I am interviewed by Mr.Sureshbhai Jani of Mansfield, Texas, USA who is retired but not tired both physically and mentally, always busy with his blogging activity, having published four e-Books so far. He is known as ‘Daada’, an endearment pet (nick) name in blogging world. He was an Electrical Engineer looking after connecting the wires of electricity then and now a man of letters connecting words of literature.
The interview represented here is not an outcome of a single session of questionnaires with him, but it is spread over the period of one and a half year. Since our mutual acquaintance, we have never felt any physical distance as we are always in constant touch with each other through various means of communication. During his visit to India, we happened to meet in person for couple of weeks frequently. When my son and myself visited to US, he made provision of a full week for our mutual get-together and joint stay.
Now, I won’t entice you any longer for the subject in question and take you straightway to the dialogues took place in-between us occasionally.
Sureshbhai : Will you please explain me the meaning of ‘Vali’, your name and also mystery of your nick-name ‘William’?
Valibhai : The meaning of ‘Vali’ is ‘Saint’ or ‘a Godly person’. For the God’s sake, please don’t go to the meaning of my name. I am interwoven in my worldly concerns and consider myself as a negligible slave of the Almighty Creator of the worlds. During my primary education days, we had a lesson in our Gujarati text-book titled as ‘William Tell – a bowman hitting the mark sharply’. Being the resemblance in pronunciation of both the words ‘Vali’ and ‘William’, my classmates started calling me William and sometimes my teachers also addressed me so!
Sureshbhai : Will you please let us know why Ladiben, your wife’s name appears to be a Non-muslim name?
Valibhai : Some centuries ago, our forefathers were converted from Polytheism to Monotheism by Peer (Muslim Saint) Kabeeruddeen. Our social customs and manners are still preserved as they were in those days. On your personal visit to my native place, you might have marked her dress and speech also. I won’t go deep into this matter, but merely suggest that one should read my Article “Rays of hope in ways of humanity” to know the culture of our village-people and our selves better.
Sureshbhai : How did you enter this blogging world?
Valibhai : Munish, an IT Professional and my nephew, residing at Canada explained me what this animal of blogging is! He already knew that I am a writer and also having some good command over Gujarati and English languages. He assured me to provide his technical support. I wrote my first 100 Articles in English during the period of initial two years. On request of the people of my village Kanodar and many internet as well blogger friends, I started writing in Gujarati also and thus my blog “William’s Tales” became bilingual. On 5th May, 2012, I’ll complete my five years of blogging. Till now, I have written 320 Articles in various categories.
Sureshbhai : What is your motto of life and how you did come across it?
Valibhai : My motto is “Live and Let live.” This is the slogan of Sarvodayaism. During my Secondary Education days, the thought of ‘Sarvoday – rise or good of all’ was very popular. Jai Parakasha Narayana, Vinoba Bhave and Ravishanakar Maharaj were the active leaders of Sarvodayaism at the time then. Our Hostel was just like Gurukuls of our ancient India. Our rector and other care-takers made us familiar with all such Gandhian schools of thought. I exactly remember that I had delivered a speech on Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan Yagya at my village Primary School when I was in Std. VIII. I very politely say that I have tried my level best to live, little or more, in line with this slogan during my life till now.
Sureshbhai : With my philosophical trend, I ask you : What are your views about religious dogmatism and quarrels?
Valibhai : My heart always feels pain with the news of wars and conflicts, both military and civilian, from any corner of the world. Killings of humans by humans have destroyed the lives of such a number of people with those, if they were alive, we could have started a new world on any planet of the universe. A very few people are engaged in how to destroy and damage the earth, its innocent population, its balanced environment, its natural resources, its social law and order, its peace and comforts, its primary needs for survival of all creatures, its ideology and spirituality and its many more physical and abstract concerns. The neutral people will classify them in a single group known as the enemies of humanity and rebellious against the God and His Divinity. I strongly believe that no any religion is superior to religion of humanity. No any religion teaches its followers to harm or hate others. Religion of humanity is not a new religion or it is not a new name of any religion. This religion of humanity already exists in all religions of the world.
Sureshbhai : I would like to ask you one more question in line with the previous one to satisfy my curiosity : How would you relate Islam with practices of Yoga/meditation?
Valibhai : Prophet of Islam Hajarat Mohammad (PBUH) has said in a Hadith (Tradition) as “Seek knowledge even if you have to go as far as China, for seeking knowledge is a duty on every Muslim.” Thus, there is nothing wrong if a Mulsim gets knowledge of Yoga and practices it. Yoga is a systematic methodology of scientific experiments done in search for the truth of life and not for any belief system. Yoga is neither related to any religion nor having underlying any ideas behind it to promote any religion. It is a physical and spiritual exercise to keep body and mind fit. Islam is a liberal religion. Yoga has a universal applicability. It helps one to follow one’s own religion in better way whatever that may be. Meanings of the word ‘Yoga’ are ‘Union, to join or to merge individual soul to universal soul’. The five-time obligatory Prayers of Muslims are similar to Yoga as the extreme goals of both the practices are the same. Many Islamic countries except a very few have declared Yoga permissible to practice. Yoga is a science and not a belief. Yoga has no concern with whether you are an atheist or a theist. In brief to say, Yoga is not forbidden in Islam so far as it is practiced as kind of fitness and for deliberate thinking in God. Mr. Sureshbhai, you will be surprised to know that, in the constitution of our community at Kanodar, Yoga has been approved and emphasized to be practiced without any fear of breach of any Islamic law as the said matter has been consulted with our Ayatullahs (Spiritual Preachers).
