On belonging and being cruel

In Sanskrit, the word Mama (pronounced muh-muh), means ‘mine’ and indicates possession. My dad, my mom, my sofa… like that.

This word is the root for the word Mamata, which is often used to imply motherly love. Literally though, Mamata simply means mine-ness. It is the feeling that something is very deeply yours, like a baby belongs to a mother.

Mama is also the root for the word Nirmama, meaning cruel. Literally, Nirmama is simply the opposite of Mama.

Here then, is my point.

Cruelty may not necessarily manifest as extreme violence. We are being cruel when we treat people as if we do not belong to each other, when we treat them as something removed from ourselves, when we act as if we are not one and the same.