Tag Archives: love

5 Reasons why you will be a Hater all your life – The Psychology of Fanaticism.

brain

If you have ever tried to reason with a hardcore fanatic, you would have noticed what I did.  Even if you prove to him that his “facts” are either untrue or grossly exaggerated, he would coolly look the other way and continue with his allegations. He would keep throwing unsubstantiated prejudices about his pet hates. Whatever you do, you will not get him to empathize even a teeny weenie bit with those on the other side of the battle lines. “They are evil, they have done even worse things and they deserve it” would be the recurring themes.

What surprised me is that people harboring these believes are otherwise generally quite good and conscientious. They lead normal lives and hold noble values. Then what could be the reasons for the intense and unjustified hatred that they harbor? – The Jekyll and Hyde bit? – Got me probing.

It turned out that this could be attributed to some of the inbuilt faults in our thought processes. By listing them here, I am trying to throw light on the challenges that we will face when we try to break the walls people build around themselves…..

The Reticular Activation System (RAS) – The prime culprit. This is a mechanism in our brain that filters out unwanted inputs that come in. In a second, 1.6 million bits of information hit our brain. The poor thing can process only a measly 164 bits per second. So the RAS acts as a watchman and admits only the most important information. The rest gets bounced off. And it is we ourselves who tell the RAS what is important, through our thoughts, interests and actions. If you are planning to buy a new car and have shown interest in it, you will suddenly start seeing that car all over town. The car was always there. You however started noticing it now, because your RAS is admitting it in instead of bouncing it off. But what does RAS have to do with our topic? Lots.  If you have a prejudice about a particular community or ideology and if you talk about it or read about it a couple of times, RAS kicks in. It will start increasingly alerting you with inputs that align with your point of view while blocking all inputs that stand against it. So you will not see the virtues, good actions and benevolence of your foes. You will see only their badmash and badass aspects. This is akin to LIKING certain pages on Facebook. FB will then flood you with recommendations of similar ones. You LIKE them too and soon your time line will be flooded with related stories taking it completely to one side of the debate. So you stop seeing things that disagree with you. And you get condemned to live sorely in your “Haters hell”.

Now that’s bad enough. But it doesn’t end here. Check out the long train of our thinking errors.

Cognitive Dissonance- When you encounter a belief or idea that contradicts your world view, that inconsistency causes stress or dissonance. (That’s what you get when someone refutes your political post on FB) .So you try to reduce this by actively avoiding situations and information which would increase the dissonance. So in the long run, you end up unfriending or ignoring all the dissenters and entertaining only a coterie of YES men – haters of the same feather.

Here comes the next one- Confirmation Bias– we have the tendency to look for or interpret information in a way that confirms our beliefs. We collect evidence selectively… very selectively. And we will misinterpret even the noblest of their actions to suit our opinion. “They did it for this”. Told Ya!!!

Check this one out – The “Just-World Phenomenon” If we witness an injustice done to someone we hate, in order to rationalize it, we will search for things that the victims did to deserve it. This is done to ease our anxiety .This peace of mind comes at the expense of blaming the innocent victims- so they deserve it.  So if you hear that your favorite side has done something evil, you will promptly justify it by saying- they had it coming.

Now here is the icing on the cake- The Bias Blind Spot: We are often unaware of our own thought biases. So even after reading this article, you will vehemently deny that you have any of such thinking faults. Come on, you are above all these, aren’t you?

So where does this take us? – If we hate something or someone, we will not see the good things that they do. We will avoid being exposed to their good side, will interpret even the good things that they do as bad, will attribute any injustice done to them as something that they deserve, all while staying blissfully unaware of the unfairness in our thinking process.

Think about it- terrorist attacks, communal riots, imperial aggression, even discord in the family- who is right and wrong? Man, you could be so way off!!!!

The same hold good for the Lovers too.

Next time, you either judge or get into a heated debate with someone, remember this…

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India’s heroes in her fight against communalism


Ten years have passed since the Gujarat riots. The images of burnt houses, smoking villages, charred babies, brutalized women and murderous sword brandishing mobs are still fresh and vivid in our psyches. It is very sad that thousands still languish in refugee camps and many more live on in terror, alienated within their own land.

Such examples of planned polarization, arson, looting and carnage aimed to further petty political ambitions make even the most optimistic evangelists of “Unity in Diversity” disheartened and skeptical. Are our differences so irreconcilable and our past so traumatic that we have to commence self destructing cycles of provocations, revenge and counter revenge at the drop of a hat? Is the dream of a unified India, proactively working together to realize its deserving place in the world community too utopian? Are we destined to sporadically and almost automatically trigger self defeating pogroms that undo everything that we have done so far? Can’t we just forget the past, quell the anger and hatred and move on? Can’t we diffuse and throw away, the time bombs loudly ticking all around us?


Today, I have a story for you that will give all the optimists and well wishers something to cheer for. A story that will definitely resuscitate hope within our hearts. Hope that our children won’t make the follies their predecessors did. Hope that the underlying foundations of love, tolerance and camaraderie that have been pushed deep down by the belligerent war mongers, divisive politicians and sectarian war lords will shrug off the layers of abhorrence and appear again. Hope that the true spirit of India, which has manifested itself every time our country has faced a real threat (Internal or external), will resurface once again… in a new invincible all pervading avatar.

