Go Tell it on the Mountain-Book Review

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Another Daughter Another Book

Book Review-Go Tell it on the Mountain

 

My daughters are book readers and as I oscillate between the homes of my children I get to read the books they are constantly ordering online. In Bengaluru I got the chance to read Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin. My daughter ordered it on the recommendation of Oprah Winfrey who had Maya Angelou(who called James Baldwin “a friend and brother”) as a guest on one of her web talks.

This just shows how linked our lives have become through the social media.

Literature is really a personal mirror held up to a book. How much of a book like Go Tell it on the Mountain can I understand sitting here in India? Of course I have some Bible beginnings because of my schooling and Gospel music because of my listening habits and Hollywood movies. That is as close I can get to a century old yet relevant story of Harlem, New York of 1918 around which this story revolves. Darryl Pinckney has called the book a “meeting of Henry James, the Bible and Harlem.”

It is a book steeped in African American church life and city life Christianity. A New York book but without the modern trimmings of white life. It is a black dark book full of Christian guilt. A story set in Harlem, a hundred years ago. A story of the early twentieth century. It is surprising to see the on-going misery of African Americans; the white police brutality on blacks. There are no white men in this book except the policemen or the unseen owners of a farm where Esther works. No white men to redeem Christian glory. It fills me with wonder at the thrall Jesus Christ holds for African people of all nature. It is just a tribute to the missionaries, the circumstances of the slave trade and the religion itself. It is disturbing to see how old the poor African American suffering is in US style apartheid. The Church is the only solace for the people of this book. It is surprising to rediscover the love for a fair white Christ in Black people. No wonder the Bible is called the greatest story ever told.

“Go tell it on the mountain” is another Bible novel that anyone with a love for the Book cannot ignore. It is writing of a high spiritual and technical level. The treatment of past and present characters with flashbacks is so ultra modern though it was written more than half a century ago.

“To be a negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

This is also a father-son book and elsewhere Baldwin says, ‘if the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons.’

This is definitely an Our Father story. Very surprising for a man who did not consider himself religious in later life. He accuses Christianity of being a method of soothing the pains caused by white oppression.

This book is truly autobiographical but it leaves us at a spot where the hero still believes in God. This was his first novel and was written in France where he had self-exiled himself from an unfair to blacks America.

Look at the hatred here– “She looked out into the quiet, sunny streets, and for the first time in her life, she hated it all-the white city, the white world. She could not, that day, think of one decent white person in the whole world. She sat there, and she hoped that one day God, with tortures inconceivable would grind them utterly into humility, and make them know that black boys and black girls, whom they treated with such condescension, such disdain, and such good humour had hearts like human beings too, more human hearts than theirs.”

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Konee Sahib Gurudwara Gate

 

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Qoni Sahib Gurudwara in Panchkula is being renovated and this is the brand new gate as seen from the parking lot. This is one of the historical gurudwaras which saint soldier Guru Gobind Singh visited in the era of the close of the seventeenth century and the decade after 1700.

Guru Gobind Singh came here in 1689 as attested by this tablet in Punjabi script–

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Guru Gobind Singh visited Konee Sahib in 1689.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru_Gobind_Singh

Fascism is alive and kicking in India!

Do these people in British Raj knickers wear underwear? Why is Fascism so close to the powers that be’s hearts? Are we the victims of extreme Hindutva? Do we really need this jingoism? Do we need protection as they claim?

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Is not the ruling party the villainous aunt of Hindi movies who comes and destroys the peace and harmony of a happy joint family for her own selfish interests? Is this the trait of this Fascist party? This Jabardasti? Demonetization down the throat! Remember the gloating leader who like Mussolini passed an order to destabilize the nation. He made many people rich (especially unscrupulous bankers) with his stubborn move over the protests of the Reserve Bank Governor who chose to quit the job rather than be a part of such a dunderhead move. GST? Apologists say give them time they will succeed; it is a trait of this party causing one to remember the Ghalib lines “kaun jeeta hai teri zulf key sar honey tak?” Is force feeding the metier of this ruling regime. Khak Ho Jain Gay Hum Tum Ko Khabar Honey Tak.

