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“Not all Muslims become involved in acts of violence: Yet, all might be held culpable …….because that section of Muslims, the majority, who are not personally involved, neither disown those who are engaged in violence, nor even condemn them”, said, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, an Islamic scholar and a peace activist. Reflecting on this, one realizes, how important it is to be not only ‘good’ but also belong to a ‘good’ group. Merely being good, individually, is not good enough. No matter what one may be, individually, what matters is with whom one is standing. One is merely an extended shadow of one’s own group. Therefore, where we stand is as important as what we are. Kashmir has a similar story to narrate. A small bad minority there brings a larger good majority a bad name! Everyone knows this but very few realize this.

My own realization of this came a few days ago. Had gone with a business man-friend to Hosur to expedite a documentation process concerning a license. Since the issue is over delayed, my friend, familiar with the bureaucratic ways, tried the bribe route while dealing with the policeman. To our surprise, not only that the policeman refused but was annoyed for even attempting to insult him. We have a perceived image of the men in khaki, that to look for an honest policeman is like searching for a non-existent black cat in a dark room. We have concluded, each one of them has a price. Surprisingly, this policeman had the values.

We’ve all heard that old adage, “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch,” and have probably seen instances where it does apply to people, but does it actually happen with fruits? Yes. As they ripen, some fruits, like apples and pears, produce a gaseous hormone called ethylene, which is, among other things, a ripening agent. When you store fruits together, the ethylene each piece emits prods the others around it to ripen further, and vice versa. The riper a piece of fruit is, the more ethylene it produces, and overripe fruit gives off even more ethylene, eventually leading to a concentration of the gas that’s enough to over-ripen all the fruit. Given the right conditions and enough time, one apple can push all the fruit around it to ripen—and eventually rot. Therefore, it actually takes just few rotten apples to start a domino chain that ruins the rest of the lot.

Is there a lesson in this for the Kashmiris? Yes, definitely. They need to identify and expose the rotten ones amongst themselves. THEY NEED TO CLARIFY WHERE THEY STAND!

Is there a lesson for all of us? Yes, definitely. As a society, we also need to understand that the birds may be flocking together but they may not be of the same feather!



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