A hazy and inert dawn at four in the morning. The day and year flickered on the wall, displayed twenty fifth of February 1998, (Mahashivratri) My sleep had abandoned me, yet I lay motionless in a somnambulistic state. Suddenly, a phantasmagoria appeared before my tightly shut eyes, while I tried to woo back my lost sleep. A gory spectacle unveiled. Machine guns, jets, threateningly advancing spiked feet and horrifying blood-shot eyes glared fixedly. Whimpering cries, piercing shrieks and wailing sounds permeated the atmosphere. Cheered faces, hollowed eyes, severed limbs and maimed children lay rotting all around. China and Pakistan had jointly invaded India. Disaster was imminent as there was no0 unity, order and peace within the country. Even international help was dined in the absence of a stable government and sound leadership. Suddenly the sun was eclipsed by a blindingly incandescent light and there was a soundless proliferated atomic explosion, devastating an entire population as well as impairing millions, who were either beyond its reach or were yet to be born in Delhi. Writhing with impotent rage and utter desperation, I wept silently.
Another sight emerged – the Chinese soldiers were pitching their tents and digging their trenches on the pious banks of the Ganges in Banaras. When an ironical occurrence on the golden jubilee year of India’s independence! I turned to the wall to shut out all the images and sounds.
Hardly a minute elapsed. They came back to torment me. In the city of Karachi, in Pakistan, there occurred a series of bomb blast, one after another. Death, destruction and chaos ruled, crime and lawlessness prevailed, criminals and gangsters ran amuck. Innocent men, women and children were hiding about in nooks and corners like repugnant insects. Life had lost all dignity,valour and sublimity. Now and then, one could hear the slogan “ Azad Sindh Zindabad”.Even in this country unity and peace was missing. Only in the year 1971 a part of a Pakistan had fragmented as Bangladesh. Today, another separate entity was being demanded. After twenty seven years, history was repeating itself. No country could suffer a worse misfortune.
All at once a blackout! No sounds, no stirrings as if the entire universe had been plunged into a dark silent zone. I shivered and clumsily groped for the switch. Nothing happened. There was actually an electricity failure. So …………no light before the appearance of the sun. the night was bleak and foggy. I did not feel the urge to get up and indulge in mundane chores. So once again I stretched my limbs and tried to evoke sleep.
The third scene invaded my slumber. In the Northern part of Srilanka, Sinhalese and Tamils were engaged in a fierce battle using the deadliest and the most sophisticated weapons.
Even in Bangladesh the members of two opposite communities were molesting life and order of the country. There was curfew in the city of Dhaka disrupting the smooth daily routine.
In the country of Nepal, the political and social situation was equally averse. Diverse political groups were fighting for power and igniting strikes, because of egotism and cheap rivalry. No political party was able to stay in the saddle for more than a week or two. The country was in the grip of severe political and economic crisis.
I was neither able to shut out these harrowing scenes nor go back to sleep. My brain was not under my control, which could be switched off at will. Therefore I had to behold the blood-curdling spectacles
In the mountainous regions of Afghanistan, Taliban Militia and the opposing groups were fighting a deadly combat with machine guns and firearms. Untold misery was being inflicted on the wretched civilians. Their houses were shelled down. Their fields were set on fire. The sun seemed to have set for ever and a deadly silence shrouded the entire landscape. The streets wee devoid of any sign of life or activity. I felt nauseated like as etherized patient, trying toa wake. My breathing sounded hollow and distant.
Suddenly everything changed in a flicker. The scenario completely reversed-soft flowing music, delicately tinkling glasses, continuously dancing feet, elegantly dressed men and woman, laughter and gaiety. Was I in heaven?. After eavesdropping here and there, I realized that it was the private yatch of a billionaire, who was celebrating his corporate victory and newly acquired economic power over poor developing countries. About five hundred capitalists – “the Fortunate Five Hundred, the uncrowned masters of five billion world populations”-had been flown over, from all over the world, to share the pleasure. These powerful autocrats were celebrating because they had successfully manoeuvred to further enslave, the already struggling countries, by generously giving them huge loans at fantastic interest rates. Thus, they could rule over these countries and pull the strings like an unseen puppet master. They were rejoicing, because they had ensured an everlasting political and economic instability in these countries. They were rejoicing, because even their leather coins had now become dearer than gold. They could make or mar governments. They could create or destroy leaders, they could even buy or sell souls. They were celebrating, because they had the power and the strength to gnaw at the very roots of colossal trees and topple them for ever. Not even a single human being, from anywhere in the world, had been able to escape their venom.
