Thursday, April 3, 2003
Mr. Bhanu Kale

Mr. Bhanu Kale

Finally the war has started. As we go to press, TV screen is full of images of US planes bombarding territories of Iraq. The world is on tenterhooks of a catastrophe.

The shadow of uncertainty looms large on the faces of countless innocents – in New York and Baghdad, in Nairobi or Bangalore. Scud missiles are chasing targets in hideouts. The institution of United Nations - the vision for which was first developed by a former US President and which heralded the vision of globalization – seems to be more or less a mute spectator. In these troubled times one naturally wonders whether the programmes that take place at Asia Plateau, which essentially strive to light a candle in the heart of a person, have any relevance.

At such moments one is reminded of a document published in late seventies at the end of the notorious Emergency. It contained resume of several fearless fighters of freedom who, at the risk of their life, said and did what needed to be said and done. Often it was a cry in wilderness. But a line quoted on the title page of the document gave significance to their efforts. It said, “All the darkness in the world could not put off the light of this tiny lamp.”

Every moment of our day and in every interaction – big or small - we are all given a chance to either increase someone’s faith in higher values of life or to decrease it. If we attempt the former we become an instrument of positive change; otherwise we remain a part of the disease. The choice is ours. Initiators of Change are those who have consciously chosen the former. Our aim is to multiply their number. One wishes there was a shortcut to bringing change in the world but, alas, there doesn’t seem to be any.

We at IC do not generally have a blue print of what needs to be done in the world. We have neither the resources nor skills to attempt preparing such a blue print, leave aside acting on it. However, every person who experiences a deeper change in his motives and attitudes, follows the dictates of his conscience, contributes to creating a cleaner, calmer and fairer world. The sphere of life in which he operates and the extent to which he is able to make a difference is something over which an outsider cannot possibly have any control. That depends on the person concerned. But there is little doubt that all these efforts do add to the climate of hope and sanity that is sadly in short supply in these times.

In this issue of Disha we are pleased to carry the stories of some such Initiators of Change. Roshan Kalapesi, who is sadly no more, did not have much contact with IC for many years. And yet the candle lit in her heart enabled her to pursue her life’s calling and make a significant difference to the lives of craftsmen of this country. On the last day of her last visit to Asia Plateau she had a breathing problem and was about to leave for Mumbai when I called on her to say goodbye. It was moving to see a queue of craftsmen outside her room. They were participating in the programme she had organised for them. They all wanted to touch her hands and express their gratitude. What she meant to them, the respect and affection that she commanded, was obvious to anyone.

Dr. R. K. Anand is a leading paediatrician from Mumbai. When he wrote a letter of apology to his hospital boss nobody, including himself, had any idea of the waves of creativity that were to emerge from that simple act of reconciliation.

It is same in case of Mahendra Shah, Gajanan Savant and Kiran Gandhi whose experiences are narrated in this issue.

“Somewhere in the heart of a man, there’s a door, and what’s more, he could fling it wide and throw the key away, and suddenly, it’s like sunrise on a summer’s day.” –goes an old IC song. In this issue we present the snap shots of a few such sunrises.
Bhanu Kale

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