Let the thought of God decide
For me to walk, live and pray
I am weary of the info-natic…
That derails existence.
Let the thought of God decide
For me to walk, live and pray
I am weary of the info-natic…
That derails existence.
Still rivers, wilted plants, cracked- wide-open soil,
It’s the death knell in the polluted land;
Elfin-like agro-men thou scant-myth recoil,
Muster thee thy stay on the edge of one’s hand.
Sweat, labour and care in market fare
Agro-men hike their own produce not to dare
The silent hawk hovering o’er sand
Slowly saps the heart beat of agro-land
To the rhythm of the farm; ever banned!
Peasant revolts break no cumbersome yoke
Rhetoric, scarecrow in the field, unmoved;
Draws economic fault lines, agro-broke
Till mobile organic life is far removed.
Tainted loan waiver, ever in mind imprinted;
To men doth be harbinger of trouble painted
But, organic foliage’s spring new dawn hue
As plants fortify men with unexpected revenue.
“How many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see?” asks Bob Dylan, when hundreds of melancholic tales such as refugee crisis, discrimination against women, marginalization of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities, and human trafficking permeate our world and we just let them go unnoticed and disdained without empathy?
In an advanced world, pretension is quite a paradox. Rights of equality, justice and liberty are enshrined in every constitution of the world; yet, uncivilized practices still exist. Certain sections of people tend to exclude others through various practices such as stereotypes, stigmas and superstitions based on gender, religion and so on. Such practices rob them of the dignity, security and the opportunity to live a decent life.
In some parts of the world, the Alan Kurdi’s tale continues to be washed ashore as the plight of the refugees/migrants remains unaddressed. In India, the dalits, who occupy the lowest stratum of Hindu society, suffer from socio-economic discrimination, indignity and violence. In all of India, an estimate of 40,801 atrocities against the dalits were recorded in 2016; and against the SCs, 214 incidents of crimes were recorded.
Intertwined with these dreadful perils, inequality, a feature of sidelining the marginalized is on the rise. Forbes’ 2018 rich list has a record of 2,208 billionaires worldwid. Moreover, approximately two-thirds of their wealth is the product of wrongful inheritance, monopoly and cronyism. In India, Oxfam reported that 73 % of the wealth went to the richest one percent, while 67 crore Indians saw one percent increase in their wealth.
Stories of suffering, oppression and inequality are real and acute. The gloomy scenario demands that our minds be prodded with questions and reflections as to why social problems continue to be rampant across the world. The constitution of every country emphasises the core values of protection,dignity and social welfare. However, today the programs and policies seem to only create a dichotomy. The corporates or capitalists, who enjoy favors from the government, reap enormous benefits at the expense of others. Leaders across the globe seem to propagate and place the maniac of progress in the hands of the powerful, assess the rate of growth but seldom examine who are excluded in the process and why. As it seems, the ideals of equal protection, justice, equality and fraternity are only a foray created to cover the human tendency of social exclusion.
So, what are the measures to solve the crisis?
The present generation has all the power to remedy the consequences of social exclusion but, with cold indifference refuses to do so. We can no longer shy away from the bleak harrowing stories. Rejecting differences that cause injustices and all kinds of discriminations, we must start walking hand in hand and take care of each other- and this is Noam Chomsky’ s concept of “protection”- for a positive transformation to take place in our society. Denouncing injustices and discriminations may not suffice; concrete guidelines and viable solutions must be thought of. Human tendency may tend to belief that everything is well (like politicians do), but the people of all sections must strive to advance human wellbeing globally. With the advancement in every field, the world is capable of reshaping the world through collective social responsibility. Therefore, two possible steps:
Heightening social consciousness: Introducing literature that integrates social consciousness and social responsibility could help reshape our society. The youth could engage in debates and social interactions to understand the dynamics of the society. In this way, they can get good knowledge of the society and can help organize a better society.
Social engagement: This can be done through visits, awareness program on various schemes meant for the less privileged. One example could be- sahaya program where the youth go to the peripheries to explore, experience first-hand what others go through.
Lastly, “Leaving no one behind” (UNDP), does not have to remain a prelude. A stronger focus on those marginalized has to be materialized through direct confrontation of the-deep rooted barriers that limit the opportunities of the less privileged to influence the policies and institutions that determine their lives.
I sat by the lonely river, askance,
Apart, distinct and silent,
Composed, in deep slumbering solitude,
In meditative Buddha posture.
The tranquil waterway flowed sombre
Under an arch, overcast dark blue sky
Seemed to lead to the heart
Of an immense darkness.