We fought for freedom not shackles of a bureaucracy that garnishes and gathers money from the poor so that ministers can roll in wealth! This chamcha culture for personal career gains led to the disaster that has fallen banks like PNB and SBI! No upright Indian was given loans by these institutions because they only supplied money to the corrupt who would give them a cut of the takings. Look at these two banks now guzzling public dole money and still tottering to survive. If they had only given loans to the needy they would not be so needy today spreading their hands before the government every quarter with their NPAs and tainted officers.

Do we really need this lectern thumping Jingoistic style of Nationalism. Even South Korea has taken off the Loud Speakers from the Northern border. It is time for leaders to soften their tone and not talk the rabble rouser language and play citizens of one nation against another. If a party or rather really both parties think that speaking like a union leader at a lunch time rally is statesmanship then God Save This Country!

Do we really have more working toilets? Has black money been finished? Ha ha ha!! Has any extra tax been collected? Anyone can do this dubious number- crunching and come up with these fancy unrealistic results. Ask the man on the street poor bastard will say with an empty stomach and empty pocket, I am willing to follow this great leader till he accomplishes this great task-remember we are the mice in this new Pied Piper of Hamelin tale. We are being led to our death; our death of democracy by these boots- nazi party. Has the alleged extra tax collected been used wisely? We can see the waistlines of prominent ministers growing- is that where the money is going? Does Urine drinking, lectern thumping and finger pointing really build a nation? When will we have ministers who walk to work without Z security that costs millions?

We need more education. We need more self-education. We need a populace who cares for its nation and would prefer fewer rabble rousing politicians. If the police force can demand weight control why not weight control and money control of Fat Politicians?

FOREMOST-HOW MUCH DOES EACH INEFFICIENT POLITICIAN COST US? HIS CAR, HIS BUNGALOW, HIS SECRETARIAT, HIS FREE FOOD AND HIS SECURITY!!! TELL US NOW!!!

All this bloody demonetisation and tax raiding will be nil if we cannot control the expenses on Ministers. Why should ministers become overnight (or in 5 years) Trillionaires with cash and properties stashed all over the country and world?

When will we as Indians stop licking arses? Admit it! All of us lick arses! It is a remnant of the Raj! We think being oily and slick is the way to get ahead! Simplicity is dead. All of us lick arse when we feel it will get us some promotion or financial gain. Why? Have we no self respect? Zameer? Why can’t we be truly Gandhian in Truth and adopt Gandhian ways? There are cheaper clothes than Khadi! Khadi now is the cloth for the rich and fancy ministers! Super Khadi is so refined and transparent and expensive; more expensive than silk!!

We need self control! We need to learn to live like a giant family (or joint family)! We must learn to Unlearn the art of suffering fools. We have to show tolerance for other religions in spirit and not just pay lip service on vast podiums full of captive leaders who cannot demur. Religions are but myriad ways or myriad flowers of offerings to God. Various religions put together and co-existing are like a beautiful bouquet. When will Idealism be not a crime?

Oh Indians stop being Hypocrites filling your left pockets while showing the deliberate holes in your right pocket. Let us stop this sham of five star Gandhianism.

I have to write this blog on WordPress because I have tried on Indian sites and they expunge, censor and edit till a submitted article looks like yesterdays paper shredded by a street dog!

 

Is Your quiet Child a Killer?

 

School shootings–The culprits are people who think death is just an act as if in a play or a movie. They imagine the kids will just get up and walk after being shot. Kids need to be told the loss and finality of death!-

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https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/18/us/texas-school-shooting/index.html

Parents need to own up to their responsibility. Don’t be so busy in yo ur life that you don’t even know your child is a potential killer!

It is so stupid for a parent not being able to come into a teenager’s room without knocking or without guilt! These guys are planning mayhem because you left them alone too long. Be involved with their activities. It is not so difficult. Don’t waive your responsibilities and pretend you are too busy to do any thing about it.

Children need to be shown all the angles of dying! Show them the emptiness and hurt that comes from death and injuries. Make life real not a fantasy.