December 16, 2014. Over 140 people, mostly children, killed in a terror attack on a Peshawar school. When that happened, my heart went out to those innocent young souls whose eyes closed in abject terror. Instead of being open, filled with curiosity and delight over the wonders of life being unfolded in lessons at school. My heart also wept for the anguish of parents who sent lively progeny off to school only to receive their shrouded bodies some hours later.
My mind often dwells on the countless suffering of innocent victims of terrorism. I think of the hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children who surely want nothing much more than to be allowed to earn a day’s living in peace. And who must be wishing every night for a dawn that brings the promise of a better life for their children.
They say, “The darkest hour of the night is just before the dawn.” I ask, why wait for the darkest hour? Can we not bring on the dawn?
Two things happened today, inspiring this blog.
The first incidence was when driving to work this morning. A CD filled with old Bollywood film songs rendered by the playback singer, Mukesh, was playing, filling the confines of my car with sweet melody. Till one particular track triggered distressing images of fellow humans going about their lives in mortal terror of the next drone attack or bullet.
The song in question was the title song from an old Bollywood film Phir Subah Hogi! For the benefit of English speaking readers, that translates as roughly ‘There will be a morning after.’ But the song lyrics itself are reminiscent of the adage ‘the darkest hour of the night is just before the dawn.’
The lyrics of the song are so poignant that they made my heart beat this morning in empathy with the people living their lives in terror. In Syria. In Iraq. In Pakistan. In Nigeria. And everywhere where humans are oppressed. Including the nether regions of India where Hindu fundamentalists are trying their best to impose their narrow minded beliefs on others.
I have published a transliteration of the song lyrics in English at the end of this post, along with a YouTube video upload of the song, for those readers who are familiar with the Hindi language. For the benefit of English speaking readers, I have attempted a translation of the lyrics here so that they can get the full import of the words:
Someday there will come a promising dawn, Someday there will come a promising dawn;
When the protective veil of the night is lifted from the head of this dark era;
When the clouds of sadness dissipate; When a sea of happiness begins to glimmer;
When the skies begin to dance with the spring of joy; When the earth begins to hum with melody;
Someday there will be such a promising dawn.
For the sake of such a dawn, for years we have been living by dying every day;
In the hope of sipping nectar from such a dawn, we are today drinking from a pot of poison;
It is to be hoped that generosity and grace will be bestowed on our thirsty, hungry souls;
Someday there will come such a promising dawn.
Agree, that right now the world assigns no value to our hopes;
There is value placed on mud, but not on human souls;
Only when human dignity stops being weighed in fool’s gold,
That day, there will come a dawn full of promise!
I drove to work haunted by the words and thought of blogging about it. Especially the line….
The second thing that happened today was when I logged on to indiblogger.in to upload a blog. It was then that I noticed that the blogging theme for the week was “the darkest hour of the night is just before the dawn.” I was startled at the sheer coincidence.
Both this morning’s occurrences made me think. Why should the world go through the darkest hour before a promising dawn arrives? Why can’t we work towards preventing people from drinking from the well of poison?
I have been reading that the United Nations has published a report detailing how children are being recruited by ISIS. An article on newsweek.com titled For Islamic State Group, Children Are Victims, Perpetrators, Witnesses
cites several examples from the said report on how innocent children’s lives are being destroyed: “The UN report cites examples of 15-year-old Mohammed Qatta, a coffee seller in Aleppo, who was publicly executed in June 2013, of a 16-year-old fighter who allegedly cut the throats of two captured soldiers in August of this year, and of a seven-year old boy who, while walking with his father, witnessed a man’s body dangling from a cross in July of this year and woke up panicked throughout the night afterward. An interviewee from Al-Hasakah, in northeast Syria, reported seeing nearly a dozen young boys ages 13 and 14 working as guards for ISIS headquarters and checkpoints, armed with Kalashnikovs and grenades.”
What darkest hour? Hasn’t it already arrived? Or is there worse to come? If yes, how can we stop the darkness from spreading its cloak over the rest of the world?
To my mind, the focus has to shift from the masterminds of terror to their victims. More stories need to be told. Not just numbers killed. But stories of individual families and their views and hopes. When enough is told, hopefully public opinion is so strong that the so called leaders of the world act in a concerted manner to starve terror groups of the money, drugs and arms that fuel their madness. After all, they are getting their money and other supplies from somewhere. From whom and why?
People who are weighing human dignity in fool’s gold! That’s who! People who are crazed by the desire for power over countless human souls.
Such people are our darkest hour. They will prevent the dawn from arriving. Because their intent is to keep humanity cloaked in darkness!
Featured Image Credit: Gaza boys fenced in – photo by Dale Spencer on Flickr.com under Creative Commons license
The lyrics of the song Woh Subah Kabhi Tho Aayegi from the film Phir Subah Hogi were penned by Sahir Ludhianvi. Set to melody by the famous Indian composer, Khayyam, the song was rendered beautifully by the mellifluous voice of Mukesh. The lyrics have been transliterated here.
Woh subah kabhi tho aayegi, woh subah kabhi tho aayegi
In kaali sadiyon ke sar se, jab raat ka aanchal dhalkega
Jab dukh ke baadal pighalenge, jab sukh ka sagar chalkega
Jab ambar jhoom ke naachega, jab dharti naghme gayegi
Woh subah kabhi tho aayegi
Jis subah ki khaatir jug jug se, hum sab mar mar kar jeete hain
Jis subah ke amrit ki boond mein, hum zahar ke pyale peete hain
In bhookhe pyaase ruhon par, ek din to karam faramayegi
Woh subah kabhi to aayegi
Maana ke abhi tere mere aarmano ki keemat kuch bhi nahi
Mitti ka bhi hai kuch mol magar, insaano ki keemat kuch bhi nahi
Insaano ki izzat jab jhoothen sikkon mein na toli jayegi
Woh subah kabhi to aayegi!