A mountain on the western side
Slept on stilling lying eternity; on its back,
An abyss stood stiffly, seemingly
In forty five degree shape,
Half on its feet, firm on its feet,
Its eyes fixedly mounted on the river
Its hand magneted tightly beside the river bank.
The air was dark above the mountain’s bald head,
And farther back it, seemed condensed
Into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless
Over it. According to ancient history,
Saladin seemed to have caused the dark air
Turning Luminous Day, ‘Black’.
Such knowledge seemed to have pointed out
To the one reality-
“The river and the mountain
Had lost their gems and emeralds”
Termites had gobbled them up
Infinitesimal body yet contained all inside
Wondered, “how!” But knew too well
History might have recorded such tale
Folks played it not; notarized yet, unsung
Recognized yet not recognised, locked up
Oh! Let it not out! Survival instinct preserved
Wondered what asylum had it!
Cosy though, seemingly, its content
For centuries laid; its head,
Never will and ever be silenced
Its root, already cemented
Experts like neurologist might not know
How it suited well there.
It’s a sad thing
The mountain and the river
Had for eternity lost their gems and emeralds
And had turned sombre every minute.
It’s hope against hope now
And praying that
“Unstained light spills over the darkness”
By Goldenstar Dkhar
My dear beloved
Since time immemorial,
Stood you by your ground
Unshaken, always the same,
The best and the loveliest.
You are undeniably affable,
Generous and kind
Generating only fragrance
Giving life, that is pure
And white like a Lily.
Storms beat you,
Torrential rain sweeps you away
Still, you remain ever the same
Rooted and undefiled.
Fragrance is your gift,
The eternal perfume
That percolates the human soul
(Their reflection too)
You are the love of the lovable
You enrich those who desire
And those who don’t desire you
You soar heavenward
Always absorbing energy
Giving as you receive
Without any cost
No matter how much
You are taken and extracted.
Looking at you,
I contemplate the wonders,
While believing also in the next,
That beyond the beaming firmament
Lies the eternal firmament
The reality that blossoms
Only when the time is still.
I am acclimatized to your way
Have grown familiar with your voice
Though not in full measure.
I am accustomed to your silence
I love its mystery
And I find comfort, solace
And refuge even when just contemplating
Even though in the beginning
It was indescribably agonizing.
Yet, in the frozen of time
In the stillness of time
When the human heart breaks
When the soul is still
And the mind is at rest
Life while laying at rest
Awakens and clothes itself
With the celestial body
And the soul unites itself
With the truth,
The truth that binds it.
I sat down by the road,
Thinking of you
I remember the days
When you spoke first to me
Your soft, mellifluous voice
Imprinted on my heart
Indelible marks of love.
Streams never run dry
After I met you
How I wish I could be
Only with you!
To watch you smile
To hear you speak
I wish the sun never sets
Or the night too long
I wish our heartbeats
Could play melodious music for us
Oh how perfect it would be
To put such music
For our ball dance!
Our days are too short;
Nevertheless, our love is eternal
Our days may be short
But our hearts are welded
To one another
That’s the reason
I hope that days
Will never be too lonely
Even if/when I sit
By the road side.
I have no secrets
To hide or withhold from men
But I may be complicated
I comply neither with the ways of men
Nor with the ways of the aliens
Just as my birth is a mystery
So thus my mind be an intricately
Carved piece of sausage
Chiseled with experience
Both enormous and insignificant
Memories are canals and dams built
Valued so much
As large institute and mechanism
That extends and expands
Life beyond measure
If none can decipher what I am
Let not amazement seize you
One day you will be a winner
Of maze runner joke
Soon after seeing hope
Maze runner game
Is not that complicated
If you know how to play it.
. Goldensta Dkhar
We were driving up Lum Umtdem Road, Urpih. Parallel to the traffic on the extreme left stood a small little girl, covered with filth that revealed her penury. By her manners, I could visualize that she wanted to enter the bus I was in. Looking at her fixedly, I did not know what to think of. She had just two little stones with which she could produce her own music. She was barefoot, and her somber, beautiful face reflected a longing that every human being wished and desired for. She walked herself into the bus, looked at the gigantic people who took no notice of her presence. My eyes fixed intently on her expecting that she would do something.
