"MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains

One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:

'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness,-
That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot

Of beeches green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease."


I found the first yellow leaf on my backyard today when the New York City was burning.

The glass room is now lit with the soft caressing rays of the September's maturing sun. The trees are covered with a thin and fresh layer of morning dew. My diligent neighbor is out on board his noisy tractor, mowing his lawn. Birds are still around but will soon start their flight to the warmer south. Everything seems to be so perfect with the pristine smoothness that dwells in suburban America. And yet nothing is the same, neither me nor my neighbor, nor the yellow leaf, nor the birds nor the morning rays. The day is 9.11.2001, the longest so far in the new millennium.

But long before this controversy and this war on terrorism many of us somehow sensed that the world around was becoming polarized in a dangerous fashion. Many times in the past I was able to drown my discomfort in freshly morning coffee- the news from Palestine and India, Kosovo and Bosnia, the broken Bumiyan Buddha, the Hijacks and killings in Kashmir, The fiery mosques in London and so many others. They made me sad but not horrified, concerned but not shaken. But today is 9.11. The people around me are suddenly divided into warring camps with a degree of readiness that would suggest only one thing- the disease of hate and mistrust was suppurating and the incident just tore away the surface scab in a quick painful slash. Now there is no going back to the make-believe world of reconciliation that we lived in before 9.11. We are now drafted en mass into a war that will smolder into its own predetermined end making freedom and fairness some of its inevitable 'collateral damages'. My amateur reading of history has time and again confronted me with a very disturbing suggestion. One that had been put forward so eloquently by the following statement of Ibn Khaldun, the14th century historian in his masterpiece work, The Muqaddimah-an introduction to history.

"History can be understood, but it has neither goal nor essential novelty. It is a repetition of similar patterns driven by the interplay of the same basic elements: human acquisitiveness and aggression, the need for cooperation and group solidarity, royal authority, and the corrupting effect of dominion and luxury"

I have often wondered whether there is anything called freedom and fairness at all or is it perfectly natural to live with this apparent irony- being born free but dying in various kinds of chains, some personal and some institutional? Is this true irrespective of every known parameter of our existence? Is it because of this impending horror of dying in chains that we need a God, a prophet, and an imaginary system of arbitration called morality and divine justice? Is this why the free human spirit seeks indoctrination? Does submission to a given doctrine provide a better alternative to a lifelong struggle of defining and confronting too many threats of bondage? Does it answer the primordial question- why do I exist despite all my limitations?

To find the answer if we look at the history in general then we can probably agree that one thing has never changed from Rome to Byzantium to London to Moscow to Washington DC. The biggest driving force of humankind is the pursuit of happiness and power needed for such pursuit. The system that is predominant in the Western world never failed to recognized this key fact as it transcended from imperial governments to colonialism to 19th century capitalism and finally to globalized capitalism. Human acquisitiveness and aggression is a generally recognized and almost revered axiom in the so-called 'civilized world'. Plainly no form of capitalism can exist without fueling human greed though we must recognize that greed is no longer looked upon as a vice but a rather honorable and distinguished entity renamed as consumer confidence. The system operates with the simple but eternal natural law applicable to all carnivores- you must kill to eat good as long as you are strong enough and obey certain laws of the jungle. Oh yes you are also expected to leave the skeleton for the scavengers.

Somebody wrote that every individual judges the world in the light of his or her childhood experience. Let me try to explore a little into my own.

In the West Bengal of seventies we grew up looking at the red banner, singing international and reading books with blood red covers. Communism like Islam had the unique claim of covering every thick and thin of human existence. Like Islam it was so unequivocally confidant about its ultimate ability to triumph and liberate the mankind into an egalitarian world. A world inhabited by only one kind of people under only one set of rules and one leadership. There would be nothing else to evolve into because it would be a perfect, therefore unchangeable system where everyone would have no choice but to live in peace and prosperity. I distinctly remember how quickly we could put together a solution to every crisis and controversy in the light of dialectic materialism. From Vietnam to Nicaragua we thought we were millions strong, all one soul in million bodies, all belonging to the nation of Proletarians. There was music in the air, youth in the blood and resolve in the mind to fight the imaginary evil. I distinctly remember the words of a popular poem by the Bengali poet, Sukanta Bhattacharjee-

They could bring storms from clear sky
Hark! Their stories soaked with blood
of occupants and the traitors
Scorched in bombs and roaring guns
still vivid in our memory.

Everything seemed so simple, so inspiring, so precious that everything was worth dying for.

Well I escaped death just for being too young at that time but many of the brightest Bengali youths didn't. If you talk about dying in vain, I cannot think about vainer deaths than those. They were made to believe something unreal, dishonest, strange and purely theoretical and then sent out to die for it. And they complied because of one major reason. They were indoctrinated.

