Today, after a recent break from writing, I would like to share with you an event that goes some way to unravelling our being.

Imagine a moment in a village where morning is heralded by the din of the rooster, scattering the darkness and starting the day for many. A dainty little chick struts along with its flock on a search for haystacks. It is a daily sight in the village and the fowl can be an all-too-easy prey for dogs and cats. This little chicken strays away from the brood and the mother hen leads the others on obliviously. The chick’s sudden sense of liberty and joy at being independent spurs it on to travel farther afield and frolicking unmindful of the impending danger to life, finds its way into the muddy main street of the village. Suddenly, the joy is cut short. A farmer’s tractor on way to the fields as every day crushes the very bones of the chick.

The accident shatters the peace of the sleepy village morning. This early sudden happening arouses the anger of many villagers, reminiscent of the road rage of the city – a common sight in the urban areas. In the midst of this fury, the tractor driver is attacked and killed, his tractor burnt. Members of the farming community retaliate, attacking those transgressors with vengeance and in their fury and frenzy, burn the huts of some innocent villagers.

When passions are high, human feelings take a heavy toll and suffer neglect, as we all come across every day in our lives. Nobody cared for the grief of the dead driver’s family and much less for the crushed hen. Both were innocent and unconcerned with the rivalries that showed their face. To control the events as they occurred, more and more force was used, more and more blood was spilled.

As is normal at this point, the peace guarantors and our esteemed social leaders step in, awarding their usual healing and settlements. After such a heavy cost, comes a settled calm. The subject I am sharing is true and shows how fragile the moments of our lives are. If the chick could have flied away or the tractor driver have been more attentive, the accident could have been avoided. Instead, the driver an innocent villager going about his daily routine and the bird frolicking in it’s new found freedom, became victims of there follies.

Guru Sahib’s furman states:

Maanas ki jaat sabh eko he pehachanvo… that all beings are the same

Peace is such an unpredictable thing as we all see around us every day. Whenever this fragile thread we call peace is stretched, it does not come under control without much greater trouble, if it is ever restored that is. People become so fed up and uncontrollable that the value of life diminishes and dignity means nothing.

Innocence is very fragile, weak and its demise so easy. Since the events of 1984 and the attack on Sri Harimandir Sahib Amritsar in particular, the peace of the Sikh community has remained shattered as no real debate or discussion has emerged. The reasons behind it are not forthcoming, nor have we learnt how to safeguard ourselves as a people so we don’t face the same episodes again and again. The coming anniversary of the 1984 attack should remind us about the work to be done in bringing about a permanent peace and unity amongst us as Sikhs, so we can move forward as a whole, rather than race against each other. The chick and the tractor driver incident ma have been small, but needs to be analysed on a bigger scale if the innocence of the individual can be safeguarded once more.