I met Krishna, a Nepali Chef during a Sunday service at a picturesque village in Manali last year. It was a Nepali Christian gathering in a home amidst a lovely garden in the background of snow capped mountain, having rose ,apple , pears and cherry; the scent of beautiful rose flowers filtering through the window added a rare divinity to the interior of the home. I never had come across such devoute Christian gathering in my life, there was an intense spiritual pulling in the room, the young girls and boys in the choir were literally in tears out of pure bliss, Krishna seemed to have lost in divine love.
While walking back home through the narrow path lined with giant Himalayan Cedar trees(Devdaru) on either side, I asked Krishna as to what attracted him to Christ. ‘ Love’, he said without batting an eyelid. While trying to figure out his answer, he added, “ Madam, you will never understand the pain of a human being who doesn’t have anybody in this world.” He narrated about his cursed life in Nepal as an orphan, as a poor homeless child who was treated like an insect, his addiction to alcohol, drugs and many vices, his pain,hopelessness,anger and poverty. He said it was a foreign missionary who helped him come out of his wretched life through the love of Jesus Christ. Later he gave up all his addictions and found a job as a Chef in a star hotel in Manali.
It was drizzling, and those light drops of rain helped me hide the tears streaming down on my cheek. The Nepalese gathered in that little home might have similar stories of pain and poverty, of desires, dreams and fears. But do we care to listen to the innate feelings of our fellow human beings in this toxic religious hate- mongering era? Aren’t our inner longing for love, our dreams feelings and fears the same? What difference it would make if Krishna finds Love in Christ or vice versa? Isn’t love the great healer? In our silent meditative walk, many such thoughts crossed my mind. I didn’t even realise it when we almost reached at Krishna’s hotel. Krishna went in to work with an invitation for dinner at his hotel. And the unpredictable mountain weather have it, Sun popped up from nowhere.
“But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully’
Love was their oxygen and the beauty of their Platonic love is both enlightening and inspiring. They breathed love and spoke the language of love which others couldn’t realize.Perhaps the spiritual depth of their love had enabled them to endure the ordeal that they had to face for that.The ultimate sacrifice of Kanchana and of Moideen for their love in the Kerala of 50s’ might be beyond the comprehension of today’s smart phone generation.They had to face death threat,extreme physical and mental torture as they belong to different religions. But their love had triumphed as love is the ultimate truth, though Moideen was snatched away from Kanchana in the guise of death. But even death had failed to separate Moideen from Kanchana’s heart. She still lives as the unwed widow of Moideen by looking after the social services he had begun for destitute women.They proved with their life that Love is a precious gift that elevates the spirit, in an otherwise immortal existence.
Love can transcend the limitations of body and its desires, Kanchana and Moideen seemed in love through ages and life after life. Their story pained me though I was so delighted to see two pure souls in love. I felt a deep admiration for them while struggling to stomach the death of Moideen .
I left the theater with a heavy heart, as if clouds of pain burdened my soul, yet I could see butterflies of love fluttering over me.
Nature provides us life without any expectations, The flowers hardly aware of their beauty or the fragrance they spread around them, the river never think that she quenches the thirst of all living beings, and trees never get proud for supporting every living things. The Sun hardly prides about being the light of the world and the Moon doesn’t think it being the king of night.But we humans think highly of ourselves, while in reality we do not give anything in return to nature or other beings except pollution, deforestation and disaster.We are the only being that exploit and use everything around us, we are the only beings that hardly respects Nature and other life forms on earth. Is intelligence makes us blindly selfish and arrogant?
Will Nature ever forgive us for the great harm that we cause to her? Will she take revenge on us rapists and exploiters of her precious being? I do not know. But I wish if human beings were more grateful, more compassionate to know the essence of Nature and her selfless love.
‘India is trying to be a super power with all this poor people, it is not possible’ said my Swiss friend while having lunch at Delhi’s Imperial Hotel. 'Tourists hardly prefer to come in this dirty country that is even costlier than Thailand, and Thailad is very clean’,she further added. Then she kept on explaining how she get sick whenever she comes to India due to pollution, dust etc including her bad,funny sometimes strange experiences in India as a woman.Yes we are very tolerant people, I thought. And we Indians live in a cocoon thinking that our country is perfect and most tolerant in the world.
We do not think it an issue when we see filth around us, when we see children begging around us, of course we get to know about murder,rape and other such evils on a daily basis. But we are used to such things and life goes on. Perhaps we are more interested in silly things. These days we are caught up with another issue to fight over-Nationalists Vs Anti-Nationalists, though we never dare to call our corrupt politicians anti-nationals!According to the 'guidelines' of Hindutva brigade, anyone belongs to minority community or one who criticizes PM Modi is anti-national. I had a taste of their venomous attacks in online forums , my crime is that I belong to a minority community.
