Don’t Reduce Kabir To A Symbol

21 Jan

In the afternoon Mumbai university became the venue for a straight talk by Dr Purushottam Agarwal who contextualized Kabir for our times, while keeping him well situated in his.

“We live in such times that everyone feels insecure which leads us to normalize violence. The violence does not disturb me, its acceptance does,” he said.

“To understand Kabir, try and understand the man who does not speak English or are not as educated as you, but talk the common language. And listen to them with attention and respect,” he said referring to the fact that Kabir was not a learned scholar but talked of the people, took from the people and gave back to them.

Asked by a student at the university to elucidate one thing that one could take from Kabir, he said, “Interrogate everything, including yourself.”

The gist of his over hour long talk and Q&A session was capitulated in the end when he asked, “Is it as easy to preach love, as it is to preach hatred. And is there a way, a philosophy a political system to increase this love and partnership between people?” Kabir’s words show the way, but only if we think about it and “stop making Kabir into a symbol and think of him as a living being in search of the self.”  He also advised against reducing Kabir to the politics of the contemporary times. Bang on Doc!

Dr. Purushottam Agarwal


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