon come in sight” (Quran 53:038-40)
“Verily, this is My way, leading straight: follow it: follow not (other) paths: they will scatter you about from His path: thus does He command you. that you may be righteous (Quran: 6:153)
A Rapera will persevere all through his life to be on the right path –the path of doing deeds of righteousness in all aspects of life. This is also known as the “power of one”.
NEXT: REGAIN YOUR DIGNITY AS A RAKYAT – BE A RAPERA. [PART 4]