Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Erosion Of Sympathy, Empathy And Fellow Feelings Has Relegated Humans Down To Living Zombies

By Sumit Paul, New Age Islam 7 December 2022 " Nez'st Enmon Eb Qafit Shin Ma'az Fe' Azst Min Kifa'ar Un Bazil Ama'az " Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi in old Turkish, written towards the fag-end of his life (Looking askance when in distress is a human being/Shows mankind's absence of fellow feeling) " Bacha Ke Rakh Lena 'Gar Paas Tere Baaqi Hai Daulat-E-Ahsaas Iss Daur Mein Kise Mayassar Hai " -Anon (Save it if you've even a vestige of it / Who's endowed with sensitivity in this age?) Saaneha Dekha, Thithka Aur Chal Diya Dil Iss Daur Ke Insaan Ka Mar Gaya -Tufail Abbas Mirpuri (Saw a mishap, stopped and went away / The heart of today's man is dead) " Not the poetry but my sensitivity Makes me feel for humanity " Lord Byron to P B Shelly " Humans in the last hundred years, collectively lost their sensitivity and fellow-feeling." A report in The Daily Mail, England, September 4, 2021 Recently, a young woman in Delhi was run over by a bus. The passer-by looked at her body but no one helped her. This is extreme apathy, far worse than indifference. How can people be so sickly apathetic? We all talk of spirituality, godliness, universal love and all those bombastic words and ideas, but choose to ignore when it comes to helping someone in distress. This reminds me of an Urdu couplet, 'Saahil Ke Tamashai Har Doobne Wale Pe/Afsos Toh Karte Hain Imdaad Nahin Karte' (The bystanders on the shore, feel sorry for the drowning man/ But they don't extend their helping hand). In MP, a young MBA student was caught and made to wash the plates when he gate-crashed into a wedding reception. His innocuous act didn't amuse the people at the wedding party. They humiliated him in public and made fun of him. Is gate-crashing such a big crime? When so much food is wasted on such glittering and lavish occasions, a young man's partaking of sumptuous fare became a felony! This is so sad and upsetting. The erosion of sympathy, empathy and fellow feelings has relegated humans down to living zombies. Heart that doesn't melt or move at the predicament of a fellow human is no less than a stone slab, nay a mere structure of granite. We're no longer moved by the plight of our fellow humans. A kind of utter insouciance has overwhelmed our hearts and minds. It's like poet Sacchidanand Heeranand Vatsyayan Agyey's " Ab Kisi Baat Par Vichlit Nahin Hote Hum/Ab Kisi Baat Par Nahin Rote Hum " (No longer are we perturbed by anything/ No longer do we cry over anything) from 'Ek Boond Sahsaa Uchhli.' This is an alarming trend because humans are intrinsically emotional beings with an embedded attribute of fellow-feeling. The million-dollar question is: Where has that disappeared? Humanity sans sensitivity is unthinkable. We ought to have at least a smidgen of it. Even animals have a fellow feeling and they exercise that. Dogs cry for their masters. Why can't humans exercise their intrinsic humanity? Have we slipped below animals on the scale of emotional evolution? Instead of going to Satsang (religious gathering) and listening to spiritual inanities, what matters is implementing those 'teachings' into practical actions and helping those who're in need of your help. That'll be true Tasawwuf ( spirituality). When I play violin at old homes for the unhappy inmates, they often thank me for my gesture (which I consider to be embarrassingly trivial) and tell me that much more than useless debates and discourses on god and spirituality, most of them have lost faith in god and religion, a session of musical empathy from a rather young person makes them feel wanted and useful. What's of paramount importance is: Just extending our helping hands to those who're less privileged and down in the dumps. At the same time, humanity at large shall have to realize that a streak of sensitivity provided by nature to all of us must never be stymied and strangled. ----- A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Sumit Paul is a researcher in comparative religions, with special reference to Islam. He has contributed articles to the world's premier publications in several languages including Persian. URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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