In the words of SINGHS ~ Riches Between the Covers
In the words of SINGHS
by Artika Aurora BakshiThe pen is mightier than the sword! This has been advocated through the years by many. I have always wondered how many of us actually believed in it and how many of us have actually taken that path. Two prominent Sikhs who have lead the way by showing that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword and that freedom of speech should be exercised without any fear of repercussions are KHUSHWANT SINGH and TAVLEEN SINGH.
Both have been prominent in the Indian and International print media for decades and have set a standard so high that very few have been able to reach it.
2012 saw them both release two very unique books. (see below ~ SikhNet editor)
The Free Thinker’s Prayer Book– written by India’s grand old man. When Khushwant Singh says something or when he writes, we all take notice- we notice it is for sure, whether we agree with it or think of him as someone who has lost his mind…..that is a very personal view and I shall leave it at that.
The introduction takes every individual back to the moment, when we have all questioned the religious and ritualistic dogma that are there in our lives. We have all wondered why???
I am a Sikh by birth and by choice and I too follow all the prescribed rituals! I believe in Universal God and take inspiration from the ten teachers of Sikhism. The lives of our Gurus inspire and guide. In an environment which has no gurudwaras or exposure to Sikhism, it is I, who tell my children, the stories of the Gurus and make them comprehend the verses and hymns in our Granth Sahib.
But there are times when I have questioned the existence of God, the list of prescribed ways to reach him and the very idea of Karma.
In his book, Khushwant Singh raises a question- “if an all-powerful, all-seeing God does exist, why is there injustice and suffering in the world? In our country alone, for every Mother Teresa and Baba Amte, there are thousands who have killed and raped in the names of their gods, as was done during Partition on both sides of the border, in Delhi in 1984 and Gujarat in 2002. Neither the law nor God has made them pay for their crimes.”
I too have wondered that if both I and the person who has wronged me are praying devoutly, who will God listen to? My religion does offer me what I seek in terms of support- a crutch sometimes and guidance, and I for one don’t believe in conversion to another faith to find solace. You either find it or you don’t, as simple as that. But will making me follow the prescribed way, take me to salvation? Here is where, I agree with the author…” ahimsa above all; work as worship; honesty; helping people in need;silent charity and respecting and preserving the natural world- my own religion”. Every page as you turn, gently reminds you to cherish life and enjoy every aspect of it.
Every scripture moves and is worthy of admiration.
What Khushwant Singh has done is, put down all these little pearls of wisdom in one little prayer book- a book that inspires and reaches out. Written, so that everyone connects to it, especially the Gen next. It is them we need to reach out to, if we want humanity to prosper. I am not talking about religion, because for me HUMANITY IS MY RELIGION.
A must have book in every house and definitely a pre-requisite for all godmen, preachers and politicians, who have till now been successful in playing with human emotions on the basis of self professed godliness. Thank you Mr. Singh for your little treasure of prayers and precepts.
” life is not always fair. Sometimes the good suffer for their deeds and the wicked prosper. So there is no use telling anyone that there are rewards for the good in life. Goodness of the heart should be a habit, and it’s own reward.”
What strikes out when you pick up a copy of Tavleen Singh’s “Durbar“, is the silhouette of Lutyen’s Delhi- Rashtrapati Bhawan and South Block, courts that have decided the fate of India and its Indians for more than a century!
The Delhi whose foundations were laid by a group of Sikh Contractors, who Lutyens commissioned to build a capital worthy of an Empire that would stand tall amongst others. The same Delhi, which silently watched as more than 3000 Sikhs were massacared in the reigm of the most democratic party India has seen. A pogram which is still a wound that is far from healed, because justice has been knowingly delayed or should I assume denied.
The book starts with a very powerful note from the author, a typical firebrand trademark of Singh.
Throughout the book, you get to read little personal accounts seeped in what is a typical Delhi Society nuances. The parties, the politics and the big hearted punjabi way of life!
Singh started her career in the same year that I was born. The red tapism that existed that time can still be found in our country, where babus rule and paper pushing still is a common practice. It’s the connections and pulls that work.
Coming back to the book, every page as you turn tells you a story that is so captivating that you cannot put it down. Facts can be cross checked. Covered in this book are the events that have shaped the India we see today. Named openly in the book are all the game players. Singh’s account is a bit biased, but then we all take that from a memoir. Given the position she was in and still is in, it is a good history lesson for the younger generation. Timing is apt too with the elections coming up soon. Whichever party has led India since Independence, the state and condition has remained unchanged. From the power brokers at the centre to the regional parties, everyone has milked India and the citizens for personal gains. Religion, caste and ethnicity has been used by our so called leaders to keep the KURSI ( chair).
Reference to this book has come up again in today’s scenario. On 30th April, 2013, one of the main instigators of the 1984 pogrom, Sajjan Kumar was acquitted by the Delhi High Court in one of the three registered cases. Durbar openly spoke about 1984- the reasons why it escalated and the inability or the unwillingness of the Congress to do anything to stop the carnage.
Coming back to the book, it may be biased and a bit exaggerated, but it is a real eye-opener. From the Congress to the Janata Government to the NDA and UPA, who do we as Indians turn to, if all they care about it is one upmanship and hidden personal agendas.