Every Child is Born on Nature
This is an extract from Allama's address to the students at Ismail College, Andheri, Bombay, delivered on November 17, 1945 when the final shape of the sub-continent's disposal was still unclear.
Students of Ismail College! To have been asked to address you and give you food for thought on something which does not concern your immediate educational life has made me think it worth my while to come over and speak to you. I have always believed the student public to be a world altogether different from the ordinary world. You are here in the prime of your life getting moulded into the shape desired by those who overwhelm your destinies, and as that shape got fitted into the desired order of things, you go on performing tasks destined to be performed by you. You may not even have thought over the importance attached to the student world by the power that be in the ordinary stress of life, but I assure you that should you have come to know about that importance of yours as compared with the rest of the people round about you, you would have felt restless over the way in which you are being used by others, especially when you, in the capacity of young men and youths of nation, insist that you are as free as air and can blow whichever way you choose to blow.
Ah! My friends, the world is not as you think it to be. There is a Tradition of the great Arabian Prophet to the following effect: "A child is born on Nature but its parents afterwards make it Jew, make it Christian or make it Fire-worshipper". That is exactly how the world goes on in almost every phase of it. You do not feel at any stage of your growth how you are being "made a Jew", how "made a Christian", or how "made a Fire-worshipper. The very process of transformation is hidden from you for the reason that the deed is done in spite of you. You have no eyes to see it and no sense to feel it. The whole transformation is a coercive process--yes, a process against natural and unrestricted development, a process sinful in extreme, a process which is aggressive, unjustified and tyrannical. And yet, tell me, have you ever seen a child who has ever come up to his father and complained: Father, I was born as free as Nature itself. After my mother brought me forth, you had no right to take me up in your custody, and if you had taken me up out of so called love for me, you had the least right to gradually make me a Jew or make me a Christian or make me a Fire-worshipper. I feel sure that had you not touched me I would have been a different man altogether. I would have been born on Nature, born on God, born on God s Religion, born on God s ways and means. You are the culprit who has coerced my natural growth, coerced me from becoming a Natural Man, coerced me from fulfilling God s purpose on Earth, and it is perhaps on account of this that the sins of fathers visit the sons on this Earth, and nations are most queerly punished on account of the deeds committed by the predecessors.
Student Friends! That is the real picture of how this world of ours goes on. Have you ever thought over the anomaly that this world always punishes the son for the deeds of his father? Have you ever thought over the Biblical saying that you are being punished for the sins of Adam and Eve? Nay, think for a moment a Hindu child born in a Hindu home, a Muslim child born in a Muslim home, and an English child born in an English home, all homes being situated right in Bombay. Don t you see with clear eyes that these children born in the same way, living on the same soil, and breathing exactly the same air, are three distinct types of children? Don't you see them three different models of manhood come out of three different pressing machines? Don t you see manifestly the stamp of Britain and Domination on the forehead of the British boy, the stamp of India and Slavery on the Indian boys? I was told by a well-placed Britisher who came over to see me the other day at my house that we Britishers are handicapped to a very great extent in as much as we have to bring up our children in an atmosphere very unsuitable to their growth. Now tell me, dear Students! Can you think after this remark that you are free people, living in free air, and that you can blow whichever way you like?
Now to tell you what influence are working on you, to tell you how briskly you are being doughed, pressed, battered and beaten into shape, how mercilessly coerced and, as it were, driven through wire-hole in order to make you malleable, feasible and fittable in the order of things around you, is not my business. You have got to look it for yourself and in case you have no eyes to see what is going on I fear you have got to make special eyes for yourself in order to see it. It is no business of the man standing on the shore and out of the show to make the would-be drowning man realise where he is and what his surroundings are. He has got to survey the whole thing for himself. If there is anything I can tell you, I can only say that you youths and maids of the country, being most tractable, the most malleable, and the most easily shapeable material ever available, are under the stress of every possible force around you. Every possible force--the forces of Imperialism and overwhelming might, the forces of environment, the forces of the society you live in, the forces of residential life, the forces of corporate college life, the forces of political leaders at this juncture exploiting every possible material for their own ends, the social and economic forces, the forces of heresy let purposely loose, the forces of your own conceived or misconceived consciousness, even the forces of your wrong impressions about freedom--yes, every one of the various and the varying forces and many others is trying its level best to beat you into its own shape, and as long as you do not suffer yourself to be shaped in a particular manner by ceasing to be a youth, you are under the stress and spell of all of them and there is the danger that you do not remain "born on Nature" as Nature originally ordained you, and that the "parents", who have undertaken to nourish you, may "make you a Jew", "make you a Christian", or "make you a Fire-worshipper".
Student Friends! It is with this purpose that I have come to give you a new food for thought. Think that you are not born to be slaves, although it is right that you are slaves through the sins of your ancestors. Think that your birth is "on Nature". A child, as soon as he sees the light of the day, is free, self-reliant, unmindful of what others do round about him, unheedful of how people get amused at his queer movements, careless of the anxieties of others about him, attentive to his own movements, own way of thinking, own judgement of things around him--always watchful, always gazing at things happening, always learning, always trying to probe. Well, if this is what the infant does throughout his infancy, and by so doing is able to attain manhood, full might, full mastery of self, full ability to speak, full consciousness, without a guardian, without a teacher, without leading strings, and irrespective of the inclemency of weather, disease, suffering and so forth, yes, if this is the case of an infant born "on Nature", will you not, who are still youths born on Nature, find out your way and get on to become full-fledged men and women born on Nature; free, unrestricted, untutored, unhampered, uninfluenced, blowing wherever you wish to blow and choosing you own way? Think that you are not born to bear the punishment of the sins of your fathers, not born to be made as your masters wish you to be, not born to cater to the immediate, dishonest needs of your political leaders, not born to be carried away like straw by every wind that blows in the land. Think again that youths are born anew from mothers' wombs in order to give nations new chances of growth, new outlook of affairs, in fact, new heavens and new earths. Think that every child and every youth coming into the world is a new gift and new chance to the nation to revive with the new might supplied to it. Will that new youth and that new child, fresh from the factory of Nature, then destroy his own cytology and his reason of existence by following blindly the sins of his father, and force himself to be "shaped a Jew", "a Christian" or "a Fire-worshipper, as his father was? Friends! Is not that a shameful and sinful deed if you become Jews and Christians that way without realising that Nature has given you to the Nation as a new gift, in fact, a new store of energy to retrieve that which has been paid, to recover that which has been stolen, to snatch that away which has been snatched?
My Youths and Maids! It is for this purpose that we have started the Khaksar Movement. Our aim is to prepare men for the coming struggle. We refuse to believe, in spite of all frustrations of old worthless men, that things cannot be mended. We are out to give a new vision, a new outlook, a new version of things around us. We build character, rouse inner forces; build on Nature, not on conventions, past sins or traditions. Our force is the soul-force of Heaven above, not the rotten, spent force inherited from environment below. We wish to get ourselves out of these earthly environments in order to build a new, peaceful, useful and heavenly world.
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