~ Salil Gewali, Shillong
Guests are genuinely respected in India than any other countries in the world. ‘Atithi devo bhava”— (roughly translated as –‘ the guest is GOD’), a sermon from one of the Upanishads, is religiously taught to each individual from early age. The message behind this is to see GOD in every being. Because, none can exist without God, or His all-pervasive divine energy. Every nano-gram of an entity is God. The ancient Indian seers realized this fact in the depth of their meditation, and YOGA being a sure highway for such “realization”.
That why more importance is attached to an unknown guest is a very significant question. From the personal relations or known individuals you could have affection, attachment, love but mostly accompanied by a heavy dose of lingering “expectation”. But in the case of a strange guest, it is only the one-way service. You serve him/her without any expectation of benefit in return. Well, any action done without any expectation leads to quick purification of the doer’s inner being, “soul”. And this gradually grooms oneself for the self-realization. Therefore, serving unknown guests, irrespective of the caste, creed, race, color, is spiritually sanctifying and self-evolving.
Now let us look at an unfeeling episode of our poor Nigerian guests (atithis) that occurred in Noida recently. This is doubtlessly very unbecoming. We should condemn it totally. Meanwhile, lots of articles and editorials have been churned out and published in the media which were quite unwelcome. Most of those write-ups have deliberately shown India in a bad light, as if Indians habitually hate the outsiders. It has appeared like, unlike any other countries, every foreigner in India is looked down.
So, visiting tourists in India are hardly safe. Even the reporters of certain channels have been seen goading the tourists/guests to speak out in negative tones against India. It all meant that Indians might, without rhyme or reason, beat any visiting foreigners black and blue. On the flip side, hardly any newspapers have ever discussed or brought to the light other side of the stories which are equally spine-chilling.
Till about two years ago I too was not at all aware of such things. It is all about how some of our guests from certain countries, I don’t mean all, visit India and involved in creepy activities in the name of pursuing education. I could not believe by ears when one of my friends of Kailash Colony, New Delhi, narrated the various kinds of wrongdoings that are unabashedly committed by our foreign “guests”.
Besides other illicit activities, drug, prostitution and sleazy fun are what they love to spread, I was pointedly told. So far as drug trade is concerned they have a very special modus operandi which is like generously throwing the “baits” first into the river to catch more fishes later. Lots of young newbies are thus dragged into the drug’s net. My Delhi anxious buddy didn’t mince a word to share another outrageous fact that is too scary but fast catching up with the roar of modernity. Well-built black hunkies easily get after urban local folks, more females, and lure them into immoral indulgences in the name of naughty fun. About 2 years back Aam Party leader’s Somnath Bharti`s midnight raid was totally a right move but the media portrayed him as an uncompassionate evildoer.
Dear all, if above things are true then what is in store for those youths and their parents who all are already bearing the brunt. Sadly, media eyes can’t see what truly rotting the society and corrupting our youths. Nevertheless, one strongly feels, before painting the NATION and the colonies’ people with the black, the media should make sure that none of our guests from abroad mess around with our children. I have heard enough of many parents who are sorely enraged that their young children have long been pulled into the whirlpool of drugs and sleazes.
So, let’s be sensible before we regret. Yes, I guess, before stretching the arms of hospitality let’s thoroughly find out what kind of guests we are inviting in our neighborhood, nay, our country. Atithis should not be our “liabilities”.