July 30, 2013

An uncomfortable harmony

The campaign hype in our Nation is on its homestretch, and we see its glitter exploding before our eyes in the crowed space of Male and the islands and on our living rooms’ illuminated plasma screens.

Our present situation does not seem like harmony, yet we all seem to want social harmony. We tend to push our views in arrogance at the expense of what others express. No doubt, it’s not easy to accept others views when our ego gets in the way of rationality. In Maldives too, as in the globalizing world, the ego plays out a big part of our lives even though we may not be aware of it. Our political parties, the source of our divisions in our society, are fueled by the power of the ego. There is nothing of an ideology worth its salt to propel their being. Is it the protection the environment, an advocacy for small government, the push for a social idea, or ethnic space? The list could go on, but unfortunately, in our multi-party democracy, we have only wannabe presidents with their coteries forming our so called parties. Those hanging on or are enticed into their fold are those groping in the hope of big gifts either momentarily or when the winning is ensured. All the hope and excitement is about “what’s in it for ME” rather than “what’s in it for the Nation”’ no doubt the ego playing its part to the hilt and sadly we are not aware of it one bit. Each one in the party lead echelons is drooling at the prospect of the high post or comfortable berth one would get when the win in September is ensured – how can it not; they must get their “pound of flesh”. The gamble on such gain makes us forget the pristine edicts of Islam that calls for the opposite of all what our desiring minds are engaged in. How easily we are swayed by the ego and the world? How easy it is for us to jump ship from party to party, in betrayal and greed to see how we can get a piece of the action before someone else will? Alas! How do we build a nation of peace while mired in such pandemonium? Can we have the harmony we need in this chaos of selfishness?

I see two ways to have our national harmony, we can have it by promoting love and camaraderie which will give us lasting peace as propitiated by Islam, or by enforcing it - like despotic regimes do, but which will keep the smoldering embers waiting to be ignited whenever that artificial facade of calmness is removed or shattered.  And then a fulminating chaos will again be born just as it seems to be the case even at the present political stage in our lives.

The dream of democracy is harmony in diversity. For Maldives this question of diversity that is so distinguishable in character as in so many other countries does not arise. Yes, human beings will have differing mental images of what the world they seek to be. But these are not so ideologically or socially diverse to deserve a mass calling. Yet we have chosen to divide ourselves just because someone said that democracy is implementable only through a party process, not hesitating for one moment to weigh the pros and cons of an alien approach as it would apply to our homogeneous small nation. The result is out there to see, and to put Humpty Dumpty together again would take ages, if we let an organic process to prevail. But we can all come to our senses and reflect into our inner being as to how our ego is fooling us to be foes of our brothers and our sisters in nationhood and religion. We are taking to heart every indication our ego gives us to be taken for the ride. We need to wake up and look at our Nation for the future we want to build for our posterity. Yes, building harmony is only possible with reflection, patience, forgiveness and a suppressed ego when we are able to entertain a multitude of differing views without getting emotionally involved. By stepping back from the crowd and seeing it for the foolishness it is perpetrating.

Such intense conditioning requires a deep reflection into the depth of our being to drag out our suppressed inhibitions, fears and anger. Such defensiveness when exposed and expiated will be when we can have lasting harmony in our societies. We need to hope, dream and work to make those dreams become reality in some urgency. 

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