Fighting the Evil: A Mother's Reflections

BY USHA D. ACHARYA
May 31, 2010

As mothers continue to lose their children to war, Usha D. Acharya wonders why man persists in using evil ways to fight the evil.

 

Usha Acharya (right) is more than a mother to her two sons. As a co-founder of a girls scholarship program in Nepal, she is also a mother-figure to several young women under her charge at the Little Sisters Fund.

Usha Acharya (right) is more than a mother to her two sons. As a co-founder of a girls scholarship program in Nepal, she is also a mother-figure to several young women under her charge at the Little Sisters Fund.

Photo credit: Edwin Koo


On May 9, Sunday, my son called from his school in the US to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. After I hung up the phone I thought of those mothers who had lost their children not only during the Maoist insurgency but also in the recent nation-wide bandh (general strike). My eyes welled up, and a question arose in my mind: Can we devise some other ways to fight the evil? I think the answer is non-violence. There is no doubt that at times it becomes necessary to fight the evil, but is it necessary to use violence? Mahatma Gandhi saw the method of non-violence and fought against existing evil. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela followed the same with exemplary success.

History shows that mankind often loses the sense of his purpose as it also shows the realization of his mistakes. In the US, at the wake of the Civil War in the 1860s, Mothers Friendship Day was organised to bring former foes back together. Ann R. Jarvis founded Mother's Day to honour her mother, and West Virginia became the first state in the union to proclaim Mother's Day an official holiday. The founding of Mother's Day in America is an example of human realisation after the evils of war. If this realisation had come before, the sons and daughters of those mothers who lost their lives would have been saved. And, the realisations of this sort makes one reflect upon the evil ways to fight the evil.

There are some things man cannot stop even if he wants to. Natural calamities are beyond his control. But war is a human creation, and it is preventable. A sense of purpose of life and the use of wisdom that each human should inherit from the past experience are the most important ways to prevent war. All mothers have right to protect the lives of their children. Of course, we cannot choose our parents or children and our appearances. But we can and must have control over our own creation. Killing children of some mothers by the children of some others is certainly a human decision.

Sometimes an individual begins to fight against the intolerable evil that he or she sees around. When others join the fight, this individual's intolerance assumes the form of a collective war. One wages war to fight the evil but the war, short or prolonged, engenders more evil. Then the human conscience stops, and as time goes by, the evil multiplies.

Now we all must be clear about what we want: a complete destruction in the name of change, or a change through the evolution with hard work.

War bleeds the hearts of those mothers who lose their children. The negative waves coming through this process finally lead to the destruction of good things we have created. I am thinking of my own country, Nepal, which Prof. Lawrence Saez, Associate Professor of Comparative and International Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, depicted as a failed state. To quote him "Nepal is a failed state, held aloft by a string of self-important international NGOs, disjointed developmental assistance programs, and a thinning stream of middle-aged German and Austrian trekkers." He further writes, “Discussing the nuances of establishing a federal system of governance for Nepal is akin to evaluating whether a terminally ill cancer patient should have cosmetic surgery” (Republica, May 14, 2010).

Who is responsible for this state of our country? The answer is simple: we all are. But we must reflect upon the major and the minor roles each of us have played. Each Nepali has to take himself/herself as an actor but those who are pushing their vested interests through agitations and wars with borrowed ideologies are more responsible. Now we all must be clear about what we want: a complete destruction in the name of change, or a change through the evolution with hard work. A mistake can be corrected once we realise it. We just have to wake up and realise our mistakes. Otherwise, it may be too late for us to get out of the incorrigible evil.

 

 

Usha D. Acharya studied courses on Women and Development at Columbia University, and International Human Rights Law at Harvard Law School. She presented a paper “Women in Nepal: Inequality and Poverty” to Harvard/MIT Joint Group of Women in 1995, and wrote a country report on Nepal's problem of child labour and girls trafficking for ILO in 1998. She believes education is the only way to improve the life of an individual or the nation as a whole.

 

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