Transform Tyranny into Solutions

I wrote this when I was in Kashmir last year, first time in a miiltarised zone. Kashmir is considered paradise on earth. There is an actual sign that says ‘welcome to paradise’ then you see the barbed wire and military everywhere. There are 800,000 soliders in Kashmir I recollect. Just imagine if every soldier saw every child as his own. Beautiful thought.


Welcome to Paradise,
I read the signs,
I see the soldiers,
Every corner is a check point,
I ask what is the point?
As my taxi weaves, swerves and toots,
I realise this is no magic carpet ride,
Tension and anger fill streets of pain,
As public protesting is labeled dissent,
Yet there are no alms for freedom of speech,
As curfew descends its heavy arms,
In the name of law and order,
But what of democracy?

Peace is not a concept,
It is not the cessation of violence,
It lives when the soldier smiles at the child as his own,
It lives when the mother smiles at the soldier as her son,
It lives when the father prays in the mosque with unshakable faith,
For he sees god as freedom from his own fear.

I see Gandhi as the mirror of your struggle,
I see nonviolence as the true middle path,
I see the steps that lead up to the holy shrine,
For each step towards peace takes us all to shared perspectives,
And division leads us down roads of separation to lower levels of distrust,
And it is ignorance, greed and fear that turns your paradise into hell,
For the bell tolls that heaven is on earth,
When we choose to see it.

The military are trained to fight an enemy,
The police are trained to enforce the law,
Why is there a war in civilian areas?
What is the war within?
What is the war without?
For to fight dons the mask of fear,
To intimidate is the task of control,
To remove the mask makes fear visible,
For visibility is the 1st step of problem solving.

Therefore the wise say: what you resist persists,
What you look at disappears …

To solve the problem and not hate the people transforms tyranny into solutions,
As clarity is the 2nd step that sees the root problem clearly.

To see the divine plan in hardship reveals your life purpose,
To see the higher path transmutes an energy crisis into renew-able energy,
As we see ourselves in the ‘other’ we can do no harm,
As the oppressor becomes a simple man following orders as he too is controlled by the State.

In the background the mountains watch silently,
Their power is in the stillness as grandeur,
For they are unchanging from who they are,
No matter the conditions,
No matter the civilizations,
All may rest,
For all may pass,
For when we are true to our nature,
We naturally return to peace,
As love is the centre-peace of all god’s creations.

I have experienced your curfew in peace,
I have listened to your pain in peace,
I have passed the soldiers in peace,
I have smiled at all in peace,
For you must be the change you wish to see.

All are learning around the world that true power is peace within not control over,
True law and order is justice for all,
For this is the practice of Satyagraha,
True faith in god is trust and laughter,
For to love our neighbour as ourselves
is to know we all make mistakes and fall into confusion,
As empathy is the 3rd step in a peace accord.

For it is the truth that sets you free,
To be the change you wish to see,
And freedom is every moment you choose to live in love and truthfulness over fear,
To choose to live in paradise over hell,
For fear and control creates all violence,
To work together is to see all as one family and this is the face of harmony in the world,
And this is the final step of peace on earth.

For this test is the final journey home.

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Mohandas Gandhi

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”