Indifference, defined by the dictionary as lack of interest, concern or sympathy. It also sounds like an awfully terrible thing to do – the kind of action we think we would walk away from, and never deem to be committed of doing! Or so we think…
Do you remember reading/watching Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen in your childhood? A story of how a boy, named Kai gets a splinter of the troll-mirror that makes him indifferent and cold in his heart. I am reminded of this quote from the same story: “Indifference… is the strongest force in the universe. It makes everything it touches meaningless. Love and hate don’t stand a chance against it. It lets neglect and decay and monstrous injustice go unchecked. It doesn’t act, it allows. And that’s what gives it so much power.”
We are not indifferent, you may say – as we go about living our own lives and doing our own things. How many of us shrug off that friendly note from a friend/family because we just don’t have the time to respond to it – or better, we don’t want to engage! And so we ignore it, hoping to respond to it another time, and that time never comes. That’s indifference, at a small level.
Then there are days when we see injustice being met out – whether it’s a family feud, or two friends separated because of some misunderstanding, or worse, someone’s rights being trampled upon. We cannot stop them (because it is none of our business, you say), we cannot say anything to the person being unjust (because they are directly related to us, or that they know best, why should we interfere, whispers your inner critic), instead we just continue to live our lives as if nothing went wrong. That’s another kind of indifference. In such cases, especially – remaining silent is supporting oppression.
Come to the world affairs, and we hear/see/read of injustice in countries, our own country, our own people being killed in the name of war, religion, ethnicity and yet we go on, doing our own business, as usual. That’s indifference of a higher level altogether that allows ‘monstrous injustice’ to go unchecked, yet again. By not raising a voice to support the oppressed, we are sadly, being party to the oppressor.
I was watching the movie Frozen yesterday with my boys and the little troll grandpa, in the movie gave some sound advice. “The heart is not so easily changed, but the head can be persuaded.”
And so I hope that we can all persuade our better senses to prevail, avoid indifference at all cost. It’s the small family units that add up to and affect the larger world we live in. Because as the movie reminds us, only an act of true love will thaw a frozen heart. Even the little girl Gerda rescued the cold-hearted Kai with an act of sincere love.
I know with painful certainty that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. No matter how busy and crazy our schedules are, we must reach out and learn to see the sorrow behind someone’s smile, give people a second chance, maybe a third too. Learn to be fair, to the best of our abilities, hopefully our collective efforts in our own small units will snowball into a giant crusade against indifference of the world! I am all game! Are you?
“The reality of the other person lies not in what he reveals to you, but what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says, but rather to what he does not say.” – Khalil Jibran
Facebook users must have seen their timelines full of the facebook flashback videos – I did too, except that I did not post mine. I figured it was more for myself than for anybody else (and I loved it).
And then it got me thinking – Gosh, this was last 6 years flashing before my eyes. I sincerely hope that when my entire life will be flashed before me, in the presence of the One, I really hope its a life worth watching! I believe in the Day of Judgement, as part of my religious beliefs, I also look forward to meeting my Allah, as promised. I just hope it is a meeting worth this life of patience, gratitude and a meeting where we receive His Mercy. I have no qualms in saying this – we have all been naughty at some point in our lives, this is all part of being a human, prone to error. I just hope, that in our ideas of fun and self-service, we have not hurt any other human being in this process. From what I know, God’s mercy is limited to His dues only, if we hurt another human being – thats between us and them!
I sincerely hope, that just before we end our lives in this world, we have all had the opportunity to repent, to make amends, to do more good, give more in charity, to tell everyone we care about that they are loved, and to tell Allah one more time how grateful we are for being blessed with a sound mind and body. It is just not worth being unkind to another human being – because when my life will flash before my eyes, I do not want to be known as someone responsible for bringing sadness in anybody’s life. And if all of us start thinking along these lines – wont this be a happier place to live in?
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
“I don’t feel very much like Pooh today,” said Pooh.
“There there,” said Piglet. “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”