One by one they emerge, slowly walking out,
Stopping and asking each other, the way about,
Though they all profess to have one common mind,
Consensus is something humanity may never find.

Only yesterday, it seemed we walked a common road,
As I trace without you, the path that we once rode,
With everyone else beside us, most of the while,
The last day which I knew, ended with a smile.

I only wish the rest of it wouldn’t be so vivid,
But then, the truth could only be more lucid,
I had done what I had, my own failing,
Nothing, I was sure, could prevent me falling.

Like falling pillars, they left me behind, one by one,
While I looked around, hoping to find atleast one,
Long gone, they were afraid not, to support me,
Afraid, they would be labelled another like me.

I failed to understand, what part of me was unpardonable,
What portion of my soul, was completely uncleansable,
Why my very sight, was to all, unbearable,
Why my very name, was from now unhearable.

In one lifetime, I did more than make up for it,
But nothing seemed to allow them to forget it,
Though I reside in everyone’s heart, they ignore me,
Atleast until the day they are forced to stand beside me.

For one single deed, my entire life hung in the balance,
While everybody else watched, in pretended silence,
If it was only life, I would have given without hesitation,
They trampled my life, only to get after my reputation.

Another one for the Beacons. This one is dedicated to many people to whom history has not been so kind in its treatment. The first name that comes to mind is Judas Iscariot, someone who is portrayed as the lab specimen of how a person shouldn’t be, and the very name is reviled. The same can be said of others long after him like Hitler and the like, whose very names must compulsorily be associated with evil, else the world would outcast the person defying such an unwritten edict.

Coming to our own epics there are some names that come to mind. Firstly, and most sadly of all, Ravana. To put things in proper perspective, Ravana was the master of all the 4 Vedas, as well as the 64 Upanishads, as well as master of a great many arts apart from being a formidable warrior, unbeaten in battle. Atleast that was the case until he came to meet Rama. A person who had neither of the above-mentioned qualifications, except probably being an equally good warrior with the same track record. The only sore point being Ravana had kidnapped somebody else’s wife, probably something the equivalent in today’s world would have hardly got him a year or tow in prison, for illegal confinement of a person violating her freedom of movement in the country. An act for which he is made to seem like the epitome of all evil, somebody whose very name deserves to be uttered in disgust. How silly it would seem in regard to some of the things being done today. Despite that he put in all his efforts and loyalties into the battle, purely trusting the words of his sister who told him a half-truth. How many of us would do that I wonder? I also wonder how nobody notices the nobility in that. Despite that he might still have got away with it, had he not been betrayed by his own brother in a fight among equals. A brother whom people have come to regard as saintly, simply because he was in the hero’s camp at the story ending.

Another name that comes to mind is Karna. This was another person who should have got his fair share of praise, if history had not conspired to steal it from him. He was a man who lived by his word, and sadly died by his word. A perfect gentleman who happened to give his loyalty to someone who recognised his worth, and his word to a mother who had shamelessly abandoned him at birth. Knowing well that he had a chance to turn the tide of the war in the favour of his friend, he chose to spare the life of nearly each and every Pandava, simply because he had given his word. An action that ultimately cost him the war. I hope I need not mention him being a far superior warrior than Arjuna, at whose hands he fell when weaponless and defenseless, and yet remained a man of his word to the very end.

The reason I mention a brief biography is to highlight what I feel is the injustice by history to these people whom it turned into outcasts merely on the premise of a single bad action committed by them. Why do we see nobody naming their children as Karna or Ravana, or Hitler or Judas for that matter? And why do we see them naming their children after spoiled polygamists like Arjuna and Krishna, or person’s who abandon their wives who followed them loyally into the forest like Rama. As you can probably understand everybody commits mistakes. That’s what makes them human. The ability to also forgive such mistakes and accept their consequences is what establishes the victim’s humanity. Is it not sheer propaganda of the victorious sides that gets history written this way, that people would shudder before even utter these infamous villain’s names. God forbid, you are caught supporting anything they stood for, or are caught appreciating them for what they were, you know your name too is on the list.

