I am particularly happy for something I learned from my mother. Never confuse opinions with persons. Opinions are not people. They are not even the most important things about a person. You must meet opinion with opinion and a person with person. Never mistake a person's opinion as the whole person. The person behind the opinion is far, far, far more important and real than the opinion he holds and expresses. His opinion is based on the information he has access to and the analysis and conclusions he draws from it. All this can drastically change if the raw material that he put into the mixer changes. But the person behind the opinion will remain essentially the same - capable of transcending his thoughts, opinions, ideas and the like.
This lesson from my mother early on in my life helped me find some wonderful human beings among the ranks of those whose views on many things were opposed to those of mine - as in politics, for instance. I was able to befriend my rivals and opponents who otherwise remained my rivals and opponents. No quarters were given and none asked for by either side. And yet, I formed association and relationship grounded on the firm foundations of love and mutual respect for each other's attitudes and ideas on things."
Sometimes - often - one is hit by monstrous misunderstandings and misinterpretations, such as the one I was subjected to by a reporter of the Hindustan Times and a few others about my article on Captain Amarinder Singh. The scribe, a good hearted, well meaning and upright girl, seriously believed that just because I am with Sardar Parkash Singh Badal and the Akalis, everything about Captain Amarinder Singh must be nasty and negatively critical. If it is not, then I am trying to butter my access to those in power at the cost of my loyalty to the one man whom I have stood by for nearly four decades and with whom my attachment is profoundly personal, emotional and a subject which is extremely sensitive. However, the good, intelligent and honest girl journalist thought (believed) that I must blindly abuse everything that Captain Singh does, regardless of its merit. What surprised me was that the article in question was in fact an indictment of everything the new government had done except its choice of officers and the Chief Minister's non-confrontationist posturing.
However, I had to issue a clarification so that there is no confusion about my lifelong love for the man who in my opinion at least remains gentle giant and among the tallest statesmen in the world today - a world full of ugly icons, mutilated mindsets and hatred and bitterness which belittles human kind.
Everyone who knows me (including the journalist in question) knows also that my love for and equation with Sardar Parkash Singh Badal are entirely non-negotiable. Yet I know that in a world blinded to the entire spectrum of truth except for the bands of black and white, things like decorum and respect for merit will always get misunderstood, mistaken and misrepresented as signs of hypocrisy or of chameleon conduct.
Isn't it odd that in order to prove my love for one person, I must first prove my hatred for another. And I have always maintained that differences in opinions and ideologies or sometimes even of fundamental approach to issues must be accepted as the norm in human exchanges and must be taken in one's stride without letting these differences affect our fundamental beliefs and approach on life. Nothing must come in the way of our spreading the fragrance of love and goodwill which each one of us carries in his/her heart.
The priceless wealth I gained in earning someone’s goodwill is at least partly thanks to the teachings of my mother - and of course that someone’s own outstanding skills and other qualities as a person. At that time, a lot was being said to ridicule the Akalis and our government and me personally by some really good and intelligent people. The choice I had was either to lose the immense wealth I could gain through earning their goodwill and company by letting patience and love guide me, or of blowing it all up in stupid vanity, obstinacy and mulish hot headed-ness.
I decided to follow the echoes of my mother's footsteps to scale the walls of political differences and gain a direct access to the attics in their hearts.