Tuesday, 22 July 2008


Dear kids, I had read about this gentleman when the world was all standing up in applauses to his unbelievable achievement. I wept for long when I read his book “Touch the Top of the World”, and I could come to learn about Eric Alexander also whom I undoubtedly believe to be an idol of true friendship for his untiring efforts that could make his friend achieve the feat.
It was a dull Sunday evening with clouds hovering pensively over the sky when the cell rang to connect my son’s school number. It was my younger son on the other end. After monsoon vacation, this was our first verbal communication and we discussed for quite a long time. Before it was time to conclude, he told me, “Dad, I just forgot to tell you one thing. They will be telecasting Erik’s journey to the summit tonight in Natgeo. We are all set to view it in school. You and Mom, don’t miss too !”
It all brightened up in joy. We kept ourselves glued to T—the item I have never befriended with—for hours. Every step that fell on that tough track of ascent, from one camp to another and to the summit, had had pounces over my aching chest with doubts despite confirmed knowledge of its eventual success. I kept on watching him crossing a series of ice-faults separated by unfathomable voids through makeshift bridges, traversing glacial zones adorn with alluring crevasses and negotiating those merciless ice falls and finally, trudging on just a table-wide narrow ridge along South Col. Yes, he was there on the top of the world—atop 29,035 feet crown of the mother planet.
The gentleman I talked about is Erik Weihenmayer who unfortunately lost his sight at an age of only 13 years. But, he did never let such adversity interfere with passions for life. Yes, godliness can only reach up to holiness, and, he met Eric Alexander, a divine gift to humanity who himself was a renowned climber, but instead of achieving personal feats he offered his soul towards making others achieve newer heights. Eric was engaged in helping teens with disability, particularly with visionary defects, to explore beyond limits. Yes, his mission was named too as “Beyond Limits”. They met in 1998 during a seminar. Two hearts were soon lost in each other to realise eventual victory of human relationship.
People raised many questions when they heard about Erik’s dream about touching the summit and the most were averse to Eric’s support to make such dream realised. When their dream got the blessings of the almighty, the world stood stupefied and Eric gently said, “We shattered the perception the world had about what a blind man could or should do. We silenced doubters. We even silenced our own doubts.”
It was May 25, 2001. Erik Weihenmayer became the man in the history of human progress. Again, on September, 2002, he was atop Mt. Kosciusko in Australia to become a member of only 100 mountaineers who had climbed Seven Summits—the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. It did not end his journey. Success is only a turn in the road we travel. It encourages us only to walk towards another turn.
Dear children, I sincerely believe that most of you must have known those facts, at least a broad overview of what I have so far discussed. It is neither my wishes nor my dream to make you aware of human successes. I only wish to make you feel that seeing is not the vision. Millions of living beings are blessed with that beautiful sense that enables them to explore colourful world. The journey that we travel is there for letting those shining rays together light the candle within. That’s the vision. That is what Erik did. That is what Eric did. Sight is a pleasure, insight is godly. That is the vision.
I will definitely love to mention what Erik told Tom Foreman about his feelings after summit :
“ Tom Foreman: All of us who have not been there, imagine the view. What was the sensation for you?
Erik Weihenmeyer: I could hear prayer flags flapping in the breeze and I could hear the wind and the sound of space and I reached down and touched the snow. I didn't have those views dropping away in front of me, you know, but I think a summit is a lot of an internal feeling anyway. When people say they summit mountains for a view, you know: Get a pretty picture of the mountain and save yourself two-and-a-half months of work. I think it's a lot of an internal symbol of what your life is about. ”
I will continue to hope that you will feel about who is blind, the person without ability to see or those without vision. I keep my soulful wishes that your innocent souls will feel enough passion to make the candle lighted within your gentle consciousness. Once it is there, it will endlessly go on emanating shining rays of trust, truth, faith, compassion and knowledge. There lies the lotus of humanity, the dream that HE blessed us all with to realise the dream of being together with HIM for ever.

[ Acknowledgement : I sincerely acknowledge contributions made on this score in “http://www.climbingforchrist.org/, http://www.my-inspirational-quotes.com/, http://www.touchthetop.com, "Touch the Top of the World" by Eric Weihenmayer, and http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/07/0730_030730_everest.html, and.
You will definitely enjoy knowing more facts from the mentioned links and the book ]

Friday, 18 July 2008

Empowerment and Equality !

