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Thursday, 9 May 2013


Adyant, my Guru for unlearning violence
“Spiiiider,” screamed Adyant, my four-year-old grandson in fright. I dropped my book and rushed to the spot only to find a big spider near the backyard door. My spontaneous response was to kill it and I did so. As I went in to bring a tissue to clean up the mess, Adyant asked inquisitively, “What did you do, Dadi?”
“I killed it,” I said proudly, feeling great that I had eliminated the cause of fear for my darling grandson.
“You KILLED it? Why did you kill it, Dadi? That’s not a good thing to do.” Saying this, he appeared quite miserable, feeling of internal pain showing on his tender face. 
Looking sideways to hide my embarrassment, I sounded defensive, “I killed it because it was scaring you Baby?”
“You could have thrown it out,” was the solution offered by him.
“Poor spider! Has it died?” he looked very sad and hurt.

Like a wise old grandma, I immediately resorted to diversionary tactics, “Come on! Come on! Forget it. I will show you the book that I have brought to you from India.” We both merrily romped up the stairs to reach my room where I pulled out one of the Amar Chitra Katha Cartoon books, which I had lovingly carried for him to acquaint him with Indian mythology. After all, he is an Indian child and should know about our mythological characters although he is staying in Canada, I had thought.

The book that I took out depicted Lord Krishna’s life and story. Adyant was so happy to see the book that he grabbed it from my hands and ran to his room with me trailing him. As he excitedly leafed through the pages, he saw Lord Krishna killing Shishupal with his chakra and Shishupal’s head flying off his torso with splashes of blood all around. Seeing this sketch, Adyant was again miserable. “Why has this man killed him? See Dadi, there is blood.” I wanted to explain all that ideology about the triumph of ‘Good’ over ‘Evil’, but Adyant would not listen, “Dadi, he must be a bad man, no? He has killed this person.” His eyes became narrow with disgust and face distorted.

I quietly took the Amar Chitra Katha from his hand and put it back in my suitcase. At night, I took all of them out and scanned each one from my newfound perspective about violence, blood and gore. I leafed through Dashrath Putra Rama, Pawan Putra Hanuman, Durga Mata and found violence on every single page. I cannot let my little grandson be exposed to this type of violence and quietly consigned them back to the suitcase. 

My dreams of educating him on Hindu mythology through these books were badly shattered. However, I got a new perspective on violence through the unbiased eyes of this innocent child. He taught me a real lesson in non-violence that day. Thank you Adyant for being my guru!!!
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