My story is about the valiant fight put up by a defiant and fearless group, consisting mostly of non Muslims to win justice for the victims of the Gujarat riots. People who have put their own lives in extreme danger to struggle for the rights of their hapless brothers and sisters.

This is an incredible story- a riveting tale of sting operations, court cases, movie productions, digital protests, whistle blowing and bold social activism. This is the story about how our Non-Muslim leadership fervently stood by Gujarati Muslims. And this is the story of true India.


We have Harsh Mander, who resigned from Indian Administrative Services (IAS) after the riots, openly saying that his colleagues didn’t do what was expected from them during the pogrom.


We have Teesta Setalvad who has become a Messiah for poor muslims, their leader in fighting for relief and rehabilitation.


And Mukul Sinha who painstakingly collected vital evidence against the rioters after scanning thousands of records.


Prashant Bhushan, who uses every forum to take up the cause of the victims.


Whistle blowers- RB Sreekumar and Sanjeev Bhat who exposed the state- rioter nexus


DIG Rajnish Rai who is trying hard to expose all the post riot fake encounters.


Rahul Sharma, the IPS officer, who ordered firing on the mob who attempted to burn down a Madrasa and kill 300 children in Bhavnagar.

Officers like V K Gupta, Manoj Shashidhar, Narasimha Komar, Vivek Srivastava, M D Antani, Upendra Singh and Keshav Kumar who went against official dictates and ensured that violence was controlled in their areas.


Socialites like Mallika sarabhai, and Nandita das who gave vent to the sufferings of the victims through films, documentaries and talk shows.

The reporter who through a sting operation disproved the government’s take on the Godhra burning, the police officer who arrested the Sangh activists who hosted the Pakistani flag in Karnataka to trigger communal riots, the journalist who traced the true sources of Love Jihad propaganda. They were all non Muslims.

These are just a few names from the heroic cast of India’s epic battle against sectarianism and tyranny. I am sure that there are many more of these valiant fighters who shut out brainwashing attempts and rise over narrow communal inclinations to stand up for pluralism and togetherness. Every single one of them is India’s answer to the demigods of strife and odium.

While these heroes inspire me, they put me to shame as well. For I will find it hard to name even a handful of Muslim leaders who took up similar positions against the ethnic cleansing of pundits in Kashmir and the harassment of non Muslims in certain Muslim countries. But I hope that the selflessness of these heroes will inspire me and countless other fellow men to follow their steps- and to make the True soul and spirit of India stronger.

With gratitude towards my mentor, the author of the blog anindianmuslim.com for inspiration, context and data- Jai Hind

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My Friend, My Philosopher, My Guide….Live on…..

WHAT IF….

We could find time every night to patiently sit by their side and lovingly watch them fall asleep?

We are unsuccessful in hiding our tears whenever they were in pain?

We could make them fall in love with the sweet smell of paperbacks and worn out hard bounds?

We could take them along for long, winding walks, every other day?

WHAT IF….

We could make them yearn for victories just for the hero’s welcome they would get at home?

We could make them learn long classic couplets by heart?

We could truly convince them that they had sparks of genius within them?

We were able to show them that true piety lay in honoring the rich and the poor alike?

We assured them that prayers are always answered?

WHAT IF….

We could sing dreadfully wrong lyrics off key and still get them all going?

We could coax them to display their budding talents before others- and shower them with praise in public?

We could make them marvel at dew drops “dancing at the tip of leaves” and befriend the baby sparrows born in the heart of the old tucoma trees?

We could induce them to shed a few tear drops at the tombstone of every blade of grass crushed under their feet?

WHAT IF….

We could coach them to whistle old romantic songs soulfully?

We could teach them persistence by revealing that only the most irritated oysters produced pearls?

We could teach them that there is much more to life than examination results?

We found time to lose ourselves playing with them? Argue over fouls and exult over tiny victories?

WHAT IF….

We refrained from comparing them with anyone else and allowed them to be just themselves?

We could teach them what is worth fighting for and also what is worth giving up for?

We could make them love and adore themselves without hating and belittling anyone else?

We could inspire them to compose silly rhymes and send them (repeatedly) to be published?

WHAT IF….

We could teach them that the best way to reach the creator is through the service of their own brethren?

We could entice them to lie staring at the colors of dusk and silently watch a rising moonling?

We could make them adore warrior heroes of yore and the causes they fought and died for?

We could persuade them that the best way to speak effectively is to speak sincerely?


If we could do at least some of these, then even after we are long gone, we will continue to linger……In the prayers, the memoirs, reflections and in the very character of our children ….

Dear Uppa, you didn’t leave the stage on the 21st of October 2011. You just disappeared behind the curtains for us to don your robes and continue..bearing the mantle of continuing to be the legend that you were….The ultimate friend, philosopher and guide.

And as we threw handsful of fresh earth into your resting ground and moved on, new candles were being lit. Small but unwavering, measly yet resolute ones. And together we shall shine on and in the light we exude and the warmth we emanate, passersby will surely recognize and experience you.

I will never forget your words, which I have now taken as the purpose of my life and Insha allah will pass on to your young admirers after me……


“Sangu mon, journey through life with maximum happiness. Yet never victimize anyone. And strive to do things that will make the world that you leave behind at least a trifle better than the one that you had inherited”

Yes Uppa. Insha allah .…….

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