LIVE AND LET LIVE

“Instead of killing and dying in order to produce the being that we are not, we have to live and let live in order to create what we are”, said Albert Camus.

All too often, people seem to think that poking their nose into other people’s business at every opportunity is the way to go about one’s life.

They seem to have an almost unbearable urge to maintain control over every facet of their own lives and seem to feel that the way to do this is to exert control over other people’s lives. They are sadly mistaken. These so-called control-freaks are the scourge of society.

They do not allow society to progress in the way that it should and hold society back. The motto of each and every person should be “live and let live”. Whatever one’s scruples are or one’s way of thinking is, one should leave other people to do as they wish.

That is the only way forward, because very often, we do not have access to the fall picture. Often, the full picture is a melange of different colours, of different shades, all twisting and changing from time to time. In such a situation, we should let people to make their own choices and not pretend to be omnipresent and omniscient.

The pages of history are riddled with examples of people who thought that they had the right to interfere in other people’s lives. Divides on casteist lines still exist as they did in medieval times in India. The whole concept of the caste system is built on the belief that some people do not have the right to live at the same level as someone else. It is an abhorrent practice, one that should be abolished as soon as possible. The theme of acceptance and tolerance has acquired importance over the last few years with the media opening up and bringing to light such pathetic practices which threaten to tear the very fabric of our society. Discrimination against women provides yet another example of people believing that a section of society does not deserve the same standard of living as they do.

All too often, people seem to honestly believe that
some people do not deserve life because of a small
difference in their appearance or beliefs. This has led to
some of the most atrocious incidents in history. For
example, the Holocaust in which millions of Jews were shamelessly-massacred happened, because it was believed that the Jews were traitors, selfish people who were more interested in financial success than anything else. Ethnic cleansing, that was, what it was called. Hitler and his stooges genuinely believed in the Jews’ culpability and carried out the massacre believing that what they were doing was a good act. Even A1 Capone justified his deeds, telling that he was just providing sustenance for himself and his family members. No one honestly thinks himself to be an evil. There is always some justification. It seems laughable now that Hitler could believe in his own sainthood when he gassed so many people, many of whom were just babies. However, that is just human psychology.

Interfering busybodies as they are ‘called have this astonishing propensity of popping up at regular intervals in all our lives. We have to acquire the ability of dealing with them. However, very often there seems to be no way other than dropping short and yielding to them. One should have the requisite strength of character to say no and be firm in one’s treatment of them. On the other hand, one should keep away from other people’s lives and just let them be. One should have the humility to agree that we do not have the right to live other’s lives or even give advice, because we just do not. One is given only a limited amount of time, only one life and if most of it is taken up by other people, that leaves only a little for us, does it not? One should not let oneself be driven by other people.

“Live and let live, believe and let believe. ‘Twas said the lesser gods were only traits. Of the one awful God. Just so, the saints are God’s white light refracted into colours”, said Robert Frost. Every person is a product of his or her environment. When we are born, we all are similar. It is our experiences which mould us and change us into different people. Knowing this, we should not think that we can live other people’s lives better than they themselves. Maybe if we had their experiences, we would do the same as they would do. Instead of concentrating on other people’s lives, it will be better to and protected by the Supreme Court. But instances where even such a life is denied to people still exist. In fact, such instances are widespread. More important finally, than just making laws and expecting people to follow them or even having a strong retributive system in place, is inculcating people with the belief that life should be considered sacred—something inviolable, not something to be trifled around with. Even now, there is a raging debate as to the legality of the death penalty and whether it should be abolished or not. In many countries, the death penalty has been done away with, not in India though. As the recent hangings of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru showed, India still favours the dead penalty.

For how long though? The world is becoming a more civilised place and alternatives to the death penalty exist.

If we all adopt a live-and-let-live policy, harmony will prevail in the society. The need of the hour, more importantly, is to inculcate human values, to keep disharmony at bay, from an early age. We all should strive to lead a life of love and understanding. And, should respect all religions and advocate tolerance for creating amiable atmosphere. However, “Live and let live” should be the rule of the game, which is called life.