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Today my heart, paining with the burning issue of violence now-a-days spread over one or the other country of the world, stimulates me to write something still more over and above some of my previous articles in this regard. Wars and conflicts, both military and civilian, can never bring permanent solutions of the issues. The world has experienced the failure of experiments of violence and still we are not prepared to give a serious thought over the philosophy of non-violence successfully experimented by Mahatma Gandhi. The world is now weary of hate and violence. Far past and recent massacres made through Atomic Bombs and Bomb Blasts have destroyed the lives of such a number of people with whom, if they were alive, we could have started a new world on any planet of the universe.
Let me very frankly put a new equation as “World = Rulers + Ruled”. The Rulers are at top, the Ruled are at bottom. The Rulers are few and the Ruled are countless. Out of both the divisions, the oppressors are few, the oppressed are many. From top to bottom, those some very few are engaged in how to destroy 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. A great number of the oppressed have to judge who use Atomic Bombs and alike destroying weapons as the Rulers and who use Bomb Blasts and similar practices damaging and disturbing civilian lives as the Ruled. A neutral observer will not generalize them in particular group of East or West and Caste or Religion. They will classify them as a single group of known as the enemies of humanity and rebellious against the God and His Divinity.
The Birthday (2nd October) of Mahatma Gandhi has been declared as International Non-violence Day by the UNO. But, what of that if the purpose of the day is not served! All the member nations of the UNO should at least introduce the study of Non-violence minimum at Primary Education level and see we can create a new generation throughout the world that can change the face of the world with a new concept of Non-violence. Revolutionary education to present growing up generation may bring good results flourished fully after 100 years if we start today. I recall an ancient system of erecting walls with bricks and stones around the capital cities of a particular kingdom to protect it from the attacks of the enemies. In that context, I remember a quote somewhere read as “Just to prevent the wars, walls should be built in the minds of the people.” The lessons of Non-violence will surely build the castles in the minds of the new generation and thus the future of the world will be very bright and the earth will be worth living for all.
I am not an expert of National and/or International Politics as well as not a scholar of World History. But, with my simple logic and understanding, I have come to a conclusion that due to some political mistakes, the powerful nations opted wars instead of some alternative solutions of the issues and as a result millions of human lives have been destroyed. Some political critics have openly blamed those powerful nations that they have imposed wars upon the world under the pretext of saving all from destructive weapons and that also with a good name of war for peace. But, the outcomes of those so called wars for peace are before our eyes and we have no any option but to believe in that all these misfortunes are the side products of those wars.
It is the irony of the fate of the world that the scientists try to know whether life is possible on other planets like Mars; but here on this Earth, we see that life is possible but not safe. Human is not safe in transportations, on roads, in hospitals, in their business premises, in religious places, in schools or colleges, in their farms or even at its home.
Just for some moments meanwhile, I’ll go to a personal matter of mine just to co-relate it with my following point of the Article. My Friend Dr. K. M. Patel’s daughter, Urmila is preparing for her Ph.D. in the subject of “Saul Bellow – an American Novelist”. I chatted on internet to feed some contents if useful to her. I chanced to collect a dialogue from Saul Bellow’s novel “Ravelsterin” (Frankly speaking, I have not read the full novel) which is very important for me to advocate humanity. The dialogue is as “There are times when I need to ride in the subway at rush hour or sit in a crowded movie house-that’s what I mean by a humanity bath. As cattle must have salt to lick, I sometimes crave physical contact.”
I pick up only two words ‘humanity bath’ from above text and join my Readers with me to imagine a ‘blood bath’ resulted from a bomb blast and victims would have been travelers of any transport or spectators of any movie in a theatre. Those enemies of humanity take away the lives of many in a second and on the other hand some Surgeons try to save a single life with some major operations for hours. A mother sacrifices her whole life to bring up her child and make him a young man and in no moments he becomes the victim of such man-made disasters. A doctor who studies up to the age of about 25 years and has been capable to save the lives of many patients and he loses his valuable life in a very cheap manner. Many blood donors worldwide donate their blood willingly to save the lives of unknown people and here the sacred blood of many innocents is spilt and wasted.
Mahatma Gandhi has rightly said, “We see that this song of hate has not benefited humanity.” I repeat my words placed in my previous Article “International Non-violence Day” and say that to walk on the way of Non-violence is rather difficult and perhaps the result may be disappointing. Gandhiji has explained this issue of doubt in his words as “My faith is as strong as ever. There is no hope for the aching world except through the narrow and straight path of Non-violence. Millions like me may fail to prove the truth in their lives; that would be their failure, never of the eternal law.”
While summing up, I would suggest to my Gujarati Readers to read a poem of Zaverchand Meghani titled as “Ghan re bole!” (ઘણ રે બોલે!). A sledge (big hammer) and an anvil (એરણ)are the instruments of a blacksmith. In personification flower of speech (સજીવારોપણ અલંકાર), the hammer and the anvil have been imagined as brother and sister respectively. Here, the brother speaks and the sister hears. The sledge declares its (his) wish before the anvil to make some creative equipments useful to mankind rather than destructive weapons used in wars. It is a wonderful poem that can be sung in tune of a singing prayer (ભજન).
Let us pray to God for prosperity and happiness of the world.
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd.: Aug 15, 2008
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In my previous three parts of this cyclic Article (Part- I, II and III), I had presented some characters named as A to E. Their tragic stories are not imaginary ones, but they all are based on facts. As I had made clear formerly and hence by giving no real names, I have said what I had to. But, here, in this last and final part of my subject above, I’ll not hesitate to write openly and specifically as it is the historical fact and also known to the most of the world and particularly to Shi’ite Muslims – the tragedy of Kerbala (Martyrdom of Imam Hussein A.S. and his companions), always live in their minds and paining to their hearts even after the passing of about 14 centuries.
