For Jalal

Posted in people by jrahman on December 4, 2011

On that day, no soul shall be wronged; and you shall not be rewarded aught but that which you did. (The Quran, 36: 54).

Strip away the parables and foundational stories, and that promise of the ultimate justice is the core of the great Abrahamaic faiths.  I would like to believe that promise.  But I have no reason to.  Nothing tells me that it won’t be as Omar Khayyam says:

Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and–sans End!

Azam Khan and Jagjit Singh were old.  And the old will eventually die.  I am of the age where people I grew up reading, watching, listening to are getting to that age.  Soon it will be time for my parents.  I must prepare for that.

Tareque Masud was not old.  But at least that tragedy highlighted the death traps that are our highways.

Jalal Alamgir was even younger.  Why him?

There is a sequence in Brecht’s Life of Galileo where the scientist is told that his discoveries strip away the meaning and promise from human lives.

Perhaps it has.  Perhaps we are just a collection of atoms in a random corner of an unimaginably large universe.  Perhaps our existence, and its demise, has no meaning, no rhyme nor reason.

Perhaps.  But even so, we are collection of atoms with capacity to imagine.

Jalal imagined a better world.  And he worked for it.  I had the honour of working with him, to befriend him, to experience his gracious hospitality.  I don’t know what, if anything, awaits him.

I believe — and it is a leap of faith — in the virtue of work, of duty.  I believe — again, leap of faith — Jalal would like to see his work continue.

Brother Jalal, I promise to continue the work.

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  1. Rupa said, on December 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

    So much heart breaking and unbearable!!

  2. Jalal Alamgir said, on December 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    […] Jalal you will be missed Jyoti: For Jalal JALAL’S ESSAYS Jalal Alamgir & Bina D’Costa: The 1971 Genocide: War Crimes and […]

  3. muhamad said, on December 5, 2011 at 1:20 am

    I didn’t know the man, but I remember the article he wrote on genocide of ’71. Very fitting reference to Brecht and Khayyam.

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