Taming the Tongue

Hold thy tongue since most of the evil is born here. It affects lives adversely.

I am grateful to Greater Kashmir for the space and itsreaders for the immense love and constructive feedback.  My last week column about the power ofsilence was well-received and the avalanche of emails from the esteemed readersgenerated another debate about resistance and the misuse of tongue. Here, Iwill elucidate further on how silence is resilience and how it makes usflexible enough to stomach what is otherwise indigestible.

The faculty of tongue is amazing. Tongue enslaves us. Itleads us astray. Don't scream. As intelligence increases, speech decreases. Themore one talks, the less the words mean. Silence can, sometimes, be the mosteloquent reply. Tongue is the first introduction of an individual. I treat itas lock & key. Unlock the shop and see what lies inside: gold or gutter.Tongue is highly hazardous. An anti-social element is put behind bars for atime-being and released after a certain period. But it continues to remaincaged. It is imprisoned between 32 teeth. Once we let it escape, it goes wildand creates blunders. The slip sours relations. It does all the damage:backbiting, taunts, lies, allegations, invectives, slander, complaining andwhat not. With the crack of dawn, all the body-parts plead tongue to be decent,lest they will have to face the music. Tongue is the plinth of trust. It makesand breaks promises. We use it to tweak the truth. It cuts and its bruiseshardly heal.

During oil spraying in our orchards a day before, my fatherbriefed me on how Kashmiris leave no stone unturned in fuelling rumour mills.Kashmir is a rumour republic per square mile. The Dapaan brigade forwardsmessages without authenticity. It creates panic and fear in our lives.  We blow things out of proportion. Let'srefrain from it.  We unknowingly create unimaginablemagnitude of scare in others. Let's take control of this vital "rudder" thatdirects our lives. As everything has shut for obvious reasons across the globe,this is the scheme of "great leveler" to tame the world. It is a gentlereminder of natural lockdown. The world is quieter like never before. Take abreak, look within and repent.

Humans do down others by speaking ill. We backstab those whopin their faith on us since they feel their secrets can take refuge. The evilmotive of belittling is not the godly trait. The vice of scandal-mongering iscondemned in strongest possible terms. Our religious references admonish thosewho speak ill of others. Bible explains it beautifully: "If anyone doesn'tstumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body."The Gita tells us that people born with god like endowments (superego) stayaway from ostentation, pride and backbiting. While Guru Granth Sahib puts itclearly in a simplified way: "The slanderer carries the great burden of sins.Walk away from the chatterbox." Allah has severely scolded it in Quran. "Nor backbite one another. Would anyof you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? No. You would abhor it."   [Hujarat: 12]

Don't tell your stories to random people. Our well-wishersturn strangers in this fraud and farce world. People manipulate and becomepropagandists if we don't live up to their expectations. Tongue is misusedeverywhere. Tongue breaks heart, shatters it into shards like a mirror. We canrepair toys not mirror. First impression is the lasting impression. When wedon't weigh words carefully, they lower our status and stature. Tongue hurlsinsulting outburst. It has to stop. I strongly advocate it for a reason. Ourone sentence, which makes us feel empowered is making someone cry in solitude.The currency of tongue, as popular Pakistani novelist, Umera Ahmed, opines in Peer-i-Kaamilis Metha-bol. "If honey-layered words are pleasing our ear-drums, beware ofsugar-coated words at the same time." Tongue offends. Eavesdropping isprohibited. We feel misfit as we are rejected in this frenzied world. Don't bedisheartened. People don't afford expensive things, hence rejection. Godquickly comes up with best replacement.

We, the uneducated literates, run malicious campaigns onsocial media, do the online lynching and character assassination in the name ofreligion. It is utterly disgraceful. We jump to the conclusions and drawparallels. Who are we to judge someone? We have no right to pass decrees on howsomeone is dressed. We feel embarrassed when we know the reality of whom wejudge. These sinister campaigns wag the tongues. Making fun of someone andmaking him/her cry is easy, what is difficult is to make someone smile.  Tongue does this wonder as well. Our actionsare monitored and locked. This Surveillance of God is flawless. It will bereplayed on the day of resurrection. As Quran reminds us Tongue will bespeechless and rest of the body will be witness. We harm someone's reputationby reporting something which he was never involved in just to show the might.It is a personal loss. We regret later. Silence widens the scope of how noveltycan be nurtured. More good words is less bad words. It is inverselyproportional. It is a two-way traffic. What comes around goes around.

Bad-mouthing is the key factor of high-rate of divorces andbreakups. Tongue is poisonous. Gossip is satanic. It is worse than adultery. Itfans fires of hatred. When we say nasty things on social circles, it ripsothers apart. The sharp-edged arrows of tongue penetrate deep. Its scars remainunhealed since no balm is available. We do the mud-slinging on the cozy bedssince we are keyboard warriors. We never realize the toxicity of our typing.Half-truth is worse than a lie. Fasting of tongue is important to achievespiritual perfection. Less talk is more rewarding. Laughing at someone isanother form of looking down upon. Ask yourself why would I defame anyone?

Learn the art of tight-lipping. Shut-up if time demands.Don't scoff and expose. We all are imperfect. Let's seek apologies and learn to forgive others to strike a balance.Let's acknowledge our faults. God is merciful. Every saint has a past and everysinner has a future. There is always a soft approach of how we can retaliate words.Don't be a people pleaser. Tongue is a precious gift. Guard it. When I see themalice of tongue, I wish we were born without the power of speech. This worldwould have been a better place to live. On a parting note, my hand-fold requestto my readers is not to sell panic, don't be alarmists, vow not to hurt otherseven with gestures, mimicking or sarcastic remarks. Embrace silence and livethis couplet:

Koi to ho Jo gabraye meri khamoshi say

Kisi ko to samajh aaye mere lehje ka dukh!

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