Every once in a while, my grandmother forces me to accompany her to a temple where we all kneel before God and pray, pray for the sake of humanity, pray for peace. I remember once when I went to a beautiful riverside where everyone was lighting candles and gently floating them across the water. I asked Grandma what this was supposed to do, and she said each candle was a hope, a prayer for the world to be a better place. Each tiny flickering light is a torch that drives out ignorance, hate, crimes and war, replacing them with peace.
As I sat there and watched countless people kneeling and lighting up the night with their candles, I thought about what she’d said. Peace. Is that what we’re all looking for? Is it something we can look for? I watched as a family walked up to the riverbank full of flickering lights, which made it look like a sky full of stars. As they lit their very own candle, I saw the little boy smile, because that’s what light does. It drives away darkness and fear, and illuminates smiles. Light gives hope to those that run to it. And we were all running to peace.But how? How can we possibly hope for peace in this world? Just this month, thousands of us were killed in a chemical attack in Syria. And I say ‘us’, even though I live in India and not Syria, because we are one. We are all humans, and we are killing each other for trivial matters such as borders and money and politics and religion. All made up things that barely even exist.We are being attacked everywhere, in Paris, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and literally where not. And who is attacking us, you ask? It’s pretty obvious. We are. We are killing ourselves over matters that shouldn’t be our priority at all.
When I was a kid, I always saw this world through rose-tinted glasses. Everything seemed so simple, like all of us on this planet were united as one, trying to understand the cause and effect of our existence in this universe.But as I grew up, I was forced to open my eyes wider, to look at the ugly truth that surrounds our existence. Our world is divided. Be it on the basis of gender, nationality, religion, race, sexual orientation, economic status or even appearance, our world is divided.Now divisions aren’t really much of a problem when you think about it because diversity is actually beautiful. But the problem arises when everyone thinks that their way is the right way, and then tries to undermine every other way in existence. While it is perfectly fine to have opinions, it is not fine when people become rude about having their opinion and start causing conflicts.
We’re all trying to propagate our own ways, and in my opinion, that is the reason of most wars in today’s world. I want everyone to think like me and do what I think is right, but so does everyone else, and in the midst of propagating our own beliefs, we keep causing a huge mess and fighting for things that don’t deserve a fight.But then what does deserve a fight, you ask? Peace. Peace is the only thing you should fight for. What an oxymoron, isn’t it? What a tragic and beautiful oxymoron.The fight for peace isn’t one that involves missiles and fighter jets. The fight for peace is a long and hard one that requires each of us to sit down and think. Think about what we all want.In truth, all of us are fighting for just one thing: happiness. We study hard, so we can get a good job, earn lots of money, buy things we like, give our kids all they want, so ultimately we can all be happy. All of us are just trying to look for happiness in our own little ways, in our own little corners of this world, so it is plain wrong for anyone to strip someone else of their happiness.Moreover, tweeting about things sat in bed isn’t the way to fight a problem. We can come across problems on social media and shake our head at our screen and then post angry things to gain respect and followers, but the real fight is deeper than re-tweeting something with an angry response. The real fight is fought everyday in our daily lives, in small, seemingly meaningless ways until it snowballs into a big change. Every small gesture or kind action, performed in a peaceful manner to reach our happiness, is a step forward for peace.
Think of how much can be achieved if all of us learned to live and let others live in peace. All these wars, terrorist attacks, murders, explosions, and all other savage activities that have taken over this planet today wouldn’t have been if it weren’t for inequalities and differences of opinions among people. I think inequality is what is slowly deteriorating a wonderful planet into dust. Our ways may be different, but our goal is the same. If the world could be a happy global family, more than half of the problems we face today would no longer be problems.
We can set up world organisations, appoint peacekeepers, fire guns, but in the end the only weapon we require in the fight for peace is our humanity. There’s a thin line which separates us humans from savage animals; we have to learn to respect that line and stay behind it. We need to respect other people and spread peace. The hate is progressing and more and more of us have forgotten what we are truly here for: happiness. Our very own happiness achieved in our very own way.
As I looked at the hundreds of lights floating away out of my sight, I smiled. I hoped the light would travel across oceans and illuminate each and every person’s face with a smile, because that’s all we need. A happy smile on everyone’s face is what I call peace.I lit my own candle and Grandma and I pushed it across the water together. I closed my eyes and joined my hands. I prayed for peace. I promised to fight for peace. Because in the end, it is the only thing worth fighting for.