by Kamran Zafar
He always felt in his heart that love had no color, language, religion, boundary, or barrier. And even deeper in his heart he knew that the purpose of life was a life of purpose. Yes, he thought, to find that purpose was every individual’s responsibility, because it might differ from individual to individual. For himself, he found that a love of humanity was the best purpose to have in life.
And, like love, humanity in his mind was above color, language, religion, boundary or barrier. He had, in the past, struggled with his own identity, but over time had become happy with just being called a “Human.” Humanism he found to be universal, and being universal made him content, and thus was that he found the rare bliss of contentment.
He also believed in the power of free thinking, so strongly that he thought that set humans apart from other creations. His philosophy of life was “Question Everything,” and question oneself the most: questions like “Is Reality real?” and “Why white is not black?” and so on. He was never a fan of stereotypes, be they in any form or shape. He knew that his favorite Sufi poet, Bulleh Shah, already knew the answer to the question that he posed in the line “Bullah Ki Jaana Mein Kaun” — Bullah How Do I Know Who I Am? That was why when he himself was visiting his native country for the first time in a decade, he knew exactly who he was. Being a minority himself in a distant land he now called home had taught him to empathize with minorities. He knew, too, that humans sometimes had a strange perception of things, and that the same thing may be perceived differently by two individuals: one’s 9 might be another’s 6 , one person’s gain might be another’s loss, one’s victory another’s defeat. To him, right or wrong were only relative terms.
He had not planned this, but during his visit he found himself in his native village on a Christmas eve. He decided to share his love of humanity with the local Christian community, a minority in that area. He asked his older brother (a village alderman), his nephew, and his sons to accompany him. In doing so, he was crossing some religious, cultural and traditional boundaries, but his experience in that church that night proved rewarding.
No sooner had they entered the church that the power went off, not unusual for that part of the world. He considered that a sign — “sometimes you may have to close your eyes to see the light” — that he did not need electric power for light after all. The priest reaffirmed his thought by saying that the light for the church was God.
He felt he was at the right place at the right time. The entire time he was in that church, he found himself at absolute peace and tranquility. Love indeed had no color, language, religion, or boundary, and humanism was universal. When church attendees were singing to celebrate Jesus’ birth, among their voices he found his own voice. Again he found himself to be a ‘human’ above all else. Time stood still. He felt himself to be a part of that church and wanted to stay in that state of bliss for eternity. In the local tradition of celebration, when he was distributing sweets to the children at the church, he wished he could do that for ever.
When he was leaving that church, his heart was filled with joy. He was reminded of the Sufi message of love, where humanity prevails and no boundaries exist.
I apologize for off – topic, but the guy in White turban is playing Martin Backpacker guitar, and I used to have one of those 🙂 These things are so portable they sure do make it into all kinds of places 🙂
Sorry for the late response. Had to look up Martin Bacpacker guitars. Quite fascinating. Learned something
More culturally apt stringed instruments for the guy in the turban would have been sarangi or sarod, but (admittedly) guitars are far more 21st century.
If you have any Martin Backpacker guitar performances of your own on video, send us a link. Maybe we’ll post it along with a sarangi adagio (provided we can find one in the public domain).
Lastly, no discussion of stringed instruments should be considered complete without the word “peace.” So, Peace.
Guitar itself traces its roots back to Moorish Spain and Magreb to its Persian origins 🙂 The Backpacker itself does not have much sound due to its low volume, but its very portable.
You have added yet more to our knowledge. Thanks.
String instruments are an intimate part of the the Subcontinental mysticism, be it Sufism, Sikhism, Buddhism, or Yogi asceticism. We will plan on doing a post on this soon.
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