I grew up in an India where I was least bothered about my religion, it never occurred to me that I am a Christian. But these days whenever I try to write my opinion in online forum, I get trolled targeting my religion.One person even called me ‘Britisher’, ‘destroyer of civilizations’ ‘rice bag converts’ (I am sorry, they do not even know the history of Christianity in Kerala)and someone who ‘worship Goddess Sonia’.((Frankly I do not have any idea where Sonia Gandhi stands in my life and what she has to do with my views.)Anti-national,professional hater of Hinduism etc are common abuses and some I cannot even write here. I am sure those online trolls do not have any idea about the culture or history of India but somewhere I feel let down by my compatriots, one part of me gets angry and other part of me gets hurt.Who has the right to question my 'Indianess?', Who are they to question my patriotism?
When actors like Sharukh Khan and Aamir khan have voiced their concerns over growing intolerance in India, they too are trolled by the online Hindutva brigade.
Even people go out to burn Aamir’s effigy(I just wonder where do we get all those youth to destructive work? Do they participate with equal enthusiasm to some constructive work to build a better India?)
They say that they are hurt by Aamir’s words.Why they do not get hut or betrayed seeing a little girl begging on street? Why they do not feel ashamed seeing filth aroud them? Why they do not get hurt when daughters of India are raped and abused?Why do they not ashamed seeing the cancerous corruption in the society?Why do they not react with such passion and aggression against all this social evils?
Did they ever reach out and ask a person belongs to minority religion, how does he/she feel? I do remember the panic and insecurity feeling of my Muslim friend in Delhi during Dadri incident, and many Muslims share that insecurity feeling. Only a person belonging to minority community can feel that and it is really insensitive to brand those who speak out their fears as anti-national, it doesn’t make us human beings. Besides people jump to compare India with certain autocratic Middle Eastern countries and Pakistan, but those countries are not model states and our democracy is modeled on western system.
The issue is that we mix religion with politics and this trend is getting dangerous with the ascent of BJP to power. A deliberate attempt to polarize majority Hindu vote is going on in India and it would only pull India backwards.Europe has learned her lesson from the mistake of mixing religion and politics,ofcourse with a heavy price. I do not know when we are going to learn that.Again Pakistan is a perfect example of a failed nation for the fault of mixing religion and politics. Thanks to our founding fathers especially Gandhiji,Nehru and Ambedkar to whom we are indebted to the secular aspect of the constitution.I wish our youth to wake up and work for a better India rather than wasting their time and energy on divisive and viscious agenda.
Little Alyan(drowned Syrian toddler)might have gone to a world having no borders, suffering and pain.But the pic of the still body of the little boy on Turkish sea coast had conveyed the horrors of war and apathy of world in silence. The birds fly on sky neither aware of the borders nor worried about its nationality, same applies to flies,bees and countless wild animals that do not stop at the border fearing deportation. Humans having a higher intelligence coupled with an evolved soul made divisions amongst ourselves with religion,race,colour and class and segregated earth with boundaries only to scare away another human being!
We created a world that would make us insulated in our cocoon, we drew borders to keep ourselves away from others who are less fortunate than us due to historical/geographical/ political or so many other reasons. But when we started having this national identity?The developed Europe was a battlefield once and had meddled with all parts of the world, colonized most of the world and redrew their borders,but those nations which turned away from Syrian crisis do not even seem to have a sense of history.Millions of Europeans/Jews were displaced,murdered and fled as refugees to different part of the world during world wars. But today the refugees fleeing for life are called as ‘illegal immigrants!’ Weren’t those British who migrated to Americas,Australia and Newzland illegal immigrants? Not to mention the brutalities and exploitation the colonisers /migrant Europeans had inflicted on the natives in Asia, America and Africa. And Haven’t Asia and Africa contributed to the prosperity of Europe?
Another inconvenient truth is that Europe particularly UK and US is part of the problem of present day middle east crisis, so are Arab countries like Saudi,Qatar,Kuwait etc.Suni Saudi Arabia helped rebels to fight Assad govt(Shia) in Syria at the same time helps suppress Shia protests against Sunni regime in Shia majority Bahrain, the Shias in Bahrain are denied many rights and live in kind of ghettoes.
For me the idea of nations itself is looking at the world with a narrow perspective, we are not owners of planet earth though we pretend to be so and nobody has the right to keep all resources for themselves, besides helping another human being in distress or any living being for that matter is the basic duty of us humans.
We create so many imaginary identities about nation,race and religion, but what we lack in this influx of identities is the ability to love and empathise. I wish for a world where there would be no boarders, where we could rise above narrow nationalism.