My valuable readers,
This book “Despair and Hope” is written for those who are looking neither for a broad social, political and historical canvass nor a specialization of any topic. It is meant to help you pass your time in a positive way without racking the brain. It is likely to impart the feelings of a Parisian flaneur in a book bazaar doing a literary tour. You may find a variety of subjects that are not new but refreshing. You may agree or disagree with the views and observations but would open a window for argument and discussion.
You might find it interesting to read how a non-intellectual, ordinary mind also puts up an idea that makes some sense. You may discover a latent streak of rebellion against the established thoughts without a touch of being iconoclast. No techniques of complex solutions are concocted here but an interesting easy way out of problems is presented for most of the loaded discussions.
In my literary journey, I had come across a lot of friends who talked about the subjects presented in this book. I have added some ideas to their dialogue. There is nothing extraordinary in this book but I’m sure that it would satisfy a little of your curiosity.
In the very first chapter ‘Religion and Reason’ of this book I’ve tried to open a dialogue and the tone what follows next.
“It was not my personal choice to be born in a family I landed. In the busy life of today, very few of us have time to go through and study all that the contemporary religions could offer. A normal human being is defined by his her birth certificate which is the description of birth and antecedents. If one has to explore the deeper truths of creation and existence today, one life or several lives won’t suffice to find the ultimate reality. The concept of FAITH has to enter in life. So, I’m satisfied with the set of beliefs I’d inherited from my parents, relatives, neighbors and the society where I lived. My religion is a Gift of God. Good luck also to all deeply religious zealots and sincere souls. I have no argument with those who believe otherwise. Everyone has to bear his own cross. I’m what I’m and I’m content with what I’m.”
The article is concluded with the following lines:
“To me, the spirit of religion is to serve the mankind. Unfortunately, the new insular movements in the Islamic world are closing the windows of fresh air of thoughts. The kind of freedom that science demands is not to be found among the fanatic fringes of Islamic world.”
In another chapter – ‘The Shia Sunni Unity’ I’ve expressed the following personal thought:
“I have worked hard through my life to understand this cleavage and discover the real reason but have miserably failed to decide the side which is RIGHT in absolute terms. My feeling of being torn between the doctrines of Shia Islam and Sunni Islam has often driven me to despair and nervous breakdown. And every new quest for truth led me to a sadder explosion or transported me into an even worse cul-de-sac. Ironically, several individuals both from the major Islamic sects sincerely seek to please God by disparaging the other sect with all their might.”
Similarly, the article ‘Black is Beautiful’ begins with the following lines:
“The centre of cultural gravity was shifted when Nelson Mandela challenged and defeated the Apartheid regime of South Africa. The prejudice against dark skin gave way once Barrak Hussain Obama, a darky himself, became the President of the most powerful nation on earth. Back home, a lot of water has also flown below the bridge of the river Gomti since Gandhi’s return from South Africa.
However, the bias against swart, swarthy and dusky skin persists extensively in our Indian society.”
For a change of taste, in the chapter – ‘Rooh Afza’ you would read these lines:
“But none of these drink command that love, respect and loyalty that the ‘Rooh Afza enjoys from its consumers. On a hot day nothing quenches the thirst like Rooh Afza. From the time of ‘One India’, before the advent of Pakistan and Bangla Desh, the pleasant rose-pink tint and its delicate flavor has been savored by most of the denizens irrespective of faith and geography. Rooh Afza still unites the three divided nations. In almost every third home of the county you can find the half empty bottles that had never changed its looks.”
Paying my tributes to Baba Amte I’ve written:
“However, a rainy night changed his entire approach to life.
No, he didn’t meet a beautiful girl that ‘Barsat Ki Raat’ as happens to romantic and impractical poets in dreams. Sagacious and practical people encounter harsh realities. On his way home, he saw a leper named Tulshiram who was lying naked by the road. The sight of his fingerless and maggot-ridden body sent shock through Amte’s spine. He was horrified. His initial impulse prompted him to leave the place fearing infection. However, a second thought and call of conscience compelled Baba Amte to help the destitute. He decided to feed the man with his own hands and gave him shelter for the rest of his life.”
In the chapter – “Islam and Suicide” there is heartrending discussion about this horrible act and attitude of Islam.
“Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. It is an act of helplessness, defeat and nihilism (the rejection of all religious and moral principles). Several causes like disturbed family life, free fall from a high social, political and economic pedestal, loneliness, breach of trust etc. are attributed to it. But the fulcrum of this move is always depression.
The Holy Quran Prohibiting Killing of Oneself or Others:
O you who have believed, do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly but only [in lawful] business by mutual consent. And do not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.”.
………………………………….Surat An-Nisa 4:29
“And spend in the Cause of Allah and do not throw yourselves in destruction.”
………Surat Al-Baqrah 2:195
The book ends with a very humble confession and revelation about my own life:
“I never looked back since then. Jamal touched the dazzling heights of his professional career, and I had somehow managed to survive as I stand before you. Today, this one of the dearest friend of my life is suffering from Retina Eye Problems. He is going to be operated on 4th of April. I’m willing to give him one of my eye but being a severe heart patient with several stunts in my body, coupled with the SUGAR visitation and Backaches, the Doctors feel that no choice would be worse than any of my body organs.”
The book is available as an e-book : https://www.my-books.in
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