By Aishaanyaa Tewari
Edited by Namrata Caleb
Sometimes emotions surpass words. Yet these are the times when it is important to say the right things. The attack on the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, Pakistan by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan is one such event that pierces through to our soul. So what are the right things to say right now? An online message that conveys my condolences, an insensitive drawing room remark about ‘Pakistan getting a taste of its own medicine’ or an open question about Religion which is perhaps one of the most sensitive topics to refer to? I sit here trying to pry words out of my tumultuous labyrinthine head that has become a fuzzy spiral of misery at this news.
The Tehrik-i-Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said that it was an act of revenge; in response to “Zarb-e-Azab” which is a plan adopted by the Pakistani Army to fight the Taliban’s stronghold in North Waziristan. He said that this was Taliban’s answer to the slaughtering of Talibani fighters and their families. Pondering over these facts, my dilemma returns; how do I reason this out to myself?
What do I tell myself so that I find pin point some cause to this monstrosity? The first thing that comes to my mind is Religion. Religion has become all about Power and the definition about what Faith is has been contorted. Faith is being mistaken for rigid orthodox opinions rather a determined hope in the good around us. So at this hour, when fear is being instilled in us in the name of an unseen authority, is it appropriate to shun Religion altogether or redefine it? If Religion is what justifies immorality because a few are following the ‘word of God’ above ‘the spirit of humanity’, then what good can religion be to Humans?
If Religion is something that binds and unites so many people, if it is a source of support to so many people who direct their actions according to the divine, then it requires our strict attention. It is essential to see, how it is being interpreted and propagated. If it is that powerful, it should be carefully dealt with. This, however, does not mean that we make it an elite business. Rather, I wish, we destroy this gritty obstacle into as many pieces as there are people and scatter it around for them to make it whatever they can of it: free of predefined definitions, free of conventional meanings. When I read the horrors of the accident, it makes me shiver. It makes me angry and in that apoplectic fever I might cry and remark insensitively about the nation; but we must remember that Pakistan as a nation is its civilians, and they did nothing wrong. The nation though represented by the government, is all about its people and a failure on the part of the authority does not justify the pain suffered by young children and their grief stricken families. At times like these, when I can’t say much, I wish to extend my condolences to the children and their families. At times like these, I realize that it is alright if I do not have anything to say. Because, sometimes, we require some silence, a little thought and a little pondering about how we can speak differently about issues such as Religion.