Sureshbhai : How could you lead your united families of yours and next generation’s successfully?
Valibhai : It is the grace of the Almighty Creator of the worlds that such ability and thoughts were bestowed upon me/us. When I was 16 years old, we had lost the shelter of our father. My younger brothers and sisters (five Nos. from age of 2 to 13) along with our two mothers were under direct responsibilities of my elder brother of 18 and myself. In one or the other form, we are still running our joint businesses and families in harmony and mutual understandings. It was the full co-operation of all the members of our families to achieve our goals of becoming financially strong, building the characters of the members of family and encouraging the next generation for having university education in various medical branches and different professions. We are handling various businesses of automobiles, hotels, medical tourism, stock trading and agriculture.
Sureshbhai : Why are you not associated with many other Professional Sites being a businessman and are fully involved in only literary web-world?
Valibhai : I had joined many such sites if you wish to know. They were SiliconIndia, LinkedIn etcetra. I am totally a retired man from business for the last five years as all groups of businesses are handled by my sons, the members of our united family and partners. You won’t believe but I have withdrawn all such posts from those Professional Sites also and re-posted them under my Principal Blog titled as “William’s Tales”. Some thoughts are creeping into my mind that I should publish such an e-book or a Printed Book where all those business and profession related Articles can be found together. I have thought out the title of my supposed book as “Money Matters Matter Much”. The outcome of my thought depends on destiny.
Sureshbhai : Why did you quit all these Professional sites all of a sudden?
Valibhai : I haven’t become the ascetic of my worldly activities. I have transferred my business responsibilities over the shoulders of the next generation. After all, they should be independent to take important decisions by themselves. Moreover, I was not a qualified Professional or a businessman. What business knowledge I could acquire had resulted from my life long experiences. I have been fortunate enough, with the grace of God, to learn many things. I am a graduate in such subjects which have no any direct concern in Business Management. My Graduation was in Arts with English and Gujarati Literatures & General Sociology. The qualified Professionals and/or Businessmen are always superior to experienced ones. The experience can be the supplementary knowledge; it cannot be the principle one. I withdrew myself from those sites due to the only reason that the group members should not be misguided with my out-dated knowledge.
Sureshbhai : What are your views about Blogging Activity?
Valibhai : Blogging and joining Professional or Business sites are such platforms where we can make free discussions with members just as we do in our own households. During the course of about five years of my blogging, I came in contact with hundreds of known and unknown people of blogger world. We could know each other with this wonderful platform. In spite of being a senior citizen, I am always eager to learn more from the young generation; and, very frankly, I can say that I have learnt a lot from them.
Sureshbhai : Are you not tired of blogging, commenting and helping other bloggers with your experience?
Valibhai : Not at all. I feel good with these activities. In brief to say, blogging has become the part of my life and I’ll continue it till my health and eyesight permit me.
Sureshbhai : Which kind of literature is very favorite for you for your creation?
Valibhai : I have tried most kinds of literature except a novel. Novel-writing is the time consuming literary work. The professional writers of novels can spare such more time to work. As being a businessman, you know, I can find such time rarely; and, you know that short kinds of literature can be written in a single sitting. I have written Essays, Articles, poetry (specially Haikus) and Short Stories both in English and Gujarati. My favorite kind of literature is Article or Essay writing in style of humor. Such kind of literature is known as Light Essay or Article in English. In Gujarati it is called as Lalit Nibandh. I am planning to prepare the E-Books or Printed Books in English and Gujarati, most probably titled as “In Light Mood” and “Halava Mijaje” respectively, with the collection of such humorous Essays and Articles.
Sureshbhai : Will you please let the readers of this interview know about your family and family members?
Valibhai : Yes, why not? I am the head of my united family of 15 members. I have three sons and one daughter. There are nine grandchildren (inclusive of my daughter’s two) in age variation from 8 to 27. Some have completed their university education and some are still studying. They are in Medical and Engineering faculties. All my three sons are involved in business and my son-in-law is a businessman in Dubai (UAE).
Sureshbhai : I thank you very much for your kind co-operation for having your interview. I hope you won’t mind if I publish this interview on my Blog. It will be my pleasure if you also publish this interview anywhere as you like.
Valibhai : It’s all right, Sureshbhai. This interview is our joint work and none of should have any objection if it is published publicly by any of us.
Sureshbhai : In Islamic traditions or manners, what do you say while departing?
Valibhai : Khuda Hafiz or Allah Hafiz – (May the Almight God protect you!)