Monday, October 20, 2008



How many apples were eaten at the Garden of Eden? ‘Eleven’ came the reply with this breakdown: Eve ATE and Adam TOO, and Satan WON.

Adam ate the fruit of the forbidden tree and was taken to task by Allah, the Almighty. He excused himself by shifting the blame from his own shoulder to that of Eve. When Eve in return was rebuked and said, “Satan beguiled me and I did eat.” But the serpent never cared to shift the blame to anyone else. Nothing is more characteristic of man than this answer.

It is a nature of man to saddle others with his own responsibility. When all excuses fail, he has recourse to this doubtful sort of justification. It proceeds from a kind of delusion that what is guilt when committed by one is not so when done by many. But nothing can be further from truth.

Gham ki barish nay bhi teray naqsh ko dhoya nahi
Tu nay mujh ko kho diya, mein nay tujhay khoya nahi

Jurm Adam nay kia aor nasl-e-Adam ko saza
Kat-ta hoon zindagi bhar, mein nay jo boya nahi

Janta hoon aik aisay shakhs ko mein bhi Munir
Gham say pathar ho gia hay laikin kabhi roya nahi.

This habit of blaming others for our own folly is frequently seen in man. Down the memory lane, I remember my school days when I failed to get handsome marks in examinations, and I put all the blames over ‘the incapacity of teachers’ and ‘the whimsicalities of examiners’. Similarly, w
hen we get late, the clock and the weather are held responsible. When we can not dance, our failure is attributed to the uneven floor. “A bad workman quarrels with his tools” is a proverb very true of human nature.

However, the moral faculty in man is a stern judge. It tells him frankly when he is wrong. But the innate self-love of man does not want to confess that he is wrong neither can it deny that he has not done any wrong. So he has recourse to a shift. He confesses the guilt but tries to weaken its enormity by citing extenuating circumstances. And he holds others responsible for his own misdeeds. Not content with blaming fellowmen, he sometimes goes to lay it on the shoulders of inanimate things, as the word scapegoat suggests. Why did you steal your friend’s watch? “I am sorry, but my cousin tempted me to do it, he is the arch-tempter,” is my answer. Why did you feel? “I saw an empty pitcher just the time of my entrance in examination room, also a black cat crossed over when I was going there and that accounted for my failure.” I feel myself thus relieved as I bind my time to chastise.

But when no man or inanimate object is near enough to bear the burden of our follies and failures, we relieve ourselves by holding responsible not any tangible or visible person, but an unseen, invisible power which we choose to call fate. Fate is supposed to be an unseen, inscrutable power that imposes its capricious out iron-will on man. None of us has control over it. Pious hopes are belied, honest intentions are frustrated, earnest efforts are baffled, and good actions are made to bear
evil fruit. Why? Because that inexorable, mysterious force called Fate, Destiny, Evil Star, Black Angel and you name it. The existence of such a power is fond hypothesis among all nations, developed or under-developed. The Greeks called it Nemesis, the Hindus termed it Adrista, and the English speak of it as Fate or Destiny. It appears in two forms. When it is propitious, we call it Luck or Fortune and when it is adverse, we label it the name of Fate. The two are but the same power seen from different perspective. Fortunate men are supposed to bask in its favour, while unfortunate people are regarded as warring or struggling with it. In fact, whenever the ordinary logic of understanding fails to account for a happening, we fall back on an invisible agent and ascribe it to the impenetrable, incontrovertible will of an unknown but awful power­­- Fate.

Taqdeer kay paband nabataat-o-jamadaat
Momin faqat ahqaam-e-Elahi ka hay paband

History is replete with
instances in which the best of men have failed inscrutably in spite of their ability, piety and courage. Man, in fact is the architect of his own fortune. He is sent here with freedom of will to choose his way. The broad and the narrow ways are ahead of him. If he chooses the wrong path and suffers consequently, he alone is to be blamed. He has no right to hold others responsible. A brave man would never do it, it is only the timid and the weakling that that refuses to face facts and take shelter under Fate. If there is anything like Fate, it is man who has made it, and by his own actions. He has raised this terrible specter and he has no right to complain of its tyranny so late in the day. We should clearly know that man alone is responsible for his actions and these are the causes of his sorrow and sufferings. The conception of an irresponsible, unknown, tragic force unreasonably punishing man seems inconsistent with the conception of an all-merciful benign God and with man’s freedom of will.

It is neither God nor Fate that brings us suffering; we alone ar
e responsible of it. In fact if there anything which a man may call his own creation, it is his misery. The all-merciful Being does not want to inflict misery on him, he brings it himself. We make our own fortunes and we call them Fate. If he prospers he gets the credit, if he suffers he is to be blamed. A strong man will acknowledge his responsibility in all his works; it is only the feeble that shift the burden.

Luck is what you have left over, after putting in your 100%.

The writer is a budding intellectual, or so he thinks

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