Rear win­dow

The Gulf Today - Panorama - - Contents - by Shaadaab S Bakht feed­back: Shaadaab@gulfto­day.ae fol­low on : @Shaadaab­s­bakht

Iwas late and hot­foot­ing through the stairs of the univer­sity to my class­room. Though I was reasonably far I could hear my pro­fes­sor say, “The prob­lem is that the ma­jor­ity of us don’t protest. We al­ways wait for the heav­ens to in­ter­vene when a wrong hap­pens.” The pro­fes­sor said that when he rou­tinely di­gressed dur­ing his ab­sorb­ing class on a Marx­ist in­ter­pre­ta­tion of palace in­trigue in Shake­spearean plays.

He was talk­ing of po­lit­i­cal protest, but in re­al­ity if some peo­ple hadn’t protested we would have still been liv­ing in a world where sym­bols would have formed the back­bone of our lit­er­a­ture, where man would have re­mained stand­ing for­ever in the same place like trees do, where roofs above us would have re­mained un­known, where speed would have been a for­eign con­cept to hu­man­ity and where there would have been no ac­tiv­ity af­ter sun­set.

The first writer, the in­ven­tor of the wheel, the first ar­chi­tect and the first en­gi­neer turned civil­i­sa­tion on its head. We can’t deny that.

The word was its in­ven­tor’s protest against his in­abil­ity to ex­press his sor­rows and joys. Speech was born. And it is such a won­der­ful thing.

The wheel was its cre­ator’s an­swer to his tale of un­hap­pi­ness with im­mo­bil­ity. He re­fused to stay, like hills, in his orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion. He knew there were many places and many hu­mans who were to be seen and met. Travel was born.

The house was its founder’s well thought-through re­sponse to rain and thun­der, which treated the ex­posed man like a fist of arid earth and stranded peb­bles.

The elec­tric­ity was its in­ven­tor’s story of his irrepressible de­sire to speed up life. Power was born. And that was fol­lowed by the bulb, an en­gi­neer’s ha­tred for dark­ness. The gramo­phone was the same en­gi­neer’s wish to hear peo­ple long af­ter they are gone. Out came the record.

The great foun­da­tion for sub­se­quent protests was laid by the above ge­niuses and the world never looked back.

The world of the words changed the way we thought and which changed every­thing be­cause all wars be­gin in the mind.

When one read a Balzac or a Thomas Hardy novel one could hear years of cries in a word and cen­turies of sighs in a book.

The feel­ing didn’t change with a Fy­o­dor Dos­to­evsky or a D.H. Lawrence work. In the for­mer, the writer’s dis­gust with our so­cial sys­tem, which he thinks is rigged against the hoi pol­loi and per­haps rightly so, is wo­ven into the yarn of all his tales.

In the lat­ter, one feels his cease­less anger at man’s con­tin­u­ous strug­gle to sup­press the real be­ing within. His themes are a po­etic hymn to the orig­i­nal man, the man who rig­or­ously hon­ours his deep-seated and well-set­tled de­sires and the man who re­fuses to travel in a man-made moral cas­ket.

And then came travel, the be­gin­ning of what went on to be­come our so­ci­ety. Our uni­verse grew as houses were cre­ated and for them were in­vented gadgets that con­verted life into a dream. But this talk about protest will re­main hugely in­com­plete with­out our big thank you to the man who hit back at dark­ness with the bulb.

There­fore, let’s not keep quiet when we are ex­pected to protest be­cause the an­swer is al­ways within us. We just dis­cov­ered that.

HIS THEMES ARE A PO­ETIC HYMN TO THE ORIG­I­NAL MAN, THE MAN WHO RIG­OR­OUSLY HON­OURS HIS DEEP-SEATED AND WELL-SET­TLED DE­SIRES AND THE MAN WHO RE­FUSES TO TRAVEL IN A MAN-MADE MORAL CAS­KET

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