Saturday, October 24, 2015


Pic.: Mini Milind

“People say that walking on water is a miracle;
but to me, walking on earth  peacefully is a real miracle.”

- Thich Nhat Hanh 

My wife is associated with a company which promotes one of the finest sets of educational books. As a regular feature, the company holds an annual international-conference for its folk in some of the exciting places on globe…

Well, this time (next week) it will be in Ho Chi Minn City of Vietnam.

“Vietnam?” I asked my wife, this morning, “It was totally destroyed during the Vietnam War.”

It was evident from my question, how much informed I was about the post-war Vietnam… The War had lasted twenty years (1955-1975). Since then, it is forty years now… There is peace… The lush-countryside peace is back there… Ho Chi Minn City, commonly known as Saigon, is a city in southern Vietnam. It is famous for playing a pivotal role in the Vietnam War. My wife told me that one of the top tourist attractions in this city would be the war memorial called ‘Cu Chi Tunnels’.

I was a school-going boy in my village, Mangalore, during the thick of Vietnam War. My dad, though did not have a decent education, was extremely aware of the domestic and international political scenario. I remember his animated description of Vietnam War… Why the war was happening… Who was supporting South and who supporting North… How American planes bombed and what a mess it was…

And, after twenty long-years, Americans had to go back, their crests fallen… Eventually, the guns went silent… Bombs stopped falling in the fields… People came out of their hiding – the tunnels… and, rice grew in the paddy fields, the birds flew in the peaceful skies… the streams started singing, all over again…

What did the war destroy?

There lived in Vietnam a Buddhist monk named - Thich Nhat Hanh. He opposed war through propagating peace for which he was exiled from his country. Incidentally, today, I came across a beautiful video about his life. It is from the film – ‘The Power of Forgiveness’.  I was startled when I heard him say,Our thinking was: Man is not our enemy; our enemy is our misunderstanding, discrimination, violence, hate and anger.”

However horrific the War seems to be, trust me, the Peace is just a heartbeat away! Yes, like Shelley had metaphorically asked in his poem: “If Winter comes, can Spring be far away?”

So, it is befitting that the folk from my wife’s company will be visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam, next week. After all, there cannot be a more life-transforming education than going near a war-memorial… If not for any other lesson, but for this one:

“Man is not our enemy… Mind is!”


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