The traffic lights changed. We moved ahead swiftly. I reclined on my seat, now diverting my attention to my novel “Great Expectation”. The story quite enchanted me. “Wow!” I exclaimed. “Pip is the most providential person in the world to receive such a support from Mrs. Havisham in life.” Little did I realize that the little girl was there just a stone’s throw from my seat. She was engrossed in her lullaby. By the time I opened my ears to her song, I could hear only the end… “Heal the world… make it a better place… to live in….for you and for me and the entire human race….”
With the assured spirit and great expectation, the little girl went round holding her beloved bowl. Few passengers donated a meager amount of money. But, I also noticed something bizarre in one of the gentleman’s demeanors. Dressed like a prince, dazed and distracted with the latest gadget ‘Samsung Galaxy’, that man took out a swelling purse and, proudly and shamelessly, dropped a coin of ‘invaluable price’. I was simply puzzled and surprised too; the girl accepted the charitable man’s generous act graciously and proceeded further. “What a miser!” I complained. I did not think whether I was right in my disgust.
When the girl came to me, I simply excused myself- “I have no money”. What a holy lie it was. Few minutes ago, I chided over somebody’s behavior. Confounded as I was, I felt myself wedged between heaven and earth. The little girl refused to move until she received a rupee. Loyalty to my cousin’s statement crippled me- “never give anything to beggars. They are only pretending….” The girl’s pressure burnt me with holy indignation and I felt her almost detestable. Tired of waiting, she advanced towards the exit door. My eyes followed her. She got off the bus and hastily ran to her home that was invisible to me. I saw only a few minuscule pyramid huts close by. It was a dingy and grimy place, but a sweet home for some which I lately discovered in life.
After she was gone, I recollected myself. “I don’t know how much she got. Does she have parents?”I asked myself. Though at that moment physically absent, the girl’s face haunted me all through the day.
When I left home, the sky was gloomy. But as I got off the bus, rain poured down heavily. It made me wait till it got subsided.
The heavy shower had left a lot of big puddles on the road. As I walked towards the Manjhi town, I saw three little urchins. Beside them laid a man. I suspected him to be their father. He was in deep slumber in a pedestrian road. As new as a new born babe, sack covered him partially. Looking at the children, I murmured to myself, “Are these the siblings of the small girl I encountered?”
I sighed, “oh, God!” “They have no computer games to play with, except the dog-eared toys; no schools to learn at, no real home to go to- they were not even aware of any such desire.” Their pitiable condition filled my heart with sympathy and I concluded that they were the offspring of the pavements- “the natural doom protects them; the trees, shelter them; the rough roads and pathways, offer stony beds.” Kind nature bestowed on them momentary entertainment. Their lives seemed to be wasted. Despite the urge I felt within to do something, I just ignored them. I gazed at them, disconsolate, and walked on. I knew I had no power.
Travelling through the town of Manjhi, the hubbub of the town dissipated my previous sorrows. I hired a taxi which carried me off speedily to the Manjhi Railway station where I had to board a train. On reaching, three tiny waifs, forming a little chain as they hanged on to each other, arrested my eyes. They were trying to push themselves into the third class-compartment. The people forbade entry. Their mouths quivered as they pleaded, for they must get in to reach their destination. But everyone paid scant attention to them. They missed the train. I stood by and watched the helpless waifs. Tears trickled down their cheeks. Knowing the wrath of my fellow- travelers, I had not the courage to plead the case of these unfortunate waifs. I was tentative to offer help as I knew they were ticketless. My principle forbade me encourage them. But I did want them to reach their destination. Confronted with the dilemma, I turned away. I did not know whether they got any train that evening.
I sat in the comfort of my home. The sun was at its zenith. The sky was beautiful golden-blue. Endless-nagging thoughts brewed in my mind. I dreamed of being like the sun- to light the face of the earth even after departing. I wanted to leave behind footprints like Jawaharlal Nehru and St. Philip Neri-but had no dexterity. The dream in my breast raised its head like a penguin chick. I shed a few tears and hushed it back to sleep.
There were ample of things I desired to accomplish, but to my dismay, failed miserably. I regretted. So many kind acts I could have performed, but frailty demised my desire. Deep in meditation, I saw the little girl standing idly before me; the three desperate faces, who would always miss their train; and the little ones at play, who would never ache for unknown horizons. But I knew I had no right to grieve over my dreams- for millions dare not dream.
“Looking at the world that has disfigured greatly our imagination is seized with terror.”
