An Inner Journey of Ahimsa — 17 Feb 2022
I think it better that in times like these
A poet’s mouth be silent, for in truth
We have no gift to set a statesman right;
He has had enough of meddling who can please
A young girl in the indolence of her youth,
Or an old man upon a winter’s night.
With the situation between Ukraine and Russia escalating, I am reminded of WB Yeats’ ‘On Being Asked for a War Poem’. Against the backdrop of World War I, Yeats was asked by a couple of friends to write a poem on war, to be included in an anthology to raise funds for refugees. He wrote instead, a poetic refusal. On the face of it, it seems like a refusal to engage in politics. However, his other correspondences related to war reveal his concerns for human ‘insolence and stupidity’, as he wrote in a letter.
I wonder if the refusal was his own way to practice ahimsa. Art in times of turbulence can be quite stirring. Patriotism abounds in war poems, with something/someone being portrayed as the right side. While this can inspire people, the inspiration is often against another, not towards peace. For art to not be reduced to being a tool of propaganda, it becomes essential for the artist to step above the conflict and let the art serve something higher. Else, silence is a better service.
Of course, what applies to art, can also apply to media, to public discourse, to our own thoughts…
· How do you feel about the conflict in our world?
· How do we assess, how some parts of our lives serve as propaganda?
#AnInnerJourneyOfAhimsa #RukminiIyer #ExultSolutions #peacebuilding #nonviolence