They were spreading everlasting discontent, greed and insatiable materialism, by offering tempting new devices. And thus, everybody came running after them, seeking more, begging, for more, more and more ! Tinkling glasses, hungry souls, writhing bellies and begging hands ! Please, Please, More !Please More! …….. I was trapped,suffocated,dazed. The roof seemed to be closing in on me. I failed my limbs, like an insect suspended in the air. And then……… the thread snapped…….. and I fell headlong.
I gained my senses again. I had landed on solid ground, safe and sound. Alien ground, alien city. Probly a well developed industrial town of America. Very big and sprawling. Yes! It was New York! Neon lights. Beautiful healthy people scanning the shops, busy gloating,busy spending, busy purchasing. Latest fashions, latest colours, latest sensations. Buy now, pay later. There was no need to carry currency notes in their wallets. Instead they possessed a magic card-the Credit Card'. A novel and alluring means of fulfilling their ever increasing materialistic desires. This credit card was supposed to have two advantages. Firstly, it has no danger of being mugged or robbed, and secondly they could buy as much as they wished without having to pay instantly. The credit would be paid directly to the seller by their bank, and later recovered from them, in easy installments. Only, they would have to pay interest.
Actually they were being offered to the modern shylocks. They were allowing themselves to be mugged and robbed happily. It was a self-imposed victimization and the condemned were for ever doomed. These banks were also owned by the same international capitalists who sucked out the very marrow from their bones, leaving them limp and hollow, tottering and twisting, down in the gutters.
The scene changed, and I perceived a serene ancient painter with silvery white hair and beard. He was filling radiant and cheerful colours in a massive world map. His hand moved, weaving magic, imparting life to inanimate objects. His charismatic touch infused the entire Universe with love, peace and harmony. Nature bloomed, birds twittered, children laughed. While he was completely engrossed in his creation, oblivious of his surroundings, a rowdy herd of motorbike youngsters, attired in black, carrying fierce pistols and guns, accosted him.
He ignored them. They encircled him cursing and teasing. He smiled at them. They spat at him. He lowered his eyes and started filling colours again. Painting and heaving, shouting and screaming, they smearing his canvas with tar and soot. He tried to stop them, plead with them. “Oh my children” ! What are you doing? Why are they interfering with God’s creation?” But, the savages kept on destroying his creation. They kept on smashing tender dreams and hopes. The ancient painter tried to convince them, stop them, distract them, “This map has been drawn by the same Creator, Whom you want to please, with colours known as Namaz, Zakat, Haj, Roza, Iman, or Sadhna, Tirth, Tyag, Dan, Satya, or in other words known as, Worship, Charity, Pilgrimage, Sacrifice, Truth, which are common to all the religious in different forms”. In a way these misguided youths were also trying to reach Him in their own way. The painter was also one of them, from their own community but, an apostle of peace, a harbinger of love. These fanatics could not understand him because they had erected walls around their hearts. “ Stop it, Stop it,” finally the painter cried out in an agonizing voice. The Gangster gripped his hand, pulled his tongue and severed it with one fierce blow !! I chocked. I tried to shriek, but my voice was smothered in my throat. I kicked my legs and clenched my fists.
And then someone shook me vigorously. I opened my eyes. My wife was looking at me curiously “ Why were you shouting in your sleep? ” I woke up with a start. By the time I could come to grips with reality she had already turned away and gone back to sleep. There was still no electricity, but the sun had begun to emerge with a crimson hue. I could not go back to sleep. I wished I could awake people from mental inertia and slumber as I had awoken.. I felt enlightened, having glimpsed a ray of hope, of trust. I wished I could also make others see the truth, the light, the ray !!! When would man become free, enlightened, civilized ?
Today, the entire world, the entire Universe is engaged in a fierce struggle between the forces of good and evil. From the time immemorial, man has been trying to conquer the evil within and without. But in modern times this evil has assumed such gigantic proportions as to threaten the very existence of mankind. Man’s material advancement has brought about a moral degradation. We need to learn constraint, contentment and empathy. Only then shall we be free from primitive savagery, belligerence and greed. Only then shall we achieve perfection and evolve as spiritual beings.
This movement is an attempt to achieve such perfection by trying to inculcate universal harmony and brotherhood. It is going to be the first such step, ever taken, by the twentieth century man, towards the Unification of the entire World as A Unified Human Society.
The entire human race belongs to only one caste and creed “ The Humanity ”We are all Kith and Kin. Those who want to ignore this simple truth, who want to deform and twist this genuin fact, are the deadliest enemies of mankind. The present day man should know, identify and recognize these, enemies, and inspite of the terrible odds and obstacles, must construct a healthy human society.
It must always be remembered, that as Long as a beautiful and congenial Society is not organized, all humans Endeavors, including art, culture and civilization, even prayer, sacrifice, pilgrimage and devotion, will not enable man to achieve any peace and spiritual bliss.