Volumes and volumes have been written to describe the tragic history of Kerbala; but, here in my Article, I’ll narrate in brief how a pious woman named Janabe Zainab (a.s.), with her nearest ones and the Fourth Imam Zain-ul-Abideen (a.s.) – the only male member accompanying them was imprisoned by Yazid, the most cruel enemy of Islam and the members of the family of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). It was a time when Janabe Zainab was being greeted and honored as the daughter of Hajarat Imam Ali (a.s.) and the grand daughter of the Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.). After the Martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a.s.) and all his colleagues, the female relatives and the only son of him – Imam Zain-ul-Abideen (a.s.) who was sick then were brought as the captives in the Capital of Yazid’s kingdom.
The journey from Kerbala to Damascus was very terrific. The women had no veils over their heads. They were tied in ropes and seated on the bare backs of the camels without saddles. They were denied even water for the children under the burning sun and scorching sands. These were the physical tortures but the mental tortures were beyond words. The caravan was lead surrounded by the slaughtered heads of the loved ones atop the points of spears much paining them, with a group of thirstily wailing children, chained and manacled Imam Zain-ul-Abideen (a.s.) on top of all hordes of onlookers who were ridiculing at that pathetic sight. In brief to say the atmosphere was hostile and every glance was full of hatred. Edward Gibbon has noted that the tragic scene of the death of Imam Hussein (a.s.) and his companions and also the oppressions made to his female family members and children are such that will awaken the sympathy of even the coldest Readers till the numerous millenniums to come.
Now, let me come to my subject of the prison and lead you to such a horrible place where these unhappy oppressed people were kept as prisoners. It was a dark under ground cell and a few stale morsels of bread and a very little water which was barely enough for every one was being served to them. The renowned historian al-Biruni has stated, “Nobody in the history of the human kind has seen such atrocities.” Thomas Carlyle, Dr. K. Sheldrake, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Dr. Rajendra Prasad and many more Non – Muslim personalities of the world have expressed their views on tragedy of Kerbala, the Martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a.s.) and post Ashura sufferings of women and children in their own words, but here there is no scope to present those in detail due to my limitation in this briefly summarized text.
Again, we return to the dangerous dungeon where we can see a female child named Sakina, the most beloved daughter of Imam Hussein (a.s.) and who used to sleep on the father’s chest every night and missing him the great. Janabe Zainab (a.s.) tried her best to console and stop her from crying and make her go to sleep, but all in vain. Sometimes, she herself became calm thinking that her weeping might upset all the members in the cell and therefore she cried silently and wiped away her tears quickly. As and when she happened to be out of the prison, she stared at the flock of birds flying to their nests at sunset and asked Janabe Zainab (a.s.) whether they all would go home like those birds.
Then, on one dreadful night, the child Sakina went to bed on the cold floor of the prison. For a long time she stared into the darkness! The time for the Morning Prayer came. She was still lying with her eyes wide open. Her mother-Shahr-i-Banu and Aunt-Janabe Zainab (a.s.) called out:”Wake up, Sakina, wake up; it is time for prayers, dear child!” There was only the painful silence! The fourth Imam Zain-ul-Abideen (a.s.) walked up to where Bibi Sakina (a.s.) lay. He put his hand on her forehead. It was cold! He put his hand near the mouth and the nose. Bibi Sakina (a.s.) had stopped breathing. In between sobs, Imam Zain-ul-Abideen (a.s.) said:”Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raaji’oon!”(Surely, from the Almighty God we come and to Him shall we return.). All the women in the cell began to cry standing around the dead body of their beloved child.
Bibi Sakina was buried in the same dungeon. Janabe Zainab (a.s.) held the still child as Imam Zain-ul-Abideen (a.s.) dug a grave for his sister in the dungeon. Her clothes were burnt in Kerbala, and due to injuries had intermingled with her flesh. Therefore, she was buried in the same burnt, ripped clothes right there in the Dungeon of Syria (Zindan-e-Shaam). As the grave was being filled up after the burial, the mother let out a scream. All the ladies huddled around her, and the prison walls began to shake with the cry, “Ya Bibi Sakina, Ya Mazloomah (O Sakina! O Oppressed one!)”. Such was the tragic end of Bibi Sakina, the young Hashemite princess. It was she whose father Imam Hussein (a.s.) was brutally killed in Kerbala. It was she whose baby brother Ali Ashgar who had an arrow shot through his neck. It was she whose beloved uncle Hajart Abbas (a.s.) had both his arms cut off.
With a heavy heart, I put an end of my Article here just with the conclusion that any kind of inhuman treatment towards not only the prisoners but all human kind is liable to be condemned if we like to be recognized ourselves as the civilized people.
May God prevent our hands from committing oppressions; May He bestow on people with dignity and peace of mind; May He confer on prisoners throughout the world with repentance, understanding of turning away from sins, freedom and peace; May He bestow upon those who are ruling with justice and kindness; and May He favor those who are ruled with just treatment and good character.*
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd. : 7th January, 2008
*(The content of the prayer at the end is based on a supplication that has been reported from The Twelfth Imam, Al-Qa’im Al-Mahdi (peace be upon him), the renowned descendent of the Ahl al-bayt (a.s.), The Just Leader of Humanity, The Alive but Hidden – The Imam of the Age, according to the faith of the Shi’ite Muslims.)