So when their hopes collapsed, they saw the dishonesty of their leaders, they were tortured, maimed and butchered by their one-time compatriots, they saw in anguish that they lived with lies all those years, they were rejected, ridiculed, thrown away into the garbage of history- did they remember the songs they have sung in the streets, the sunshine of wild seventies that shined upon the brows of their comrades? No they didn't.

Many years later in USA I came back to revisit the magic of indoctrination again. This time when in the post communism void the once forgotten political Islam has emerged strong to challenge the so-called civilization afresh and with the same degree of youthful rage- and sadly with the same old wine of indoctrination in a new bottle. It has affected everyone from the stone throwing boy in Gaza to the professor in the University. It is like an infection that is easy to spread in the vulnerable population. You won't waste much energy to nail down a few fundamental ground rules and your human bomb factory is ready for business.

And then they will sing the same song that the communists sang but may be in a slightly altered way.

They could bring bombs from the clear sky
Hark! Their stories soaked with blood
of infidels and the Godless
Scorched in falling towers and burning planes
still vivid in our memory.

When I see those innocent stone throwing faces in Palestine I see my own face in seventies when they brought home my heroes dead. In the bomb factories their senseless tragedies were exploited to create more tragedies, more doctrines to numb the common sense and more false promises to bewitch the young minds. Nobody asks- What lies beyond liberation, what shall we do then? Can we succeed are we organized enough? What are the prices to pay?

Somebody must tell them that the evil dwells in human greed and that is common to all humans, Muslims or non-Muslims. Evil belongs to the institutions guarding their vested interest, religious or secular. They must realize that God will not bring salvation to humans they have to painfully evolve and do it themselves through centuries of suffering. This is exactly what the history is. The atrocities committed by powerful nations in the past are in no way better, actually much worse than those being committed today. At different times different philosophers emerged to organize the oppressed humanity against their oppressors but most of them suffered from a common mistake. They assumed that the tyrants must be uniformly bad working against God and humanity and therefore they must lack moral force. The oppressed on the other hand are simple, pious, honest and God fearing and therefore morally superior. They have nothing to lose but the chain and their common suffering makes them each other's brother. So the straight way to salvation and permanent world peace was presumed to be liberation and fall of the current oppressor. All movements from time immemorial, from Rome to France, Mecca to Russia, Bangladesh to Palestine- had been organized based of this fundamental and simplistic principle. Drive out the oppressor and there comes the kingdom of Heaven or dictatorship of Proletariat on this earth. And by definition Heaven or Proletariat can't be anything but all good so everyone must live in peace and prosperity forever.

They all ignore the biological aspect of human organism. Like all other animals Humans want a few things dictated by the very basic genetic drives. Those drives are territorial (in case of humans territory includes wealth as well) and sexual (to gain the best sexual partners in order to have the best possible offspring). These drives are common to all humankind, both oppressed and oppressors and they are stronger than any kind of philosophy or doctrine. So even after a successful revolution when the tables are turned the old vices creep into the new order and thus creating slowly but surely another set of tyrants and oppressors. They will find loopholes into the tenets of the new doctrine to perpetuate subordination and exploitation to another set of victims. In order to maintain power and dominance all regimes must have their victims until the victims are strong enough to organize and create resistance and the cycle is repeated again.


Islam as an institution (not as a personal faith to individual people) has declined to accept the concept of plurality for long enough time and adhered to the 'one rule one solution for all' idea. It has promoted the cult like obsessive following of one individual's words, opinions, lifestyle and even physical appearance (no matter how great he could have been) for eternal time. It does provide a degree of certainty, a level of psychological comfort, a definite resolve and certain kind of peace to its devoted followers. These are the It also provides a spiritual jump-start to special population groups who are in a state of confused desperation to begin with. It identifies a cause and goal for the angry youths that have some genuine reasons to be angry. Thus the so-called 'original Islam' is so popular among marginal groups like Afro-Caribbean who have a real or perceived sense of being persecuted. Thanks to the profiteering policy of the West there is no dearth of such populations in today's world. The so called civilized world continues to ignore and subtly oppress large groups of people who will try to organize under the banner of the first available regimenting philosophy for offering some kind of collective resistance- Communism or Islam or something else. God has nothing to do with it. It is a purely biological human species characteristic.


Like all days 9.11 rolled into night and I turned to the Nightingale like Keats to fill up my numbness with at least a momentary hope. Hope that there will a world of free spirit and spontaneity, a world free of indoctrination, mind controlling Gods and their crazy followers.

But being too happy in thy happiness,-
That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot

Of beeches green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

Kaushik Sen


Published at : http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mukto-mona/message/4680