Friday, 10 February 2017

The Insidious Ways of Fate

The most intriguing expression I've ever come across in life is : This was destined to happen (Ye toh hona hi tha). Being a lifelong nonbeliever having no faith in intangible phenomena like godhood, divinity, destiny, fate and all that jazz, I never had any belief that an individual's life could be preordained on certain counts, if not on all. But you keep learning as life unfolds itself before you. There's a verse in Qura'n that states that every individual's life is determined by god 40 years before his/her birth.





 Though this is a sheer exaggeration and a typical scriptural lie, there's no getting away from the fact that there's something, we call destiny or fate. Believing in destiny doesn't make a person fatalist or bhagyavaadi . But its direct or indirect influences on an individual's life cannot be discounted either. In Latur's earthquake in September 1993, five labourers somehow survived. They fled and came to Bombay. They were sleeping on the footpath when a truck ran over all, killing them on the spot. If they hoodwinked death in Latur, they couldn't dodge it in Bombay. What should it be called and how will you account for it? Wasn't it their ineluctable and inevitable destiny to die?

During the First World War, Adolf Hitler, a mere corporal at that time, was resting along with his soldier friends. A deafening blast woke him up. He saw all his friends' mutilated bodies scattered all over the place. ONLY he was alive. Nothing happened to him. He didn't even sustain a bruise!! That made him believe that the destiny gave him a new leash of life to change the course of history and made his presence felt. Within a couple of decades, he was the Fuehrer of Germany, chiefly responsible for the Second World War.

Jalaluddin Babar, the founder of Mughal empire on the sub-continent, was all set to go back to Central Asia but for a Hindu mystic (what an irony played by destiny!!) insisted that he must wait. Babar stayed back and the rest is history. 

Why some people fail to meet both the ends meet despite working so hard throughout their lives and why some people never do anything worthwhile yet they live luxuriantly? Can this be imputed to one's fate or destiny? I read a book long back. I've forgotten the name of its author but I still remember its title: 'Footsteps of fate'. The writer wrote a very striking thing that has always fascinated me and I've felt that happen.
One can hear the footsteps of fate if one is a very perceptive observer. You may call it premonition, gut feeling, hunch or by whatever name you like. 'Qismat ki aahatmaut ki aahat-si hoti hai / Kaan lagaye rakkho toh sunai deti hai' (The footsteps of fate are like those of death/ If you're all ears, you can hear them). Efforts, karma, purushartha  are all very significant, yet there's something that makes or mar. 'It's fate that flings the dice and when it flings / Of kings makes peasants and of peasants makes kings.' This English couplet is all the more important because it was penned by the intellectual poet Alexander Pope, who began to believe in destiny after a series of mishaps that jolted his life.


Our efforts and endeavours can make a whale of a difference to our lives and future, but the subtle, nay insidious, role of destiny cannot be ruled out. I believe, samay se pahle aur bhagya se zyada kisi ko kuchh nahin milta (More than one's fate and prior to the fixed time, no one does get anything worthwhile). Some unknown influences can never be fully gauged.      
                                                                                                                          Sumit Paul

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