We westerners often misinterpret the belief that several reincarnations filled with suffering are necessary to fulfill the dream of a better life. Life and death are indeed meshed into one but everything that transpires into one’s life is part of a larger picture, transcending lifetime after lifetime.
We tend to label this hope rooted in Hindu faith as a behavior of resignation and indifference but suffering is necessary to fulfill the dream of a better life.
As we all know, India faces huge challenges with its overpopulation. Social and economic ills such as corruption are a long way from being eradicated.
Yet when l hear people saying that there is no place for improvement, for hope, l cringe.
This is why I would like to share here the story of a child of a government servant.
S was born in a family of five brothers. There was no electricity, no primary school nearby and water did not flow out of a tap. As a result he didn’t go to school until the age of eight. S was home-schooled.
His father used to get transferred every year. The family belongings fit into the back of the jeep- so the family moved from place to place without any trouble.
As a district officer, his father was given a jeep by the government. There was no garage in the office so the jeep was parked in their house. His father refused to use it to commute to the office. Insisting that he would use it only to tour the interiors, he would walk to the office and allowed the children to sit in it only when it was stationary.
It was an early lesson in governance….
The driver of the jeep was treated with respect, it was more important to respect subordinates than superiors.
The days started around an earthen fireplace where the mother would cook for the whole family. There was no gas, no electrical stoves. Morning routine started with tea and the father asking the children to read aloud the local newspaper. They did not understand much of what they were reading but they learned that the world was larger than the district they lived in and their English improved.
Their father told them to leave the newspaper and the toilet the way you expect to find it.