Whatever the political compulsions may be, India's abstention from the recent UN resolution calling for an "immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to cessation of hostilities" in Gaza is shockingly painful.
More so because UN being a toothless institution, its resolution has only a symbolic value. And the alibi for abstention -- non-inclusion of condemnation of Hamas’ terrorist acts -- is simply silly.
Leave aside the current Gaza conflict, India has never given even two hoots for humane values. We have endless examples of our own bloody conflicts that begin from Mahabharata to deadly Kalinga war to bloody 1947 divide to 1984 genocide to 2002 Gujarat riots to the ongoing Manipur mayhem!
The time has probably come we should stop calling ourselves a peace-loving country that gave birth to the likes of Gautama Buddha, Guru Nanak and Gandhiji.
Perhaps we have always been a country of hypocrites who never cherished humane values.
We forget that Buddha (circa 528 BCE), Guru Nanak (15th century) and Gandhi (20th century) raised their voices in favour of humane values only after seeing inhuman acts being enacted around them during the life times of each of them.
I wonder how come the Mauryan King Ashoka (circa 304 -- 232 BCE) became Ashoka the Great? Only because he adopted Buddhism?
We should not forget that Ashoka adopted Buddhism only after initiating a bloody war of Kalinga in which more than one lakh people were killed and one and a half times more people were deported, or say made homeless!
At times it seems that hypocrisy has been running in our blood since the distant past, and perhaps it can never be changed.
However, on a closer look at the past and present history of India (Bharat?), one can see that this bad blood has not been running in the blood of common Indians. It has always been a prerogative of the ruling class alone!
One can recall here an oft repeated story of Panchatantra, the Scorpion and the frog, which talks of a benevolent frog who being of an inherently helpful nature offers help to a venomous scorpion. But the scorpion, in return, bites the helping frog, as per his own vicious nature.
All our rulers, from past till date, can perhaps be compared to cold-blooded scorpions and the innocent and helping common people to frogs.
Had the world ever given attention to the advices of the sages like Jesus Christ, Buddha and Nanak, who preached and sacrificed their lives for humane values, the world would have been a real heaven.
(The writer is former Principal of Chandigarh's first Government College)