Power, greed and politics have adversely affected the balance of our world. Massive destruction, extinction of species and environmental degradation are only infinitesimal aspects of its consequence. Besides deterioration of the environment, humans are prone to global warming particularly the less dignified group. The only theoretical response we have is Laudato Si’ serving as a red light to the world at the moment. If consumerism continues to dominate our world, it may not remain as a place of inhabitants, but an Earth broken and torn into pieces. Reflections on the present situation on humanity, therefore, may be abstract and tiresome because the insurmountable damage done is enormous. However, we must amass courage to dare to peer into the wounds inflicted by our very own doing. Otherwise, this generation will end abruptly.
According to the findings of the European Union, out of 560 million city residents in China only 1 percent breathes air that is considered healthy. But, equally shocking and alarming to this is that air is sold like water bottle. Air which is immaterial and free has become another resource for business. On the other hand, statistics have shown that by 2025, Asian countries are expected to have severe water shortage. Some cities like Calcutta and Mumbai are kept on the red line. Probably, due to the melting of glaciers caused by global warming, they will be submerged under water. These are hard facts that cannot be ignored, yet it is an alarm that calls for serious and ponderous deliberation on how to conserve the planet Earth.
The cry of the nature is clear and distinct, yet we pay less or no heed to ecological crisis. Studies have proven the insensitivity of every man towards nature. The sea which is supposed to be for aquatic beings has metaphorically become a ‘landfill’ for tons of plastics. (This is just one side of how consumerist culture disposes of waste). Every year, there are about 20-50 million tons of electric waste generated across the world. Again out of these, only 11.4 % is recovered for recycling. Some countries like U.S have even uncultured consumers who throw 130,000 computers every day, and over 100 million cell phones discarded annually. Therefore, the amount we contribute to pollution is gigantic, yet we care nothing about its insidious and scathing effect on all beings especially on the future generation.
Environmental pollution is just one aspect of ecological crisis. In the last five decades we have witnessed our planet ecosystems deteriorating by 60 % approximately due to human activity. Consequently, we have loss of biodiversity. It is also said that one in four mammals is at high risk of extinction. Marine mammals in particular are more threatened amounting close to one in three species. 50 million acres of rainforest are lost every year. All these are caused by human encroachment upon the inhabitats of flora and fauna kingdom. Furthermore, pollution, waste and the throw away culture have increased atmospheric pollutants causing insidious health hazards and premature deaths. Pollution caused by industrial fumes, emission from automobiles, etc contribute enormously to the acidification of soil and water. All these are results of our own action.
Science and technology have improved the capacity of production at faster rate, but at the expense of nature. The current consumption of the world is 50 % faster than the Earth can satisfy them. This means that the demand for resources has exponentially increased and therefore, paving a way to resource scarcity. Affluent people, constituting 20% of the world‘s population, consume 80 % of the global resources. Therefore, indirectly they are responsible for climate change and other global concerns. The poor on the other hand, lack sufficient access to basic necessities such as food, clean water and energy. However, they are the ones suffering from the harmful effects of climate change and resource depletion. This also indicates an ever-increasing problem of poverty because of unequal distribution of resources.
We have no problem in the development of science and technology that improves standard of living. In fact, Pope Francis, in his encyclical ‘Laudato Si’, speaks of science and technology as ‘wonderful products of a God- given human creativity’. According to his argument, techno-science if well directed can produce important means of improving the standard of human lives. But, tragically, man seems to develop technology that is devoid of development in human responsibility in sensitizing the inventions or growth according to values and conscience. The amount of goods produced in the market is above the real needs of each individual. In another perspective we see creation of deadly war weapons. Weapons only aggravate violence as well as increase the debris which ultimately augments waste. This only shows that man is heartless to the cry of both humans and nature. Instead of spending the money for improving the environment, he simply wastes it on war-creation of deadly weapons.
Accountability for our own activity must, therefore, be at the heart of our response to the ecological crisis. Pope Francis says it’s an ecological conversion we need. However, it must be based on practicality. Today planting trees will not suffice to recover loss or repair damage. Indeed, the present call is demanding, yet it must be attended to. Otherwise, we will never have harmony in nature. What we can do at the moment is reduce the present consumption so that less resource is used in production. This will at least save the energy and resources for the future generation. On the other hand, instead of producing more waste, we can practice waste management through recycling (recycling has economic value). Recycling of 1 ton of papers can save 17 trees, 2 barrels of oil, 4, 100 kilowatts of energy, 32 cubic yards of landfill space and 60 pounds of air pollution.
If we desire the environment to be peaceful each individual must take responsibility and respond to the call for introspection with regard to the conservation of environment. Therefore, we must cater to every need to improve our environmental condition if we want our world to be free from all its present wailing position.