It is generally said that knowledge is acquired through books. There are, however, other sources of knowledge, which provide us insight into the distant past and act as a lighthouse for guiding humanity in the right direction in present and the future.
One such prominent lighthouse is the historic labyrinth known as “Bhul Bhullaiyan” in Lucknow. It was built by Nawab Asaf ud Daula in 1784. This labyrinth is a building of interconnected passageways that meet at several crossroads, where there are four doorways of which three lead to the wrong passage and only one of them to the right passage. If one does not heed the call of the guide and takes a wrong direction, one is bound to get lost.
We come across many crossroads in our life like that of the Bhul Bhullaiyan in Lucknow, where if the right path is not followed and the guidance of the supreme guide not heeded to, we are bound to go astray with disastrous consequences. This is a law of nature and holds good for society and the whole world, at large.
Today mankind stands at a crossroads of a grave nature and has the choice to embark on the right or the wrong course. Taking the right direction and seeing the writing on the wall is the need of the hour to save mankind from impending disaster. Today humanity is beset with dangers and problems of such magnitude that its very survival is at stake.
The division of the society on the basis of castw, colour, crèed, religion, rich and pòor, majority and minority, has given rise to so much conflict that if good sense does not prevail, and if such divisive forces are not nipped in the bud, upholding human values, equality, universal brotherhood, justice, reconciliation and rule of law will become difficult.
Living in harmony with nature, conservation of flora and fauna, sustainable use of energy, maintaining the ecological balance, stopping the erosion of soil, upholding rule of law and above all, inculcating moral and ethical values is the need of the hour. Disregarding these values and turning a blind eye towards character building will give rise to conflict, climate change, and natural calamities.
Conflicts between different countries, war mongering, hate and vicious propoganda existing today is taking a toll of our resources which could be used for poverty alleviation and mitigation of sufferings during pandemics like the deadly Covid and other natural calamities. If remedial measures are not taken at the right time, coming generations will not forgive us and will hold us responsible.
As against this, mutual co-existence and cooperation in trade and business, cultural and literary exchanges and open borders between nations will result in economic progress, happiness, all-round peace and prosperity for all stakeholders.
Such crossroads in human existence have come even in our households and in our family, where we see clashes often taking place. We usually hear of disputes between mother in-law and daughter in-law, between brother and brother, and between father and son. This is because we have become materialistic, self-centred and aggressive in our dealings, disregarding moral and human values. It has given rise to frequent incidents of suicides also.
Today we see that drug addiction, alcoholism, gender bias and moral degradation is rampant as never before. It is eating into the vitals of our ethos and may do us damage beyond repair if we do not take remedial and corrective measures in time. For this, we must avoid the materialistic approach and revert back to the moral and ethical values that treat the whole world as a global village and all human beings as equal. We should abhor and shun enmity, jealousy, selfishness, hatred, war-mongering and crimes against humanity.
It has rightly been said by LL Cool: “Our world is at a crossroads and we have a choice: right or wrong.”
—The writer is a retired telecom engineer of BSNL. [email protected]