Some days back I heard kids discussing over why I had been into blogging. Their personal likings might have probably discouraged them to go for any acerbic comment, yet it abruptly concluded (maybe for my presence nearby) with the cutest one remarking, “He may be hoping to publish a book and must be just judging how readers will respond to it! Maybe, he looks for the comfort of safety.”
Their discussions truly amused me for their so much of concern. I doubt not their sincerity also. Although I have neither any plan to publish a book nor any regular readers, I found their discussions interesting for the inference drawn in the line I mentioned before. A kid can also analyse how important the sense of safety is in relation to human thought-process and action. I wondered for a few days over the whole of whatever I had overheard. Strikingly, it pierced into my deeper self and I found it more interesting when debates went flying in some other blogs over the issues primarily dependent upon human actions and its relation to comfort of safety, protection, empowerment and sense of equality, however greater levels of intellectual discourse they might be. It only generated a newer sense of identity to which I had so long been oblivious. I wished to go on pondering over and over again with a faint hope to touch that illusive thread, which possibly entwined all resonating chords of human aspirations into one finite objective of securing itself.
In this modern world, our civil society holds high the banners of adequate empowerment and equality for all over all other emergent social needs of humans. Without going into any debate on how far they justify the present stature of socio-economic progress, we may reasonably infer that they are priority demands to which majority of civil movements are actively involved. But, do those two pillars of our long professed civil societies stand justifiably when tested against the history of human civilisation? Do they even correspond to each other and can they be supplementary in true manner towards generating a cohesive structure of civil societies upon it? These are the questions that had torn apart me on instigation of a mere childish remark of an adorable kid.
The history of human civilisation does not show us anything contrary to the facts of its seemingly evolution around securing protection and comfort of the species. While the demands of empowerment and equality, in many forms ranging from individual to social to regional to national to international configuration and concerned to ideological to racial to religious to gender-based to ethnic, surfaced time and again, but what has apparently led to are mere corroboration of our historical past. The progress of human civilisation did never comfortably witness those two prime pillars to hold its burden upon in unison, rather it always encouraged a balancing game of interchangeable priority of one over another through its journey. I never claim to validate my expression in order to demean tireless efforts of our forefathers in raising our entity as the supreme one amongst all living beings. Yet, with my little learning of history its progress through thousand years of journey in this world and with a far lesser faculty to appreciate entirety of such enormous contributions, I have found myself comfortable with such a distant generalisation as I penned the starting line.
Whatever we have guessed about our past are also important events of history. Whatever we believe in professed philosophy of human life are also contributory to history of human civilisation. They all lead us to agree in oneness that we were different from other species since we had been here. We were weaker in strength, but stronger in soul. Thoughts were our assets while our existence was vulnerable. Protecting our existence had been the prime concern of our ancestors. They had to wander alone for food and water in deeper zones in jungles. Collective strength, they thought, would save them from wild animals. They formed group that turned into a stronger unit of extended family. They were some way safer in securing daily needs of sustenance. Wiser they became; they learnt to move near to rivers and water sources for further protection. Slowly they learned to make blunt weapons to make hunting easier; discovered to light fire, and with that magic power, they became concerned in protecting themselves from mighty contemporaries. They formed clan to get stronger unit. Soon they discovered iron. The triumph to control fire and iron gave them confidence to go for further exploration. They found copper, learned to make bronze and they could start an improved society by then with sharper weapons, usable tools and utensils. They thought to protect themselves from nature’s wrath; slowly learned to weave cloth, build house and proposed to transform fertile land as choicest field for growing food. They experience greater protection while they learned to grow grains, irrigate and cultivate land and use weapons more effectively.
The phase of protecting themselves from assault of wild animals was about to be over while a new crisis too birth. The society which had more food security, more weapons and more numerical strength thought to attain further security in sustenance by overpowering societies with lesser strength and engaging its members as their slaves. The slaves were to work, hunt, cultivate and fight for their masters. The clashes were then to take place between super-societies identified by such ruling masters. The sense of protecting by then had traversed long to relieve them from threats of wild animals to newer threats of societies of same species. Groups, clans, societies clashed; some merged with other, some vanished and some fled. Whatever be the position, societies became broader, voluminous and took shape of settlement, village and county. Finally, along the geographical concept, nations were born. The nations then fought for own protection with other nations. Comfortable living had offered richer societies more time to engage in thinking and exploring. Religious faiths, customs and rituals were introduced to have greater control of the society over its members and more to secure it from every vulnerability to external threats. Nations soon became conscious of religious identity. They fought against each other with frontal cause of religious supremacy while hidden objective of securing supremacy of rulers. The sense of supremacy seemed analogous to safety and security. The wraths of famines, wars, and calamities were to be withstood by the slaves to secure comforts of their masters. The empowerment of one has always led to inequality for others and equality of some led to ignite passion for empowerment in some others so the equilibrium could again be broken. The history shows us the process repeated in this fashion so far.
Thousands of years passed by in delivering newer and newer consciousness of life and such revelations took societies transcending one horizon to another. Levels of security and comfort also changed. Developed societies were engaged in colonisation of under-developed or semi-developed societies in newer fashion. Diverse forms of oppressions are devised basing on, either individual or collective, state of caste, economic-strength, gender, skin, ethnicity, religion, military strength, and even intellectual privileges. Conflicts between religions, working classes, castes, ethnic groups, and mercenaries went on happening while the strife for empowerment and equality overshadowed one another in their subterranean flow through history. In this article, I have not indulged myself into undermining either the cause of empowerment or the equality; but only to draw attention to a fact that history of human civilisation has not indicated ever to acknowledge mutual dependence of those two ideals in securing primary supremacy of humans as species. Only one front has primacy all through is the concern for safety and protection, either at individual or collective sense. I find its validation in what kids were discussing over my concern for the comfort of safety. I don’t know how far I am satisfied with my own analysis, but I am satisfied enough to place it before the readers for their own individual appreciation.