Why can’t people see the positive in everyone, and improve from it? Why can’t they learn the good from these Ravanas’, Karnas’, Hitlers’ and Judases? Why can’t they learn to love the humanity in these people, instead of fuelling their own hatred and being worser human beings themselves over an account that history fictionalised. One of the most beautiful things I have heard somebody speak and still follow to this day is “learn to hate the quality, not the person”. The quality is but one among the many that the person had. The quality is one that many of us have, though we deny it all our lives. Why can’t we learn to hate greed, lust, treachery, rather than hate people who seemed to be filled only with them? Is one single action so bad that a lifetime of good done atoning for it still doesn’t equate the balance. Is one single action so bad, that all the good done before it was a mere pretense that can be written off to mitigate not even a fragment of such an action?

May some humanity prevail over those still searching for the way.

5 Responses to “Iscariot”

  1. Explorer Says:

    My heart goes out to Karna and Ravana in that order (while assuming that Ravana felt love for Sita and he tried to win her over in his captivity – the version I prefer – beautifully depicted in an old movie). I can never ever say the same about Hitler. Hitler was evil. The atrocities that he perpetrated can never be justified.

  2. guptaghost Says:

    firstly thanks for checking out my blog.

    secondly, yes agree about the karna and ravana part. it was exactly about the hitler part that this poem was written. i am asking people to justify what hitler did(which again is highly debatable, from the version that i have, a great number of the atrocities were said to have been committed in hitler’s name without even his explicit knowledge. but then there are always arguements for both the sides). atrocities of such a magnitude can never be merely justified by people in discussions. doing so doesnt undo the consequences of such deeds.

    all that i wanted people to recognise and understand was that like you who say “hitler is evil”, should change that mindset. no single person is the complete personification of good or bad. such an event is only a possibility with an ‘im’ prefix. hitler was a person who had some bad qualities. it is this lack of understanding that we must use the undesirable qualities of hitler as example of what not to do, rather than maligning the character of the entire person itself. what we should learn from hitler is to not be anti-semitic, not be inhuman, rather than learn that he was an EVIL man.

    there are a lot of great things(i wont call those deeds good) that hitler did. we should learn to emulate the good from everyone. we should learn to see the positive part of everyone rather than the negative(again hitler’s problem, if he had seen the good in the jews instead of an imagined fault, probably a lot of things might never have happened, we too are now suffering from the same problem). once people see the positive in everybody, things such as wars, fights, etc might probably become a rarity.

    the problem with hitler is that he is a perfect example of that horrible saying “the end justifies the means”. his objectives were noble, infact idealistic. unfortunately the means to achieving that were nowhere close to that.

  3. Explorer Says:

    I agree with your point. Consider the positive and negative aspects of a person. No one quality defines the person holisitically.

    But Hitler is way too close to the century I was born in. The fact that such horrible things happened on such a grand scale just a few decades before adds to that. Ofcourse, he couldn’t have done it all by himself. Each and every person who joined hands with him willingly is equally responsible.

  4. guptaghost Says:

    i know. it is difficult to ignore the deed, as well as condone the consequences, but the fact remains, that by merely repeating that over and over to our grandchildren, doesnt set anything right, least of all the victim’s right to life itself. what we can do to set things right, is by focussing on the fact that atleast something positive has come out of all this. the point that nobody would dare do such a deed with impunity again, without fear of the repercussions that will follow such an act.

    atleast it has brought the world more together than before, after everybody got to see firsthand what war could do to everyone concerned. we have atleast that little to treasure, the confidence that such a deed wont be easily repeated in the future. (cant answer for the war-mongering, profiteering group of Americans though, or should i say all Americans[just finished seeing Halla Bol 5 minutes back, and Pankaj Kapur has a very valid point, about those who are mute witnesses being equally guilty], for they could have always brought down such Govt.’s that decided to go to war, they chose not to)

  5. Explorer Says:

    Right. I cannot resist the urge to refute with the fact that we’ve inhabited the planet for way too long to still make mistakes of that kind. Now that it’s happened, it’s best to move on like you said.

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