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     Volume 4 Issue 54 | July 15, 2005 |

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Love that Fear

Srabonti Narmeen Ali

Would you rather be feared or loved as a leader? The question inevitably presents itself to those who have a conscience. These people believe that by gaining the love and the trust of their people, they will gain respect and therefore be obeyed. But is that the case? Isn't it true that we often tend to take advantage of those we love and sometimes do not consider them when we are going astray? Well we do, in the back of our minds, in the form of a fleeting thought, but is that anything compared to the thinking and rethinking we do when we are about to disappoint someone that we fear? On the flip side of the coin there are those who do not care about being loved, or making friends, but instilling fear and promising dire repercussions if they are disobeyed. So which is the way to go?

Take parents, for example. Although they are not (for the most part) leaders, they still have some kind of hold on us and we are brought up listening to them and following their advice. In our society mothers are usually more loved (and therefore, more prone to emotionally blackmailing you) while fathers are more feared (in which case their word is the final one, and you have no choice but to do as they say). Think about it, how many times have you gone to your mother with a problem and asked her to talk to your father? There are cases, obviously, where it is the complete opposite and the mother is the feared one while the father is the softy, but usually, whichever the case may be, one parent is more feared while the other is more loved. The question is, which one gets his or her way in the end? Are we more controlled by love or fear?

I once saw a message on the back of a CNG, stating "Allah Ke Bhoi Korun." On the side of the CNG were messages such as "Namaz Porben" and "Roja Rakhben." Nowhere on the CNG did it say "Allah Ke Bhalobashen." Now, I know we are supposed to fear God, but does that mean we do not consider loving Him as well? Why are our people so mobilised by fear and why does love never play a part? After all, isn't loving God or a person more important than fearing? Call me idealistic but I would rather choose to love, because it means that I care with my entire soul, rather than calculating in my mind about what I would stand to lose and gain because I live in fear.

That being said, I have to also admit that I am guilty of putting fear before love sometimes as well. I suppose we all are. That's the problem with humanity -- nobody cares about loving anymore because they are all being threatened by a bigger force.

No one can claim to love the government. People can say that they share the same views and ideals as a particular political movement or party, but love and reverence hardly ever play into our politics. It's all about what we gain with which political party and what they can do to us if we do not comply with their wishes.

Police forces have the same dilemma. Nobody in their right mind will ever say that they love the police. Even when someone is in trouble the involvement of police is usually met with lukewarm acceptance, rather than relief or happiness. Nor does anyone respect the police. For the most part people fear them, not because they enforce the law, but rather they manipulate the law to suit their own purposes. Still, when we are dealing with these law enforcement agencies, we speak in respectful terms -- not out of admiration, but out of fear.

Even society scares us. We are usually prone to doing things and not doing things for fear of what people will say. However, if anyone ever posed the question of whether we liked these people that so judiciously dictate our actions, the answer would be a resounding no.

And who should we blame? The authorities who instill this fear in us, or we ourselves who play into this fear? What comes first, the chicken or the egg? It's an age-old system that plays all around the world. Fear is a key mobiliser for most political, religious and mass movements, fear makes us think twice and fear makes us conduct ourselves in a certain way. Maybe there is no room for love because as we all know it definitely does not move mountains. I suppose however, that it is there in small nooks and crannies of our world, providing us with a balance to all the fear and hate that the rest of the world pounds into us.


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