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The Politics of Hatred

By Professor Himanshu Rai

I am deeply saddened by the hatred that is being spewed left, right and centre (politically and otherwise) in my country, and the impact it is having on minds, especially the young and vulnerable ones. In the last one week, 8 people have come to me for counselling, for they were getting impacted by the hate they see around them, and some that they themselves perpetuated as keyboard warriors. One has even quit his job and has started work in an NGO, more to heal himself than to heal others.

I see a couple of patterns in the similarity of this hatred churning, irrespective of which side of the political spectrum or the “ism” it comes from. One, the hatred is camouflaged in the garb of a larger cause, be it liberalism, nationalism, fight against appeasement, fight against government high-handedness, and in an attempt at an intellectual leap, fight against “hypocrisy”. This satisfies (though in a convoluted way) the moral mores of the perpetrator and gives the redemption from being branded as narrow.

The second is the use of the same idiomatic weapon by people on both the sides: “You are living in denial”. If you say the country is doing good, one side jumps up and says, “you are living in denial”; if you say the country is going downhill, another side jumps up and screams, “you are living in denial”. This extremely interesting semantic short circuit to address complex issues are an indication of unthinking minds being goaded brutally by an onslaught of hateful arguments in public domains.

We need to heal people around us. We need to help them develop their calloused conscience. We need to tell them that this hatred seeping out of them will eat them first inside out, and leave them to be a shell of who they really are. Humans. Help people around you with love, help them heal.

Himanshu Rai is Faculty at Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.  The post first appeared on his LinkedIn account. 

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